Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confessions of an Aspergian Thespian

Sean Previl, a Canadian college student/singer/actor, has been posting on OS for most of this year now. He has a smattering of followers, who have encouraged him as he ventured out of the safe shelter of a rigidly structured style of posting that would start with a detailed description of his morning rituals - brushing teeth, breakfast, etc - but always included a brief capsule of his daily adventures with a dollop or two of his hopes and dreams and a conclusion of whatever Asperger's symptoms he'd exhibited that day.

His blog style has evolved into a more natural narrative style, which includes more reflection and less boilerplate. Today's post calls for celebration. Sean includes a brief autobiography that gives us a glimpse inside the head of a talented, sociable child struggling through the emotional challenges of getting to know himself and find friends and enjoy life despite the disorder that has frustrated and discouraged many people.

Please check the fellow out. You may be surprised!

Click here for First Day of Summer

Monday, March 29, 2010

Are Those My Civil Rights in Your Pocket...

This is a post I orginally wrote in May 2009. It was something that I felt needed to be said, and seeing as how this issue is still being fought in the courts right now, I wanted to repost.

Humor me for a moment, and let me paint a picture for you. Let’s imagine that we live in a world where everything is reversed, like Bizarro World. Superman is evil, women are the ones in power, and homosexual relationships are the norm. I know, crazy thoughts here! But, stay with me. Imagine that you are heterosexual and you’ve met the most wonderful person…of the opposite sex. The law and society tell you that your love is wrong, that it’s illegal. You have to hide your relationship for fear of being harassed or discriminated against. All around you, you see happy gay couples getting married, having kids, raising families, and living their lives freely. That’s what you want too, but you are continually told you can’t have it. It’s not legal. The church doesn’t recognize it because marriage should be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. That doesn’t seem fair to you. You’re human. You feel you have the right to love whoever you want and have that love returned. Who are all these other people to tell you you can’t marry the person you love. Time passes and acceptance grows for heterosexual relationships. You are less likely to be harassed or discriminated against because of your sexuality, though you still have to be wary in some places. You are given some civil rights for your heterosexual relationship, but it's still treated differently, it’s still not seen as equal. And an extreme group of citizens is running around your state telling people that if we legalize heterosexual marriage, that civilization will come tumbling down around us! So, tell me, just how would you feel?

This is what I have to live with daily.

As happy as I am that Vermont and Iowa have legalized gay marriage, I’m still apprehensive about what will happen in California. Momentum seems to be swinging in the direction of making it legal for ALL people to marry, which is the way it should be. But I know there will always be opposition to gay marriage because there will always be people who don’t feel we are all indeed equal. I’ve heard the various religious arguments and I don’t agree with any of them. In fact, I tend to find them bigoted and irrational. Nevermind that before you can get married in a church, you have to obtain a CIVIL marriage license. Yes, marriage is first and foremost a civil act. You can get married without a church but you can’t legally get married, at least in California, without a civil license. So, cherrypick your bible passages all you want. I can find passages in the bible that support things we would find horrendous now. Like stoning your wife in public if she cheats on you. Or how about having multiple wives? Let’s just take religion out of this issue for a moment. Remember when it was illegal to have interracial marriages? How many of you think that would hold up in court today? But by saying that it’s not legal for gay people to marry, you are saying that we are not equal under the law. You are saying that we do not deserve the same rights as every other citizen in this country. Gee, that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

You can disagree with the idea all you want, but don’t tell me, or any other gay person that wants to marry the person they love, that we can’t do it. The laws that were set forth by the men that founded this country were meant to be a guide for its citizens. As times change, as people change, the laws must also change. And don’t forget that as human beings, we are inherently flawed and shortsighted. If we don’t change with the times, if we don’t evolve, we die, as a society, as a species. I can hear some people out there shouting “But gay people can’t have kids together! If we let all the gays get married, people will stop reproducing!” I actually did hear that as an argument during the Prop 8 campaign. The people who believe that should not reproduce because they are clearly too ignorant to be here.

