• Asperger's Syndrome/Autism - A Personal Perspective

    16 feb 2013, 03:51

    Many people are hearing things about Asperger's Syndrome and autism in the media and I want to address some things from a personal perspective. My son is an "aspie"- and we love him dearly and understand his challenges. It hurts to read or hear some of the erroneous information that is in the media.

    One caveat: one cannot assume that a person diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome will have ALL of the most common attributes. For example- my son is very athletic and well-coordinated, which is unusual. It is often said that if you've met one aspie, you've met..... one aspie...:) just like the rest of us... However, they do have many traits that seem to be common challenges.

    Asperger's Syndrome is not necessarily a problem (other than frustration) for anyone other than the individual who has Asperger's.
    It initially presents itself largely as a social dysfunction whereby the individual does not pick up on the social nuances that assist most of us in everyday communication and common social situations and interactions.

    They definitely have a different way of processing information of any form, but especially the spoken word.

    Initially, they do not (easily/accurately) read body language, facial expressions, tone of voice (or even volume) the way we do. They do not readily grasp sarcasm and do not easily "read between the lines" or understand "white lies", kidding, or anything other than what is specifically being said. Words they hear are processed much like written words on a flat page - it is what it is. Period. These things can be taught and learned, but it is helpful to have a predictable and honest sphere of influence, as "aspies" are often very trusting of others.

    Naivete is common and they endure a lot of teasing. But that too, gets better if they remain engaged in society. My 28 year old son is the sweetest guy you'll ever meet, but his friends sometimes say he is "from another planet"...

    Cumulative learning and problem solving is a bit of a problem sometimes. But they follow written instructions to a T - and are very reliable, loyal, and trustworthy.

    They believe what they are being told- most of the time- literally- and must ask questions often to fully understand things. It gets better with age, experience, and wisdom earned the hard way.

    My son got his feelings hurt often when he was a kid by the things he encountered and what people jokingly said to him. Too many awkward moments. But didn't we all? He just seemed a bit sensitive.
    OK- more than a bit.
    But he didn't complain, he just got confused easily and I could sense the frustration he was going through- although I didn't know why- yet.

    And we always said he took things waaaaaaay too literally---- little did we know...

    We had no idea that he had any "condition" that needed treatment, as his grades were A's and B's and he did have friends. But he was quiet and seemed to withdraw rather than engage in an argument or defend himself when he got kidded by his peers - or his merciless, gregarious big brother. There were always a bunch of kids at our house- especially his brother's friends, and he seemed to hang back a lot and mostly observe.

    It was his second year in college that seemed to truly overwhelm him. We got help - and the Asperger's diagnosis. I gotta admit- it was spot on, and the process began to "rewind" a lot of things and assist him with his new challenges.

    It breaks my heart to see him struggle, and I am horrified to think of the many times when he was a child that I used sarcasm or failed to grasp what was going on in his head.

    He has learned MUCH over the years, but he still hits a snag every now and then.

    My son has NEVER told a lie that I know of, and I am not a fool, nor easily deceived. I often found this perplexing, and remained skeptical for years. I know no other person like that...
    He simply doesn't understand why anyone would want to mislead someone. It just doesn't make sense to him.
    How can we deal with anything other than the truth?

    Consequently he has made comments that were not always appreciated by others. Kinda funny sometimes...

    His boss at work once asked him where everyone was and he stated "they are out back smoking pot". He couldn't understand why that didn't go over too well with the folks that got caught and sent home. He was just answering a question and telling the truth...

    You or I might have handled that a bit differently.

    He has a heart of gold and wants to help others but "empathy" is different for him. He has to be told what is needed to understand how to respond. This sometimes places him in awkward situations.

    For example- several years ago he was driving down the road and saw a man sitting on the curb in front of a local church looking down at the ground. The (small storefront in a tiny, mostly vacant shopping center) church was closed- it was a weekday- and something made him think that the man was in some sort of distress. We had recently been discussing how to "read" similar body language.
    He turned the car around, went back- and asked the man what was wrong.

    The shabbily dressed man- about 20 years old and of a different race- told him he needed money for some reason (I forgot). My son and the man went in my son's car to the ATM and my son gave him $400!

