Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Notes From A Newsroom Pt. 6--Food

(Remember all these people below, and in all the other entries before, wrote in expecting that a TV show would take up their cause. To me that is the best part of this whole thing. And here we bring our "book" to a close with all the things people wrote in about food.)


Why does everyone want to sue? Besides, didn’t you see “Supersize Me”


I recently went to McDonald’s and purchased a #7 from the breakfast menu. After receiving my food I went home to enjoy my purchase. While I was eating my sandwich I discovered a headless roach in it. The roach seemed as if it was cooked along with my food and I bit its head off. Help me. What can be done? Can this be a possible law suit?


Another one who missed “Supersize Me.”


I recently went ot McDonald’s and purchased a #7 from the breakfast menu. After receiving my food I went home to enjoy my purchase. While I was eating my sandwhich I discovered a head-less roach in it. The roach seemed as if it was cook along with my good and I bit its Head off.


Hey guys? Maybe we could all just skip the Mickey D’s for a while?

I have a problem with a McDonald’s in the Bronx. On Saturday March 5, 2005 at around 8.25 in the morning I ordered a Big breakfast deluxe meal. I started eating the meal and almost half through the meal I notice something black in my mean which turned out to be Rats Feces. I have the food from tha tday in my freezer and I have pictures of the meal. I had to go to the emergency room because I had diarhea and was vomitting up.


Ants are a delicacy is certain parts of the world; I’m not sure where but that place exists.


I went to Haagen Daz to enjoy a delicious treat… I bought a cone with sprinkles that comes already prepared. To find that as I was pealing off the wrapper of my delicious treat and finish it off, millions of little ants came crawling out. I still feel sick. No one was able to help me. They did not even give me my money back! Please help!


Wait, this guys is upset that he didn’t eat more of this hot pocket?


I had brought a hot pocket from pathmark and I found a rodent tooth in it. It really made me sick to my stomach I didn’t eat no more after I found the tooth in it. I only had like two bites before I came across the tooth.

Notes From A Newsroom Pt. 5--Celebrities

(Here the various viewers of my friend's TV news show wrote in about their celebrity obsessions.)


Kid, you lost us at “Hanson.”


I am a really big fan of Hanson and they were recently in a law suit. they lost and the judge said they have to give up 6 of their songs to the record label. I want to make a patition to get them back their six songs because I believe it is unconstitutional to have to give them up. If you call me I could explain this a lot better.


Ridiculous and pathetic…knowing is half the battle.


Okay, I realize that this is a LONG shot, but I figure I have nothing to loose. The internet, and email in general, are VERY powerful tools. My objective is to HOPEFULLY meet Mr. Mike Piazza by the end of the year. I am seeking to obtain my objective by emailing this link to everyone I know, and then some; perhaps EVENTUALLY it will get the attention of someone who could make it happen. I acknowledge how ridiculous and pathetic this seems – and yet it is that notion that I hope to capitalize on. For example if this were presented to say, Rosie O’Donnell (hint, hint), she may think I am SO pathetically desperate that she’d feel compelled to put me out of my misery. Stranger things have happened.

At this point you’re vacillating between “Is this chick out of her mind?!”, and “Umm, don’t you have anything better to do with you time?” The answer to both is ‘Yes.’ I am slightly cuckoo at times, have plenty to do (single Mom of a 12-year-old, work full time, ect.), and many more goals to achieve . But I also believe that if you TRULY want to achieve a goal (silly or not), YOU have to make it happen. So here is my attempt, and it will only ‘work’ if people (friends, family strangers, weather men….) participate. All you have to do is “pass it on”. Come on! Haven’t you ever had a dream? Been a fan? Wanted desperately to meet the object of your fanaticism? What did YOU do about it? I am making a conscious effort here and I need your help.)

I traveled approximately 3,400 miles last year to attend two Met games in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the man himself. Wouldn’t you know he wasn’t on the roster for either game? And being from Boston, the chances are pretty slim that I’ll be attending a Met game this year. Perhaps now you can see why I am using the internet as an avenue!

I acknowledge how ‘off the wall’ this is. And while I encourage positive feedback, helpful and creative suggestions and ideas, I ask that you refrain from forwarding and negative criticism, as I am not really hurting anyone by launching my “campaign”. Hee hee.
Thank you for your help and wish me luck.


May The Force be with you…to find something meaningful to do with your life.


On behalf of all the Star Wars fans especially now that May 19 the new Episode 3 film is coming up would want to know why Sony Online Entertainment ignored us, lied to us and took the very game that we all love and destroyed it…

We told Sony we did not like it, they just ignored us and said everything will be alright, they even erased our post against it in the forums and banned us taking away our freedom of speech. That’s why right now, for the first time, all members are coming to gather rebels and imps to go against the dreaded Sony Online Entertainment. We come to you for help so Sony can finally hear our voice.


Just so we’re clear you only have ONE Liver and you need it to live.


