Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. On "The U.S. Made The HIV Virus"

For those of you without the attention span to watch the whole press conference, here is the section about Jeremiah Wright's idea that the HIV virus was deliberately created by the government for genocidal purposes.

Looks like, at least in part, he got these ideas from these two books:

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Reverend Jeremiah Wright National Press Club

Of course there's been many a politician taken down by a mistress ...

But a MINISTER????

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Monday, April 28, 2008

"Superior Alternatives to Crappy Windows Software [Crapware]"

There's a great piece running on Lifehacker about alternatives to Windows software.

Somehow I'm thinking my favorite Conspiracy Nut friend wrote this piece.

It mentions quite a few popular pieces of software but the one that caught my attention is that it roasts alive pretty much ALL virus scanning sofware - McAfee and Norton for sure, and although in the main body of the article it says AVG and Avast are superior alternatives, it then makes a quick link to a site with a bunch of comments from people who have switched to Linux and tossed their anti-virus software entirely.

Although, once this article gets done trashing everything, what's left? Will MSNBC even load right in Firefox on Ubuntu as stripped down as this article is talking about?

Oh, that's right, MSNBC is connected to both Microsoft AND GE, so I'm guessing the Conspiracy Nut "In-Crowd" wouldn't bring up MSNBC anyway.

Where DOES the Conspiracy Nut "In-Crowd" hang out anyway?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Suburbs Becomming Slums?

There is a really GREAT article running in The Atlantic saying that due to the sub-prome mortgage crisis and various other demographic forces that, as eerily predicted in Back to the Future II many areas now or recently considered to be affluent, suburban areas may quite soon become the new slums.

With foreclosures leaving 25% or more of neighborhoods unoccupied, squatters and all sorts of seedy characters are moving into once affluent neighborhoods.

On the other hand, in some areas, inner cities are being redeveloped and are thriving.

With gas at $3.50/gallon and rising one can see how rational people might want to move a little closer together.

However, people in Cincinnati of course are NOT rational.

They'll hold off on decent public transportation as long as humanly possible until every last one of us has to file Chapter 7 over gas to get to work.

But, such, I guess, is the "charm" of Cincinnati ...


Denmark Vesey On "What Is Black?"

Although quite often I don't see QUITE where Denmark Vesey is coming from, today he wrote a really good one.

If nothing else, I'm hoping it will help straighten out The Dean.

Of course when I re-print stuff like this and try to wear Malcolm X ties, Mrs. Axinar starts on her, "Don't act like you down ..."

But here goes (with just a few Axinarian adaptations for style :) ):

There is no such thing as race.

The moment you play that game, you fall into psychological quicksand. The harder you struggle, the faster you drown. So, your brotha is going to drop a rope down and give you a chance to pull yourself out.

Black is not a color.

Black is crossover, baseline and clap boards.

Black is Denzel's walk.

Black is Bob Marley dancing to Get Up Stand UP.

Black is Claude McKay: "If we must die, let us die like men."

Black is your grandmother humming "Mary Don't You Weep" while rubbing Vicks on your chest when you are 6 years old and sick.

Black is "I'm going to kill this motherfucker if he puts his hands on me."

Black crossed the Atlantic in the bottom of slave ships and 300 years later pimped so hard, it dragged it's mink on the floor.

Black is why 100 million mesmerized people, watch 10 brothas defy gravity on a court for 48 minutes, night after night.

Black is the audacity to build tombs in the shape of pyramids perfectly aligned with celestial objects, that last 5,000 years.

Black has the middle name "Hussein" and still moon-walks into a post 9/11 White House.

Aint no "system" Supreme to black.

There's some men who look like Leon Spinks ain't a bit more black than Conan O'Brien.

There's some men look like Marlon Brando, blacker than James Brown.

And I'm STILL the blackest man in America.

Cuz I say so.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Does "Black" Have Anything To Do With Skin Color?

Denmark Vesey is also running a piece mentioning the "ethnic confusion" of some of his readers over what qualifies someone as "Black".

People -

From a "Photoshop" standpoint, all humans are shades of red.

Don't believe me? Head down to the morgue.

"White" people turn an almost chalk-like color when they assume room temperature, and "Black" people turn a shade of gray.

All living humans reflect a shade of their own blood - which is why someone VERY fair some people think of as "pink".

However, you have to be a student of other kinds of ethnicity in order to even begin to get a handle on this issue.

For instance, in the eastern parts of Africa you have people who look almost identical to one another who will hack each other to death for being the wrong ethnicity.

The quality of being Jewish of course is one that for many Americans takes some thought. At first blush one thinks being Jewish is something along the lines of being Presbyterian or being Pentacostal - it's something that you can simply choose to do. And sometimes that is exactly correct - you can be a Jew by choice.

However, there are many, many Jewish people who are not religious at all. There are many Jewish people who are card-carrying atheists.

According to halakha (Orthodox Jewish law), if you were born of a Jewish mother, even if you were adopted and baptized by devote Catholics from birth, you are still a Jew.

Also according to halakha if you were born of gentile parents, adopted by Jews, brised, bar mitzvahed, and got three degrees from Brandeis you're still a gentile.