    I freaked out when I heard about it and asked him why the heck he gave him $400. (We are po' folks ourselves!)
    His response--- "that was all I had".

    That was about two weeks pay for my son- and he had just gotten paid... He even gave the guy his phone number- and sure enough, he called again a few days later.

    I talked with the guy, arranged a meeting, and told him he had just met the only person on the planet that would have done that and to consider it a gift from God- but to not call again. He did need the money (don't we all), was actually apologetic and thanked us again. I told him to pass it on. I think my son learned an important lesson, but I'm not sure.. if he had it, he'd probably still give it.

    I have many such stories that are kinda funny and kinda sad, but one thing for sure-- I try to keep an eye on my son to protect HIM from other people who would take advantage of his generosity and kindness. He wouldn't hurt a flea, but has suffered at the thoughtless actions of others many times.

    My son has learned enough to get him through most situations when he is in his comfort zone-- where he is with friends or family or someone he has been introduced "properly" to. He can talk your ear off if you hit a subject he is passionate about.
    (I had to explain that sentence to him the first time I said it)

    In many ways he is very mature and responsible- and has always been- but he has not experienced the joys of dating and finding a soul mate. To look at him you would have no idea anything is awry. He is tall, strong, and handsome. But women throw him for a loop! (I can relate...)
    I can only hope and pray that there is a special someone out there just right for him.

    I don't know if all aspies are just like my son, but from what I have read, the professional assistance we have received, and the people I have met online -- I would say that most are.
    He is as close to (resembles) Jesus as anyone I have ever met in my life.
    That's a bit spooky sometimes- but still------ I have to smile when I think of it that way.

    Please try and understand the challenges people face and do not jump to the conclusion that they are somehow not worthy of trust. Society should assist, rather than confront or ridicule these brave individuals who are trying to cope as best as they can.

    By simply Googling "Asperger's Syndrome" you can begin to acquire knowledge on this increasingly pervasive condition.

    For additional thoughts on Asperger's Syndrome, which has been mentioned as a possible link to the Newtown Connecticut tragic shootings of innocent children and their courageous and dedicated teachers, read my Journal entry here at Last.fm -- http://www.last.fm/user/johnTMcNeill/journal/2012/12/21/5p90di_asperger%27s_and_the_newtown,_connecticut_tragedy

  • Asperger's and the Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

    21 dec 2012, 09:16

    First, let me state clearly: People diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome suffer at the hands of others every day. For them to be somehow lumped in with deranged individuals who commit heinous crimes is unconscionable.

    It is often said that Bill Gates has Asperger's . And so does my son.

    Many successfully independent people with Asperger's overcome the inherent challenges by first recognizing and accepting the specific nature of those challenges.

    Fact: People with Asperger's are set up for constant frustration as they seek to understand what others do not struggle with-- body language, facial expressions, tone of voice or vocal inflection-- the social nuances of language that provide clues to the true meaning of spoken words.
    Understanding sarcasm is a real challenge for them, as is "kidding" or saying one thing but really meaning something entirely different.

    To them, spoken words are processed like words on a flat page- literally- without the "coloring" that spoken words usually provide. They must LEARN to read these nuances, painstakingly, over a period of time, with much trial and error. It does not come naturally like with most other people.

    They are indeed capable learners, but the processing of information is very different. They usually excel scholastically when given the time and opportunity to learn at their own pace- which may even be accelerated beyond their age level.

    It is not the condition itself that causes someone to act out in angry or violent ways. It is the constant frustration in dealing with uninformed and thoughtless people. That must be addressed early on. They must learn to be overcomers- as do we all.

    They have to learn early on to ignore thoughtless teasing and hurtful words that discourage participation in conversations. Fact is- they are often extremely intelligent and learn quickly when reading thoughtfully crafted words that were intended to instruct and educate the reader.

    It is likely that they will often feel as if they are the only one who does not understand what is being said, and they must learn to be comfortable asking questions. It is helpful when their sphere of influence - friends, family, teachers, peers, etc. is aware of the nature of these challenges.

    To deny the condition and succumb to the ridicule of those who simply do not understand what is going on will ultimately lead to further withdrawal from any uncomfortable situation- and that becomes a horrible circle of intensity and pain.

