Friday, 29 January 2010

Old and young people

It is often said that young people don't respect old people, and many of them don't, but what about old people who don't respect young people?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Oi, Masses, Try This Opium.....

Karl Marx called religion the opium of the masses.... Twenty years ago he would have called TV the religion of the masses.... if he had been around in 2010... he would have called celebrity the opium of the masses....

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Which is the greater offence?

The media this week has discussed revelations about the late MP, and former Northern Ireland Secretary, Mo Mowlam. The crux of the story is that Mowlam misled the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, about her brain tumour, which was diagnosed in 1996. Mowlam seemingly told Blair and others that the tumour was benign, when in fact it was malignant.

So what if Mowlam did lie? It wouldn't be a first for a politician, and she certainly won't be the last politician to be, euphemistically, "Economical with the truth".

Together, Blair and Mowlam played a blinder in April 1998 in Northern Ireland. They were a briliant double act on that occasion. Could Blair have pulled off that accord alone? Could Mowlam have? We shall never know, but together they made it work better together than apart. Blair's record on the world stage after 9/11 was less illustrious. It is a pity he couldn't have used his undoubted huge charm, to try to have prevented the Iraq war. Unlike her former boss, at least Mowlam didn't mislead Parliament into voting for an illegal, pointless and unwinnable war, which sent thousands of young men to their graves

Sunday, 17 January 2010

What Annoys Me

If you ever say to me that I am turning into Victor Meldrew, I take it as a compliment. He was a hero of mine. Victor moaned about the things in life that pissed us off, but because we are British, we aren't allowed or supposed to rant or moan about them.

So here are a list of things which in life, annoy me. I am going to let it all hang out....

1) Celebrities under 25 publishing their life stories. Charlotte Church and Wayne Rooney are two who come to mind. I don't dispute that they are both talented, but still..... Celebrites shouldn't be allowed to write their life stories until they are 35 years old.

2) Radio DJ's talking over songs. The show is about music, not them.

3) Religious fanatics. Everybody should have a right to believe in, or follow what religion they wish. Similarly, no-one has a right to try to persuade non-believers or Atheists into going to Church or following religions. What business have they doing that?

4) Bald men wearing ponytails. If you are losing your hair, you are losing hair. Why draw attention to it?

5) Crap music played when you are waiting on the phone.

6) People who walk into you.

7) Queues.

8) Traffic Jams.

9) People who go on about the "Good old days".

10) People who say your teen years or school years are the happiest of your life. We are all different. We all have different ideas, different views and different experiences in life. Some people loved their teen years or schooldays, others were indifferent to them, and some absolutely hated them. So how are they the happiest times of everybody's life?

11) People who believe everything they read in the newspapers. They have their own biases, their own spins on the news, their own distortions and exaggeration. If someone ever said to me "It must be true, I read it in the Sun", I would seriously question their intelligence levels.

12) People who call for all breeds of dogs to be banned when it is idiots who should be banned from owning them. When you get idiots and numpties, bringing dogs up, they will be nasty or vicious. Never mind banning certain breeds of dogs, what about banning certain types of people from owning them?

13) Greed.

14) Inconsistency.

15) People trying to ban books or films they have never seen or read. How can you know? and also, if you don't like it, don't listen or watch. GET A LIFE, or at least, come to an opinion once you have read or seen it.

16) Bandwagon jumpers. The "Sachsgate" incident in October 2008 springs to mind. Yes, what Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand did wasn't funny, it wasn't clever and it wasn't witty. They both deserved to be punished. However, what nauseated me about the business was that originally, two people complained about it. Then, the Wail on Sunday, who hate the BBC, like the Sun does, (Probably because they are an independent station and report the news in an unbiased, factual way), published it, and 30,000 people complained. Most of those people would never have listened to such a show if it wasn't for the Wail alerting them to it. Some of them probably didn't even see or hear what Brand and Ross said. They complained because it was something for them to complain about, and it provided a reason for them to have a go at the BBC.

