anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, democrats, depression, education, health, ideas, living abroad, philosophy, politics, psychology, republicans, travel, voting

What’s in my Water

silhouette dog on landscape against romantic sky at sunset
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Speak Your Mind, Dude

Often I find myself in a pickle after saying things that don’t win over others. There was a time when I’d feel icky about it but not so much anymore. I’m a straight-shooter who tells it like it is. It’s not my problem if others don’t like when I speak the unadulterated truth. I was once offended by a comment my mother made regarding Donald Trump sounding like someone with Asperger’s during the 2016 campaign. Now I knew what she meant. She inferred Covfefe blurts out his mind and doesn’t use his filter. That’s the only trait Trump and I have in common other than we’re cisgendered white males with arms and legs. I’m not a pathological liar. Everything I say is true to the best of my knowledge. I tell white lies and half-truths only when needed. I’m more articulate than 45 on my worst day than he’ll ever be on his best day. I’m more modest, and I don’t need to showcase my intellect and whatnot so others will stroke my ego. I’m secure enough in who I am that I don’t need to be the center of attention.

Ignore the Naysayers

What others think I stopped caring after moving to Thailand in spring 2015. Thus, I ascertained the less you worry how others perceive you, the higher their opinions of you. The whole process is counterintuitive. Around the time I moved to District One in Ho Chi Minh City during fall 2017, it came around full swing. There will always be someone offended in today’s society where everything must be politically correct and half the population is glued to social media. If I said the sky is blue, someone will get their undies in a wad because I didn’t confirm it’s black at night or gray on a cloudy day. Somebody will fly off the handle if I asserted apples are red and overlooked that some are green while others are gold. Another snowflake will blow a gasket if I declared glass is clear and ignored the that some is frosted while other panes are stained. Nothing I do or say will ever suffice with the naysayers. I’ve trained myself to either ignore them or shut them down. I’ll do and say whatever I want whenever, wherever, and however I want with or without their permission. I don’t owe those people anything. It’s not my responsibility to ensure their happiness. If they’re displeased with their lives, that’s on them. My freedom doesn’t end where their feelings begin, and emotions don’t outweigh tangible facts. The only satisfactions for which I’m culpable outside my own, and that of my family and friends are my clients’. I’m only a teacher at work. You can’t save everybody. Gaining 100-percent approval is like nailing jello to a wall. That’s one reason I no longer live in the Far East. Everything there is about keeping face which isn’t part of my compendium. To their credit, one thing I do like about living overseas is I don’t have to watch what I say day in night worrying about who I’ll offend. The locals in lesser developed countries have bigger and more important things to worry about like poverty and corruption.

Emotional Hemophiliacs

My blog arguing against circumcision didn’t win everyone’s blessing, and I don’t care. I was accused of misogyny and anti-Semitism. Just because I’m an intactivist and anti-Zionist doesn’t make me a bigot. Most critics will only hear what they want to, anyway. Those folks I call ’emotional hemophiliacs’ courtesy of my good friend, Kallum. I knew what they were doing though they agreed with me. Their intentions were good but short-sighted. They were ignoring the original theme and cherry-picking what I said. They then tried using those talking points as ammunition to gloss over the issue and discredit me. I’m not going to apologize. If they don’t like it, they can go stuff themselves. I’ll admit sometimes I stir things up to invoke emotional responses and get my point across. One part I had to edit out is when I said maybe we should legalize date rape if we continue male infant circumcision. Why not? After all, date rape victims don’t remember the event half the time. Therefore, so it must be okay. That’s what roofies do. They cause memory loss and disorientation making it harder for victims to remember the events and/or identify the perpetrators. Before anyone goes ballistic and starts salivating like Pavlov’s dog, I’m not a rape apologist. I’m just making a point. I stand by my original statement that circumcision is child sexual abuse and should be taken seriously like rape or incest. I trust rabbis and imams to make decisions about our genitals as much as I do CEO’s governing the country or wife beaters managing women’s shelters. One would hope we all know what happens whenever we allow religious leaders near little boy’s knobs after those scandals with the Catholic church.

See Through the Smokescreen

If I am a racist, I must be one self-loathing one after living in Southeast Asia and Latin America the past four years. I don’t suppose it would help if I explained 99-percent of all locals in Thailand and Vietnam where I lived have yellow skin or the vast majority of folks in Mexico where I am now have brown epidermises. The same applies to my students whom I teach online in East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. This is why I’m not as liberal as I once was when I lived in Austin. Every third person there is a blue-blooded SJW with a savior complex and an Oxford dictionary handy. I also lived in San Francisco for two years, so this ain’t my first rodeo. Those bleeding-hearted elitists who act like martyrs are the same folks who gentrified East Austin where the black and Hispanic people once lived. They claimed they were making it trendy, but I know better. Has anyone noticed none of those Hollywood heavyweights during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 bothered to march with the crowd except Anne Hathaway? Gee, I wonder why! Could it be because they were part of the one-percent? Every time Bono, Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, and company fly around on their private planes to sprinkle their fairy dust all over some social cause, they pollute the environment. Harrison Ford – the highest paid actor of all time – had the audacity to get on stage and lecture people about climate change. Just what I need is some washed out celebrity who spent his entire youth leaving the average carbon footprint of a thousand people combined telling me how to live. I’ll take them seriously when they cut down on consumption and live more modest lifestyles themselves.