Obviously in practice it's more complicated than that.

Now there's this "visual component" SO strongly associated with the ethnic status of being "Black" or "African-American" - mainly because I'm guessing not once in human history did such large numbers of two more physically dissimilar ethnic groups ever come together and simultaneously start belting out kids together by the millions AND start hating each other's guts so intensely.

But, near as I can tell, the current state of affairs on this issue was set by Halle Berry's mother. I can't remember her exact words, but I can remember in an interview years ago she said something to the effect that she never told Halle anything other than she was Black. I'm not sure in the scope of the interview she explained her reasoning about that, but I'm guessing for many people having an individual ethnic identity can make a person feel more "solid" than trying to do it any other way.

I can testify to a little of this because, although I would generally be considered a "garden variety White guy", I do have this matter of my Armenian great-grandfather, plus the fact that I grew up in a neighborhood with a large Appalachian population and then I went to a high school that was 60% Black.

I don't know WHAT I am at this point.

Stacey Dash is Black.

And Cute.

What's wrong with that?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kim Kardashian Without Makeup

Bastardly has once again found something really fascinating - a side-by-side study of Kim Kardashian with and without makeup.

Now, yes, I have to admit the "sans makeup" side DOES bear a passing resemblance to my half-Armenian grandmother at that age.

The "sans makeup" side also looks like a nice, friendly girl you might bring home to mom.

The makeup side, although certainly striking, does put one into thinking this just might be a young lady involved in an occupation of ill-repute.

But, yep ... this one's related ... no question about that.

Although I wonder if she's into psychics and fortune telling ... that would answer the question once and for all I think ... :)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who Is "Black"?

A couple of months ago, the Dean of Cincinnati, arguably the most liberal White man in Cincinnati (and it shows from his latest riff trying to prove the "evils" of eating meat by suggesting the SPCA should serve dog meat on Fountain Square) posted a piece that I found kind of surprising.

He was bitching rather precipitously about the media refering to Barack Obama as "Black" or "African-American". Apparently because Obama had a mother that would generally be called "White", the Dean thinks Obama should be refered to as "multi-racial".

Hmmm ... how about such other lovely yet dignity-robbing phrases as "mulatto", "quadroon" and "octaroon"?

Now, the Dean is an educated man, and an educator himself. He also is married to a young lady who would traditionally be considered "Black" or "African-American" and has two children with his wife.

It puts me in mind of a line from Star Trek - "How can you have lived on Vulcan so long, married a Vulcan, raised a son on Vulcan, without understanding what it means to BE a Vulcan?"

He re-interrated in an "orphaned comment" on my blog the other day, "The problem is not with how I question why people insist my children are Black -- but why people like you wish to make such insistences and proclamations in the first place! 'Blackness' is not a disease. It cannot be 'caught'. It does not 'stain' white genes. Racially diverse children are precisely that -- neither white nor black!"

It's a bit more complicated than that.

I spent six years intensely studying Judaism and a question that comes up rather frequently is "Who is a Jew?" Now that one is REALLY complicated because Jews don't have anything approximating a uniform physical appearance. In fact you can convert to being Jewish so there are Jews in the world who look like pretty much every "host culture" imaginable - European, African, Asian, etc.

"Black" is somewhat more complicated. Generally, yes, what is generally referred to as "Black" implies some level of African influence within, say, the last 500 years or so.

After that you're on your own.

Technology of course has finally caught up with us and you can send a cheek swab into various companies and you can find out such alarming information as the fact that Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University has a set of genes fully 50% traceable back to Europe.

Both his Y-chromosome AND mitochondrial DNA come from Europe, for the love of God.

And yet quite obviously this gentleman is Black.

Not "mixed", not "half-and-half", none of that.

No - he's Black - and there's nothing wrong with that.

I had been somewhat of the impression that the group we call "Black" or "African-American" is just that - a group with some African genes, some European genes, and occasionally some Native American and Asian genes that went through a pretty intense story, and this combination of factors makes them the group they are now - much as the experience of the Hebrews in Egypt contributed towards the kind of people the Jews are now.

However, Obama actually came into the "middle of the story". His ancestors were never African-American slaves. His parents just happened to have a similar mix of genes to the typical African-American who DID have slave ancestors and - voila - much like someone who converts to Judaism, Obama becomes an "African-American".

Now of course as you start to REALLY "dilute", you start to see some rather fascinating stuff. Mrs. Axinar and I stumbled across a photograph of actress Karyn Parsons and her children in Ebony and started doing double, triple, and quadruple takes.

I warned her again, should Mrs. Axinar and I start belting out kids, there could be a "genetic accident". Quite to the contrary of what the Dean seems to think, we could experience something of a repeat of what happened with my aunt when my younger cousin was born and the doctor hands her to my aunt and my aunt says, "Oh my God! It's my mother-in-law!"

Yes, it's genetically possible that Mrs. Axinar and I could produce a flaming red-head and that would be scary enough to cause most people to try to flee the planet.