    Confusion, disappointment, frustration, alienation, anger, pain - then more of the same.

    That pain will eventually be acted on- possibly with inappropriately displaced anger- unless they are taught how to handle it appropriately. Other social skills such as maintaining eye contact, shaking hands, taking turns when speaking or engaging with others , and understanding personal space boundaries can and should also be taught.

    The term "aspie" is a gentle reminder to them and others that they are engaging the best way they can and to seek mutual understanding on ALL levels of communication. If they are offended they should speak up - and others should respect that - but many "aspies" call themselves "aspies".

    By denying the condition and avoiding the stigma of the term Asperger's, aspie, or any form of mental illness, they just make it much harder to assimilate into society.

    And society should assist, rather than confront or ridicule these brave individuals who are trying to cope as best as they can.

    By simply Googling Asperger's Syndrome you can begin to acquire knowledge on this increasingly pervasive condition.
  • Chuckle of the Week

    18 sep 2012, 14:10

    --a good friend sent me this story and I thought I would pass it along.

    Hi John,
    I thought of you when I read this and thought I should warn YOU....Don't Do It!

    Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest...
    The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie.
    What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized Tazer. The effects of the Tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety...?? WAY TOO COOL!

    Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home...
    I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button.
    ...Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same time, I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. AWESOME!!!

    Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

    Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two AAA batteries, right?

    There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target.

    I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and then thought better of it.
    She is such a sweet cat.
    But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

    So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of
    my nose, directions in one hand, and Tazer in another. The directions said that: a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; and a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

    All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference
    (loaded with two itsy, bitsy AAA batteries); pretty cute really, and thinking to myself, 'no possible way!'
    What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best. I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side so as to say, 'Don't do it stupid,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny lil ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad...

    I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it.

    I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and... HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. WEAPONS
    I'm pretty sure Hulk Hogan ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs!

    The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

    Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a Tazer, one note of caution: There is NO such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor!
    A three second burst would be considered conservative! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape.

    My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace.
    The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was.
    My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching.
    My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.
    I had no control over the drooling.
    Apparently I had crapped in my shorts, but was too numb to know for sure, and my sense of smell was gone.
    I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head, which I believe came from my hair.

    I'm still looking for my testicles and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!

    PS: My wife can't stop laughing about my experience, loved the gift and now regularly threatens me with it.

    Wimmen! ... and here was my reply to my friend:

    --laughed so hard I cried- and cried- and laughed- and cried.

    You know what my response is going to be, don't you? (think for a bit here....)

    scroll down to see it.

    I would have done the cat -----

  • Violent Thoughts & Hurtful Words Lead to Violent Behavior... duh....

    15 sep 2012, 00:34

    Let's get real here.

    I condemn the actions of the people who are responsible for the death of our ambassador and other Americans, and those who are attacking our embassies around the region. There is no justification for these actions. Those responsible should be stopped, period. But just how is that done? We have seen the results of our own wrath being pursued, and it is not pretty, or feasibly attained.

    The fool who produced that video does not in any way represent the United States government or its people. Singularly, he is not a threat to the region or its people. But this video is erroneously perceived as such. Thus, his actions have now become a threat to us all.

    I also believe freedom of speech should not encourage or enable anyone to make incendiary remarks knowing full well -and specifically because- there are thousands of people who are known to be easily incited to violence by those same remarks. Those foolish persons making such remarks should be held accountable for the actions taken in retaliation- especially when it amounts to thousands of U.S. citizens' lives being put at grave peril.

    It is painfully obvious that rights, privileges, and freedoms can have consequences far beyond the individual liberties we hold dear. Yelling "fire" (when there is no fire) in a crowded theater is not an expression of freedom of speech. It is nothing less than anarchy, and thus it is not tolerated.

    This video should have been stopped from distribution for national security reasons. It is no surprise that the inflamed situation in the middle east and Libya got even worse. Indeed, it appears that was the desired effect.

    No doubt we have a very precarious situation facing us in the region. Even our politicians need to reign in their bluster at this time-- "Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive!"
    Rejoice for our increased safety, be glad that his evil actions are stopped, but not in a blatantly offensive manner.

    Throwing gasoline on a fire will not put it out.
    These are the realities of our time, like it or not.
    Al Qaeda remains a current threat.

