Meditational Glow


The Incomparable Jimmie Beeee!!!!

... but just call me Jimmy Be

Meditational Glow

A 19th Century con man named Trump

Here's a freaky bit of history repeating itself, Trump Division:

from a 1958 episode of a Western called "Trackdown" about a con man named Trump who promises to saved the townspeople from "the end of the world!" by building a giant wall!

Eerie, eh!

The scene lasts 4 minutes.

TRUMPLAND, the world's largest gated community.

Meditational Glow

Fun With Tags, a weird poem

non-sequitur touch-donna infinity tao dream:
john lennon ginsberg short-haired harmony,
sculpture park international antiwar iraq protest;
luddite technical art college, heifer spam gibberish.

A weird free-form poem (after much rearranging and editing) I made from tags I found on my LJ main page. I left out one because I didn't know where to work in "rss". Here be the tags in alphabetical order:

antiwar  art  college  donna  dream  gibberish  ginsberg
armony  heifer  international  infinity  iraq  john  lennon
luddite  non-sequitur  protest  rss  sculpture  park
short-haired  spam  tao  technical  touch 

Meditational Glow


Snow is falling in my town right now. Started about 3 to 3½ hours ago as I write this. The first of two storms due here this weekend. A week ago 6 inches of snow fell steadily on my town from mid-afternoon New Year's Day to about sunrise January 2. Then it got very cold, highs barely into the teens most of the week and lows as low as minus-2 on our outdoor/indoor thermometer. Temperature around 3:45 p.m. today was 15. With the second storm will come wamer air from down Hawaii way, but not enough to melt the snow. Early optimism of an extended forecast of 40s by Monday gave way to about 34 tomorrow and 31-33 the next few days and then back to the low 20s by week's end.

Still, I had a decent time got a good workout shoveling the soft, deep powder out from around my car and clearing a path from front porch to car. Finally got to put to use the snow shovel my wife gave me for Christmas four years ago. (First significant, lasting snowfall in the four years we've been here in the Tri-Cities.) Over here in Eastern Washington people don't panic at the first sign of snow falling, like they do in Seattle where we lived for 16 years.

Looks like a half-inch of accumulation so far today.

I was able to navigate the super-cold and the snow all week, and I am ready to move back to Minnesota. I lived there for 34 months from August 1988 to early June 1991. My wife is Minnesota born and raised. So I declared my readiness to move back. Minnesota is my adopted home state, although I haven't been back there since first week of August 2001. That was a vacation trip: We arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on July 31, and the next week was the hottest of the year, with high temperatures and humidity both in the upper 90s. Thank God for air conditioning in the rental car!

As for the weather here, come July 4th we'll be complaining its TOO HOT, because by then daytimes are in the 90s around here and sometimes low 100s. Two years in June we hit 111-113. Autumn couldn't come soon enough for me then.

Meditational Glow

364 days to go . . .

Almost done with twenty seventeen Day One and despite the big hoo-haa to ring it in, nothing remarkable happened here in Deep Red(neck) Southeastern Washington. It was cloudy with snow falling all day. Another 2 inches total probably. That's 6 to 8 total this winter,  I think, more than the total of the last three winters combined, I think.

Nineteen days until His Trumpness takes over the White House and makes America Great again. Or is that grated cheese again? I'll take me some of that and sprinkle it on my baked potatoes and in my chili. I wonder if he will place a giant gold-gilt T above the front door.

In the meantime, the Seattle Seahawks will host the Detroit Lions next weekend in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs. I predict the Seahawks will lose. They've had trouble beating the lousy teams this season. Not that I care. I never cared much for football. I don't know why I pay attention to it on television; I'm like the rubber-neckers who slow down on the freeway when they pass the scene of a car crash. Most don't want to look but they can't help it.

That's about it for now. Happy New Year, 2017 edition.

Meditational Glow

Weirditry writted during my poetic writer's block phase (2015 edition) (I'm getting over it.)

