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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The husband of an Aspie weighs in

Two days ago I got a comment from someone married to an Aspie; he captured the syndrome perfectly:

Stumbled upon this blog... very enlightening reading the comments section. I have an Aspie son, guess they call it autism spectrum disorder now... I also have, IMHO, an Aspie wife... no formal diagnosis, nor will one ever come. When we go to professionals, they always ask, "is there someone with it in the family?"... I brought it up to her that she might have it ONE time, and that her Dad even might have it, and she was pissed and she responded that she thinks I have it (LOL).

I have read that female Aspies tend to integrate into society better... they learn the tricks to fit in more readily than males. This would be true for the social version of my wife... but at home she seems to almost be a different person. Here are my wife's "symptoms" for reference:

1. Takes no blame
2. Never cries
3. Loves animals more than people as evidenced by her own admission, and her actions (we have a veritable zoo at our house, she's obsessed with collecting them)
4. Extremely repetitive
5. Frequently uses the wrong words in a sentence... that almost sound correct
6. Terrible grammar
7. Horrible math skills
8. Does not get sarcasm... which sucks because I am a sarcastic bastard.
9. Is flustered to the extreme with clutter... anything laying on the kitchen counter that doesn't belong there can infuriate her
10. Tells the same anecdotal stories over and over, and expects full attention
11. no ability to empathize with me or our son
12. cannot fathom basic logical concepts, she just expects things to work the way she expects them, in spite of logic.
13. had a lonely childhood, trouble making friends, ended up hanging with the foreign exchange students... other outcasts...
14. no concept of money matters, what things cost, budgeting, etc... thinks if you want something, just buy it.
15. takes any scrutiny as intense criticism, like she might say, "how was dinner?" and I might say, "ok, but I wouldn't want to eat it again if I had a choice," and her response is, "then you can make your own damn dinner from now on."
16. lack of self awareness, or self reflection... she always sees issues with people as their problem... this has created a huge rift between her and her son, she has stated that she wouldn't mind just sending him away because he doesn't make any sense to her and just pisses her off (on purpose), he has stated that he hates her and wouldn't mind if she went away.
17. Uncoordinated
18. Says inappropriate things in public. On more than one occasion she has said private comments that I made to her to a friend or relative right in front of everyone...

My son, while difficult, is generally happy-go-lucky... he whines a lot, has a lot of bad habits and behavior, is very defiant at times, but generally is a good kid... I would say he is an order of magnitude easier than my wife.

Look, I realize there is a "spectrum" of disorders out there... I personally think my wife is on the Aspie side... do you agree? Funny that I have brought this up to several counselors with their fancy community college degrees (sarcasm), and they are very dismissive, like "I am the professional, there is no way you could make that diagnosis on your own, you should focus on yourself." Pisses me off... one reason I avoid talking to "professionals." Anyone else have that experience?

Wondering if there is anyone else out there in a similar situation as mine. I have nearly walked out my wife several times... mainly for the well-being of my son... but I do love my wife and feel almost like she would be hopeless without me. I have suffered mentally and physically from the stress of my household... it is tough keeping it together some days, it is quite literally like we live the same stressful day over and over again, same arguments, same discussions, same issues.

The commenter brings up a couple of facets of Aspergers which I've noticed but haven't mentioned here before.

Ironically, Aspies are often the last people who'd even consider the possibility that they have Aspergers Syndrome. They never admit they're wrong about anything, and can't take blame, and if they're undiagnosed, may scoff at the possibility that they have it, simply because to do so would be, in their minds, to somehow admit fault.

They do seem to like pets. Dogs and cats never make fun of them, or point out their inconsistencies. Aspies need the uncritical love more than most. (Uncritical affection is why most people like pets, but it's even more motivation for Aspies, who not only often find other human beings critical, but who have a hard time taking criticism.)

I've noticed they lack common sense with money, too. If they something, they buy it.

The commenter's experience with "professionals" in the field rings true as well: they are quite territorial, and set great store by credentialism. They seem to think that opinions derived from classroom study are superior to long term, firsthand experience. (Who had a better feel for chimps, your average graduate student in primatology who'd taken a few trips to the zoo, or Jane Goodall?)

This commenter's real world experience gives him far more insight than anyone who just read about Aspergers Syndrome in a book.

Best women's collegiate team ever

There's never been another women's college swim team as good, and there's probably never been another collegiate team in any sport with the same star power as the current Stanford women's swim team.