Invasion of the Bagel Chompers

This is one of the main reasons Donald Trump got elected. People get fed up with the far left and their self-righteousness. They didn’t appreciate East Coast highbrows I call ‘bagel chompers’ riding around on their high horses talking down to working class people referring to them as ‘undesirables.’ Don’t get me wrong! I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary and the general election. I did the same for Barack Obama in 2008 and picked him again in 2012. But just because I’ve voted straight-ticket Democrat in every midterm and general election since 2004 doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to what’s going on. People went with Trump because he gave them a sales pitch and championed himself as an outsider. We don’t always make the most rational decisions when we’re angry and frustrated. Everyone like yours truly felt locked out from that American dream they were promised. You can dismiss this as another rant by an angry white male, but the facts speak for themselves. I’m planning to move to South America should Trump get reelected in 2020. I have one of the most recession-proof jobs there is. There will always be a demand for English teachers no matter the status of the economy. My work is mobile meaning I can live anywhere. English will be the international language for the foreseeable future. My career change upon which I’m working is medical coding – another recession-proof field where I can still be a digital nomad. People will always get sick and need to go to the hospital no matter what the economic circumstance is. It won’t be me who pays the bill no pun intended; I can promise you that much.

Please Excuse My Dear Honesty

My friend Diane once asked me “What’s in your water, Dustin?” I’m not the same SJW full of spunk and vinegar she knew when we met almost a decade ago. I’m not that guy anymore. What’s happened is I’ve caught onto all the race baiters’, bra burning fembots’, and PC thought police’s ploys. My rose-colored glasses came off after I moved abroad. You see, I know how it works now though I couldn’t articulate it for the longest time. The right-wing media uses fear to gather their base. The liberals’ weapons of choice are shame and guilt. The conservatives hide under the veil of religious fervor while the lefties charade under the auspices of political correctness. I know exactly why Germany bailed out Italy, Greece, and Spain during the banking crisis of 2018 and brought in millions of Syrian refugees. The Germans still feel guilty about the holocaust. They’ve spent the past 75 years doing damage control to assuage their remorse. I remember a German lady named Kerstin on Facebook and I getting into a heated argument about Israel. I’m supposed to feel so horrible whenever I voice how the Jews are doing the same thing to the Palestinians that the Germans once did during the holocaust. Oh, but that’s different because they’re God’s chosen people! I’m supposed to cry them a river and call them a wambulance because of something in the past that can’t be changed. Nothing they do should ever be questioned or debated including circumcision. Anyone who disagrees with the loony lefties gets branded with every other buzzword with the suffix “-ist.” I’m sorry, Kerstin! You’ll have to forgive my honesty. It gets the best of me every time.

Natural and Unnatural Predators

Malcolm X used an excellent analogy when he described the loony lefties and tighty righties as I call them. The alt-right are like wolves whilst the far left are like foxes. Wolves are aggressive animals that hunt in packs. They’ll ravage anything that gets in their way. The fox is sly and sneaky. It has different mannerisms than the wolf, but it shares the same appetite. They both want lamp chops for dinner. Both are predators though the fox masquerades as its prey’s best friend. Either side wants to silence the opposition and censor what we think and say. But it’s only thought control whenever the other side does it. What’s happened is I’ve figured out how to trap foxes. I can spot them a mile away now. It’s not half as difficult as hunting a wolf. I know Bernie Sanders is a fox. What he says makes perfect sense to the lefties. I agree with most of his philosophies. However, I blame half this debacle on him. Bernie Sanders is not presidential material. He may be a smooth talker, but 90-percent of what Bernie proposes would never pass through Congress. That man has been on the hill over thirty years and hasn’t done jack. He even voted against the Brady Bill.

Make Your Stand

The fox, like Bernie Sanders, doesn’t play well with others. The wolf is a more dangerous predator than the fox. Everyone knows a fox is no match for a wolf. The latter will rip the former to shreds in no time. This is what concerns me about the next election. I fear the liberals will be too busy trying to hang each other like they did Al Franken and the nominee will be too weak to stand against Trump. I don’t know if anyone is aware, but he’ll be harder to defeat now that Trump is an incumbent. I find it interesting how Bernie Sanders was once an independent but run as a Democrat whenever it was convenient. Then his followers gut butthurt and opted to stay home on Election Night or vote third party out of spite thereby giving us the worst president in history. All of this because Bernie couldn’t put his ego aside, drop out of the race, and endorse Hillary. He could have been a hero and saved the day, but everything was all about him. Bernie Sanders to me is another bagel chomper who pretends he’s some messiah when he’s nothing more than a liability. The loony lefties may not be our mortal enemies, but they’re sure as hell not the heroes they claim to be. Do you really trust someone like that to protect us against a threat like Vladimir Putin? They’ll tuck tail and run for the hills like the fox always does whenever it’s met its match. To to answer your question, Diane, that’s what’s in my water.

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culture, democrats, education, electoral college, ideas, living abroad, philosophy, politics, republicans, voting

Nobody Rides for Free

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An American Dilemma

Here’s what I’ve noticed about Americans. This has been commonplace my whole lifetime. People always moan about inadequate services. They want better roads, schools, police protection, healthcare, and what. That’s understandable, yet what baffles me is nobody wants to pay any taxes to fund them. They all want something for nothing. Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but that’s not how the universe works. Barry Commoner comprised the Four Laws of Ecology. One of them states, “Nobody gets a free lunch. There is no such thing as a free lunch.” I had fallout with one of my long-term friends over this. If it were up to me, everybody would have universal healthcare and free education from preschool all the way through postgraduate school. My former companion argued both cost too much. Her rationale is that college and healthcare prices would spike while the quality would go down if they were available to everyone. What do you expect from someone who watches FOX News?