Dreamland Room

How to describe this sudden
          deep relaxation:
My arms and legs feel weak
          and unmovable,
yet full of energy and strength
to walk across the house to the
          Dreamland Room.

Is this what it’s like when
a human soul surrenders
          to the Infinite,
          the Allness of Isness?

Or like the fellow who accepts
that he’s going down for the
last time after a rogue wave
pitched him from his canoe as
he paddled across the lake to meet
friends on the other shore
for a simple camping trip?

— Sunday, March 15, 2015,
while listening to “New Age” music

Meditational Glow

The Law of Karma

I'm rereading Deepak Chopra's book "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," which I first read last spring and summer for a class I took at the local Religious Science church. It's good little book, full of wisdom and insight about succeeding in career and life in general with ease and freedon from attachment to draggy-down conditions and personal conceptions about myself and abilities, and about everyone else in the world.

Homework for each class session included observations about three concepts from that week's chapter reading that stood out. Here is mine from Chapter 3:

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Class 3 worksheet: ‘The Law of Karma”

Three concepts from Chapter 3 that are most meaningful to me

1. Everything is a result of a choice — It’s something I hadn’t given much thought to because, as I think about it now, the vast majority of our choices don’t lead to major consequences. I’ve made several conscious, deliberate choices — starting a trip earlier than usual, stepping off the main path (a literal, not metaphorical path) onto side streets — that led me into highly synchronistic moments and meeting of people that unexpectedly shifted my life’s direction. But I’m also thinking that my inconsequential-to-me choices might trigger synchronistic, life-shifting events for others — like a random line of small talk over the checkout counter at Starbucks when I buy my New York Times might inspire the barista into a new career. I’m riffing here, but “cause and effect” is a mystery to me. I think “choice” is an interconnection among people: one person’s choice of action might trigger a choice of response in another that in turn leads to actions that affect hundreds more.

2.) Spontaneous right action — It makes sense, this concept, that the best choices are those that resonate positively in the mind and are felt in the body. I call the sensations “spiritual warm fuzzies” and I feel them most in or around my heart. This is when I feel most relaxed. When a decision is not the right action or if I feel conflicted about whether a choice is right, I feel it too: in my solar plexus chakra area (that old knot in the stomach feeling). I wrote a poem roughly 10 years ago that started, “The mind / affects the body / affects the mind.” Thoughts manifest in physical sensations (and can affect one’s health) which in turn affect the efficiency of the brain and what a person can focus clearly on — more positive thoughts equal peace of mind and clearer focus. Spontaneous right action takes practice to understand but eventually should become second nature. That is, to find the “spiritual warm fuzzy” moment in every action and decision one makes. I’ve tended in my adult life to sabotage my dreams and ambitions (very low self-esteem) by not following my heart, which led to much conflict and stress. Spontaneous right actions to me means not listening to the naysayers and making my own choices.

3.) Paying karmic debt — This was the most fascinating concept because I didn’t give it much thought. But yes, it makes perfect sense. I liked what Chopra said about “transmuting” my karma (bad karma) into something more positive. I’ve learned through my life in New Thought to have an attitude of finding the good, finding the positive lesson, in a choice that didn’t turn out well. I spent too many years listening to people who dismissed bad stuff as “God’s will” but that’s just an excuse to live passively. And I’m still turning around my life and attitudes from decades of living under the “God’s will” excuse; even though I know that’s wrong, I’m still overcoming a lot of conditioning that my spiritual life is slowly washing out. (Some stains take longer to remove.) One thing I’ve noticed in transmuting karma is I’m suddenly aware of reminders and inspirations for positive living when I’m reading, such as the daily guides and articles in Science of Mind magazine. Even lyrics of “secular” songs — God’s little guidances everywhere, and I’ve transcended the past by becoming more aware of them — and the guidances typically show up en masse right when I need them.