But Karyn Parsons herself has a White father and a Black mother. And yet, unmistakably, in this culture, Karyn Parsons is Black.

And there's nothing WRONG with that.

However these two kids we may have to take under advisement.

Now, complexion is certainly not the defining factor. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s father is VERY fair and would still unmistakably be considered Black. Tom Joyner is very fair as well with gray eyes and a wicked spooky similarity to one of his distant White ancestors, and yet Joyner too is unmistakably, undeniably, thoroughly Black.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Hard to tell what the children of Karyn Parsons will consider themselves. Perhaps a little like Mariah Carey they will embrace a little ambiguity.

I've always thought the way she handles it is kind of cool. None of this wishy-washy "multi-racial" business.

No - I think she goes more along the lines of Nick Meyers when he explained in the commentary track of Star Trek II - "I'm not going to TELL you why Khan never took off the other glove," and basically leaves it to the imagination of the audience what particular group she might be associated with.

Oh - and it varies from culture to culture. Here Mrs. Axinar is "Black" - in Puerto Rico she's "Cuban". In Malaysia of course she's just "American".

Now factor all those variables in and see if your head doesn't start to spin ...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Return Of Amanda Baggs

Well, it looks like the main blog of Amanda Baggs is back up again, and she even stopped by to make a few comments on mine.

First, she takes umbrage with my impression "I can't recall one video, blog entry, or Usenet posting that would imply anything other than the fact that she is largely in constant motion 24/7/365."

Yes, I would have to say I did not phrase this as well as I should have.

I was making a comment in reply to an article from a presumably small Tennessee newspaper that said, "Amanda Baggs, who is seemingly in a vegetative state, uses a typing device and has gone through college."

I was just really struck by the use of that term "vegetative state".

In fact, Amanda herself says she doesn't think the term "vegetative state" should ever be applied to a mammal.

However, she does say there are long periods of time when she is quite still, including recently when she says she's been flat on her back for a number of weeks recovering from a nasty bug.

However, what I'm wondering about is how Gina Gallutia from The Tullahoma News got the idea that "vegetative state" would apply to Amanda in the first place.

Of course arguably the most famous work of Amanda Baggs is In My Language, a video that features a level of motion that, well, causes some people to even get a bit freaked out.

The other that comes to mind is Happy Dance. This one, at least according to Amanda, was even officially diagnosed as an "inappropriate emotional display".

"Inappropriate", BTW, is a neurotypical euphamism for "You're freaking me the f*ck out."

Another one that comes to mind, and has received, IMHO, an "inappropriate" amount of critical attention :) is How to Boil Water the EASY Way.

Alot of motion.

Not necessarily disturbing, but potentially confusing.

There are 27 videos in all on Amanda's YouTube site.

There are an additional nine on her LiveVideo site including of course Because You Are Not One Of Us that not only includes some VERY energetic, almost frantic motion, but also a certain "nervous energy" in Amanda's own voice that certainly does not bring to mind anything approaching "vegetative state".

Let's not even get into the THOUSANDS of Usenet postings, hundreds of blogs and blog comments, the CNN and British TV appearances, the conference appearances, and probably a few dozen other things I haven't kept up on.

Yes, sometimes my own judgement is not all that accurate, but, as a matter of first impression, you get the distinct idea that Amanda has a level of activity somewhere between that of a sitting United States Senator and William Shatner.

And, just a wild guess but I'm figuring this reporter from Tennessee has not been keeping up with Amanda's battles with plumbing contractors and various other issues since 2002.

And that's not even taking into account Amanda's being literally embroiled in a federal case involving - apparently - Kathleen Seidel and a PIZZA ...


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Separation Of Church And State Supported In The BIBLE???

So I stumbled across this book-on-CD at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County called The Hebrew Bible by Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University. I've been listening to it for the last several days and it has been relatively interesting, although it has been something of a review for me as I scrutinized Judaism pretty heavily for the six years immediately following the Great Blue Ash Tornado of 1999. What I was finding most fascinating is Professor Schiffman's unwillingness to draw conclusions about a great many topics. For instance, although conceding that there is none of the archealogical evidence one would expect associated with the Exodus, it also doesn't make a lick of sense that a group of people would BRAG about having been slaves to make themselves look better. In other words we've still got a mystery on our hands.

However, the real mind-blower came almost at the end. Professor Schiffman was talking in some detail about how the Bible contributed to Western culture, and specifically to the thinking of the Framers of the Declaration and the Constitution. Professor Schiffman seemed to be saying that you couldn't form the notion of inalienable rights without your having picked up the notion from Genesis of God creating man with individual dignity.

But then he let loose with a HUGE thought that I don't think I've ever heard expressed before - "Anyone who observes our civilization can see that even the division of church and state is itself a reflection of the significance of biblical tradition in our society."

Professor Schiffman goes on to say that this concept follows from the Biblical idea of the dignity of the individual and the right of free choice.


That's heavy.

Can anyone point me in the direction of any other thought along these lines?

Is it possible one could actually confront a Thumper with chapter and verse from the BIBLE supporting the separation of church and state???

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Amanda Baggs = "Vegetative State"??