On the way to work this morning, I heard an interview with Marie Osmond. The host asked her what she thought about gay marriage and I was pleasantly surprised by her answer. She said that people should be able to marry whoever they want. Share a house, a life, kids, finances, with the person they love. We should not spread hatred and that God created all kinds of people for a reason and that we are all equally loved in his eyes. She said that we are all equal and everyone should have the same rights. Thank you, Marie, for being a compassionate and reasonable human being. I wish more people could see this issue as you do. I’ve heard arguments that in California, domestic partnership is “just as good” as marriage. Yes, it does allow many of the same rights as a heterosexual marriage, but it is not “just as good.” The medical benefits I get from my company for my partner are taxed as income. If we were a heterosexual couple, that would not be the case. So don’t stand there and tell me I should be “happy” with what the state so “considerately” offers me and my partner. I’ll be happy when we are afforded the same rights as every other person in this state. I’ll be happy when the country sees fit to make gay marriage legal, and those rights are not limited to just a few states. I’ll be satisfied when we can all come together as a country, as a society, and see that we are all equal and we all deserve the same rights.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NY OS Memorial Weekend Celebratioin




Carousel and Smallest Lake, Hempstead Lake State Park

I have been inspired by SageMerlin's efforts to arrange OS get-togethers. I would like to establish a tradition of a Memorial Day Weekend Party on Long Island, centered at my house.
 I have a four bedroom house on the South Shore of Long Island in Nassau County, with an average-size backyard. I am 40-minute train ride from Penn Station, the railroad hub of NYC.  Penn is two blocks away from the Empire State Building. It would not be difficult to park in my suburban neighborhood.There is a school playground two blocks away.

We have squeezed as many as 65 people in our house.

My idea of domesticity is arranging my books in alphabetical order. Our lawn is entirely native plants, not grass. Once you have been to my house, you will never be embarrassed by your housekeeping standards again.

I am  less than 3 miles away from Hempstead Lake  State Park, which features picnic areas, bike and hiking paths, tennis, fishing, 3 lakes (not for swimming), and a carousel. I am 15 minutes away from Jones Beach, one the the best beaches anywhere.

The hotels/motels around here would be much cheaper than anything in Manhattan. I love to be a guide to Manhattan. I have absolutely no idea how many OS writers live in the New York Metropolitan area. Please either comment on this post or email me at if you want to help me organize it or if you could plan to come.

I want a party, not a convention. I have lots of experience organizing family picnics of my huge extended family. You have to schedule the picnic at the same time each year. Then people can start to arrange their schedule around it. I believe in potluck picnics where no one is in charge of the food and divine inspiration makes it a success.
Please share this invitation with your OS friends in the NYC metropolitan area.

I have set up a blogger blog to coordinate this party.
One of the glories of Blogger is the ability to post polls. Please answer the questions about whether you can come, how many people you will bring with you, and if you want to help organize it. 

The response has been underwhelming. So far I only have about 6 people definitely coming. We can decide which day would be better or we can party for 3 days.  I realize it is short notice to plan something for Memorial Day.  My 65th birthday is in mid-July and my youngest daughter is getting married in mid-August, so later in the summer was not feasible.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You Decide How This Blog Works

I hope we will not descend into groans and lamentations about the cover stories and editor's picks on the ad-driven OS. If this blog is doing will, it should become people's new cover page when they are seeking excellent new posts on OS.

Feel free describe your own best posts. I don't particularly expect OS Superstars to volunteer to be co-authors.

I hope people will find excellent posts that never got the attention they needed or that seem even more relevant now than when they were first posted.

I want to establish a link list to the editor's OS blogs. That is very easily done on Blogger. Please let me know if you don't want to be included for some reason.

I hope people will write posts devoted to their own favorite bloggers. Don't worry about insulting people. I am going to moderate comments and will delete abusive ones.

As administrator, I do have the capacity to edit posts. I will confine myself to making clickable links and testing whether they work.

Make sure you give your posts subject headings (not the recommended blogger's name). I am adding a subject list on the right hand side. I hope you will list yourself as a subject. Then people can look for your posts.

You will notice that Blogger frowns on more than one person posting to the blog at a time. Just wait a few minutes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Everyone Can Be an OS Editor

Maxwell Perkins 

This is the first post from the new OS team blog,  OS Editor--Do You Read These Writers?