Two nights ago Ally Howe, a junior, set the American and US Open records in the 100 yard backstroke with a 49.69, breaking Natalie Coughlin's record of 49.97 from 2002.

Ella Eastin, a sophomore, is the American and US Open record holder in the 200 yard individual medley with a 1:51.65.

Simone Manuel, a sophomore, holds the American and US Open record in the 100 yard freestyle with a 46.08. She is also the Olympic champion from Rio in the 100 meter freestyle.

Even if you're not a fan, you've probably heard of Katie Ledecky, now a freshman. She holds the American records in the 500, 1000, and 1650 yard freestyles, and two nights ago broke the American record in the 400 yard individual medley, a new event for her. She also won the 800 meter freestyle as a 15-year-old at the London Olympics, and won three individual golds in Rio.

The only other collegiate team I know of which had four separate national record holders was the Indiana men's swimming team of the early 1970's, with Mark Spitz, Gary Hall, John Kinsella, and Mike Stamm.

There have been plenty of powerhouse teams in lots of sports, and many dynasties that have lasted over a decade. But to have four individual US record holders on one team like that would be like having a college track team with the American record holders in the 100 meter dash, the mile, the 400 hurdles, and the shot put. Not just the NCAA record holders, but the American and US Open record holders. With two of them being individual Olympic champions.

In addition to the girls mentioned, Stanford has senior Lia Neal (a two time Olympian and a bronze and silver medalist) and junior Janet Hu (who ranks among the top 6 of all time in three separate individual events). Plus they have others like Allie Szekely and Katie Drabot with the potential to make A finals at NCAAs this year.

I was a little disgusted with the people who raved over the US Olympic basketball "Dream Team" of 1992. So they assembled an all-star NBA squad to thrash the semi-amateur teams of other, smaller countries -- so what?

I suppose my marveling over this Stanford team is not all that different in spirit. But it's sort of cool to see that sort of collection of talent when it's a group of amateurs going to a selective college and not just a bunch of jaded pros who are basically slumming by competing in the Olympics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Warren Buffett votes with his wallet

Warren Buffett endorsed Hillary Clinton for President back in December of 2015, and this past summer, in the words of the New York Times, "excoriated" Donald Trump:

The investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett unleashed a withering attack on Donald J. Trump on Monday for refusing to release his tax returns, asserting he had something to hide, and for misleading voters about his success as a businessman and ability to improve the American economy...

The attack from perhaps the nation’s most revered investor undercut a core argument of Mr. Trump’s presidential candidacy: that his success as a businessman qualified him to run the country despite his lack of political experience.

But an article this afternoon on Yahoo Finance told a different story: 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been on a stock buying spree since the election.

Buffett told Charlie Rose in a recent interview that he loaded up on $12 billion worth of stock since the election through the end of January. He didn’t specify the securities he purchased at the time.

(It turns out he's bought Monsanto, Sirius XM, various airlines, and a lot more Apple.) 

If Buffett felt that Trump misled voters about his ability to improve the American economy, why did he load up on stocks as soon as Trump was elected? Shouldn't he have been lightening up instead? 

How would he have reacted to Hillary victory?

It's always more informative to see how people act than to just listen to what they say. And the way Buffett voted with his wallet was a lot more convincing than what he said last summer.

That's why they call them limousine liberals.

They preach to you about the value of diversity, but live in communities which are almost entirely white.

They say wealthy people should be taxed more, then use every trick in the book to avoid paying taxes themselves.

They lecture us about how we have to conserve energy, then take private jets themselves.

All in all, they're not very persuasive.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Joy Villa, marketing genius

You've probably seen that picture of singer Joy Villa showing up to the Grammys in a "Make America Great Again" dress --

It must have taken some courage -- or, at least, nerve -- to appear that way at a show business event where anti-Trump sentiment would be near unanimous. Turns out, it was the smartest thing Villa could have done.

In an article this afternoon, the NY Post reported:

A hitherto little-known singer who donned a dress lauding President Trump at the Grammys saw a spike in the online sales of her record. Joy Villa’s “I Make the Static” soared to No. 1 on Amazon and No. 11 on the iTunes album chart as of 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Villa, a 25-year-old Scientologist who performs as Princess Joy Villa, sported a red, white and blue gown emblazoned with the president’s “Make America Great Again” motto as well as the name “TRUMP” in even larger letters.

You can come to your own conclusions about Villa's singing ability, demonstrated here, on Youtube. And you probably already have an opinion about her religion of choice, Scientology. 

But you can't fault Villa's marketing sense. 