    It is likely that the attack on the ambassador was organized and possibly Al Qaeda once again taking aim at America- any way it can.
    The incendiary video served as a tool, and many protesters were incited to riot, which served as cover for the main event and added to its effectiveness.
    Here we go again.................

    I know I have opened a can of worms here, but these constant cycling events must stop! A few ignorant people can trigger utter chaos with the stroke of a pen, keyboard, or a careless word. We cannot and should not propose war every time something goes haywire against our interests.

    3000 lives were lost on 911. Many thousands of lives more were lost in seeking vengeance- ours and theirs and innocent lives on both sides.

    Our economy and way of life will never be the same. What have we learned?

    Our response to these events and their cause will tell, and our freedoms are in jeopardy- again.

    We have differing needs that sometimes appear to be in conflict with the needs or the rights of others.

    ---It has been that way since the caveman fought over the best and safest and warmest cave for him and his family......

    "In the mind’s eye conjure up a picture of one of your primitive ancestors of cave-dwelling times — a short, misshapen, filthy, snarling hulk of a man standing, legs spread, club upraised, breathing hate and animosity as he looks fiercely just ahead. Such a picture hardly depicts the divine dignity of man.

    ...But allow us to enlarge the picture. In front of this animated human crouches a saber-toothed tiger. Behind him, a woman and two children. Immediately you recognize that such a picture stands for the beginnings of much that is fine and noble in the human race, but the man is the same in both pictures. Only, in the second sketch you are favored with a widened horizon.

    ...You therein discern the motivation of this evolving mortal. His attitude becomes praiseworthy because you understand him. If you could only fathom the motives of your associates, how much better you would understand them.

    ...If you could only know your fellows, you would eventually fall in love with them."

    --the above quote is from THE URANTIA BOOK...... a source I do not fully agree with, nor have I even researched it in its entirety. But I do like this particular quote and felt it appropriate to include it here. JTMc

    that adds to the peace and prosperity of us all---- not just yourself.

    And we might all begin to lead safer, healthier, and more peaceful lives.
  • Tolerance?

    25 jun 2012, 15:36

    I received an interesting question about Texans.

    "Hello John, thanks for your kind words. There seems to be much to discover in your library. I don't want to sound rude but are open minded guys like you usually hanging out in Texas? ;)"

    hmmm... Since that came from someone who lives in Germany, I imagine he knows all too well about the stereotypes we sometimes have to live with.

    My reply:
    "Texas is like any place else- but we especially love and appreciate people with the confidence and courage to stand up for what they believe. We may disagree- but we honor people's right to express their OWN opinion. (in a civil manner) Makes for an interesting hotbed of ideas. :)
    And yes- there are a lot of rednecks, too!"

    A few hours later I had my first test of "open-mindedness" for the day.
    I had a friend send me this track: http://www.last.fm/music/Goddamn+Electric+Bill/_/Country+Jam

    I loved it!- and all of the artist's other tracks I could listen to.
    But the name is highly offensive to me, and many others, so I will not recommend it. I can think of no defensible reason to offend millions of people with the casual usage of something they consider sacred. The artist's chosen name - something that must be seen and read (sometimes even pronounced) when referencing the music , is-- in my opinion-- blatantly and callously offensive.

    An artist has every right to call himself anything he wishes. Consequently, I also have the right to be disappointed, offended, and not willing to recommend or purchase the music. I certainly do buy and support some musicians whose lifestyle choices are drastically different from my own.

    Hang on-- I'm just getting started here...

    Hundreds of young people from all over the world drop by my page to dig into my playlists and library and ponder my rather lengthy "About Me" section. I do not wish to insult them and purposely discourage them from returning.

    In my opinion, GDEB's beautiful compositions have the capacity to bring people together in enjoyment.
    What a disappointment that the name reflects such an insensitivity to the cultural feelings of his audience. I would be similarly offended if he defamed ANY particular religion, race, or anyone --period- - just for the shock or notoriety. Could he possibly be that oblivious?

    *** How's that for open-minded? Depends on how you look at it , I guess....

    ...Back to the question of open-minded or tolerant Texans.
    I cannot speak for all Texans, nor would I want to.
    Some of them might kick my ass... heehee

    Here is my own personal opinion on tolerance: finally......