Get Your Priorities Straight

I can promise the reader with a capital P it costs less to provide those to each person who can’t afford it than it does to house non-violent prison inmates in private prisons for one year. I imagine the folks who rebuke these ideas the same idiots who believe schools are socially engineering children. The price would be infinitesimal compared to what it would to build an aircraft carrier, fighter plane, or even a high-tech missile. Funny how you never hear the alt-right moan about pork-barrel defense spending. What do they care as long as it’s not their children sent to die so corporate fat cats can get wealthier? The American government throws $38 billion a-year to Israel, a country with universal healthcare and free post-secondary education.

No Taxes, No Government, No Service

This conversation I had with a German friend two years ago. She elucidated how Germans see it as their civic duty to pay taxes. They assert they’re doing a community service. They have the right attitude in my book. Where this aversion towards paying taxes in America began I don’t know, but it’s a paradox to say the least. The Libertarian ideology exacerbates that mindset. Thus, I find their philosophies more impractical than those of the GOP. You cannot have limited government in a country with over 300 million people; especially, when that nation is the world superpower and breadbasket of the global economy. The concept sounds sexy on paper, but it’s asinine in reality. We’re not settlers on the frontier anymore. The manifest destiny, Civil War, and Revolutionary War ended centuries ago. We’ve moved past that phase (at least I hope we did.)

Don’t Tread On Me

The Tea Party movement which began in 2009 was never about standing up to government tyranny. That was a carte blanche they used to express their disgust over a black man in the White House. Funny how we haven’t heard anything about them since Barack Obama left office. Their principles were misguided and misplaced. The original Tea Party revolted over the taxation of commoners in colonial New England and the misappropriation of funding towards the British crown. That’s no different than trickle down economics and tax cuts for the rich. Last time I checked, America is no longer part of the British commonwealth. As I said, it was nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors campaign to disguise their prejudices towards a black President. Funny how Ted Cruz, a Canadian-born half-Cuban, spearheaded the birther movement.

Offshore is Off the Mark

There is a flip side to this coin. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meant well when she proposed taxing the top bracket at 70-percent. My former friend is right about one thing. If they start taxing the wealthy that much, more millionaires and billionaires will try to safeguard their money in offshore accounts. That’s why I think Congress should impose the Tobin and Spahn taxes before they do anything. The Tobin tax, named for James Tobin, charges transaction taxes from offshore accounts plus whatever the individual owes in income taxes. The Spahn tax, named in honor of Eugen Spahn, is the corporate version. That way, Covfefe, Mitt Romney, and other tax dodgers will think twice next time they have overseas accounts. Traveling back and forth to Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or wherever can be time-consuming and costly after awhile. Not to mention, there’s a maximum amount of cash one can bring through US customs before being spotted by the IRS.

The Path of Least Resistance

Most rich people will take the cheapest option. Therefore, I feel it’s imperative to implement these practices. This I suspect would pay off large chunks of the national debt. I don’t know for sure if they have the Tobin and Spahn taxes in the Scandinavian countries, so don’t quote me on this. I believe that’s why Ingvar Kamprad, the CEO of IKEA, moved their headquarters from Stockholm to Amsterdam, and Kamprad himself moved to Switzerland. Bjorn Borg changed his residency to Monte Carlo after he won the Grand Slam Tournament to avoid taxes in Sweden and later returned to Stockholm when he retired so he could reap the benefits. That was mighty white of him. I surmise this is why Dolph Lundgren lived in Spain for many years, but there’s no way to prove that. For all we know, Lundgren resided there because Spain has a warm climate and averages over 300 annual days of sunshine unlike Sweden where it gets dark and cold throughout the winter. You can’t fault him for that.

Bye-Bye Miss American Pie

Too often I look pie charts regarding the budget, and it shows misleading information about social security. Medicare and social security are funding by taxpayers not the government. The pie charts are made by conservatives to fool viewers into thinking those are burdens on society in lieu of priorities. That leads me to my last solution. I’d force the government to pass a constitutional amendment mandating all government programs receive equal funding. The powers that be would spend the same amount on education, healthcare, infrastructure, energy, science, housing, VA benefits, transportation, etc., that it does on defense were it up to me. Further, I’d pass another bill requiring Congress to raise taxes ten percent and require the children of congressmen, defense contractors, and war financiers to be drafted into military service whenever war is declared. No matter what, wouldn’t be allowed to take funding from education, healthcare, or any other service and pour it into defense. That would make them think twice about committing career suicide like. My senior year in college, a well-seasoned professor of mine stated, “Democracy works best when all the goods are equitably distributed.” About that he was right as rain.