When Fox News first appeared on the scene and then quickly vaulted to the number one spot among news channels, it wasn't because either Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity were so incisive or charismatic. It was because Fox was the only conservative news network available. So while all the other left of center channels had to fight for that half of the TV audience, Fox got the entire conservative audience all to itself.

Likewise, when Madonna publicly expresses her antipathy for Trump, nobody decides to buy more of her music for that reason. Why would they? She's just one of many reciting the company line. 

But Villa must be the only young pop singer out there who has dared to publicly express admiration for Trump. So, a lot of Trump supporters decided to vote with their wallets, and give her a chance. 

Villa doesn't seem an extraordinarily bashful girl --

But then again, you can't be inhibited and be a performing artist. 

The general rule among female singers is, the more flash and exhibitionism, the less singing talent. From what I've seen and heard, Villa doesn't violate that rule. But she's now a household name. And in show biz, sometimes that's all you really need. 

Sinking the knife in

Someone just posed an interesting question via email: do sociopaths need the visceral thrill of lying to people in person, or does doing it via television, or online, et cetera, produce the same satisfaction?

I'm not sure sociopaths need the thrill of fooling people, though they certainly enjoy it. I suppose they also enjoy doing it via social media, though that way they wouldn't get the "hands on" thrill of firsthand observation of a real live person who's been made a fool of.

It's a little like the difference between a serial killer shooting people from long range (which very few of them do) vs. sinking a knife into their victims so they can savor their victims' pain and terror while slowly killing them.

Somewhat coincidentally, the subject of Psycho also came up in the same email. It's a dumb movie: its very title illustrates how little understanding of actual serial killers it has. It conflates "psychotic" and "psychopathic," and tries to make the Norman Bates character both, which almost never happens in real life.

(The movie's only excuse was that it was made in 1960, long before the nature of serial killing was understood.)

The only reason it was a hit was because it was a Hitchcock, and because that famous shower scene with Janet Leigh getting stabbed was "sexy."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"I'm a gay New Yorker -- and I'm coming out as a conservative"

The NY Post just ran an article by Chadwick Moore, a 33-year-old gay journalist who'd been a lifelong liberal until recently. The relevant excerpts:

When Out magazine assigned me an interview with the rabble-rouser Milo Yiannopoulos, I knew it would be controversial. In the gay and liberal communities in particular, he is a provocative and loathed figure, and I knew featuring him in such a liberal publication would get negative attention. He has been repeatedly kicked off Twitter for, among other things, reportedly inciting racist, sexist bullying of “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones. Before interviewing Yiannopoulos, I thought he was a nasty attention-whore, but I wanted to do a neutral piece on him that simply put the facts out there.

After the story posted online in the early hours of October 21, I woke up to more than 100 Twitter notifications on my iPhone. Trolls were calling me a Nazi, death threats rolled in and a joke photo that I posed for in a burka served as “proof” that I am an Islamophobe.

I’m not.

Most disconcertingly, it wasn’t just strangers voicing radical discontent. Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” A dozen or so people unfriended me. A petition was circulated online, condemning the magazine and my article. All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.

I lay low for a week or so. Finally, I decided to go out to my local gay bar in Williamsburg, where I’ve been a regular for 11 years. I ordered a drink but nothing felt the same; half the place — people with whom I’d shared many laughs — seemed to be giving me the cold shoulder. Upon seeing me, a friend who normally greets me with a hug and kiss pivoted and turned away.

Frostiness spread far beyond the bar, too. My best friend, with whom I typically hung out multiple times per week, was suddenly perpetually unavailable. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he sent me a long text, calling me a monster, asking where my heart and soul went, and saying that all our other friends are laughing at me.

Moore goes on to describe how it was this rejection from his former friends, as much as anything else, that opened his mind, and made him see how "ugly, lock step, incurious, and mean-spirited" they were. 

The article illustrates several things quite well. Liberals, although they pride themselves on being "open-minded," are just the opposite. They simply want to squelch all dissenting voices, whether by freezing them out, as Moore's friends, did, or by rioting, as the Berkeley AntiFa crowd did. 

Moore's former friends also used typically liberal forms of "argument," which consisted calling him names like "Nazi" and "Islamophobe" and "monster" and asking him where his "heart and soul" went.  They had no compelling logical arguments, and no facts; just insults. 

While the Left condemns "fat-shaming" and "slut-shaming," they themselves seem to indulge in an awful lot in "fact-shaming" and "open-mindedness-shaming."  