OS Editor is a team blog that helps OS members find writers they would enjoy reading, but have not yet discovered. Anyone can ba an OS editor and post their recommendations. One definition of new writer is someone not known to the vast majority of OS readers as indicated by ratings and comments. Feel free to recommend a great post whether the author is popular or not.
The login is oseditor
The password is publiclibrarian
It is cheating to use OS Editor to rate or comment on your own posts.
  • Since OS editor is everyone,  there is no one to answer your private messages.  Equally true, anyone might answer your PM. Don't send PMs.
  • You can email
  •  Post or comment instead or hiding behind  private messaging..
  • Post authors might consider identifying themselves and responding to comments. There is no obligation to do so. 
  • Abusive comments, completely off-topic comments that violate the spirit of this blog, and spam will be deleted without appeal. Please email if you find such abuse.
  • We welcome cross-posting of blog recommendations  you have written in the past. Please check to see if links are still current.
  • Please make this blog a favorite, since blog notifications will never be sent.
  • Everyone forgets to log out once in a while.  No harm done.
 Welcome to an experiment in group blogging. All of us and none of us are responsible for this blog's success. Perhaps this blog will relieve some of the discontent about cover stories and editor's picks.

Streetlights, Nightlights and a Congressman

by Walter Blevins

Part 1: Quiet Night, Nightlight
For some reason I woke up at about 2 a.m. this morning after having dozed off again on the couch. The quietness got my attention. By quiet I mean that there was no traffic noise, no kid noise, just some night birds out on their rounds. So I went out on the balcony to absorb it. I loved the peacefulness of that quiet.

Looking around while breathing in the fresh nighttime air, I noticed something that I first spotted about a month ago. The City of Vista, California where I live is building a new $55 million City Hall (in California they’re called “Civic Centers”). OK, nothing wrong with that because the City has been using an old decrepit elementary school for a City Hall for about 25-30 years.

New City Hall at 3:00 a.m. Turn out the lights!

So what’s bugging me? Well, the new City Hall is about 300 yards in a straight line from my balcony. It’s 3 stories high so I can see it from where I live. Why do the construction people have to leave the lights on in the entire structure 24/7? Can’t someone turn the lights off at night except for necessary security lights? How much is that costing the taxpayers?

Part 2: Dark Tunnel, NoLight
One stinking, lousy streetlight. That’s all I wanted and all I asked for. What I got was a painted line. A painted line is better than nothing. But it doesn’t diminish the darkness.

What the hell am I talking about? Just a little difference of opinion I had with the City of Vista, California where I live. You see there’s this intersection a couple of blocks from where I live. The intersection of South Citrus Ave. and Eucalyptus. It’s 2 blocks from the downtown. There are no streetlights. And at night it’s dark. Real dark. Spooky dark.

I’m consider myself to be a really good driver and this intersection (especially turning right from Eucalyptus to Citrus) is scary. As soon as you start to turn right, the street starts to descend to where you can’t see the right shoulder. You have to know it’s there and how far you can or can’t get over.

Just a stinking, lousy streetlight--Please!

So, I sent an e-mail to the City Street department which got bucked over to the Engineering Department which contacted me to tell me that there wasn’t any money in the budget for a streetlight there but that I was welcome to contact the power company and pay for it myself. Say what? My response that I was referring to public property was met by an offer to paint a white line along the shoulder at the turn to mark it better. OK, better than nothing.

Well, I hadn’t driven through there in a good 6 months until recently. And I had forgotten just how dark it is. It’s dangerous dark to the point where I’m uncomfortable driving it. It’s also dangerous for any pedestrians who might be out at night. And, there’s been at least one mugging there too.

Is it too much to ask for one stinking, lousy street light at this intersection and for the damn city to turn off the lights at the City Hall construction site at night?

Part 3: To My Congressman
Darrell Issa is the Congressman for my district. He lists his address as the city where I live, Vista, California. Rep. Issa was vehemently opposed to the new HealthCare legislation recently passed by Congress.

Now, if and when Rep. Issa is “home” in Vista, I’m sure that he lives in a pretty good neighborhood. (Let’s put it this way, if you’ve ever bought a security alarm for a car, there’s pretty good odds that it’s a “Viper” made by Issa’s company). This guy is, according to Wikipedia, the wealthiest Congressman.

So, I’m guessing that Rep. Issa has rarely, if ever, been into my neighborhood of Vista (it’s an area that my wife described as “semi-barrio” when we first started dating). He’s got his. And his constituents tend to be the affluent Republicans who tend to flock together in this area.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them and all he has to do is keep them happy. The type of people who live in my neighborhood tend to be less likely to vote and less likely to complain. They’re too busy trying to make ends meet.