That’s Gonna Cost You

Congress must impose the Tobin and Spahn taxes before they raise income taxes on the top tier. That first part is imperative. Further, I insist they induce an expatriation tax for someone who tries something cute moving abroad to avoid taxes while consulting one’s business on American soil. I even condone there being an outsource tax and massive tariffs on American products manufactured overseas. The government I feel should raise the latter as high as 150-percent if necessary. Basically, I’d raise them to where it would be more expensive to outsource labor and slap CEO’s with hefty fines should they pull a dick move like that. No longer would businesses or owners be allowed use travel expenses and company expenses as tax write-offs. Freedom isn’t free. That’s the part Libertarians and tax dodgers have a hard time registering through their thick noggins. They reinforce that sense of entitlement Americans have. Perhaps they should change the laws to where people had to pay weekly or biweekly income taxes to close all the loopholes. Here is what the income tax code would look like if it were up to me:

Income Tax Brackets Based on Annual Salaries as Head of Household During Time of Peace and/or Economic Boom
Less than $15,000 = 10%
$15,000 – $30,000 = 11%
$30,000 – $45,000 = 12%
$45,000 – $60,000 = 13%
$60,000 – $75,000 = 14%
$75,000 – $90,000 = 15%
$90,000 – $105,000 = 16%
$105,000 – $120,000 = 17%
$120,000 – $135,000 = 18%
$135,000 – $150,000 = 19%
$150,000 – $165,000 = 20%
$165,000 – $180,000 = 21%
$180,000 – $205,000 = 22%
$205,000 – $220,000 = 23%
$220,000 – $235,000 = 24%
$235,000 – $250,000 = 25%
$250,000 – $265,000 = 26%
$265,000 – $280,000 = 27%
$280,000 – $295,000 = 28%
$295,000 – $310,000 = 29%
$310,000 – $325,000 = 30%
$325,000 – $340,000 = 31%
$340,000 – $355,000 = 32%
$355,000 – $370,000 = 33%
$370,000 – $385,000 = 34%
$385,000 – $400,000 = 35%
$400,000 – $415,000 = 36%
$415,000 – $430,000 = 37%
$430,000 – $445,000 = 38%
$445,000 – $460,000 = 39%
$460,000 – $475,000 = 40%
$475,000 – $490,000 = 41%
$490,000 – $505,000 = 42%
$505,000 – $520,000 = 43%
$520,000 – $535,000 = 44%
$535,000 – $550,000 = 45%
$550,000 – $575,000 = 46%
$575,000 – $590,000 = 47%
$590,000 – $605,000 = 48%
$605,000 – $620,000 = 49%
$620,000 and more = 50%

Income Tax Brackets Based on Annual Salaries as Head of Household During Time of War and/or Economic Recession
Less than $15,000 = 10%
$15,000 – $30,000 = 11%
$30,000 – $45,000 = 12%
$45,000 – $60,000 = 13%
$60,000 – $75,000 = 14%
$75,000 – $90,000 = 15%
$90,000 – $105,000 = 16%
$105,000 – $120,000 = 17%
$120,000 – $135,000 = 18%
$135,000 – $150,000 = 19%
$150,000 – $165,000 = 20%
$165,000 – $180,000 = 21%
$180,000 – $205,000 = 22%
$205,000 – $220,000 = 23%
$220,000 – $235,000 = 24%
$235,000 – $250,000 = 25%
$250,000 – $265,000 = 26%
$265,000 – $280,000 = 27%
$280,000 – $295,000 = 28%
$295,000 – $310,000 = 29%
$310,000 – $325,000 = 30%
$325,000 – $340,000 = 31%
$340,000 – $355,000 = 32%
$355,000 – $370,000 = 33%
$370,000 – $385,000 = 34%
$385,000 – $400,000 = 35%
$400,000 – $415,000 = 36%
$415,000 – $430,000 = 37%
$430,000 – $445,000 = 38%
$445,000 – $460,000 = 39%
$460,000 – $475,000 = 40%
$475,000 – $490,000 = 41%
$490,000 – $505,000 = 42%
$505,000 – $520,000 = 43%
$520,000 – $535,000 = 44%
$535,000 – $550,000 = 45%
$550,000 – $575,000 = 46%
$575,000 – $590,000 = 47%
$590,000 – $605,000 = 48%
$605,000 – $620,000 = 49%
$620,000 – $635,000 = 50%
$635,000 – $650.000 = 51%
$650.000 – $665,000 = 52%
$665,000 – $680,000 = 53%
$680,000 – $695,000 = 54%
$695,000 – $710.000 = 55%
$710,000 – $725,000 = 56%
$725,000 – $740,000 = 57%
$740,000 – $755,000 = 58%
$755,000 – $770,000 = 59%
$770,000 – $785,000 = 60%
$785,000 – $800,000 = 61%
$800,000 – $815,000 = 62%
$815,000 – $830,000 = 63%
$830,000 – $845,000 = 64%
$845,000 – $860,000 = 65%
$860,000 – $875,000 = 66%
$875,000 – $890,000 = 67$
$890,000 – $905,000 = 68%
$905,000 – $920,000 = 69%
$920,000 – $935,000 = 70%
$935,000 – $950,000 = 71%
$950,000 – $965,000 = 72%
$965,000 – $980,000 = 73%
$980,000 – $995,000 = 74%
$995,000 and more = 75%