Now, when you have a Google Alert set up for "Amanda Baggs", admittedly you're taking your life in your own hands, but this one cracked me up:

There's a presumably very small "mainstream media" outlet by the name of The Tullahoma News (TN) that has a staff writer by the name of Gina Gallutia who was apparently assigned a story about Education majors at the Motlow State Community being introduced to a 10-year-old with autism as part of their training to be teachers.

Of course as autism is increasingly prevalent DESPITE the removal of mercury preservatives from most vaccines, having some formal autism training for future teachers is not a bad idea at all.

However, I'm thinking Ms. Gallutia needs some autism training herself.

She writes of Temple Grandin, "For instance Temple Grandin has learned to deal with the devastation of living with autism and has progressed through the education system and is now a professor. She describes autism as constantly flipping through a visual file."


Well, sounds like John Best must have gotten to Ms. Gallutia too. And I'm pretty sure she's trying to describe how Temple Grandin speaks of "thinking in pictures" rather than words.

The beaut of this article is this one though - "Or Amanda Baggs, who is seemingly in a vegetative state, uses a typing device and has gone through college."

Now, it's a foregone conclusion that there's a great many descriptions, many of which are not necessarily complimentary, that have been applied to Amanda Baggs, but I'm thinking "vegetative state" is not one of them.

Maybe she's thinking of some of the staring episodes Amanda has described having from time to time?

Other than that, however, I can't recall one video, blog entry, or Usenet posting that would imply anything other than the fact that she is largely in constant motion 24/7/365.

Oh, yes ... unfortunately there's no email address or other obvious way to contact Gina Gallutia, but I'm thinking we need to take HER on a little adventure of "Autism 101 Featuring Amanda Baggs" ... :)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Thanks to The Dean of Cincinnati for bringing this to my attention.

Yes, I saw this live.

And, yes, this is proof that the '70's will never die ... :)


Amanda Baggs (Ballastexistenz) Goes Missing!

Yes, for those of you who have been wondering what happened to Amanda Baggs's "Ballastexistenz" blog on Autistics.org, for the most part, your guess is as good as mine.

HOWEVER, there is an entry in my RSS feed from that site that says the following:

This server is going down for maintenance.
from Ballastexistenz by ballastexistenz

I have already performed a backup in case something goes wrong. Please make your own copies of any comments you might leave in the meantime, because they will not be included in the backup.

Yikes - years upon years, for one thing, of MY witty comments will be lost forever.

The message also does not seem to suggest that the site was going to be down for DAYS.

Could this sudden dissapearance be related to the Kathleen Seidel situation?

Interesting ... very interesting.

Anyone have any info?

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Dry Socket!

So everyone tells me that the one thing to try to avoid in this whole wisdom teeth extraction deal is something called "dry socket".

This apparently is where a blood clot does not properly form or is lost prematurely and raw bone from your jaw is exposed to the Hades-like environment of your mouth and you end up with the mother of all jaw aches.

Well, MY oral surgeon said I would know if I had dry socket if my jaw didn't start to feel better by four days after the operation.


My jaw WAS starting to feel better four days after the operation. A couple of days after that things weren't so good.

Now the right side was healing up just fine. The left however had a gaping hole the size of Meteor Crater, Arizon that was picking up every cotton picking thing I tried to eat. You ought to see what happens to a carrot shred from pre-processed salad when you have a hole in your head that big.

Well, I figured that diluted hydrogen peroxide was just enough to "lift" all the crap down in that hole and at least keep it from getting infected.

HOWEVER, apparently that little maneuver even MORE exposed the nerves and my jaw and the throbbing began.

FORTUNATELY I had a follow-up with the oral surgeon scheduled eight days after my surgery, which was yesterday - Friday.

He took a look and was somewhat puzzled. He told me it was the right one that he had trouble with - the right one he had to leave partially there to spare damaging vital nerves on the right side of my jaw. The left, he gave me the distinct impression, was relatively easy.

I'm guessing it's because the left was partially erupted. From the time I was 15 years old the left one had been poking its ugly head through my gums. Most of that time it had a HUGE flap of gum over it that would get inflamed on a regular basis when junk got stuck under it.

Now it's gone.

Drilled, chiseled, subjected to nuclear explosives, pliered and toss in the biohazardous waste bucket.

Replaced with an REALLY nasty THROBBING hole.

The doctor told me he could help me.

"Oh, thank God ...", I'm thinking.

He takes these little, teeny-tiny pieces of gauze soaked in this brown sh*t and starts shoving them in my socket.


He says within an hour I'll be feeling no pain.

He wasn't kidding.

Whatever it was he shoved in my jaw was potent.

It faintly tasted like certain brands of toothpaste.

However, in much less than an hour, my jaw and the better part of my tongue started to go to sleep.

Oh GREAT - I hadn't had lunch yet.

Like an idiot I went ahead and had lunch.

They say most of the experience in eating is from the smell anyway, right?

Don't bet on it.

Not with a boat load of that stuff in your mouth.

Don't get me wrong though.

When you DO have a nasty case of dry socket, losing your sense of taste is a fair trade.

