FOUR FILMS PARENTS NEED TO SHOW THEIR KIDS (while they’re still kids)

The Four Essential Classics That Children Need To See Before They Grow Up (in chronological order)

Wizard-of-Oz

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

Based on the book by L.Frank Baum, this is one of those movies where the script has been memorized by millions of all ages over the years:

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Who can ever forget the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild welcoming Judy Garland – Dorothy – to Munchkinland after that big tornado dropped her house there?

Or Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, considered along with Star Wars’ Darth Vader as the greatest villain in movie history?

More than anything else, Wizard of Oz teaches kids about how important home and family is; here’s Dorothy, whisked by a cyclone to a colorful place with a talking scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion who end up being her close friends, and all she wants to do is to get home to her Auntie Em and her Uncle Henry in rural Kansas.

So much so that she spends all her time in Oz trying to do just that, all while trying to avoid a witch that Lord Voldemort would be interested in taking for his bride.

It all goes to show that at the end of the day, there really is “no place like home”.

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YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968)

I remember – very fondly I may add – seeing this cartoon feature on TV as a five-year old, as it turned out to be the ideal introduction to the greatest musical act of all time, the Beatles.

If you, as a parent, want to expose to and teach your children about these four great men from Liverpool, you need to start by showing them this film.

Based on a song from the 1966 Revolver album, this movie showed the Fab Four going in a (of course) yellow submarine to a fantasy-type place called Pepperland to face the evil Blue Meanies, eventually driving them out with their music.

Although that was the gist of the plot, it was the songs such as the title track, “All Together Now” and “All You Need Is Love”, as well as the message of love always conquering hate, that makes this more than worthwhile for children to see, along with the colorful and very psychedelic animation.

And we even get to see the real life John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in a little snippet at the end.

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WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)

Second only to that Yellow Brick Road, this is a solid number two on my list of all-time best movies for youngsters.

Based on Roald Dahl’s book, Willy Wonka not only teaches kids about the underdog overcoming the odds in the form of Charlie Bucket, but it also shows how not to behave in the form of fat slob Augustus Gloop (I’ve always thought that the character of Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter was based on him), gum-chewing smart mouth Violet Beauregard, TV freak Mike Teevee,

And the ultimate mega-super spoiled brat Veruca Salt, who four and a half decades later still annoys me so much that every time I catch the film on TV or put in the video, I want to jump into the screen, tell her to shut the heck up and smack her upside the head.

With kids like those, it’s extremely easy to root for good-hearted Charlie and his Grandpa Joe.

And you find yourself cheering when he ends up inheriting the factory from Willy, spectacularly played by Gene Wilder.

That, the lessons given and Charlie’s ultimate triumph are what makes this a classic.

Some may prefer the 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp, saying it’s truer to the original book.

But in my view there’s nothing like the original.

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PETER PAN (2003)

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, especially considering the more well-known musical starring Mary Martin in the 1950s and Cathy Rigby in the 1990s.

Not to mention Walt Disney’s animated version of the flying boy with tights who refuses to grow up from 1953.

However…

There were a myriad of problems with that play and that cartoon, most notably the fact that Martin and Rigby were forty-something year old women playing a ten-year old boy, with Martin being far too effeminate in her portrayal of Peter.

While the portrayal of the Native Americans in both the Martin and Disney versions were so blatantly racially stereotyped and bigoted, making it a Birth of a Nation with Indians instead of African-Americans, it was truly a miracle that the different Native American tribes didn’t sue the producers to oblivion.

As such, this live action version of the James M. Barrie tale is to me the best version ever made, predominantly due to the fact that unlike the musical, the Peter in this film is played by Jeremy Sumpter, an actual boy!

And unlike the Wendys in the Martin and Rigby versions, Rachel Hurd-Wood was actually a 12-year old girl when this movie was shot, chalking up another point for realism.

Adding to all of that, Jason Issacs’ Captain Hook was truly sinister, not buffoonish like in the musical and particularly the cartoon.