Income Tax Brackets Based for Married Individuals on Joint Returns During Time of Peace and/or Economic Boom
Less than $20,000 = 10%
$20,000 – $40,000 = 11%
$40,000 – $60,000 = 12%
$60,000 – $80.000 = 13%
$80,000 – $100,000 = 14%
$100,000 – $120,000 = 15%
$120,000 – $140,000 = 16%
$140,000 – $160,000 = 17%
$160,000 – $180,000 = 18%
$180.000 – $200,000 = 19%
$200,000 – $220,000 = 20%
$220,000 – $240,000 = 21%
$240,000 – $260,000 = 22%
$260,000 – $280,000 = 23%
$280.000 – $300,000 = 24%
$300,000 – $320,000 = 25%
$320,000 – $340,000 = 26%
$340,000 – $360,000 = 27%
$360,000 – $380,000 = 28%
$380,000 – $400,000 = 29%
$400,000 – $420,000 = 30%
$420,000 – $440,000 = 31%
$440,000 – $460,000 = 32%
$460,000 – $480,000 = 33%
$480,000 – $500,000 = 34%
$500,000 – $520,000 = 35%
$520,000 – $540,000 = 36%
$540,000 – $560,000 = 37%
$560.000 – $580,000 = 38%
$580,000 – $600,000 = 39%
$600,000 – $620,000 = 40%
$620.000 – $640,000 = 41%
$640,000 – $660,000 = 42%
$660,000 – $680,000 = 43%
$680,000 – $700,000 = 44%
$700,000 – $720,000 = 45%
$720,000 – $740,000 = 46%
$740,000 – $760,000 = 47%
$760,000 – $780,000 = 48%
$780,000 – $800,000 = 49%
$800,000 and more = 50%

Income Tax Brackets Based for Married Individuals on Joint Returns During Time of War and/or Economic Recession
Less than $20,000 = 10%
$20,000 – $40,000 = 11%
$40,000 – $60,000 = 12%
$60,000 – $80.000 = 13%
$80,000 – $100,000 = 14%
$100,000 – $120,000 = 15%
$120,000 – $140,000 = 16%
$140,000 – $160,000 = 17%
$160,000 – $180,000 = 18%
$180.000 – $200,000 = 19%
$200,000 – $220,000 = 20%
$220,000 – $240,000 = 21%
$240,000 – $260,000 = 22%
$260,000 – $280,000 = 23%
$280.000 – $300,000 = 24%
$300,000 – $320,000 = 25%
$320,000 – $340,000 = 26%
$340,000 – $360,000 = 27%
$360,000 – $380,000 = 28%
$380,000 – $400,000 = 29%
$400,000 – $420,000 = 30%
$420,000 – $440,000 = 31%
$440,000 – $460,000 = 32%
$460,000 – $480,000 = 33%
$480,000 – $500,000 = 34%
$500,000 – $520,000 = 35%
$520,000 – $540,000 = 36%
$540,000 – $560,000 = 37%
$560.000 – $580,000 = 38%
$580,000 – $600,000 = 39%
$600,000 – $620,000 = 40%
$620.000 – $640,000 = 41%
$640,000 – $660,000 = 42%
$660,000 – $680,000 = 43%
$680,000 – $700,000 = 44%
$700,000 – $720,000 = 45%
$720,000 – $740,000 = 46%
$740,000 – $760,000 = 47%
$760,000 – $780,000 = 48%
$780,000 – $800,000 = 49%
$800,000 – $820,000 = 50%
$820,000 – $840,000 = 51%
$840,000 – $860,000 = 52%
$860,000 – $880,000 = 53%
$880,000 – $900,000 = 54%
$900,000 – $920,000 = 55%
$920,000 – $940,000 = 56%
$940,000 – $960,000 = 57%
$960,000 – $980,000 = 58%
$980,000 – $1,000,000 = 59%
$1,000,000 – $1,020,000 = 60%
$1,020,000 – $1,040,000 = 61%
$1,040,000 – $1,060,000 = 62%
$1,060,000 – $1,080,000 = 63%
$1,080,000 – $1,100,000 = 64%
$1,100,000 – $1,120,000 = 65%
$1,120,000 – $1,140,000 = 66%
$1,140,000 – $1,160,000 = 67%
$1,160,000 – $1,180,000 = 68%
$1,180,000 – $1,200,000 = 69%
$1,200,000 – $1,220,000 = 70%
$1,220,000 – $1,240,000 = 71%
$1,240,000 – $1,260,000 = 72%
$1,260,000 – $1,280,000 = 73%
$1,280,000 – $1,300,000 = 74%
$1,300,000 and more = 75%

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Big Boys Don’t Cry

Image result for crying man
Lebron James Crying

No More Gutterballs, Grandpa

When I was 9 or 10, my maternal grandma and his second wife came to visit us in Houston from Missouri. They took us bowling two days in a row. That was one of their favorite activities. We’d go to their local bowling alley whenever we’d to see them. There wasn’t much else in the Ozarks to keep us occupied. Often I’d get frustrated and cry because I wasn’t performing well. I was only a child who didn’t know better. All I wanted was to make strikes and spares. The frequent gutterballs took their toll on my pride. Grandpa would always scold me for my outbursts. Crying was forbidden under his watch. I remember the last time like yesterday. I was about to have a meltdown when I noticed Grandpa staring at me and shaking his finger.

Avenge Me, Boys

The point I’m making is we live in a society where it’s not acceptable for boys or men to express their emotions in any way, shape, or form. A prime example comes from the 1984 classic Red Dawn. That movie is about a backdoor Soviet invasion of the United States. A group of teenage rebels led by Patrick Swayze called The Wolverines after their school mascot fight back. Swayze and his younger brother played by Charlie Sheen encounter their POW father portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton opposite a chain-linked fence. They know he’s about to die. Stanton tells his sons he was tough on them for a reason and orders them not to cry. The character implies they’ve gone soft for exhibiting emotions. One of the last things he says before they leave is, “Boys, avenge me!” In other words, the only things they were allowed to feel were anger and rage. Remorse and sorrow were verboten. I’m not reviled by the disposition of Stanton or my granddad. I chalk it up as them being relics of their time from a different generation where men were expected to be Alpha males and toxic masculinity was unheard of.