Meditational Glow

Wonderful "spiritual" encouragement song from spring 1972

This is one of my favorite songs from the 1970s:

The visuals are great. The subtle treetop that appears occasionally in the bottom right corner is a very nice touch. As if the tree is speaking to the "Spirit In The Sky" through dance. Speaking of "S.I.T.S.", here's Norman Greenbaum from early 1970, one of those Top 40 songs that grabs me by the collar and immedately yanks me back to senior year of high school:

Amazing still photos in this video. The photography finally convinced me that in 2017 I will finally buy that digital SLR that I put off buying for too long. What can I get from Pentax for $800 that functions just like my old Pentax film cameras, but with a digital card instead of film? When I first looked in 2007 at Glazers in Seattle, Pentax sold a model for $600 that didn't require a special battery and had the right features. I will post specific wanted features and requirements for button size (no teeny-tiny buttons designed for 11-year-old fingers and not barely-grandpa-age adults!) in the near future.

Meditational Glow

Happy New Year from Beatle George

Watching this I am reminded that George was the coolest Beatle. But they were/are great, collectively and individually.

This song is from George's album "Dark Horse" (released autumn 1974).

I am off for a walk in the mid-30s sunshine now. Bye, bye.

Meditational Glow

Poem's to ring out the old and ring in the new

A couple of New Year’s poems I writted over the years:

Untitled 25

Jiffy Lube
across from Qui  t INN
          Motel — Nw Yrz Eve
Oh, the sun shines bright
on my old Seattle home
Life’s too serious
to take seriously

Nw Yrz Eve
Car’s gettin’ fresh lube job
People gonna be gettin’ well lubed tonight
Wheeee!!! Eve’s forbidden fruits & toots & hoots!
25 years since the infamous
Nw Yrs Eve Party
when the host was 4 sheets t’ th’ wind
with 3 hours to go and no one seemed to
give a shit ’cept my friend and me
I don’t like drunks
especially those that know better
which is most of ’em.
(Beneath Qui  t INN sign
sign says “Care Plus Medical Center”)
Gimme a quiet night

Written December 31, 2004, in waiting room of the bigchain oilchange place located about 1193 feet north of Seattle; spontaneous free-form experiment with minimal editing, mainly adding occasional punctuation and capitalization for clarity; I was into my Keroacian period (Kero whack Ian) beatpoetbeeee period of poetry writing and decided to fill a pocket notebook with “first-thought-best-thought” see what happens verse. I ended up with 62 or so and compiled into a “book” called Karma Dharma before the well-worn notebook wore out and the pages disintegrated. (The Nw Yrs Eve Party reference was to the infamous party to which a new friend invited me to ring in 1980. Her alcoholic mom got roaring drunk by midnight and all of my friend’s three siblings ignored mom as if nothing was happening. I remember one brother locked his focus on the television to block out his mom’s behavior. My friend finally lost it (the only one who tried to keep her mom calmed down — without success) and I took her for a walk around the neighborhood because she needed to escape the insanity. I haven’t been to a New Year’s party since.)

All Things New

New Year’s Day:
The hangover get sober
unholiday holiday —
The blank page,
new chapter of lifebook holiday —
The glop of clay, blank canvas,
block of stone, unrecorded tape,
masterwork-in-waiting holiday —
The wide-open-road, wide-open-spaces
seat-of-the-pants, no-itinerary,
mystery adventure holiday.

Last year is suddenly ancient news.
Behold, I make all things new.
What about you?

              — 1-1-2012, evening, West Seattle waterfront

Written as noted at end of poem; more spontaneous verse putting behind a deeply unsettling 2011 of much “spiritual” and “personal growth” turmoil that inspired many introspective poems writted in my quirky “prosetry” style. 2009 and 2010 were years of constipated creativity, severe writers block and mental give-it-up cloggery that left me struggling to create something and putting out almost nothing. Much like the last four years here in the hometown, trying to emerge from more poetic writers block from dulled-mind nothing-to-do-in-this-town drudgeryliving. This time writers block since pretty much end of 2013. Some days I feel like I am in exile here in the place where I grew up. I hope that by resuming LiveJournal posting I will shake loose the crud and that poetry writing will be fun again. And other writing too. I am not a “writer” per se as I never pursued it outside of obligatory news writing during a career working for small-town weekly newspapers. But I do like to have fun with verse.