    Tolerance does not necessarily imply approval.
    But to encourage, support, and recommend something that you are opposed to is nothing more than shallow hypocrisy, and demonstrates a lack of integrity.

    Frankly, I don't like being around people who are thoroughly convinced that they have all the answers -- that theirs is the only way, and that everyone else is an idiot.
    I sure hope I don't give that impression of myself. That would greatly sadden me.

    I make my decisions based on a number of things that are important to me. It defines who I am and what I am willing to stand for (defend).

    There is comfort in the approval of others.
    I am encouraged when I receive it.
    But I realize that we could BOTH still be wrong.

    I make mistakes, lots of them - (gasp!)
    --and even change my mind occasionally.

    PLEASE have the courage, the compassion, and the patience to correct me if you believe that I am wrong.

    Speak up people!
    Or at least engage in issues that are important to you.
    I will NOT back down easily if I believe I am right.
    Neither should you.


    I will listen to you.
    I will do my best to understand why you feel the way you do, even if I disagree..

    I am not close-minded except on a very few personal issues.
    I will try not to infer that my opinions are a judgement of you if you have chosen differently.
    I truly believe in free will to choose our own paths in life.

    I am set on my course.
    I hope you have found yours.

    That's a lot of I's -- but this is my opinion and mine alone. I am speaking for no one else.

    I will never intentionally harm you, or libel you or destroy your peace and privacy.
    Neither will I condone or approve of every desire you have.

    I believe that any "rights" should never trample the peace, property, privacy, or lifestyles of others, provided that they are playing by the same rules...
    No person has a right to "own" another. Period.

    I accept that there may be disagreement as to what rights we are all afforded.

    I will protect my beliefs, my rights, and those of the innocent or defenseless anyway I can.
    I will try not to flaunt my rights if it offends you to see them in action,
    ...but neither will I set them aside.

    You have the same opportunity as I do to express yourself and your beliefs.
    At least in America.
    For now.
    -- Until they are ALL trampled because of a few nay-sayers who demand that everyone STOP worshiping and praying and honoring their traditions and just "play ball". How sad.

    It is foolish to demand tolerance.

    It comes naturally with earned respect.
    You earn it by showing tolerance for the very people you believe to be intolerant.
    You can't keep pushing people's "HOT Button" and expect them to submit or cower in fear, or allow their opinions to be suppressed.

    I know...it works both ways... Sooner or later the oppressed will rise up, as they should.

    But I sincerely believe we can still co-exist in a peaceful manner.

    why can't we all just get along...?

    I suggest that we all not demand or even seek approval without first seeking understanding.

    Mutual understanding will lead to tolerance (at least eventually) and a measure of acceptable harmony. .

    The fact that I disagree does not mean that I don't respect you.
    I may think you are a dimwit, but hey----you are entitled to be wrong- just like the rest of us. heehee

    I respect your right to be who you are and to live you own life.

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
    It's OUR world, - all of us in here together - and we have MUCH in common.

    Let's try and focus on that..
  • TCU Drug Bust

    16 feb 2012, 16:02

    Re: Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas-

    A few days back they were the darling of the nation in many ways. Academics, a sterling education, athletics, Christian principles. Any parent would be thrilled to have their child attend there during the critical formative young adult years.

    Why is it that the media just loves to watch anyone or any institution twist in the wind when something goes awry? It takes years- decades- sometimes even centuries to build up a solid reputation. And it all comes crashing down in days when a few wayward miscreants wander too far off the reservation...

    In reading the news - and watching it unfold on television, there is one thing that I must add to the rush to judgment about TCU, their students, and the culture that seems to contribute to this type of behavior.

    TCU is certainly not alone in this regard. We all know that drugs can be found (bought, sold, and used) on any university campus in the country. Not to mention high schools.

    But where else might such things occur?

    Just to make certain that we are on a level playing field, I might suggest that all of the Fort Worth Police Department (and others), all employees of the Star Telegram and other news reporting entities, employees of all state and national agencies-- even the White House staffers -- at any level -- take the same "surprise" drug tests that were administered to the TCU football team. Oh- and all the - employees of TCU, administrators and their staff included.