Nice Guys Pay; Bad Boys Lay

Much of this sentiment surrounded me every day I was in military school and the Coast Guard. I’m not a big fan of third and fourth wave feminists. Some of their ideas I find a bit extreme, but I agree with them upon the fact that toxic masculinity must be addressed head on. It’s detrimental in the long run. This I surmise is why there’s more male sociopaths and hardened criminals than female ones. There’s too much of it in professional sports as well in my humble opinion. America has become a society where the dating culture has told us nice guys who show compassion are weak while bad boys who display aggression are strong, dominant, and what women want. Sensitivity and social awkwardness equal creepiness whereas cockiness and brash behavior equate to confidence the latter of which makes the ladies drool and cream. Too often I see this has seeped its way into the dating culture. Everywhere I look without fail, dating gurus male and female say nice guys finish last while bad boys win the girls. By the time the girls catch on and realize bad boys are harmful, it’s too late. We’re told they’ve hit the wall and are no longer marketable. I’ve grown so cynical; I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Suck it Up, Buttercup

The media makes it seem like we can control our emotions 24/7 like Vulcans. The human race hasn’t evolved to that point. It was no secret I was suffering from anxiety and depression in the military. I didn’t get sentimental, but it made me bitter and harbor loads of resentment. I stated in my last note why I hate everything about the East Coast of the United States and the military. Doing everything the exact opposite of how I was trained in the services like wearing the complimentary colors, starting off with the other foot, hanging and folding my clothes the other direction, growing facial hair, and living in other countries the GOP demonizes were my coping mechanism from the trauma. I’m not allowed to discuss my feelings because nobody wants to hear it. Everyone thinks you can snap out of depression which is anything but true. To forgive and forget is easier said than done. The first part I might be attainable, but I can’t envision myself ever doing the latter. Once trust is lost, it’s almost impossible to gain back.

Explore Your Sentiments

One stereotype about Asperger’s especially males is that we don’t feel empathy or exhibit emotions. This is one of the primary reasons we’re mistaken for sociopaths. We’re not allowed to show it because that’s what the media has told us. All I’m allowed to exude is anger or joy not fear, guilt, or sadness. Last year, I remember watching Interstellar on Netflix. It’s about a farmer turned astronaut played by Matthew McConaughey who travels into space to find a planet to terraform as Earth becomes uninhabitable. Anne Hathaway plays his co-pilot and one of three scientists. Before the mission, McConaughey achieves the insurmountable task of saying goodbye to his children. He mentions to his daughter they may be the same age when he returns. The viewer disregards this in the beginning, but then it starts to catch on. There’s a scene where McConaughey retrieves his daughter’s messages on the intercom. Later you see she’s grown up. His adult daughter, played by Jessica Chastain, gives him the rundown over what happened over the years. That scene broke me in two. I couldn’t help myself because it hit too close to home. It made me reflect on my own life.

Family is All in the End

One of my biggest regrets is not spending more time with my niece and nephew between the time I left Thailand and went home before my next assignment in Vietnam in spring 2016. I’d been gone and hadn’t seen my family in person for two years while watching Interstellar. The background music compounded the situation. Luckily, it was in the privacy of my own home. I would’ve been embarrassed had I let it out in public. I went into the bathroom and took a shower to cleanse myself afterwards. I could count on one hand the time number of times I conversed with my family via Skype and Facebook not including when we spent Christmas together online. My niece, who was in elementary school last time I’d seen her, was now the same age as my middle school students. It still bothered me the next day at work, and my coworkers asked if I was okay. I was going to travel to Australia with a friend during the summer of 2018, but I cancelled those plans. Not only was I low on funds, I feared I would never to get to see my family again. I can always venture to Australia or wherever later on, but only get to see the kids grow up once.

Beard Away the Sorrow, Hair’s a Tissue

I don’t know if anyone else notices, but you almost never see a man with a beard or facial hair get upset and break down on screen. It’s as if Hollywood and society have told us it’s even less forgivable if a bearded man exhibits emotion. They’ve placed a higher standard on him than his hairless counterpart. He’s supposed to be strong and dominant and show zero weakness. The only time he may get a free pass is if someone in his immediate family dies. I mentioned before I never grew a beard until after I moved abroad, but luckily I was clean-shaven when I watched Interstellar. If you think long and hard enough, when was the last time you ever saw a man cry with a beard? I’ll bet the readers can only count that on one hand if not one finger. This is why I feel it’s imperative that Hollywood activists address this issue and stop dispensing the message that it’s not okay for grown men or boys to express their emotions the same way women and girls do. Ridding society of the stigma towards mental health, therapy, and the need for antidepressants and anxiety pills would be nice, moreover. If Donald Trump isn’t an expert on politics or economics, I’d say it’s a safe bet neither is Tom Cruise on behalf of psychotherapy.

anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, depression, education, health, ideas, philosophy, psychology

Autism vs. Narcissism

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Certain Misconceptions

There’s a common stereotype about folks on the spectrum in that we lack empathy. This I suspect is why the general public mistakes us for narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths. The difference between us and them I’ve explained is auties and Aspies are egocentric whereas the latter three are egotistical. I’ve elaborated not all narcissists are sociopaths or psychopaths but all psychopaths and sociopaths are narcissists. Folks with autistic spectrum disorder want to relate to others but don’t always know how. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are cognizant of their actions, but they don’t care. How do I know? My father and two oldest siblings have NPD. I’m the polar opposite from them. Both of my sister’s grand prizes of husbands as well as my oldest brother’s long-term girlfriend and now wife also have NPD. Narcissists tend to attract one another. My stepmother is self-important like Dad but not as bad. To protect their privacy and because I’m too embarrassed to mention certain names, I’ll only refer to them by their connections towards your truly.