Plus it emphasized a first-love angle between Wendy and Peter, more than in the others, that I really liked; the kiss that she gave him on Hook’s ship was the best first kiss I have ever seen on the big screen.The dilemma that Wendy struggled with on whether or not to grow up while in Neverland was well-played, too.

In short, this 2003 feature was the most realistic and true to the original play and book of all the Peter Pan productions over the decades.

That’s why I would show this version over all the others if I were a parent.

For all those moms and dads out there who disagree with me on this assessment, let me suggest showing this Peter Pan along with the musical and the cartoon, and letting them be the judge.

There you have it – my list of essential films that youngsters should see while they are youngsters.

Though I freely admit that this list is strictly my opinion, I’m confident that there are many people – parents and otherwise – who would agree with this list.

I’m also sure that there are those who would conversely disagree, and that’s okay.

However, whether or not they concur with these choices or prefer other kids’ movies, it must be acknowledged that these four are true classics.

Which is all that I am saying.

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Treating Autistics Right: Something I Saw That’s So Poignant

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Eloquently put…

 

I recently came across an online article that appeared on a website called autistichoya.com.

The piece was named “15 Things You Should Never Say To An Autistic”, and although I technically have Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning version of Autism that doesn’t typically feature classic symptoms like stimming, each one of those fifteen things were so poignant and true that I feel I have to share them here:

1.  “So what’s it like being retarded?”

Talk about rude!

2.  “You should be very proud of yourself. You seem so normal. I couldn’t tell that you’re Autistic.”

Having been mainstreamed into neurotypical (non-disabled) society and particularly into the workforce since the age of six, I get this all the time.

3.  “You must be very high-functioning”

I get that all the time too, nearly every time I mention having AS

4.  “You’re not like my child; you can write a blog post. My child will never be able to write a blog post.”

5.  “I know a kid whose autism is really severe. You don’t seem like him.”

I’ve gotten that said to me quite a bit as well in my adult life.

6.  “Can you have sex?”

A really personal, rude, none-of-your-business type question in my opinion that wouldn’t be asked of a non-Autistic.

7.  “Does that mean you’re really good at math/computers/numbers?”

Talk about a stereotype; that’s like asking an African-American if he’s really good at basketball.

8.  “But you’re married/have a job/go to college. You couldn’t do that if you were really Autistic.”

9.  “Do you take any medications for that?”

10.  “You have no right to speak for severely Autistic people who can’t speak for themselves.”

11.  “Can you please not flap/rock/spin/jump in public? It’s embarrassing.”

A case of what is called ableism; which is like racism or sexism only it’s directed at those with disabilities; asking a question like that is like asking a cat not to meow or a dog not to bark.

12.  “You mean you are a person with autism. You are a person first, not a disability or a disorder label.”

13.  “What’s it like to be Autistic?”

Another dumb question IMO.

14.  “Have you ever heard of Temple Grandin? Her books are really amazing!”

That’s like asking someone black if he’s ever heard of Oprah Winfrey. Just like Oprah, as great as she is, doesn’t represent the entire African-American community, Temple, a renowned college professor with a HBO movie about her to her credit, does NOT represent the entire autistic community

15.  (Asking a question about an Autistic person to a parent, support person, aide, sibling, or friend who is standing or sitting beside the Autistic person)

Again, a really rude thing to do that wouldn’t be done at all with neurotypicals.

The point I’m trying to make is this:

All of these questions are the mark of someone with insensitive behavior who does not understand autistics.

Not understanding those with Autism is not a crime in and of itself; I was once told that up until the 1960s, autistics and those with other mental/emotional disabilities like Down’s Syndrome were sent to state hospitals – institutionalized – at an early age and were never seen again, spending the rest of their lives out of the public’s sight due to the then-common belief that it would be impossible for them to make it in a mainstream world.

However, this is what aspies, particularly high functioning ones like myself, have to face at times.

And this article conveys that perfectly.

That’s all I am saying.