Moore's former mentors described his article as "dangerous." Isn't that characterization tacit acknowledgement that Yiannopoulos is telling truths the Left doesn't want people to hear?

As long as the Left continues to carry on as it does, we're going to be seeing a lot more Chadwick Moores. There will probably be some gays who see the Post article and are swayed by that. 

And as we all know, gays are at the cutting edge of every fashion trend. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Those pesky commenters

Yahoo, like its brethren in the media, always has a predictably liberal slant. So it was not surprising to see the following headline this morning:

Protests Erupt in Los Angeles Following Reports of Immigration Raids

There was an embedded video, then the entire article consisted of the following paragraph:

While immigration advocates say more than 100 people were detained Thursday as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials conducted home raids across three Southern California counties, the federal agency insists its operations were "routine" and not part of President Donald Trump`s unprecedented immigration crackdown.

Note the way they quote immigration advocates, and put the word "routine" in quotation marks, as if it's not believable. Note that the word "illegal" is never used, and that it's left unmentioned that ICE was targeting felons. 

Surprisingly, Yahoo, unlike a lot of news organizations, still allows comments after its articles. Most of the media have long since gotten rid of their comment sections, after they discovered that what emanated from them were sentiments directly opposed to their own viewpoints. 

Anyway, take a look at the article, and then click on "Comments" (there are over 2000). Virtually every commenter was strongly in favor of the roundup, and many expressed their views in scathing terms.

(On the internet, they're the not-so-silent majority.)

It's actually sort of reassuring. Despite the constant stream of leftist propaganda emanating from the MSM, most people are far more commonsensical.

Most commenters used only first names, sometimes with an initial attached, or a nickname. You have to wonder whether they would have felt free to express their opinions honestly, had they been forced to use their real first and last names. 

In anonymia veritas.

(I know, I shouldn't mock colleges for using Latin, then do the same myself.)

Update, an hour later: turns out AOL allows commenters, too, and the comments they got after an article about this recent roundup followed a similar pattern

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rebels without a future

There's something magnificent -- at least in his own mind -- about a young guy who doesn't bow to authority, who doesn't obey the rules, and who's a rebel. They can sometimes be charismatic guys who attract women, at least when young. Or they can be the AntiFa types, who don't. (Either way, there's often a strong element of narcissism in their personalities.)

But when you see these guys when they're old, there's usually something a little pathetic about them. Unless they're extraordinarily entrepreneurial, their basic attitude of not wanting to be a grind and hit the books, or knuckle under, or kiss ass, or work in a cubicle, or work for the Man, often leaves them stranded.

If you're Bill Gates, you can drop out of Harvard and thrive. And if you're Mick Jagger, you can drop out of the London School of Economics and still make a lot of money. But stories like theirs are rare.

In most cases, being too cool for school -- or a regular job -- doesn't pay off.

And the rebels usually end up knuckling under anyway, at a lousier job, for an even dumber boss.

And as the testosterone gradually ebbs, so does the exuberance. And once their physicality is gone, they end up poor and bitter.

The cliche here is the high school quarterback, who never quite experienced anything quite so glorious again. But it's not just him; it's all the guys whose youthful self-image wouldn't allow for more pedestrian, practical pursuits.

The kind of pursuits which lead to stability later on.

There's often some substance abuse in the mix. Young guys who like get gloriously drunk, and who are gloriously daring with illicit drugs often let themselves become addicted. Then, eventually, if they manage to survive and get sober, they end up working as drug counselors or the like. Or they just hang on, doing..... something.

I once mentioned how a Schadenfreude Magazine would do well; to date no one has started one. But there are a plethora of cautionary tales about athletes and others who peaked early.

Nerds don't always end up on top. But too cool young guys almost never do.

The silent majority

There've been a couple of headlines recently about how a new poll on Trump's immigration ban on those seven countries has "surprising" results. Evidently 55% of respondents favor the ban, while 33% disapprove. Trump's executive order to revoke federal funding for sanctuary cities is approved by the same margin, 55% to 33%.

According to Business Insider, Trump's order to approve immediate construction of a wall along the border with Mexico is met with 48% approval against 42% disapproval. And his order to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership has 47% approval vs. 33% disapproval.

The only reason any of these results would be "surprising" is because all of the noise has been made by opponents of Trump. they are the ones marching in the streets, protesting, and in some cases rioting. They seems to think that if they show up to these events in large enough numbers, they will give the impression that "the people" are rising up against the horrible dictator in the White House.

"The people," and their allies in the MSM. they certainly seem to have convinced themselves.