But, I’ve always had this thought that a Congressman or Legislator or City Council member needs to represent all of his or her constituents (pretty damn na├»ve for someone with a Master’s degree in Political Science, isn’t it).

So here’s my point—it’s an invitation. Congressman, come on over to my apartment. It’s just a half-block off Vista Way and you won’t have to go too far into the Hispanic Townsite neighborhood that the paper invariably refers to as “hardscrabble”.

Let’s hang out on the balcony for about an hour and just observe. I’ll even throw some burgers or sausage on the grill. But, let’s observe the people of this neighborhood. They’re your constituents too. Who are they? What are they?

They’re overwhelmingly brown. They’ve got families. They walk more places than you do because they don’t have much money. Many don’t have cars. The hold their children’s hands as they walk. The little girls look like gorgeous dolls and the boys like mischievous rascals. You can sense and feel the love they’re given. Love has nothing to do with economics. Except that if you don’t have much to give, you can still give love—it’s inexhaustible.

The teens are typical and normal. Even though they might not have much, they’ve got i-Pods and cell phones. Someone sacrificed to get them too. It’s not like a lot of other neighborhoods were there is no economic sacrifice and people have plenty.

So this is our neighborhood. Notice the young Moms with toddlers who are pregnant again. I wonder what kind of health insurance they’ve got? I wonder what kind of pre-natal care they’re getting.

Come on over, Rep. Issa. We won’t make a big press deal out of it or anything—that’s not the point. Just observe (no entourage or security). And maybe you can wander out and talk to a few. Find out what’s on their minds. Don’t worry, most speak English. It’s cool to listen to the kids going to school or coming home seamlessly switching back and forth from English to Spanish all the while sounding like what they are—kids.

And after you hang out for a bit, head on back to Shadowridge Country Club. Maybe some of the guys there who are trimming the bushes live in my neighborhood. And maybe, you’ll be able to understand just a little bit better.

Come on over, Rep. Issa. Just for an hour.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I am always excited when I get a message that someone I don't know has made me a favorite. I immediately go to their blog and make them a favorite. I figure we have much in common since we both appreciate me. Lately I have discovered so many new writers whose posts I now regularly enjoy.  That's how I was lucky enough to discover UberDorkGirlie who first posted on Marc 20.

UberDorkGirlie's blog is Life in Monkeyland--Random Babblings of an Uber Dork

Bio: "You have stumbled upon the new blog (i.e. random babblings) of a quirky single mom. A shoot-from-the-hip, anti-pink (yet almost gaggingly perky), non-traditional, can cuss like a sailor but loves insanely and has the save the world syndrome gal who is bracing for a future as a Crazy Cat Lady though she secretly hopes like hell it doesn't come true. Enjoy your stay and feel free to say hi- I don't bite. Well, unless we're dating and you are into that type of thing or you contain peanut butter. >;-) I will knit for tattoos."

Latest Post:  I'm Allergic to Ammonia and Mismatched Russian Stacking Dolls.

Approximately 13 minutes into third period, Mr. C’s accelerated chemistry class knew I was wearing red and black plaid bikini underwear. Yup. Good times. I was proudly perched on my lab stool eagerly ready to learn when he began demonstrating the lesson. As soon as the smell hit me… thunk. That was the day I found out I was allergic to ammonia. And that my face is capable of turning the exact shade of red in that damn plaid underwear. It took until fifth period for news of my underwear sighting to properly reach the whole school. It took until winter before I would wear a short skirt again. With tights. THICK ONES.

Impersonating the Elderly

I recommend this post by blogger Nancy Sinsheimer

Wanted: OS Editors

This new blogger blog, OS Editor's Picks, is an alternative to Open Salon's cover page and editor's picks. 100 co-authors can participate.

Email to receive an invitation.

Too often newcomers join Open Salon, post a few times, are ignored, and leave before we knew they were there. To them it must seem we spend more time squabbling with one another than reading people we don't already know.

Not only newcomers get lost. Many excellent writers have been posting for months or years and never been discovered except by a few loyal readers. Serious posts are neglected while frivolous ones attract huge ratings.

Writers should not be bashful or modest. Co-authors should link to their own best posts, and commenters should share their links.