17) Christmas songs being played in shops in November.

18) People putting their Christmas decorations up in November.

19) Hypocrisy.

20) People who do wrong, get caught, and try to play the victim afterwards. You did what you did. You were caught, you deserve to get punished.

21) Mistakes in books and newspapers. When dates are wrong, names are wrong, facts are wrong or when they frankly don't make any sense. Why don't they check beforehand? I presume they are being paid a lot of money to write what they do, so justify that wage. I seriously wonder how a lot of literature is classified as being suitable by a publisher.

22) The misappropriation of words. Tragic, eccentric and genius are among them. When the Queen Mother died in her sleep on Saturday 30th March, 2002, at the age of 101, at Royal Lodge, one or two newspapers called it a tragic death. Sad for her family and friends undoubtedly, but tragic? I hardly think so. For me, tragic is somebody who dies in their 20's, 30's or 40's, or at least in most cases it is.

Seeing someone with Alzheimer's Disease deteriorate is tragic. Someone being struck down with a terrible illness or dying in an accident, particularly when young, is tragic. Someone having a miserable life in which nothing goes right for them is tragic. What happened in Thailand on Sunday 26th December 2004, with the Tsnuami, was tragic. Dunblane was tragic. 9/11 was tragic. The rape and murder of a child is tragic. Old people dying alone, uncared about, is tragic. The death of a 101-year-old in her sleep, in a palace, after living a life of unimaginable luxury, surrounded by her family, was not tragic. If that is tragedy, lets have more tragedy in the world.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Medals for what?

Earlier this week, a man named Roger Day was fined and given community service for appearing at the cenotaph last November, wearing 17 fake war medals. Pinned to his lapel was the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross - in addition to campaign medals stretching from the Second World War to the first Gulf conflict. He also wore SAS insignia including a beret. In truth, Day's only military service was when he served 18 months with a Junior Leaders Regiment - a former Army preparation scheme for youngsters - in the 1960's.

According to reports, Day's motive was to seduce a woman 24 years his junior. In punishment, Day was fined 60 hours of community service, had his 17 medals confiscated and was told to pay £40 court costs. I don't read them anymore, but they missed their chance for me. A tabloid newspaper should have had a headline screaming, "YOU A WAR HERO: THAT'LL BE THE DAY!".

Seriously, Day deserved to be punished because what he did was an insult to men who genuinely have obtained their medals in wars, but why doesn't anyone prosecute Prince Charles and Prince Philip when they shamelessly appear at the Cenotaph year in year out, wearing their array of medals? It certainly makes me wonder what they did to earn them!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Learning BY past experiences

In life, a lot of people get it into their heads that they are bad or inferior at a subject or skill. Be it Maths, or English or whatever. It is a three-way street. It depends on how YOU learn it, how motivated YOU are and on how OTHERS teach the subject.

However, the school system, in the UK at least, offers a bundled-up, one size fits all, approach which tries to teach all pupils the same way, and it assumes all pupils think the same and are the same.... but they are all different. That applies to even NT's. We are people. We are not clones or Sheep. A lot also depends on how talented the teacher is.

The belief, that one is useless at a subject, however, can stick with a person for the rest of their life, due to early experiences in their life.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The past - present and future

Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow is out of sight... on that basis, I live very much in the present.....

Friday, 8 January 2010

Daft thought when watching celebrity mastermind

Whilst watching Celebrity Mastermind last night I had a daft thought. One of the guests was former Home Secretary and Conservative leader Michael Howard, who is standing down at the next General Election. It would have been funny if John Humphreys, the presenter, had asked, "Who was it, who asked you the same question 14 times and yet you didn't answer once?" and to that, Howard had replied "Pass".

Baffled??? Watch this link below, particularly from 4 minutes onwards, and you might understand the daft thought....

