anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, depression, education, gangs, health, ideas, psychology, violence

With a Grain of Salt

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Rose-Colored Glasses

Have you ever listened to old people bellyache about modern society and compared it to the past? Did you ever hear them say something along the lines of, “Back in my day we did this and that, and we had A, B, and C and we didn’t do this or that, and there was no X, Y, Z, and everything was grand.” It gets tiring, doesn’t it? Senior citizens always talk about the past with their rose-colored glasses on as if everything was dandy, and then the world went to hell in a hand basket once they reached middle age. I’ve heard this song and dance a thousand times before from my parents and others. That’s because the ‘good old days’ was back when they were young and in their prime. They had more energy and fewer health problems. They were probably out partying, getting laid more, and more in tune with pop culture. They weren’t staring down death’s doorstop. And I’m sure the prior generations never did the same because life was so grand. I had this conversation with my Uncle Michael a few years ago. He concurred and added they weren’t as aware then as they are now. Because they weren’t in tune with all that’s happening is why they’re so cynical.

The Usual Suspects

Almost every problem we hear about on the news didn’t begin yesterday. The real issue is nobody ever talked about it until now for fear of shame and humiliation. They’ve had gang violence in America at least since the Great Depression with Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, and company. The media didn’t make a big deal out of it until the 1980’s the Crips and Bloods emerged with the crack epidemic. Not until we saw dangerous black and Hispanic men and boys in the inner cities carrying automatic weapons did everyone begin lamenting. The crime rate in Chicago is lower than it’s been in sixty years. The number of rapes and sexual assaults in America has decreased 50-percent since 1993, but you would never hear these statistics from the mainstream media, third wave feminists, the NRA, or any of the geniuses in Washington. The violent crime rate in America period has continued to surge since the early 90’s, but most people don’t know this because the number of murders, rapes, assaults, and whatnot being reported has increased.

The Good Old Days

All that clamor with Bill Cosby and Brett Kavanaugh happened during the 70s and early 80s. The other folks mentioned by the #metoo movement like Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey committed sexual harassment at least twenty years ago to my recollection. It’s just nobody discussed this then. This is one reason I loved that show Boardwalk Empire. That program starring Steve Buscemi was about the mayor of a New Jersey town during the Prohibition Era who moonlit as a bootlegger. It showed what took place behind closed doors during the 1920s and 30s and that life wasn’t a bed of roses. Sure, the fashions and music may have been soothing, but I can’t even imagine how difficult things were during the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl. There wouldn’t be enough jazz or swing music to cast away my woes.

Choose Your Battles

Yesterday, at the VA hospital, I had to practice restraint while conversing with two old men. We talked about martial arts before one went on a tangent about Stephen Seagal and wondered why Seagal didn’t make movies anymore. Things started going downhill when I stated the reason Seagal’s more recent movies are all in Eastern Europe and why he’s no longer famous is because he’s been Hollywood blacklisted after several sexual harassment suits filed against him. The guy tried using a strawman argument stating there should be a statute of limitation and that he’d report it right away as if his car were stolen. It did no good when I tried elucidating most people would have discredited those women then because they didn’t have the recourse they do today. The other guy said if he was rich and famous like Seagal and had women throwing themselves at his feet, he’d do the same thing. That’s when I knew it was time to walk away. A few years ago, I would’ve been shocked. I might have even scorned them and told them they’re old enough to know better. I wasn’t surprised, though, seeing this was the VA hospital with military veterans many of whom were lifers. I may be autistic, but I’ve been socialized to know how to choose my battles. I therefore chalked it up as they were just men of their times.

A Grain of Salt

My first gig after graduating college was that of an enumerator during the 2010 census. I remember discussing kids with some 70-something Irish-American retiree from New York I’ll call George. He would regurgitate the same platitudes I heard from every other guy from his generation. George would say, “Back in my day, when I went to Catholic school, the priest swatted us good with a paddle whenever we misbehaved, and it made us tough.” Hogwash I say! Back in your day, people would lose their marbles if they saw a black person living in the same neighborhood or using the same facilities as you or a woman. Back in your day, it wasn’t uncommon for men to get drunk and beat their wives, so let’s not kid ourselves, George. I’m sure those priests expressed their love for children in other ways, but we don’t need to go there. Nobody knew then that corporal punishment causes depression and anxiety and makes kids more aggressive. The general public knew jack about psychology. It might have worked in the short run, but it was detrimental in the long run. I’ll bet the truancy and teenage pregnancy rates were high back then, but I’m sure George and others wouldn’t acknowledge that. While they may be wise and knowledgeable in some areas, many of their ideas I find outlandish and obsolete. This is why I don’t bother explaining autism to most folks over 70 and take what they say with a grain of salt.