Help me. I just found out that Barry White is in need of a liver. I want to find out if I can help Mr. Barry White. I will give up one of my livers for him. Please help me find out if I can. Mr. Barry White has to live on and so does his music. I love him, I will give up a liver for him.


Put your kid to bed earlier and don’t blame us when your kid finds out you’ve been lying to them for years.


On Saturday, Dec. 21st at 11pm myself, my wife and my 7 year old daughter are watching “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Well you should have put up a warning notice that this show contains information that there really is not a Santa Claus! My daughter was very upset watching this show. By the time we shut it off it was too late. Maybe you should help out your network and show them to be a little considerate of who is watching your network.


Umm, maybe we could host a telethon? And are these people French?


Hi H,

Hope all is well. We are not asking for your help for us. We are asking your help for Jerry Lewis, of whom we have been fans virtually our entire lives (please remember this throughout.)

His appearance is alarming. In his piece he said he was 50 pounds overweight, blaming the steroids/prednizone that he’s taking (for pulmonary fibrosis?). And that, with all sincere respect, is pure bovine scatology, used as a justification for the weight gain, NOT in his best interests.

For Jerry’s sake, and others like him, you can’t let this celebrity get away with that “cause” excuse unchallanged. That is tacit affirmation of inacurate information. There is only one excuse for anyone gaining, and maintaining, that amount of excess weight especially ... and it is not from lack of exercise either. We hope you can help him.

Notes From A Newsroom Pt. 4--One Liners/Bellevue

Below are contained the emails and letters from viewers that were either really short or just plain nuts.



This isn’t the Dr. Ruth show and we don’t do stories on common occurrences anyway.


My girlfriend is pregnant and won’t give me sex.


100mg of Prozac, as may times a day as necessary.


Can you please tell me how to remove electronic mind control technology?


A question that has stumped scientists for years…

I’m asking you why does cafeteria food stink so badly??


Well it’s better than being a pig…


Help I am a lamb.






Pal, we’re journalists! Why? Because we’re terrible at math!


help me with math work.


Thanks for SHARing

Why can’t more people learn and adapt SHARE attitudes?

What channels are you watching, anyway? And why can’t we get those?


Direct TV is jerking me around.



Doctors give out medication for a reason, don’t stop taking it all on your own.

I really hope you can help me with my problem. Its going to sound quite bizarre if you’re not familiar with it but here goes. My name is Elina XXXXX XXXXXX and I live in Bloomfield, NJ. I don’t know if you recognize the name but I’m the person you and every other news anchor on every station looks at while presenting the news on air. This is something I’ve had to figure out on my own but I really need for someone to explain why I’m being looked at. I’ve kept these thoughts to myself and it feels like I’m living a double life. Keeping them secret is ruining my life even though I’ve had to do that so that I won’t be perceived as crazy. I hope you won’t consider me crazy. I’m not sure if you’re at liberty to talk to me but I would really appreciate if you could. I don’t know who else to turn to. I’m not hoping that you air this problem but after watching your last segment on how you helped a girl receive her Dad’s kidney even though he was in jail I feel hopeful that you won’t disappoint me. Thanks in advance.


Lay off the psychedelics, the 60s were over a long time ago.


There is proof of an after life, and proof of higher energetic existence. I live in such a way everyday. Proof of such an existence of Spirits is found within oneself. Many people look for physical proof with physical means. This will only get you physical proof. I will be glad to pass to you an experience of energy in a way you have probably not felt before.


You should have made that left at Albuquerque!


Looking for metaphysical Margot who passed through New Mexico last year. Margot, if you see this please click the link to contact me. If someone reads this who knows her please contact me.


What the F….? It makes me wonder how much time is spent by the NSA wiretap program reading e-mails like this?


The people that I see when I’m sleeping are very nice. I sent an e-mail to them that what they do is amazing…they are really cool. They are the cast of the TV program Friends…Love them!

I also sent an e-mail asking….why is it that we don’t have privacy? Also if they can help us because this is a family and we need our privacy. Also I need to take a class at the Long Island University. That was the reason I saw a counselor. They said that I caqn take the class to complete. Also I need to take some courses for the program that I’m and those courses are available online. We have the right of privacy.


Oh, so now we know who to blame for “Cats.”

From: Christopher

What I am about to say in this letter is so incredible, it sounds unbelievable. But, it is the absolutely true. I have been the victim of a conspiracy for some twenty years. It began around 1980 when I met a woman who worked in a midtown Manhattan Bar. I began to talk about movies, plays, songs, and television programs. I told her my ideas and somehow she was able to make movies, plays, songs and television programs from my ideas. It did not happen all at once, but over some period of years.

I said to her “There should be a play about Cats.” And a play called “Miss Saigon ... a love story.” And “Phantom of the Opera” based on the horror story.