I signed a document on Monday and wrote 2009, and I wrote it on something else today, even though we have been in 2010 almost a week. Every new year, during the first few days, I always seem to write the year of the one that has just passed!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Generosity with some drugs - Stinginess with others

I have noticed that it is very easy to obtain anti-depressants from your local GP, if you want them. I have never done this, being generally a very honest person, but I would imagine that if I walked into a GP's room, saying that I was feeling low, unmotivated, couldn't be bothered to get out of bed on a morning or to get washed or to shave, or to eat, I would readily be offered, or even given, a prescription for anti-depressants.

Yet, if I went to the same GP complaining of concentration span problems, or attention difficulties, and asked for Adderall, or Ritalin, to try out, I would be refused. I wonder why. I am puzzled why they give anti-depressants out so easily and readily, yet refuse drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin, or are extremely reluctant to prescribe them to someone.

Concentration span problems, or Attention difficulties can be just as devastating as depression. Both can hinder the sufferers life, yet it doesn't appear that way in the medical professions eyes. Are they afraid that someone with attention span problems would take an overdose? If someone is severely depressed, they are more likely, I would have thought, to take an overdose of the tablets that they are being so readily prescribed.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Snow freezes Britain to a halt - but did it years ago as well?

Just like they said the summer of 2009 would be a "Barbecue Summer", when it turned out to be an average summer, a few months ago, the Met Office said that the winter of 2009/10 would be mild and wet. In fairness to them, they did forecast the present Arctic conditions, and it is too early to deliver a post-mortem on this winter, as it doesn't end until the 20th March, but in future, I think they should stick to short-term forecasts, and avoid making forecasts months in advance, unless they are setting themselves up as a Nostradamus in reverse. We have had two heavy snowfalls already, and it is only the
6th January.

Almost a foot of snow fell on the 20th December 2009, which didn't fully clear, when the second lot fell on the 5th January 2010. It started snowing yesterday at about 6am, and didn't stop fully until 6.30pm. There were further flurries, which didn't finish until 8.20pm. There was a snow shower at about 12.30pm today, and it has snowed this evening from 7pm. About nine or ten inches have fell in the last two days. Many motorists had to abandon their cars yesterday and most bus and rail services were cancelled.

I'm not saying things were better when I was younger. They weren't. I also don't think that anyone should risk their lives in going to school or getting to work. When the weather is as severe as it is at the moment, children should be kept off, but I can remember, on several occasions, in the Junior and Secondary school, going in at least a foot of snow, and thinking no more of it. In the final year of myself being at Junior School (On Monday 12th January 1987), we had an exceptionally heavy snowfall. On that occasion, the school boiler was working. However, my mum kept me off, but about half of the year went. The following Monday, my mum wrote a letter on my behalf saying that she had kept me off, and why. This was in anticipation of myself having to explain where I had been. Her anticipation was correct, as I was asked.

The only other occasions I can recall being off school because of snow was from Monday 10th February 1986, when I was nine-and-a-half, for a week, and from Wednesday 6th February 1991, when I was 14-and-a-half, for three days. Both times, we weren't sent home because of snow, but because of the school boiler breaking. On the latter occasion, we were instructed to return the following Monday, by which time the "Boiler will be fixed". Most of us did return, including myself. However, the snow still hadn't fully cleared, and didn't do so until the end of the week.

I recall going at school on odd occasions when it snowed in the Infants, though I can't remember the dates. I definitely remember going to school and coming home in early 1985 when it snowed, in January and February 1986, when it snowed, I think in March 1987, on Friday 22nd January 1988, March 1988, November 1988, late February/early March 1990, December 1990. Doubtless, there are other occasions, which have slipped my memory due to the passage of time.

Times certainly have changed. They get a dusting of snow nowadays, and pupils are sent home until it has totally thawed. I wonder why that is? Britain was also hit by three severe winters, between the 22nd January 1947 and 16th March 1947, between the 22nd December 1962 and 5th March 1963 and between 28th December 1978 and late March 1979. I wonder how people coped, and fared in those days? Were schoolchildren sent home? Were bus and rail services cancelled? Did people not get to work? They seem to manage ok with persistent deep snow cover in Russia, Greenland, Iceland and Siberia. It makes you wonder....