    You and I know that the results would not be pretty... If you think otherwise, you are a diehard idealist.

    Ok- so some of these "kids" may be into stuff that they have no business messing with. But SOMEHOW most of them were probably also taking a heavy course load from a respected university, working part-time jobs or were heavily involved in sports or other worthwhile activities - up until now.

    NOW they will be castigated and thrown aside like a dead pet that has started stinking. All because of drugs?

    Did we not just see what drugs did for (and to) Whitney Houston- and many others who took that perilous path - yet have been immortalized for the talents they shared with the world?

    Steve Jobs admitted taking acid, for Pete's sake! And musicians and entertainers laugh all the way to the bank--- and rehab-- about their own drug and alcohol abuse. Some are now contrite, and try to discourage others from making the same mistakes..... but most just go on about their business.

    The list is long-- and our media often shows illegal drug use in a positive way- especially notable in main-stream and popular movies and even television shows - not to mention MOST "popular" music.

    Is there a mixed message here? You bet there is! But the hidden message that many young people get is this:

    -do what you think you have to do to get through the crap so you can do what REALLY matters.

    Just don't get caught.

    MANY famous and "successful" people --and even our sitting and two former Presidents have admitted to unlawful drug partaking at one time or another.
    These kids are just trying to get by- and are making the wrong choices- but they are not necessarily evil little vermin who must be stopped and incarcerated for their mistakes!

    I wonder how many "law-abiding" citizens took Xanax or Prozac or whatever they could afford that their doctor prescribed - so they could get through THEIR day? Doesn't make it right- but how many of them were given a random drug test and shown the door immediately after failing it?

    I don't condone taking ANY drugs that aren't necessary- although I imbibed a bit myself when I was in college (UT- back in the early 70s) - but I also don't condone ripping people's dreams apart just because they made a mistake and took the wrong drug! I realize that there is a difference in taking -- and selling-- drugs. But not much...

    Have you watched "Weeds" lately on Showtime? Do you want me to list others?

    ----(One aside note here-- when I was a paid staffer of a member of the Texas Legislature back in the 70's it was easy to buy marijuana- and other illegal drugs- in the restrooms right there in the state capitol - from other staffers. It was just too much for me to even consider-- I didn't want to be on the front page of every newspaper in Texas or bring down my employer with me if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those "dealers" went on to become quite successful in their later careers - and I don't mean by dealing drugs.)

    And I learned to find a different restroom.

    I'm not at all certain that things have changed much since then, despite billions of dollars being spent on the "drug war". And THOUSNDS of users and dealers have been incarcerated. Once you enter that side of the legal system, it is extremely difficult to assimilate back into society. So many wasted lives...

    I'm not sure who was getting hurt at TCU - it seems like many of the football players were doing a pretty good job of what they were tasked with- and the students were hopefully in the process of becoming better citizens- for the future - but now they will sit in jail and spend thousands of dollars in the HOPE that they just MIGHT get back to where they were- before the big bust came down. They will never be the same. Never.

    Will TCU?

    But the Fort Worth Police Department feels that they have done us all a big service by going "undercover" and arresting a handful of student drug dealers. Heck- Fort Worth and TCU is now (in)FAMOUS-- all over the national and international news media!

    And we THINK and HOPE that the youths of our nation will see what harm might come to them IF they get caught - but it just ain't working.

    There has GOT to be a better way...


    And the march just goes on.....
  • Hospitals have miles of shiny tile floors - Different strokes for different folks

    11 dec 2011, 12:47


    ahhhh... what I could do with a fresh pair of socks on this floor.....

    I think they were ready for me to leave...

    What? Cream of Wheat again???????




    GREETINGS from a big dang hospital in Arlington:


    Not exactly an Easy Rider outing with the boys... but when I had a stroke recently I was so elated just to be alive and kicking that I went for a little walk down the hall and enjoyed it- so I just kept on walking. I got out of range for the portable heart monitor and the nurses got (a little bit ) worried. What's the big deal? You'd think they had never seen a flatline before....