But, all the tumult and uproar that these groups generate is misleading. Because the majority of people realize that Trump is making commonsensical moves to protect Americans.

Richard Nixon used to refer to this group as the "silent majority." He was right, too, because he was elected twice. Behavior patterns don't change: the Left made all the noise back then, too.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"The coming clash with Iran"

A friend sent this Pat Buchanan article yesterday. Buchanan, peacenik, is not the way he's generally perceived, but in the past couple decades he has in fact become one of the leading voices for America's withdrawal from the never-ending Middle East conflict.

In the article he outlines perfectly why a war with Iran would be unjustified, and gain us nothing but more enmity in the Muslim world. 

And, as Buchanan points out, one of the best things about Trump was that he didn't feel obliged to kowtow to Republican orthodoxy. And one of the most appealing ways he differed was to acknowledge that the Iraq War was a mistake from the start.

In fact, just a few days ago he said he wished Senators McCain and Graham would stop constantly trying to drag us into World War Three.

(It's a lot easier to tolerate a man of ego if he's also a man of peace.)

So why the recent saber rattling against Iran?

Is some of this tough talk an outgrowth of Trump's annoyance at the nuclear deal with Iran, where Obama and Kerry basically gave away everything in return for pretty much nothing? That "deal," and the subsequent $400 million ransom paid for those four Americans last August, obviously offended the businessman in Trump.

Is Trump somehow being unduly swayed by Israel? It's no secret they consider Iran their biggest threat.

And how much of this might be a matter of the generals on Trump's staff spoiling for hostilities simply because they are more militarily inclined?

In fairness to Trump, he did criticize the recent deal with Iran on several occasions during his campaign. So it's not as if he's completely changing his stance here. But the only outright military action he advocated had to do with ISIS.

Trump may succeed in protecting our borders, in bringing the crime rate down, and in helping the middle class. But if he gets us into an extended war with Iran, that will be his legacy. And it won't be a good one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The underlying conceit....

...of all these protests about Trump's three month moratorium on immigration from seven Muslim countries is that United States citizenship should be an automatic right for anyone in the world who wants it.

There is no other country in the world -- outside western Europe -- which has an immigration policy designed to benefit foreigners at its own expense.

I can't prance into South Korea and demand citizenship. I can't fly to Russia and announce, guess what, I'm your countryman. I can't climb the fence into Israel and say, hey, I'm an Israeli now.

Mexico, which constantly lectures us about how we should loosen our border controls, has more stringent requirements for citizenship than we do. You must have five years of legal residence there before you can even apply for citizenship. You can only get away with two years legal residence if, according to Wikipedia:

to the judgment of the Secretariat [of Foreign Affairs], she or he has performed or created outstanding works in a cultural, social, scientific, technical, artistic, sports or business area that benefit the nation.

If you do become naturalized Mexican citizen, you are not allowed to become a member of the Mexican military during peacetime, a policeman, or a captain or pilot on any Mexican-flagged vessel or aircraft. Nor are you allowed to become President of Mexico, a member of the Congress of Mexico, a member of the Supreme Court of Mexico, a Governor of a Mexican state, or the Mayor or member of the legislature of Mexico City. 

In the US, the only office naturalized citizens are prevented from holding is President. If Trump tried to institute the types of restrictions Mexico does, the chorus of outraged howls comparing him to Hitler would be deafening.

And imagine going to Mexico and demanding free hospital care in their emergency wards, free schooling for your kids, and the right to bring as many relatives as you want from the US. All paid for by Mexican taxpayers. 

You'd be laughed out of the country. Or, more likely, put in a Mexican jail. 

Perhaps we should march into Saudi Arabia and insist we be allowed to build Presbyterian churches in Mecca. (The same way Muslims can build mosques wherever they like in the US.)

Perhaps we should go to Iran and insist that women be allowed to sunbathe topless on beaches of the Arabian Sea. (The same way Muslim women wear hijabs in the West.)

Perhaps we should go to Pakistan and inform the local residents that unless they institute equal rights for women, they are a backward, savage people. (The same way some Muslims here say they eventually want sharia law in the US.)

And what if we did so while making it clear that we hate everything these countries stand for, and that we do not necessarily disapprove of our fellow immigrants who want to set off bombs in crowded places in these countries.

It would be enlightening to see what sorts of reactions we'd get.

It seems doubtful that each of these countries has a sizable portion of their population which will hold demonstrations insisting on our freedom to do these things.

In those countries, people prefer to commit suicide at others' expense, not just their own.