Oh, Happy New Year everybody reading this. Pass it on.

Meditational Glow

Ono? Oh Yes!

I just want to be healthy
and stay alive and keep my family
going and everything and
keep my friends going and
try to do something so that
this world will be peaceful.
That is the most ambitious and
the most difficult thing,
but I'm there trying to do it.

— attributed to Yoko Ono

I found this quote online while looking up Yoko Ono books and music.

Late in 2015 or early in 2016 I updated my Yoko Ono collection with two books and a CD. One book is "Acorn" (2013), which was called a follow-up to "Grapefruit" her famous conceptual art book of "instructions", published in 1964. The other book is "An Invisible Flower," which Yoko wrote and illustrated in 1952, when she was 19. Her son Sean found it in her files and published it, 2009 or 2011, I think. "An Invisible Flower" is a very short book about smelling a flower, but being unable to find it. The scent carried on the wind over mountains and an ocean but no one could see it, except perhaps a fellow named Smelty John, but then he sneezed. The CD is called "Take Me to the Land of Hell" (2013).

I got more Barne's and Noble gift cards for Christmas so I might use them to add more Yoko books to my collection.

If I find the energy and motivation I'l climb around the stacks in the storage unit and look for my copy of "Grapefruit" (2000 reissue) in the books boxed up since the move from Seattle four years ago.


Feelin’ healthy and feelin’ groovy again

This being the holiday season (still, for 49 more hours, or 73 if you’ve got the 2nd off as New Year’s Day), I thought of writing the obligatory boring family newsletter since I never got around to sending Christmas cards. This being my first post in almost a year. But I’ll spare you. Instead, a health update:

In 2015 I went through a relapse of my cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscle). My Seattle cardiologist discovered a valve leakage four years ago because my weakened heart muscle problem also caused an enlarged heart. Because of the enlargment, the valve doesn’t close completely around the opening. Blood “regurgitates” (to use a medical term) and leaks backwards through my “heartery” and diminishes proper blood flow. It wasn’t a big deal then, but grew progressively worse later. Which meant that by early summer I was zapping my energy. And temperatures in early summer of 100 to 111 over here put more strain on my heart. The weather settled down, but in August 2015, heavy smoke from huge wildfires in northern Washington weer pushed down to where I live, causing more energy-zapping problems. The air-quality wasn't good for healthy people, so for me, forget (wheeze!) about (wheeze!) it. Long story short, I switched to a Richland cardiologist (hometown where I moved back to at end of 2012) because the Seattle doctor had recommended a heart valve replacement to fix my problem. I didn’t want to be traveling almost 500 miles to and from Seattle every two to four weeks for post-op tests and consultations.

The doctor here recommended against the valve job because it could make my condition worse. He seriously recommended a full-on heart transplant. I tried to schedule consultation appointments with University of Washington Medicine about that, but we never could arrange dates and times. I never much cared to follow through with a transplant anyway. On February 10th this year I had an alternative surgery: to install a combination defibrillator/pacemaker, which was successful and very beneficial. I was in and out of the hospital (here in Richland) in about 27 hours, and I was wide awake during the entire surgery, which lasted roughly 90 minutes but seemed like only 30.

I had lost a lot of energy and about 18-22 pounds weight: from about 190 in mid-summer 2015 to 169 at one point in early 2016. Since the surgery I’ve gained back some of the weight: I fluctuate between 181 and 184 pounds now . When I was in the low 170s I was able to drop my waist size from 38 to 36 (for the first time in 30 years). I canstill wear the 36's and my 38's arestill a little baggy without a belt, but not falling-off baggy like a year ago. My energy is back thanks to the pacemaker part of the device. The defibrillator hasn’t zapped me yet, and the goals is for it never to have to. I’m taking longer walks again, yay, and feeling very good afterward.

The whole implant cost roughly $129,000, parts and labor. Insurance paid all but about $432 of it. Another yay.