    WELLLLL --- so I kinda walked all over the place- I now know where the cafeteria, laundry, temporary morgue, operating suite, and the emergency room is (I don't remember that entrance)... hmmm

    ....and the chapel, volunteer room, main entrance. Ok- maybe all of the first floor. Long halls are neat- don't have that much smooth floor around my neighborhood.

    Alright already-- so me and Forest Gump took a road trip!!...whatever....

    Anyway... they sent my poor nurse out looking for me when I stayed a bit longer than usual- and out of range.

    I have now been scolded and told to stay in SIGHT. (ha!-- no way))

    I always had a problem with conformity. ALWAYS been out of the box...

    Anyhoo- I'm back. Phbllltttt!

    It's gonna be a LOOONG day.......

    Got Juicy Fruit?
  • One small step for man... one giant leap for mankind...

    11 jul 2011, 03:29



    ...and that has made all the difference.....
  • DEEJAY the ANGEL...

    16 jun 2011, 21:09

    http://www.last.fm/music/The%20Byrds/_/Turn!%20Turn!%20Turn!%20(To%20Everything%20There%20Is%20A%20Season)?ac=the Byrds

    God places people in our paths for a reason.


    I am going to take several minutes to tell you a story- a true story- that was just revealed to me in it fullest extent.

    When I was in college in Austin I managed 9 apartment complexes (small, mostly) which got me free rent and a few other benefits- plus the hours were very flexible- which I needed.

    There was a girl in the complex I lived in (The Pepper Tree) named Deejay Higgs (Deborah Jean). She was very sweet- and we talked often in the parking lot, balcony outside our apartments and even a couple of times in her apartment- I think- I don't really remember.

    We never had a date- never embraced- never had that type of relationship. I was a bit wild back then- and she could see what was going on in my life. And she also saw something in me- I guess.

    One day before she moved out and moved on- I don't really remember the circumstances other than I remember being very surprised- she walked up to me and gave me a brand new New American Standard Bible. I am now holding it in my hands...

    I don't really remember talking much about God or whatever with her- I just don't remember- too long ago. But inside ( I can barely make out the faded ink) she wrote "I hope He will bring you joy in His word. In Jesus' Love- Deejay"

    I had been raised Baptist and had several Bibles- but they were seldom used and were probably in the back of the bookshelf behind my school textbooks. I have no idea why she decided to give me that Bible- it probably cost her more than either of us could afford at the time.

    I thanked her, I'm sure- and we parted ways somewhere back then and I never saw her again.

    We now have several really nice Bibles- some that my parents gave us- leather bound and fancy- several different versions, including a giant family Bible.

    But for some reason, my wife and I used that Bible when we were actively involved in the church back in San Antonio. We were "home ministers" for Cornerstone Church- a growing church- now John Hagee's mega-church with over 20,000 members. We underlined verses, highlighted verses, made notes in the back and front cover and anywhere there was room to write. We literally wore it out- but we still refer to it mostly when we want to look something up. (Too many notes in THAT one)

    It is falling apart- the cover hangs by a few threads, and the back cover isn't much better. It is faded, and even torn in some places.

    I remember Deejay- mostly because I have often seen that inscription she so lovingly placed there 5-30-74. She wrote in the date, and signed her name. Nice handwriting!.....

    The other day I went to look up Ecclesiastes - wasn't sure how to spell it- and marveled at how that wore-out Bible was still being used. The fancy ones seldom are....And I once again saw that inscription- It is faded and actually almost unreadable because of the tear- but I have read it many times so I know what it says and can make it out okay.

    I have often thought about that sweet little lady who cared enough about me to buy me a Bible and just hand it to me- nothing expected in return. And many times over the years I thought-- "I should see if I can locate Deejay and thank her for that selfless act of kindness."

    But I never did. Like most things- I just put it off and never got around to it.

    Well- - after seeing that inscription again and reading it while listening to Amazing Grace- I thought I would Google her name.

    Here is what I found:

    Obituary & Guest Book Preview for Deborah Jean "DJ" (Higgs) Francis

    Deborah Jean "DJ" (Higgs) Francis Obituary(Archived)

    Published in Austin American-Statesman on October 7, 2006

    First 25 of 589 words: Deborah Jean (D.J.) Higgs Francis Deborah Jean (D.J.) Higgs Francis, 54, died on October 4, 2006, after a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer. She was...