To check out the full article, here’s the link:

 

http://www.autistichoya.com/2012-02-15-things-you-should-never-say-to.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is The Quest For Full Civil Rights and Brotherhood Failing In America?

 

 

 

 

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Our nation’s President making a commemoration speech at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, AL on the 50th anniversary of the March from that point to Montgomery

 

Policemen getting away with murdering young unarmed Black men like Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

Fraternities singing graphically bigoted songs; does anyone think that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma is the only Greek Letter organization that partakes in that sort of thing? FAR from it!

A fraternity at the University of Washington jeering and throwing things at a parade of people protesting the goings on at Oklahoma.

The young African-American student at the University of Virginia that was recently beaten up by cops.

A ten-year old white girl writing to her Black friend that her father wouldn’t allow her to attend her birthday party because of the color of her skin.

Various courts undermining details of a 1965 Voting Rights Act that so many people marched, were jailed, and died for.

Continued racial profiling and traffic stops for the crime of “Driving While Black”.

Continued hostilities over the fact that the President of the United States for the past six years has been a man of color.

Personally reading the most brutally racist comments at the end of online articles covering racial issues or incidents.

Considering these and other tensions stemming from race, ethnicity and culture, I believe I’m justified in wondering if the 150-year quest (I’m dating it to the end of the Civil War and the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, in 1865) for true equality, love, and brotherhood in America is failing.

If Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a nation where one is judged by the “…content of their character” is rapidly on its way to being over and lost, if not already such.

All of this reminds me of two things that I once read, the first one being this:

“…black and white players on a whole talk differently, walk differently, listen to different music, drive different cars, and even dress differently…these differences breed mistrust.”

Tim Green, a former player in the National Football League, wrote this in his book The Dark Side of the Game to describe race relations in his league.

He was talking about an entity where one would think that things are all hunky-dory, given that over 60% of the NFL’s players are African-American.

So one can easily imagine what things can be and – from what I’ve seen as of late – are in regular society.

Personally, I would have added this to what Green wrote:

“These differences breed discomfort, which breeds mistrust.”

That, I feel, is a main root of all these tensions and incidents, the fact that as one approaches adulthood, they have a tendency to – socially and otherwise – gravitate to others based on what they have in common, base their friendships on such.

Race and culture is among those bases.

Not that I’m implying – at all – that I approve of this, but that’s the cold, hard truth.

As is the fact that there will be always a segment of Caucasians of European descent who will always see Blacks – and other people of color for that matter – as inferior beings whom should never be near where they are, whether in neighborhoods, schools, or anywhere else.

The book Friday Night Lights, depicting a high school football team in West Texas and the social life and nuances of the town that fanatically supports them, illustrates this concept quite well in that nearly all of the town’s whites, who hold very conservative views regarding virtually everything there is to hold views on, commonly regard to black as “N*****s”

And think nothing of it as according to author H.G. Bissinger:

“In (whites’) minds it didn’t imply anything, didn’t indicate they were racist, didn’t necessarily mean they disliked blacks at all. Instead, as several…explained it, there were actually two races of blacks…the hardworking ones who…didn’t try to cut corners…And then there were the loud ones, the lazy ones, the ones who…every time they were challenged to do something claimed they were the helpless victims of white racism.”

 

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At a Ferguson protest; as for the sign, I couldn’t have said it better…

 

Another telling passage from the book concerning this issue:

“What was wrong with the use of that word (n*****)? Wasn’t that what they were? Let a judge shove school desegregation down their throats. Let the federal government have all the free handout programs it wanted. It wasn’t going to change the way they (whites) felt.”

A restaurant owner in that area describes his opinion of blacks bluntly:

“…I live (in my neighborhood) because I want to live with people like me and I don’t want kids bused in from the black side of town…Mexico’s nothing but a big god***n pigpen.”

And in an editorial from this town’s newspaper during the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement:

“If there are those who insist on integrated schools, let them. Those who prefer all-white schools, or all-black schools, likewise should be allowed to exercise their choice.”