So, feelin’ healthy and feelin’ groovy again. It's been a happy year on that front; unsettling on others, not just the nutty election results. Going through spiritual and philosophical shifts and reassessments, expecting to fully emerge livelier and more focused in both areas.

Mind Storm

Every Year since mid-June 2000

There, I've posted an original entry here every year since I created this journal in mid-June 2000, back before the word "blog" was en vogue, or maybe even coined. Back then we called it an online diary. I recall thatat the time LiveJournal had an astounding 90,000 or so users, which was a lot, considering at the time it was barely a year old. LiveJournal predates Facebook by a few years and Twitter by a few more. Both have since taken over the world. Facebook user totals— combining personal and commercial accounts — comprise the equivalent of one-seventh of the world's population, although like a lot of social media doesn't accurately reflect actual use by users. This LJ post and my new year's greeting are only posts since March 24, 2014.

For those of you (all three) who have wondered where I am, I've largely ignored social media (I refuse to join facebook, and see Twitter as a waste of time). I checked in occasionally here and read Friends posts and posted the occasional comment.

I will probably post again regularly in early 2016: I want to update you about my heart-condition health, which has gone backwards since June; and there is that unending circus called the 2016 presidential election — whenever another report about Donnie the Mouth comes on I change the channel or turn the page and read something else.

I read tonight that the temperature this week rose above freezing at the North Pole, thanks to a big storm that sucked warm air to the top of the world. But global warming is a lie, a fake, a commie-socialist-plot to destroy the economy of America, so maybe The Washington Post article today made it up, that liberal rag.

Anyway, stand by for more news.

Mind Storm

(no subject)

Happy New Year,

Mind Storm


I spent two hours deleting two weeks' worth of e-mails, most of them unread. The bulk were daily news updates from The New York Times that were out of date, and dozens of unsolicited "job opportunity" messages from Career Builder. The latter started arriving after my wife forwarded a job listing to me. Career Builder took the initiative to sign me up for further updates. I unsubscribed. Reason for the time spent deleting is I didn't feel like checking e-mail for two weeks. I didn't miss it.

What is so stupid about the Career Builder job alerts is not a single one of the close to 100 jobs was relevant to me at all. I think their computers just forward on the latest jobs posted on their site, regardless of category preferences by the recipient. Or in my case, regardless of the fact that I didn't request the solicitations.

Yet another reason I spend less and less time online and checking e-mails.

There is no privacy online, never was, honestly.

In the midst of the e-mail deleting I took an hour-long break (roughly) to write thoughtful replies to comments in Internet Movie Database message boards about various Disney Channel programs. (I am a big Disney Channel fan.) Two of the comments sent to me were intended for other posters in the respective discussion threads. Clearly these two didn't pay attention to which "reply" button thyey were aiming at. People ougth to slow down and be mindful.

That is all. My computer is slow and overstuffed with programs that I don't know how many of are deletable without messing things up. It also is out of date with Windows XP (Microsoft ends support on April 8); it also has too little RAM available to swiftly download today's image-heavy websites. Not enough additional RAM capacity available to upgrade to the latest Windows. I could run the operating system but I wouldn't have enough extra memory to run any other programs. One day we'll have money to buy a new up-to-date PC.

I'm not checking for typos and spelling errors. It's late and I say goodnight. I'll let you sort out the typograpically confusing parts.

Mind Storm

Live Curling in mere moments, as I write this . . .

Live Olympics Curling, Germany vs. Canada, comes on in less than 1 minute on the NBC Sports channel.
(EDITED @ 2:36 a.m. PST: It was not live, but taped highlights of the match, with commercial breaks during the first half of each end so viewers could not see how teams set up their potential scoring opportunities. Oh, Canada won, 11-8. Canada is favored to win its third straight gold medal.)

Curling is the only sport I will voluntarily watch in the Olymics. I'm not much into sports in general and the Olympics even less. Too much spectacle for my taste. And other reasons, perhaps, that I can't think of now and might not explain later if I do think of them.