MORE than a fair trade.

It's sort of like that episode of Star Trek where the doctor had to blind Spock to kill the creatures that had taken over his nervous system.

"An equitable trade, doctor - thank you."

Of course when you are healing up from wisdom teeth extraction you drink alot to help you eat, and, sure enough, one of the gauze pads floated right out of the socket.

I think I lost the other one in the shower last night.

Apparently it did the job though - looks like there is some really disgusting scar tissue forming in the socket - yellow in color.

The damn thing is STILL big enough to snag a corn kernel though.

I've been able to get the bigger stuff out once it gets in though.

HOPEFULLY this healing process will get underway now.

I mean - it was a nagging pain on that left side why I got all this done in the first place ...

Wisdom Teeth Extraction And Dry Socket Update

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Monday, April 7, 2008

A Neurotypical Sacrament: The Business Meeting

There's an interesting piece running on Monster Blog saying that a certain Steven Rogelberg, director professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, discovered that potentially as many as two-thirds of American workers would prefer to have at least one meeting per day.

Oh my GOD.

Say it ain't so!

A journalist named Jared Sandberg last month fingered all sorts of flamingly neurotypical traits as being explanations for business meetings:
  • "They feed our social nature." - Watch it with the "our" there, buddy ...

  • "They’re 'company-sanctioned prattle' sessions -- essentially, an excuse to get together on company time for chit-chat." - "Chit-chat" - and probably NOT about last week's Galactica episode or the Kathleen Seidel situation.

  • "They serve as show of power for the organizer(s)." - fastest way known to man to irritate an Aspergian

  • "They just might include free food." - This is usually a good draw for Aspergians, but generally not at the cost of being lectured for 90 solid minutes about BULLsh*t.

No, although, yes, I think you can pick it apart into pieces, the fact of the matter is that neurotypicals get a raging jones off of meetings. They LOVE them. I have seem them literally risk life and limb through 11" of ice and snow to get to meetings. They slit their own mother's throat to get to a meeeting.

One of the many, many reasons they confuse me ...

Autism-Vaccine Quote Of The Day

From the annals of Amanda Baggs' #1 Fan:

We have a comment from someone using the name "Rachel" who poses the query, "I just have a question - I am being sincere - since you obviously know more about this than me. My son is 5 and is autistic. He was adopted and never recieved ANY immunizations as an infant. Are you saying that he can not have autism? Then what is wrong with him?"

Boy ... now that's a GOOD question, isn't it?


Friday, April 4, 2008

Autism-Vaccine / Neurodiversity War Getting UGLY

Well I knew this was coming.

It looks like one of the sets of parents of an autistic child who are CONVINCED that mercury-derivative vaccine preservatives are responsible for their child's condition are now SUING Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity for having described a suit filed by the autism parents against pharmaceutical companies as "a hydra-headed quest for revenge, for compensation, and for judicial validation of autism causation theories roundly rejected by the greater scientific community."

(4/5/08 Correction: Kathleen Seidel is not herself being sued, but rather is being subpoenaed as part of another case.)

Sounds like a Constitutionally protected opinion to ME.

Although it sounds like what's going on here is that the "Mercury Crowd" is trying to find out if Neurodiversity is being bankrolled by the government and/or the pharmaceutical industry.

On the one hand I think it's absolutely ridiculous the lengths people will go to in an attempt to discredit a BLOG.

On the other hand, maybe it would be for the best to air some of this stuff in open court in the light of day.

If anyone involved took an HONEST look at all the available evidence, one just MIGHT find out that the ACTIVE ingredients of these vaccines might IN SOME CASES contribute to autism symptoms.

Or they may not.

Seems like everyone involved on both sides has such an axe to grind and are so clearly emotionally and cognitively impaired we may never know the truth about what's going on.

Oh, and *I* have been DISSED AGAIN.

In the Kathleen Seidel subpoena in Sykes v. Bayer, down at the bottom of the second page there is a request that Kathleen Seidel produce any communications between Neurodiversity.com and a MASSIVE collection of of Autism and Asperger's related organizations and web sites including Aspies for Freedom, Autistics.org, Ballastexitenz (Amanda Baggs), Hyperlexia, and Neurotypicals Are Weird, but there is not ONE mention of Axinar's.

I'm insulted!

Oh, that's right ... I'm willing to entertain both sides of the story on just about anything so that makes me not even worth being even MENTIONED in a federal case ... :)

Vaccine-Litigant Thuggery: Subpoenaed For Blogging - Popehat
Kathleen Seidel Slapped With Unconstitutional, Illegal, Barred by the Journalist’s Privilege, and Needlessly Invasive Subpoena - I Speak of Dreams
More legal thuggery, this time against Neurodiversity.com - Respectful Insolence (Science Blogs)
You gotta fight for your right to blog - Clotted Cognition
Vaccine lawyer subpoenas Kathleen Seidel - Overlawyered
Blogger Troubles - SLAPP - Left in Alabama
Kathleen Slapped-Blogs Slap Back - Club 166
How to Treat a Bully - One Dad's Opinion
Bloggers As Targets - Legal Schnauzer
Implication by Association? - ASD :: Commentary on Autism, Disability, and the World
What a Web of actional links we can weave - The Nashua Telegraph
Cyber-Slapp - The Wall Street Journal
Blogger Kathleen Seidel Fights Subpoena Seeking Information About Vaccine Litigation - PBS MediaShift Idea Lab

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For those of you here looking for information on Versed, I thought an entire entry should be devoted to this wonderful, wonderful medication.