As a final footnote, perhaps a career in politics might be appropriate for those who work at the met office, with barbecue summers and mild winters, as they would be suited for a job where they say one thing, and mean another.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Scales on the Autistic Spectrum and beyond.....

It is commonly said that Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Alan Turing and Glenn Gould had AS. Fictional characters I have seen Asperger traits include Roy Cropper (A character from Coronation Street), Leonard, the oldest paperboy in Bolton portrayed by Peter Kay in that Peter Kay thing in January 2000, a character from the 1990 Christmas special of "One Foot in the grave" and the Lisbeth Salander character in Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".

I have devised a theory regarding the Autistic Spectrum and beyond. Those who are on the severe or extreme end of the AS scale are verging towards HFA. I don't believe that there is any such thing as having "mild" AS or "mild" Autism, just varying degrees. I do believe though, that there is varying degrees of NT-ness in NT's. Those in the middle are average, conventional, NT's, whereas on one end of the NT scale you get people verging towards AS.

Along with people from Einstein to Gould allegedly having full-blown AS, and the fictional characters listed above, other famous people I remember, or have read about over the years, who I can see AS traits in, are the late twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who founded and edited the Guinness Book of Records, Patrick Moore, the sky at night presenter, the late Brian Clough, with his repetitiveness, calling everyone "Young man" and wearing the same green jumper almost everywhere he went, and his outspokenness, the late MP's Robin Cook, Donald Dewar and Enoch Powell, the late Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, and Bill Gates, the IBM founder. As a coincidence, most of the late individuals mentioned above died in the noughties, four of them within sixteen months of each other (McWhirter, Clough, Heath and Cook).

However, I don't think any of them had AS. They had symptoms, and were, or are, at one end of the NT scale, but not enough to be fully diagnosed. Therefore, they are still NT's, though with Cloughie, you could argue he was also on the other end of the NT scale. He was definitely a mass of contradictions. At the other end of scale? Puzzled? Well, in my evaluation, those at the other end of the NT scale are heading towards Narcissism, as I believe there are extreme NT's. Indeed, some NT's are certainly self-obsessed. They are extremely fanatical about themselves and their image so much that they are almost narcissistic.

Both Aspies and extreme NT's can, and narcissists are, obsessed with their own lives and their own worlds, but for entirely different reasons.....

Friday, 1 January 2010

A new year, a new decade

A new year, a new decade. What I have found striking, as we have entered the 'tens, has been the lack of programmes on TV looking back at the naughties. On new year's night 1989, I stopped at my Grandmother's house (She is still alive, albeit very frail. Even so, she will celebrate her 93rd birthday on the 25th August 2010). There was a programme on TV called "Cilla says goodbye to the '80's".

When the 1990's and the 20th Century ended, there were a triple-decker of programmes looking back at the year 1999, the 1990's and the 20th Century. Yet at the end of 2009, all there has been are programmes looking back at the year, which has seen the deaths of famous names such as David Vine, Tony Hart, Wendy Richard, Jade Goody, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Sir Bobby Robson, Patrick Swayze, Keith Floyd, Edward Kennedy, Stephen Gateley and Edward Woodward. Otherwise, it is as if the naughties never happened.

We are now in the age of image, soundbite, spin and reality TV, even though Big Brother is about to end this year, and this is probably why no serious, in-depth, analytical, "Look-back at the decade" programmes have been made or why they aren't made anymore. Even on the "Look back at 2009" programmes, there has been no serious, in-depth analysis made by a presenter, but instead, a host of mildly famous people acting as talking heads, rather like the best or worst compilation programmes in 2000. I also think that the noughties has been the decade of dumbing down.