(EDIT #2: If NBC broadcasts curling matches live this Olympics I hope they don't butcher it like they did in 2006 when they'd show the opening shots of each end (each team gets eight shots) and then go to commercials. (I didn't watch the Winter Olympics in 2010.) I want to watch the strategies of shot selection and rock placement unfold. I enjoyed watching curling on Canadian television when I lived in Seattle. The CBC covered all of the major Canadian tournaments and the world finals each season. Coverage and analysis during matches in thorough: no commercial breaks except between ends. But curling is Canada's national sport that isn't hockey so television coverage isn't treated as an afterthought like it is on American television.)   

Mind Storm

Star Flush!

VOICE #1: "I'm getting Star Flush, for my system."

VOICE #2 (are-you-kidding-me? tone):"Star flush!"

The above drowsy-mind dialog last evening just before my nap after reading Gertude Stein experimental poem. A few more like the above and I've got my own poemweird.


Mind Storm

Seahawks win Super Bowl! Yay! Now, may we put away football?

The only reason I watched and listened to the Super Bowl on Sunday is the Seahawks, the Washington state team, was in it. I don't care much about football and usually ignore the Super Bowl, making agame out of seeing how long Ican go without learning the final score. In 2006, the first time the Seahawks were in it (they lost), I managed to go until noon the next day when I saw the local newpapers in their retail boxes outside a store near the Seattle condo I lived in then.

Last year I inexplicably watched most of the second half of the Super Bowl. I tuned in about 15 minutes before the power was fully restored after that strange blackout in most of the stadium. This past season I watched a lot of BFL and college games on television that I normally would ignore. Boredom, I guess, not knowing what to do with myself,and drawn by the allure of the flickering TV screen and not having the control of the channel selector I did when we lived in Seattle. (Otherwise I'd spend most of my TV time watching Disney Channel.)

I loved football when I was 9 and 10. A few years ago when Idug through ancient color slides of family photos for a project I found pictures of me in my helmet, assuming positions with my football in the living room. Interest in the game wore off by the time I was 11 and I switched to fascination with newspaper printing and started practically living at the bowling alley during summer vacations.

I suppose I only followed the Seahawks this year because they were doing so well and were expected to play in the Super Bowl.

As for Sunday's game, I wasn't surprised it was a blowout, but I thought it would be closer. I was surprised that Denver and the great Peyton Manning muffed the first play of the game and gave up a safety. They fell behind in the first 30 seconds of the game and never tied or took the lead. Ouch! Imagine how numbing pain of Denver if they had lost by one point, knowing that they would have won except for that freak safety on the first play of the game.

If anyone had asked me before kickoff what is the key to victory I would have answered: scoring more points than your opponent. Other than that, clueless about the intricacies of how football is played or much of the terminology, I finally figured out this year what "Red Zone" means.

Spring training for Major League Baseball starts in two weeks. Now there's a game I can follow, sort of. It moves slowly enough that I can keep up, even though Iknow nothing about baseball startegy and the finer points of the action.

I don't have time or interest to go back and edit so apologies if some of my wordsaboverantogether.

Mind Storm

Dead Man: Johnny Depp (who isn't really dead)

On Monday early morning (leftover Sunday latenight) I watched the second half of "Dead Man" the 1996 film starring Johnny Depp. Depp plays William Blake, a quiet, unassuming man who worked in the office of a mining company or a railroad (I forget since I saw the full film five-plus years ago), but was forced to flee through the woods after he was framed for a murder. Blake meets an Indian who once lived in England and fell in love with the writings of the poet William Blake. The two become friends. (Not sure but I think the Indian believed Depp's character was the poet come back to life.)

"Dead Man" plays out like a dream. The film is in black and white, with sparse dialog; scenes appear almost as short vignettes that fade out quickly to a couple seconds of black and then the next scene fades in. All of what I saw took place in wilderness as Depp's Blake tries to stay ahead of the guys who are tracking him.