The worst part of all of this is that these views were voiced in the late 1980s, when the book was written.

And more importantly, judging from recent events these views are still alive and well a decade and a half into the 21st century, not only in West Texas,

Not only all over these United States,

But throughout the world; check out the reports of soccer fans in Europe making monkey noises and throwing bananas at black players sometime.

And lets not ever forget the dark days of apartheid in South Africa that ended just over twenty years ago.

It all comes down to one thing, that I honestly feel that Dr. King and his Civil Rights associates may have overlook in their struggle:

REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY MARCHES, SIT-INS, LAWS OR “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECHES, YOU CANNOT FORCE BROTHERHOOD OR ACCEPTANCE OF A RACE OR CULTURE ON SOMEONE WHO HAS NO INTEREST IN IT.

I reckon some who are reading this may be thinking that I’m blanketing all whites with regard in how African-Americans, Latinos, and other people of color are viewed.

Let me firmly state that nothing can be further from the truth, as I know full well that in the forty years since Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, things have gotten much better in society as integrated neighborhoods, romantic relationships and marriages are at an all-time high.

And thanks to what the Civil Rights Movement accomplished, I have never seen a “Whites Only” sign anywhere, nor have I ever had to sit in the back of a bus or have been denied service at a store or a restaurant or anywhere else.

But racist experiences has not eluded me as I was called the n-word as a little boy, racially profiled in my 20s and 30s, and although the prospective employer said that it was because someone “asked first” denied one job in particular clearly because of the color of my skin.

So at the end of the day, the question remains:

Is the quest for full civil rights and brotherhood along racial and cultural lines failing in America?

Lots of folks would say no to that question, considering all the incidents.

As for me, the only thing that come to my mind is this:

I certainly hope not, because it would mean an extreme sense of heartbreak and an ultimate sense of losing if this century-and-a half quest indeed fails.

 

 

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A symbolic protest against SAE’s actions at the University of Oklahoma; encouraging to see whites involved as well as African-Americans

 

 

 

What I Would Do If I Won Millions In The Lottery

 

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Like countless others who are not named Bill Gates or Warren Buffett (or even Oprah Winfrey), being someone who is quite far from rich, I have thought about this a great deal.

I’ll try not to take too long with regards to how I would spend my fortune if I heard all my numbers called on the evening news, or if the Publisher’s Clearing House came to my door with a TV camera and one of those giant checks announcing that I have won $5,000 a week for life:

1. PAY OFF MY DEBTS

That should go without saying.

I won’t specify what kind of debts I have as quite frankly, that is no one’s business.

But rest assured, the first thing that would happen upon finding myself in the millionaire’s club would be to instantly become debt-free.

2. BUY REAL ESTATE

Right at the beginning of the 1939 movie classic “Gone With The Wind”,  Scarlett O Hara’s father is with her at their Tara plantation explaining to Miss Scarlett how land is “…the only thing worth fighting for, worth dying for…because it’s the only thing that lasts.”

I agree with that, which is why I would not only buy a place in my condominium complex, but also land in a rural area where I could build a house like the one I spent my early childhood in.

My happiest childhood memories were spent at my grandparents’ home in a rural area outside of Riverside, CA (if you are related to me you know where I’m taking about), and I suppose I would be trying to recreate that atmosphere.

Besides, with property values often rising over time, buying land and homes is a good investment.

3.  DONATE

How selfish would I be if I didn’t make any donations to worthy causes if given the ability or chance?

The two main entities I would give money to would be to agencies that help the homeless, as that in my opinion is the top problem in the greater Los Angeles area, where I have lived for nearly forty years, and to my collegiate alma mater as a gesture of thanks for how I was influenced by them and to help support such institution.

4.  MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR RELATIVES / FRIENDS WHO NEED FINANCIAL HELP

I once heard someone say that a person who wins the lottery should immediately go and hide, in order to avoid the numerous family members, friends, acquaintances and strangers pretending to be friends and acquaintances who would inevitably be holding their hands out.