I have had it three times now - twice for steroid injections in my back and once for the extraction of my lower wisdom teeth - one of which was classified and BILLED as "difficult".

Now I suppose everyone responds to this medication differently. Most that I have talked to or read about report this medication as making you "forget".

Pretty much it's used as a sedative for medical procedures where a full general anesthetic isn't necessary.

Versed doesn't make me forget.

However, Versed does make me not give a damn.

It's wonderful, wonderful stuff.

Prior to when they started giving me Versed for minor procedures they would generally use opiate derivates like morphine or something of the sort. Yes, morphine is a great pain killer. Morphine is also a fair sedative, but it also makes you WAY cloudy.

With Versed you can still respond to verbal commands, have some BASIC understanding about what is going on, but you simply do not give a flying f*ck that someone is poking around your spinal cord with needles and/or pulverizing the bejesus out of your jaw.

The generic name of Versed is "Midazolam", and it looks like the closest thing to an "official" page you're going to find on it is its Wikipedia entry.

According to that, Versed is benzodiazepine derivative, which would make it similar to Valium. It's fast acting and has a quick elimination half-life so it is considered excellent for short, "minor" procedures like dental extractions.

Now, there are some critical of this drug - there's a site called Versed Busters about a couple of people who were given Versed without being warned first.

Uh, yeah - bad idea. I personally think Versed is Da Bomb, but if someone were to drop this in your I.V. without explaining it to you, you very well might be disoriented for a good long while.

Versed does also have one nasty side effect that I personally experienced during the back procedures. It can sometimes cause respiratory depression and respiratory arrest. With the HUGE honking dose they gave me during the second back procedure I had (5 hits I was told), they were having a pretty bad time with me in Recovery. Like I said - Versed pretty much makes you stop giving a damn - about EVERYTHING - like breating for instance.

The nurses kept yelling at me to breathe of course, but, you guessed it - you don't give a damn that the nurses are yelling at you either.

So, yes, you need to be carefully supervised in recovery after they give you this stuff.

During the wisdom tooth extraction yesterday they didn't give me nearly as much and I don't remember having any trouble breathing.

On the other hand they also hit me with nitrous oxide.

That's a SWEET mix, people.

If you have to have any sort "heavy" dental work like wisdom teeth extraction coming up, I HIGHLY recommend the Versed/nitrous cocktail ...

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I was reading through Amanda Baggs' "Obligatory Post-CNN entry" and she was speaking of not being a "one-way inspiration machine".

That of course got me to thinking that, although my usual areas of interest are the unusual and the noteworthy, sometimes the "uninitiated masses" deserve some attention at well.

In other words, although the ONE nut screaming at the top of his lungs DAILY that somehow, as Amanda Baggs herself says it, this "semi-friend" of mine with nothing more than a computer and a video camera is somehow doing irreparable harm to his son, some thought needs to be devoted to the 50 or so OTHER posts that come out, particularly after a CNN appearance saying, "This is the most fascinating video I've ever seen in my life."

Now, it looks like Amanda hasn't had a chance to moderate the comments section of In My Language in a while and so I haven't been able to get this conversation started over there where it rightfully belongs, a thought that hit me after the Wired and the latest CNN wave is that I don't think ANYONE has taken a good shot at evaluating the basic artistic merits of the thing.

Now, yes, sometimes, particularly after learning more of her story, the term "inspiration" starts getting thrown around, but, the thought hit me - inspiration to do what?

There are other much clearer "inspirations" in the world. The one that came to mind as this thought began to form in my massively sleep-deprived brain was Jimmy Doohan. There are many, many people - I'm guessing hundreds and maybe thousands, who were inspired by Jimmy Doohan's portrayal of Scotty to take up careers in engineering.

Yes, think about this - sometimes a COMPLETE figment of someone's imagination can be an inspiration to someone.

But I'm wondering what exactly Amanda Baggs might inspire someone to do.

The usual thought would be that someone has a child along the lines of Sue Rubin who has terrible trouble communicating verbally and, after watching some of Amanda's work, someone might think, "Ahah! Maybe a computer of some sort might help here."

But there are other forms of inspiration that occasionally come to mind.

One - disability or no - there are VERY few - at least as a percentage of the total population - who can say they've produced a work of art of any sort that has moved anyone in a significant way. It's certainly and inpsiration in a way that the technology has finally caught up with us enough that just about anyone has the CAPABILITY of producing something of IMPORT if they have "the gift".

The other area that I think some overlook is that, no matter what your speculation is about Amanda's exact situation, we're clearly talking about someone with VERY severe "Activities of Daily Living" issues, and ANYONE with that level of difficulty who has avoided being probated and kept herself out of an institutionalized setting deserves a F*CKING MEDAL no matter how you slice it and dice it.