    View Full Obituary & Guest Book for Deborah Francis
    Deborah Francis Guest Book | View 2 of 10 Entries:

    "Hi.Im Dee Jay,s little brother and i think you all for such great thing,s that were said about Dee Jay. She was one of a kind.A real Angel she will always be. DeeJay I can say would tell us all she..." - david higgs
    "I never met D.J., but when she left us, I cried. For months, Sheila had forwarded D.J.'s email updates to me, and I marveled at her courage; her optimism in the midst of hideous physical agonies. I..." - Adrian Walker


    I am sitting here crying. I never told Deejay thank you. But her gift gave me and my family the spiritual guidance we needed for 37 years........

    Sometimes you just have to do what you feel God wants you to do- without question. Deejay did- I have no idea why she chose me. But I think God knows- don't you?

    Don't wait- do what you are called to do. Step out in faith. HE will make sure that the message is received the way HE intended it to be.

    In Jesus' Love ,



    15 jun 2011, 03:24



    I sense a sadness... so oppressive.

    Despite the many joys that unfold before us
    some prevail with attitudes of despair and pain,
    recognizing only the negative things that surround us all.

    Granted- there is much pain and suffering out there.
    Too much, indeed.

    I see it, I hear it, I feel it.
    There is no denying its existence.
    Nor would I try to do so.

    Since the beginning of time man has suffered
    the indignities of occurrences
    far beyond his control.

    Catastrophic events rip the foundation of trust
    and destroy our peace of mind.

    As much as it hurts
    - that is how it should be.

    That angst comes from within us.
    The recognition that we are NOT in control.

    Of events.

    Oh, we try!
    How we do TRY!

    But we DO control our perception
    and our reaction to what occurs.

    Education and scientific exploration.
    Deliberate dissection of every piece of information ever gathered.
    Compilation of theories and expert opinions
    - often assumed to be fact,
    until proven otherwise...

    The Tower of Babel
    was thought
    to be man's greatest effort
    to achieve parity with the stars
    and uncover the truth that lay beyond.

    Years of painstaking work
    by so many brilliant theorists
    and thousands of dedicated workers
    suffering under the lash, no doubt.

    Unified and deliberate
    ---and such progress!

    -----Destroyed in an instant.
    Man could no longer communicate!

    A calamity of such enormous magnitude.
    Such a waste of human effort.
    An humbling experience.

    - sometimes it tastes so bitter.

    Our best efforts produce
    and more information.

    But how might it be interpreted?
    How might it be put to use?

    There is always the anomaly
    - the unexplained bit of information
    that just will not fit into our best theories.

    So we just toss it aside
    and move on
    as if we had enough detail
    to finish the puzzle
    that lies before us.

    is one of those things
    that cannot be boxed
    into a clear definition of reality.

    Why do we anticipate
    - expect
    - cower in fear
    -- from the unknown?

    Must we assume the worst?
    Is it wise to always prepare for the worst
    as if it were guaranteed to occur?

    If so
    - what have we gained?

    The fear lingers,
    but it is masked
    by a false sense of protection.

    It is the faith
    the understanding
    that there is much beyond us
    that sustains me.

    Promises were spoken long ago
    that explain the futility
    of war
    and greed
    and avarice
    and deceit
    --even the storing of things
    in anticipation of what is surely to come.

    Because what IS surely to come
    in THIS life
    will be more of the same
    --the dog chasing its tail
    - what happens when he catches it?

    Only in the end will it be fully revealed.

    There is a peace beyond this world
    and it is to be shared...

    by all
    who recognize
    and submit to GOD
    in humility

    --and embrace the promise
    as the only true reality.

    I will not expedite the end.
    Nor cower in fear.
    Nor prepare the deep shelters.

    It will come like a thief in the night.

    The only preparation
    that WILL offer peace
    is that of the soul.

    I will embrace the destiny of life
    as it unfolds
    and enjoy what is to be enjoyed.

    Lingering but for the moment
    to give thanks
    and recognize the blessings.

    not just to receive.

    There is enough.
    For the while...

    Seize THIS day
    and live it as if
    what YOU do makes a difference.

    It does.

    JTMc 06-10-2011


    watch the video-- incredible!!!!!