Which is often the quickest way for a lottery winner to go broke.

Personally speaking, to hide would be a show of selfish non-gratefulness and would probably cause bitter feelings among loved ones, so here’s how I would avoid that while taking care of those who truly need taking care of…

I would start a foundation or a trust fund where anyone who wants money from me would have to go to and apply for funds, subject for my approval.

There would definitely be a cap on how much could be taken from the foundation/trust fund, in order to prevent people from treating me like I was a walking Bank of America.

And of course I would not use accountants or lawyers or anybody else to handle my money; I have heard about such folks stealing from the lottery winner and leaving them penniless too many times as the only person I would trust with my newfound fortune would be the person I see when I look in the mirror.

By using this approach I’d avoid being the subject of supermarket tabloid headlines like “Lottery Winner Goes Broke As His Accountant Steals All His Money”.

5. TRAVEL

I know I’m not unlike more or less every other lottery winner in this area, but as I have never been anywhere east of Chicago – never ventured outside of the United States for that matter –  it would be a complete waste of an opportunity to not take advantage of my newfound wealth to go to places that I have always wanted to go to, crossing that off my “bucket list”.

That’s about the gist of my plans for my lottery winnings, which realistically I have as much a chance of actually realizing as I did of dating Nia Peeples or Phoebe Cates during my high school years.

Or Jennifer Lopez today.

Oh well…as one always says when it comes to things like this:

“One can dream”

 

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If this is what a million dollars looks like, there must either be a LOT more money not seen here or the pile must be at least eight feet high

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Update on “MY ASPIE LIFE”

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A nice picture I wanted to include; I don’t know if this lady has Asperger’s or not, but the word coming to mind when looking at it (at least to me) is “Introspect” 

 

Briefly updating the progress of my book “MY ASPIE LIFE: Living With Asperger’s Syndrome in a Neurotypical World”

 

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed how my book, a book that will detail my struggles of being on the Autism Spectrum in a society/culture that not geared toward that population – in other words, being mainstreamed – has been progressing as far as writing it, so I thought I would give a brief update:

As I may have mentioned, I finished chapter ten, which is the second of two consecutive chapters regarding my failures in the mainstream workforce as an employee, just after the beginning of the year; my shortcomings in the workplace were so many that much like reliving my mostly bad high school experiences, giving a recount of (almost) all of my social screw-ups at work required two chapters.

I’ve been considering what I wanted chapter 11, which is to be the final chapter, to focus on; I’m leaning toward discussing the different social faux-pas that I have committed in recent years, a time when I – and I suppose a lot of folks, particularly neurotypicals (non-disabled people) – thought that being in my forties, the days of saying and doing weird, inappropriate, inflammatory, and just plain stupid and childish things would be over and finished with for good.

That, sadly, has not been the case as I have found myself verbally screwing up on quite a few occasions, notably when I get the feeling of being interacted with in a condescending manner by different people.

I also want to end the chapter with a sense of personal hope as there has been certain events that have led me to gain maturity, self-confidence and a better sense of inner calm.

And I also plan to write a brief epilogue which will probably talk about how my life is at the present time, what my situations are and the state of me in general.

Because I have been very busy with my new sports fan site/blog, SoCal Sports Annals, and other personal endeavors, along with not being exactly certain of the approach I want to take in the chapter’s beginning, I unfortunately haven’t been able to make a chapter 11 outline or begin a rough draft, but I am determined to get started on that this month, if not this week.

The reason? It’s quite straightforward…

My ultimate plans to have “MY ASPIE LIFE” finished and published (self-published, as my desires to NOT send my book to publishers only to get rejected) by mid-July – in time for my 30th high school reunion – has not changed as I want to have the book done by the time I reunite with the people who I spent my formative years with, some of them whom I have known since the age of nine.

It would certainly be an accomplishment, I think anyone would agree with that.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds as for all intents and purposes, “MY ASPIE LIFE” is coming into the home stretch.

I’ll be sure to let everyone know when the book is done…