Watching the second half for the second time, I was surprised how mysteriously mystical it felt, like songs by Bob Dylan from "John Wesley Harding" and "The Basement Tapes." It reminded me of the "Billy the Kid" scenes in "I'm Not There," the film that interpreted six aspects of Dylan as suggested mainly by his songs. That part of "I'm Not There" took place in a small rural town where presumably Billy the Kid moved to live out his life because he apparently was not gunned down by Pat Garrett after all. Many of the townfolk and their lives were modeled on characters in Dylan songs. Like Depp's Blake, Billy was framed for a crime and had to flee.

I wasn't fully "into" "Dead Man" the first time I watched it, but I was taken by it this time. I picked up on the mysticism this time.

For nine or so months now I've contemplated the theme of "bigger" in my spiritual living. Moving beyond the experiences of church on Sunday, even though the "religion" I was in gave me total freedom to explore "God" however I sensed that It (God) spoke to me and inspired me. To me the Infinite is everywhere and the "voice of God" speaks through everyone and everything — whether a puplit preacher at 11:31 a.m. on Sunday or a Johnny Depp movie about an outlaw at 1:34 a.m. on Monday. Contemplate the vastness of the starry night sky far away from city lights and the complexity of teensy dormant leaf buds biding their time to blossom in spring undeterred by the choking car exhausts of Metropolis.

Now, at 4:37 a.m. on Tuesday, I am overdue for bedtime. The Muse of writing and expression through words has moved me and I am finished. Now to the Muse of Dreams and symbolic contemplation. Good night, Irene, goodnight. And goodnight everyone else too.

Love, Peace and Joy to all,
Jimmie Beeee!!!!,

Mind Storm

Rest in peace, Pete Seeger

Folk music and social justice legend Pete Seeger died Monday evening, January 27, at age 94. Click on photo or HERE for obituary.

Mind Storm

The definition of Autism: too broad, or more accurate because of better testing?

A friend this week referred to her "autism tendencies" and how they help her creativity as an artist.

This reminded me of something that's puzzled me for the last year about autism:

Five years ago I heard public service announcements on the radio that said the odds of a child being diagnosed with autism are 1 in 150. Two years ago the number had dropped to 1 in 88. Last year a report aired on the local news that said the number was 1 in 55. Which led me to wonder:

1.) Are more people in general being diagnosed with autism because of better testing of people?

2.) Has the definition broadened so much that more people fall into what's called the "autism spectrum" who wouldn't have been classified as autistic 10 years ago?

If No. 1, is it caused by all the chemical crap still in our air, water and processed foods despite 40-plus years of seriouly tackling pollution in America? Do today's autistics inherit genetic abnormalities caused by unrealized mutations in the bodies of their parents and grandparents because we didn't tackle the pollution problems 50 and 60 years ago?

If No. 2, why did definitions get broader? It's like broader definitions of ADD and ADHD to justify putting more kids on Ritalin and other pills (and enriching the drug companies); maybe some ADD and ADHD kids don't have attention deficit disorders as much as attention boredom, that is, are so intuitive and highly creative that they stifled by the standard classroom setting and get incredibly restless.

It's also like definitions in America of mental health "issues", racial/sexual/workplace discrimination, and definitions of "disability": the latest diagnostic manual for psychological disorders, according to news I read and saw last year when it was issued, seems to classify every real or perceived "problem" as a disorder that needs resolution with meds or time on the psychiatrist's couch.

I am not calling autistics crazy or lazy, as the venomous talk radio host Michael Savage apparently does (or did; he might have changed his tune). Savage claimed on his show a few years ago that 99 percent of autistics are faking it and just need a good smack to get their attention. He took intense flak for his remarks. Degrees of autism range very widely, I know that. I don't know what causes autism, but assume the brain doesn't process perceptions correctly according to whatever function is considered "normal".

This is something for me to learn more about in 2014.

I raised the two questions because over the years I've sensed a tendency in America to turn more and more behaviors into a medical condition to escape responsibility for detrimental behvior. Like the rich teenager a few weeks ago whose attorney said his client shouldn't be severely punished because he suffered from "affluenza" — his parents spoiled him so rotten that he didn't understand right from wrong. I think the case was a DUI that killed people.


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