From my mother's situation I've seen that institutionalizing ANYONE is inherently dehumanizing and quite honestly ought to be banned. Putting someone down would be FAR more humane than the humiliation and belitting I've seen my mother put through.

But that, of course ... is another topic ...

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The Neurodiversity Wars

At some point after In My Language started making the rounds in the blogosphere, I put up a Google Alert for "Amanda Baggs". Usually after a TV or magazine appearance, there will be a flood of blogs and board messages that say something to the effect, "I just saw the most amazing video."

However, there was one exception - an individual who INSISTED that Amanda wasn't autistic at all and was pretty much faking.

At first I didn't pay any attention to this individual as he was so crass and rude that he frequently gets thrown off of web sites.

However, after a while it eventually started to hit me that, yes, having had a bit of experience myself with hyperfunctioning neurotypicals, the issues he was bringing up WERE in need of some additional explanation.

Sanjay Gupta mentioned this in Finding Amanda and apparently the issue was addressed as far back as February, 2007 by the Managing Editor of CNN Medical News, Tim Langmaid who said, "We spoke with her health care providers and reported what they told us. Also, Amanda shared her medical records with us from various providers diagnosing her as autistic. We are not in the business of diagnosing people's medical conditions. But, as in all of our stories, we conducted our own independent investigation, spoke with expert sources and reached informed conclusions."

Amanda herself addressed the issue in a comment to a recent post on her blog. So yes, I'm thinking at this point is that the reasonable consensus is, yes, these questions are legitimate to ask, but, at least per current usage of the word, Amanda Baggs is a person with autism.

However, I'm discovering the issue goes quite beyond Amanda and her #1 Fan.

As I suspected, other, far less rude individuals are posing similar questions.

A gentleman from New Brunswick, Canada named Harold L. Doherty stumbled across an article about a young man named Alexander Plank, founder of Wrongplanet.net, who is a card-carrying Asperger's case and apparently doesn't want to be "cured".

Mr. Doherty responded in his blog by saying "Alex Plank doesn't speak for my son."

Now, from the Alex Plank article it's not real clear exactly WHY he has been diagnosed with Asperger's, but my guess he may be suffering from "bright kid syndrome". Yes, very often somewhere around that 130 - 140 IQ line, as more and more brain is taken up by extraordinary skills like memory and computers, "ordinary" capabilities like socialization start dropping off.

From what I've read, I think Harold Doherty has a very legitmate right to ask the question whether or not the merely geeky and the severely disabled like his son should be considered to have manifestations of the same disorder.

However, in his piece, Mr. Doherty actually goes on to produce an example of how, if you insist on thinking of Asperger's as a completely distinct disorder, hopelessly intertwined these two conditions are.

"Occasionally he bites himself and he has put his hands through windows and smashed holes in walls."

Uh, dude ... The Old Man passed the bar on the first try. *I* have an internationally recognized blog and, unlike either Amanda OR her #1 Fan, can pick up the telephone and order pizza and/or lobby state and federal legislators - sometimes in the same phone call. We've both pretty successfully mastered this using the restroom bit that seems to cause everyone so much stress. HOWEVER, we have BOTH made fast work of windows and walls in moments of frustration and have found all sorts of other troublesome ways to self-injure. It comes with the M.O.

I'm not entirely sure the Neurodiversity crowd really intends to say that NO treatment should be worked on. As a matter of fact, it's arguable that the staff accoutrements of say, Amanda Baggs and Sue Rubin ARE a form of treatment.

I think what they're saying though is that you HAVE to tone down some of the acrimony here, people.

I know you come by it honestly. Some of you have several very unfortunately neurotypical tendencies and I KNOW your severely autistic kids push your buttons in the same way as neurotypicals who are deliberately trying to make you upset. Believe me - I've noticed this effect in Mrs. Axinar ... :)

But, yes, the chelation business sounds a little scary and the "clicker" training business sounds downright dehumanizing. It sounds like something you would do with a dog or a horse [[ahem]].

Perhaps some sort of truce would be in order on the issue at hand. Despite our often excellent writing skills, even we mega-high functioning types have judgement impairments at times. Yes, we can negotiate traffic and drive all the way to Oprah, but we don't often see an issue completely clearly, and, yes, within the limits of the law, we should ultimately respect the wishes of parents who want to try to aggressively correct their own children's autistic behavior.

But also the parents of autistic children need to respect the rights of autistic and Aspergian adults to choose their own course of care and recognize that sometimes things just don't come out the way we intended ...

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

William Shatner Guest Appearance on ABC's "Fridays" - 1981

This was the guest appearance William Shatner did on ABC's "Fridays" series in 1981.

I laughed SO hard when I saw the skit in the restaurant where he burned his finger I cracked my head against the wall and almost knocked myself out ...

And the skit is split on the Part 1 / 2 break here ... arrrrrrgggh ...


EXTRA Difficult Wisdom Tooth Extraction

So I get to the oral surgeon this morning and he puts my Panorex X-ray up on the board and starts to plot out his strategy for conquering my wisdom teeth.