A State of Denial

I have another brother who’s somewhat deficient in empathy but he means well. He and I were raised by our mother. People think those with ASD are hoggish because we sometimes require accommodations. Dad, Sister, and Brother One believed I was a spoiled brat who needed extra discipline. All three were in denial that I had anything wrong. To this day, I’m convinced neither three will ever accept it. That’s one of many reasons we’re not on speaking terms and why I have limited contact with them. They’re absolute flakes and wholly unreliable. They think the whole world revolves around them. They never plan ahead and always expect everyone to drop what they’re doing to cater to them. That’s not the same as requesting certain consideration. They’re also great bullshitters. They’re never around when you need them. The only time either of them come around is whenever they want something. They manipulate people and put on their superficial charm pretending to be everybody’s best friend.

A Sister From Another Mother

All of these are why Mom, Brother Two, and his wife are the only ones in my family with whom I I have any relationship. People often ask me what they do for a living. My father is semi-retired, but he works part-time for Brother One who owns a landscaping company. Sister is what I call a snake oil salesperson. She preaches about positive energy and sprinkles her pixie dust on other people’s personal problems. She’s of those pseudo-life skill coaches who promises if you do this and do that, then the whole universe will open up. If you just drop $200 down, she’ll give you all the answers you need and the same platitudes you’ve heard all along. If only her clientele knew how Sister treated her family, they’d see her true colors. I confronted her about it and told her Sister-in-Law (Brother Two’s wife) was more of a sister to me than she’ll ever be. Sister-in-Law at least trustworthy and dependable.

Tales of the In-Laws

Sister has a long track record or picking out losers thinking she can fix them. Her late husband was a real piece of work. Brother-in-Law must have sniffed a lot of paint fumes when he was a kid. He was a blowhard. None of my family or friends liked him. He’d always talk smack about us. The guy had the nerve to call me a closet pedophile. Brother-in-Law was one of those right-wing nutjobs who listened too much to Infowars and thought everything was a conspiracy. He’d put on his chest puff routine and act like could walk on water, eat bullets, and shit ice cream, but he was a coward deep down. Brother-in-Law had never been outside the state of Texas that I recall except to Vegas to attend Brother Two and Sister-in-Law’s wedding. He was too afraid to board an airplane because he worried about germs. The guy tried to convince me he was an Alpha male and that I was a cupcake. One way I saw through him was when my mother needed a bag of concrete lifted. Brother-in-Law whined that his back was sore. I worked at Lowe’s then, and knew the proper procedures. Thus. I obliged and lifted instead no problem. Then I called him out and asked him, “Where’s your brass balls now, tough guy?” Sadly, he passed away four years ago. What’s more, my nephew, their son, has his late father’s smart mouth. I tolerated Brother-in-Law, but I never cared for him. Her current boyfriend sounds like a real tool, but that’s another story. I’ve never met the guy, yet I know the kind of men to whom she’s drawn.

Gaslighting and Denial

Sister is the same-centered person she was when Brother-in-Law as alive. Granted, she got worse since they got involved, but she’s eight years my senior. She knows better, but she refuses to change. She wasn’t much better when she was involved with her first hubby, a two-bit musician. Sister hasn’t improved since Brother-in-Law met his demise. Dad, Brother One, and Sister never take responsibility for any of their actions. Everything wrong is always someone else’s fault. I know gaslighting is every narcissist’s favorite tool because that’s part of their compendium. Too often, they never gave me credit for anything original. Anytime I said something with merit, they would accuse me of reverberating someone else’s words. They had a penchant towards making me second guess myself and question my own judgment. Neither three have never been diagnosed with NPD, but they share certain traits. They won’t get therapy because they think there’s nothing amiss about them, and they’re without shame. I’m certain Brother One is a full-blown narcissist. He’s the worst of the three.

Cheap Gifts and Bogus Apologies

Skeptics often doubt I have Asperger’s because I have some people skills and bullshit detectors. Little do they know, I acquired these traits growing up with three narcissists. I’ve been battle-tested many times, and I caught onto their ploys. Recently, I celebrated my 40th birthday. Dad came to my party and gave me four brownies as my gift. That’s how cheap he is. Dad lives in an $800K house, but he couldn’t afford to get me a present. I wasn’t upset because I knew that was typical. I adopted the same mindset with him after living in Vietnam. If I ever expected anything to happen, I had to assume the outcome would be absolute garbage. I anticipated he’d put on his Father-of-the-Year act and smile at me through his teeth though I could count the number of times I’d seen him the past few years on one hand. Brother One thought it was my 39th birthday, or at least that’s what he claims. He and Sister were too busy to be bothered and came up with lame excuses not to come. Then they said we could meet up another time, but I told them don’t bother. If it’s too much for them to remember their youngest sibling’s 40th birthday, they’re not worth the time of day.