The recession has got worse, caused by the bankers irresponsibility. MP's and the political profession have been disgraced and discredited in 2009, with their false expense claims, such as claiming money to pay off non-existent mortgages and for repairs for duck ponds and moats. On this theme, there will be a General Election this year. I predict that it will be held on the 6th May and David Cameron's Conservative party will return to power after an absence of 13 years, with a majority of about 50 seats.

Weatherwise, it was a mixed year. It was quite a cold winter, with a cold January and heavy snow at the beginning of February but a mild end. March, April and May were sunny. June was mixed but there was a heatwave at the end of the month, which transferred into July. However, the month was then very wet and unsettled. August was mixed, but fairly warm and dry. September was very dry, and October was quite dry. November was very wet and December cool and sunny.

It was a neutral kind of year for me personally. Neither good or bad. My mum's family had a bad year. On Thursday 26th March, her younger sister suffered an aneurysm in her brain and had to undergo a 10-hour operation at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire hospital, she survived though. Then, on Saturday 11th April, my mum's brother-in-law died suddenly in his sleep, of a heart attack, at the age of 69. He would have been 70 in October, and would have celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary on Boxing Day.

The decade was also a mixed one. I didn't become wealthy, I haven't achieved as much as I would like, I still have serious problems related to having AS, I am single. I have no children. I am unemployed, but it was still one of progress for me on the whole, and certainly better than the '80's or the '90's for me.

On Wednesday 31st May 2000, (I have never married), came the second most important day of my life, when I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. All sorts of feelings, which I have bottled up beforehand, came out after the diagnosis. This propelled me to design my website. Through this website, I made a few friends, namely people who have Asperger's Syndrome, have had my guestbook signed by people across the world, which I didn't envisage, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Isreal, France, Singapore and Malta. I have had emails from people all over the world as well.

Almost every email I have had has been positive. I am not an unfeeling person, but due to my past experiences, facing a world that is hostile to Aspies and Autistic people, I have developed a thick skin. I have had to, in order to survive. Besides, everybody is entitled to have or to express an opinion, whether they agree with you or not. It would be a boring world if everybody thought the same, and if somebody else writes another hostile email, saying that they dislike my website, I won't be devastated or suicidal as a result. What would anger me, is someone making personal attacks on myself, but that wouldn't crush me either. I would shrug it off and think that they have the problem, not me.

The advent of Facebook, the fact that my website needs a lot of updating, other websites and increased knowledge about Asperger's Syndrome in the last 14 months have all reduced the popularity of my website. I think the peak days of my website have passed. Nobody has signed my guestbook since the 4th October 2009, and I haven't received an email about my website since the 5th December 2009... which read....

"Greetings from Calgary, Alberta, Canada!

My husband has Asperger's Syndrome. My son likely has it too. He is 6. Such is my adventure. I have enjoyed reading your website. Thank you for all the time you have taken to put the site together.

Best Regards".

This decade, I also visited Cambridge, London and Norwich for the first time, and went abroad for the first time. I watched a DVD for the first ever time, and got a PC for the first ever time with Internet access. I used ebay for the first time and bought something off it. I stopped using walkman's (November 2004) for MP3 players. However, I stopped keeping weather records in January 2004.

As well as reality TV and dumbing down, this has been the decade of Friends Reunited, music downloads, facebook, blogs, twitter, youtube, wikipedia, myspace, broadband, Blue ray players, wars, sophisticated terrorist techniques, x-box, wii fit, texting and digital TV. Top of the Pops and Grandstand were axed. The use of DNA has advanced in crime, with people being convicted for murders, 20 or 30 years after they did the offence. Major high street stores stopped selling VHS recorders. The influence of newspapers dramatically decreased, due to people setting up their own websites, writing their blogs with their take on the news and events and expressing their opinions.

No doubt advances in medicine, science and technology, and changes in life will occur in the next ten years. I also believe, or at least hope, awareness will increase in the field of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.