First he starts thinking pretty much along the lines I have been thinking since scanning and scrutinizing this thing for several hours since it fell into my possesion on Monday - the tops look like an accident waiting to happen.

Yes, he can pull them, and, in fact, it is generally easier to get out the tops than the bottoms because the bone is softer ...


They're definitely up in the sinuses and they're also somewhat intertwined with the adjacent teeth. Now he said if they ever develop cysts themsevles they might need to come out, but at this point he pretty much concurred with me that the dangers of taking them out now outweighed the potential benefits, so we're leaving the tops in for now.

That was a relief.

Interesting that we reached the same opinion.

"Axinar, DDS" ...

Scares the F*CK out of you doesn't it? :)

Now - onto the bottoms.

Well, the left one looked like it was going to be easier. It was mostly errupted - the front half was way above the gum line.

The right one he had some concern with. It was deeper in and partially entangled in one of the major nerves, but he thought he could get them out.

They hooked me up to an IV and also gave me some nitrous. That hit kind of hard right at first but wasn't all that bad.

Then they started giving me hits of Versed.

I LOVE Versed.

If any of you have the good fortune of ever having to take me through my last days in a hospice-type setting, just have them keep bringing six-packs of Versed until I'm not here any more.

He also gave me a sh*tload of local that knocked out my entire jaw and my tongue.

He started on the left lower wisdom tooth first. There was drilling and pulling and all kinds of rude noises, but, quite honestly, with the heavier level of sedation it was pretty much comprable in discomfort and overall "dentist freak-out factor" to having a large filling. I'm guessing a root canal would actually be a bigger deal.

However, off he went to the right lower.

Now by this time I think the Versed had really hit and I don't remember much of it - but I remember him saying he had to leave part of the tooth because it was so entangled in the nerve.

Of course the right one was actually the higher priority because it had the cyst. Let's just hope in that time that it was open that it didn't have time to pick up some freaky organism that lands me on the news or something.

The right one was SUCH a difficult extraction that he charged me extra for it! Something on the order of $175 extra!

Because they didn't have to give me the stuff that makes you stop breathing, recovery was a little better. It was better even than when I had the steroid shots in my back.

However, I was pretty thoroughly disoriented.

They gave Mrs. Axinar all the recovery directions and off we went for home, stopping at the nearby pharmacy to pick up 'scripts for Amoxicillin, Vicodins, and a Prednisone pack.

Now, I tried to replace the gause but couldn't because I kept gagging. Mrs. Axinar said it was time for them to come out anyway.

A couple of hours later she forced me to eat some angel hair pasta so I could take my Vicodin.

That went pretty much okay, but I can't really CHEW at all just yet.

Worst of the pain so far is that when I try to drink water it gets into the empty sockets and ...

How can I describe this?

Ah, yes ... have someone shove a couple of ice picks in both ears simultaneously and you'll get the general picture.

Bleeding has not been terribly severe - much less than I expected in fact.

So overall we're off to a good start. Hopefully we can avoid dry socket and the rarer complications and be back up and running in a few days.

If not, ladies and gentlemen, it's been a privilege blogging with you ...

Badly impacted wisdom tooth extraction (not mine) - YouTube

Wisdom Teeth Extraction And Dry Socket Update - Axinar's

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Autism Caused By Measles Organism?

There's a great article running on CNN about a 13-year-old autistic girl named Michelle Cedillo that seems to be painting the picture, as I have been beginning to suspect, that it is not the MERCURY derivatives in the vaccines, but quite possibly the MEASLES ORGANISM ITSELF that is causing neurological damage in some susceptible individuals.

In fact, I got The Old Man on the phone and it turns out that HE had the measles TWICE as a kid but HIS BROTHER ONLY HAD THE MEASLES ONCE. My uncle never had the "German Measles". The Old Man has a FLAMING set of Asperger's symtoms, but my uncle is almost completely normal.

Very, very interesting ...


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wisdom Teeth SUCK!

The very X-ray you see before you should be all the proof you need that evolution actually happened.

You see - a sudden shift in diet over the last 10,000 years or so has caused the humble wisdom teeth to do THIS sh*t.

The technical term is "impaction".

Now, if you'll notice, The Axinar has relatively STRAIGHT wisdom teeth, but the top two and the bottom right one never erupted at all and the left one is only half way through.

Now, my dentist told me there was a cyst on the lower right that I think I can make out in this X-ray, but there also looks to be something funny looking on the lower left as well (any dentists out there who can read this?).

Anyway - the current plan is they're coming out Thursday.

With nuclear explosives if necessary.

Mrs. Axinar has been reading all the web sites and telling me what a mess this could turn into.

And, yes, I know I put it off too long.

So ... in order to scare myself even more thoroughly ... :)

Anyone here had wisdom teeth out after 40?

Oh ... and the other morbid thought that crossed my mind ...

Suppose I'm killed in a fiery crash on the way to the oral surgeon ...

They won't be able to identify me with dental records because the dental records are WITH ME ... :)

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