There You Have It

One of the key contrasts between someone with ASD and those with NPD is that we’re brutally honest while they’re pathological liars. Every time I tried to discuss an issue with them, they’d dance around it and claim plausible deniability. Dad had a penchant towards answering questions with other queries. Narcissists polish themselves as something bigger than they are. Brother One enamors himself with accolades that he has the best landscaping business in Austin. I’ve seen his work, and it’s mediocre at best. There’s nothing earth-shattering about it. Dad and Stepmom think they’re more sophisticated than everyone else because they lived in New York for 17 years. Stepmom was an assistant editor for the gardening section of Newsday, but she acts like she’s some Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. She thinks she’s intellectually superior towards everyone else because she has a Master’s Degree and the ability to recite every other ten-dollar word in the Oxford Dictionary. My uncle who’s known her since he was in middle school mentioned this. I gave up on all of them and have minimal contact because I knew that was the only way I could maintain my sanity. Blood may be thicker than water, but it can still be toxic. To put it bluntly, that’s how I know the difference between someone with ASD and a narcissist.

 

anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, depression, education, health, ideas, living abroad, philosophy, psychology, travel

Asperger’s: A Cinderella Story

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Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

When Do We Have Our Voice?

Everywhere I look, people have uncertainties about autism. They want to know what it’s like having Asperger’s. I’m convinced most are uneducated or by default deem someone on the spectrum retarded or mentally incompetent. Those that are educated know we’re just as capable of living successful lives like neurotypicals. The problem is we face discrimination like women, homosexuals, and minorities. We don’t have an advocacy group like third wave feminists, the NAACP, and GLAD. Nobody comes to create a media uproar when one of us gets in a pickle. I keep wondering when the day will come when Bono, Sean Penn, or some other celebrity with a savior complex will come sprinkle his/her fairy dust all over our cause, pull the thesaurus and label it with a new ten-dollar word, and hashtag it all over social media. I’ve lost count of the jobs I’ve been fired from for not fitting in or from those who’ve second-guessed my abilities the moment the cat was out of the bag. Sadly, we live in a society where the man with the most charisma and money is valued over he who has the most integrity or intelligence. Even in Western cultures, the latter two are underappreciated, undervalued, and cast to the wayside. America, like many Asian cultures, encourages assimilation over individuality.

Occupational Hazards

I’ve stated that the media has pigeonholed us as socially handicapped, criminal sociopaths, or a liability of some kind. Once I ran into trouble at work when an African-American co-worker compared me to Rain Man, mental patients, math geniuses, and computer wizards. He didn’t appreciate my retort when I correlated him with deadbeat dads, petty criminals, gang members, drug addicts, rappers, and professional athletes. I was making a point. That cost me my job, but that was no big loss at the end of the day. It was another run-of-the-mill position that paid menial wages and one for which I was overeducated. This occurred a year after I was let go from a security gig for which I was getting high accolades and non-stop praise from my supervisor yet terminated the moment it was revealed I had Asperger’s. My employer there had the nerve to ask me for documented proof. That was none of his business. Their excuse for sacking me was that I was backing up the golf cart while the national anthem was playing, but I knew that was hogwash. The dilemma I faced was Texas is a right-to-work state. They were covering their tails. What employer would ever admit to discrimination?

Maybe, Maybe Not

I’ve come to the point now that I don’t tell anyone if I can. It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t deal. One of the main reasons I no longer live in Asia is because of how they perceive mental health. Those cultures don’t acknowledge it. They act like it doesn’t exist or it’s some kind of impediment. I remember applying for teaching jobs in Taiwan and South Korea for which I was insanely qualified. They started prying into my medical history. I knew I was a suitable candidate, and I didn’t appreciate the way they tried gaslighting me. The last one I told him where to stick it. The reason I enjoy working online now is because I can live wherever I want and not have to deal with any office politics. I don’t have to worry about anyone undermining my credentials, office politics, or any workplace bullies trying to sabotage my livelihood because they feel threatened or intimidated by me or want someone to knock down to feel better about themselves. I’ve had that happen to me as well.

Fun With Cynics

The point I’m getting at is I’ve spent my entire life being the underdog. Everyone had their doubts that I could succeed at anything. My own father and two oldest siblings thought I was a man-child with no ambition. They thought my mother was enabling me and holding me down when I lived with her. My other brother was just as guilty but not to the same extent. My sister, my peach of a brother-in-law, and now former Facebook friends would scoff at me moving abroad becoming successful. They were all convinced I would crash and burn just like I did every other job and with AmeriCorps in Chicago. They considered the idea a joke. Once again, I proved them all wrong. I’ll bet none of them are laughing now. In the spring of 2016 before I came back from Thailand, I was ready to rub my sister and her hubby’s noses in it and show them how it feels. Sadly, her beau passed away a week before my return, and then wasn’t the time to exchange blows.

Against All Odds

Unbeknownst to my skeptics, everybody who has bet against me in my life has lost including the United States Coast Guard. They were convinced they could break my will and squeeze me out in under a year. It took over three before I was discharged for unsuitability. By then, I was ready to go after I had the rug pulled out from under me one last time. My mother even said she was impressed because I lasted much longer than she thought I would. Everyone who knows me knows not to underestimate or second guess me because that’s when I become more dangerous. They don’t realize characters like Daredevil and Heisenberg inspired me. They went from being an inexperienced lawyer and underachieving high school teacher to an unstoppable crime fighter and ruthless methamphetamine kingpin. They looked harmless, but they were heavy hitters. To put it bluntly, my entire adult life has been one big Cinderella story, and I’ve overcome many odds. I don’t break barriers; I crush and destroy them. I’ve climbed an entire mountain range to get where I am, and I know how to get back up whenever I fall. So what is it like having Asperger’s? Always having to debunk naysayers and disprove every other stereotype is the most plausible answer I can give the reader.