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aspergers, autism, changes, culture, education, health, ideas, living abroad, politics, psychology, travel

Be Gone Daylight Saving Time

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Ben Franklin Wasn’t Always Right

As an Aspie, I’m finicky about certain things. One is time changes. Daylight Saving Time is one of my biggest pet peeves. Most people credit Benjamin Franklin with its genesis. Franklin spawned something similar, but the concept was in fact postulated by none other than George Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist. I get the purpose for which it was intended at the time, but that’s obsolete. They didn’t have streetlights most places when Ben Franklin thought this up. Those were also few and far between during the time of Hudson. Cities like New York, London, and Paris had only gaslights with limited range. Times have changed since 1895. Not only do most cities even in developing countries have sodium lights. Many are graduating unto LED’s which have greater visibility and use less wattage. If LED’s are unavailable, there’s always compact fluorescent bulbs as in the case with France. Even in Paris, they replaced every halogen bulb in the Eiffel Tower with CFL’s to conserve energy. Yes, you read this correctly. There are plentiful ways to save electricity without Daylight Saving Time.

Shine On, Shine Down

Without further ado, most people don’t live in farms or rural areas like they did in the 19th century. Even in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the rest of the developing world, most folks reside in urban areas where there are no farms. No matter the rhyme or reason, you can always make hay while the sun is shining. That’s what alarm clocks are for. The sun will always be up the same amount of time regardless of what methods are induced. Nothing we do can slow down or speed up the rotation of the earth on its axis. If parents are worried about their kids going to school in the dark, there’s no reason why the faculty can’t schedule the school day for later times. As I mentioned, that’s what streetlights and headlamps are for. So far as I know, no vehicle comes without headlights and tail lights. Even bicycles have reflectors on them. Therefore, school buses can still operate no matter the altitude of the sun.

Power to the People

One thing I love about Southeast Asia is they don’t observe Daylight Saving Time. As you can see, the economy here is red hot. As ridiculous as some of their customs seem to me, I can’t deny I’m glad they left the clocks alone. I remember when there was a power outage in California during the summer of 2001. I lived there during that crisis. I was stationed in San Francisco with the United States Coast Guard. California had to borrow energy from Arizona, the one state that doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Obviously, they had enough energy in the Grand Canyon State to supply their populous neighbor. Having the sun up one hour later made little to no difference in the Golden State. It was later unearthed Enron was behind that. I don’t know all the logistics, so don’t ask me. All I can say is it pertained to Enron Energy in Texas. Regardless, the neighboring state that doesn’t observed Daylight Saving Time was able to provide a service.

One Day Equals 24 Hours

The United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and a few other western countries are the only places I know that adopted DST. Neither Japan nor any other Asian or African country obliged, and they don’t consume even half the energy America does. Studies have shown Daylight Saving Time causes health detriments like depression, insomnia, and heart attacks. The likelihood of plane crashes, traffic accidents, workplace injuries, and even miscarriages increase. But what do those in favor care as long as they get what they want? This is why I have another solution. I think they should replace Daylight Saving Time permanently what I believe is called Decree Time. Not only am I an advocate of Decree Time; I think we should replace a.m. and p.m. with the 24-hour military clock. I would have noon and midnight be at 1:00 and 13:00 rather than 12:00. The days would thereby crossover at 1:00 in lieu of 0:00, which would now be 24:00. Lastly I declare there should be 48 time zones with half-hour differences to attenuate all issues caused by Daylight Saving Time. If India has its own time zone and manages fine, I don’t see why the other 195 countries can’t function as such.

Welcome Decree Time

I remember watching several Astros games on TV in Austin. It would be nightfall in Houston while it wasn’t yet sundown in Austin. I recall another time in Chicago when I was with AmeriCorps watching a Bears game. They were playing a road game against the Chiefs. It was dusk in Chicago yet broad daylight in Kansas City though they’re both on Central Time. It made no sense to me, but that’s how it was. Earlier this year, I flew to Kuala Lumpur during Tet. Malaysia is in a later time zone than Vietnam though its farther west longitude. It seemed odd to me that the sun in K.L. would set well after 7 p.m. when I was accustomed to it descending not long after 6 living in Bangkok and Saigon all these years. There was a time I liked it better when the sun went down earlier, but I’m vice versa the older I get. Thus, the reason I’m an advocate for Decree Time with either 48 time zones with half-hour intervals; 72 with 20-minute differences; or 96 with 15-minute changes. To avoid confusion, I’d go with the 48 as planes and trains have schedules to which they must tend. I’m thinking like a geographer considering the altitude of the sun and the overall health of the general public.

Good Intentions, Bad Policies

A few years ago, I had a heated debate about this with some narcissistic idiot on Facebook who always had to argue and be right about everything. She insisted we keep the current system. She tried disputing that China is the size of the United States yet has only one time zone. China is also a communist country with a human rights violation record that could stretch around the globe. Most of their population lives in on the east coast. The Chinese government also has a penchant towards marginalizing the Tibetans, Uyghurs, and the rest of their population in the western provinces. I wouldn’t place much credence towards a government that allowed 70 million citizens to starve, has children working in sweatshops, and is responsible for the greatest amount of pollution on Earth. The woman was using a strawman argument. It made no difference when I explained India does well with their own time zone. Her rationale was everyone should be on the same schedule. Finally, I lost patience and told her, “Sure, why not! Hell, while we’re at it, why don’t we all go by Greenwich Meantime worldwide? That way the sun won’t come up in Texas until noon or go down until midnight. They can even use the same schedule in Australia. That way midday in Sydney will actually be midnight while noon is the darkest part of the day. But hey! What do we care as long as the oligarchs get what they want and the whole world functions around their schedule?”