Then there were the movies: I thought of the names for: American Gigalo, Big, Back to the Future, Crocodile Dundee, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Footloose, Good Morning Vietnam, Earth Girls are Easy, Forrest Gump, Lost Boys. Risky Business, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Stayin’ Alive, Union City (starring Deborah Harry of Blondie, shot in my hometown, and an epic love story remake of Titanic.

Some of the television programs: Ally McBeal, BayWatch, a sitcom with Jerry Seinfeld. Xena, I made up the name, about a woman warrior in ancient times.

Then there were the songs: the group Blondie were friends with this woman, and she gave the the ideas I had for most of their hits. Atomic, Call Me, Heart of Glass and Union City Blue, a song Deborah Harry wrote about me. I know Deborah Harry was a friend of this woman who I only knew by her nick name “Dondi.”

I want to get the recognition and royalties for these ideas for movies, plays, songs and television programs. But as I have no written proof, I am unable to prove my claims to sue Dondi and Deborah Harry for “conspiracy to defraud me.” So I hope you can help me contact Deborah Harry and see if she will admit finally that she did defraud me of my rights to royalties for most of her hit songs. I thank you.


Our elected leaders will be pleased to learn this is the biggest problem in Washington.



Notes From A Newsroom Pt. 3--Animals


I don’t know the average life span of a guinea pig but I’m sure five years is enough. I think it’s time for a lesson in natural selection.


I am writing on behalf of Mrs. Gilman’s second grade class at P.S. 193Q. We have a 5 year old guinea pig named Fudge who is sick and in need of medical assistance. We searched locally for a vet who was willing to donate his time but was unsuccessful. Fudge had a tumor surgically removed 3 years ago. Sadly, the tumor has returned. If Fudge doesn’t receive proper medical attention soon, her future doesn’t look bright. Our hope is that if our situation receives some publicity, a vet who is willing to donate his time and talents may come forward. Fudge has lived in Mrs. Gilman’s class her entire life. She has munched her way into the hearts of not only the children, but most of the staff. We are hoping you can help.


Ewe, gross. I think I’ll pass on this one.

Hi, I don’t want to appear on TV or have my name broadcast but could you investigate internet websites that show sex between animals and humans? This is sick and I don’t like to see those things. I told the ASPCA about this but they told me to tell you guys. I want to see those sick bastards in jail!


We hate clichés but you have to let a dead dog lie. Six years is my cutoff for looking for carcasses.


(Date of e-mail: April 14th, 2005)
On May 10, 1998 in the early 2-3am hours my dog was killed on 8th Ave. and 29th St. It was a hit and run. My dogs’ body was never found. The car continued to drive away with my dog trapped…I was in extreme shock. I contacted the police… They drove me around and I could not find his body. My roommate’s boyfriend who is deaf went out looking. I posted signs, I called shelters and vets. I tried to get a story but Frank Sinatra died soon after and nobody would print it. I know this is years later and that you probably can’t do anything, but I always harbor hope to find someone out there to find his body.

Hey, c’mon lady, the dog’s working!


I would like to now if a Police Officer can let their Work Dog go to the bathroom in front of your apartment door & leave it there for you to clean it up even though you asked him to clean it up, he walks off & gets in the car, laughs then leave, is there a way to get him in trouble for that?


Ever see a cat skeleton in a tree? Didn’t think so.


we need help getting a cat out of a tree in brooklyn that’s been there for 5 days. Nobody will help.


Hey, people! Maybe these cats are just avoiding you!


My cat is stuck on the roof. My family tried to get her down but the roof is just too high. My cat has been up there for three days.

Notes From A Newsroom Pt. 2--Medical Mysteries

(Reminder: These are all from real letters (remember those?) and emails received by my friend when he worked at a TV station.)


You can only loose your virginity once, by definition, and time travel hasn’t been invented yet.

About a year back my ex-boyfriend saw a program on TV I can’t really remember what channel he saw it on but I think it was 2020 but anyway there was this doctors office on Forrest Ave. that the doctor says he could give a woman back her virginity so he gave me the number and I call them to make an appointment to talk to the doctor a month before I did the surgery he told me that the surgery was common and that he had a lot of celebrity clients and that there would be no side effects I asked him if I could speak to any of his clients about it and he told me it was confidential but he did let me speak to his assistant because she herself had it so she told me that it was ok that her husband was happy and that I should do it so I said ok and put a payment of $1000 then I pay the balance on the day of the surgery which cost me $2000 plus $160 for blood test so after surgery I had to wait 30 days before I could do anything he told me the pain was only going to last 5 days I was in bed 14 days taking pain killers so I called him back and he told me to take twice the amount that I’m supposed to then I know something was not right about this man but anyway I had an appointment with him in 30 days I went back so he told me that I was free to have sex now so 4 days after I had sex with my boyfriend my vergina was the same as before so I call him and he told me to come in then he told me to wait another 30 days for it to fully heal he say every female is different some take longer to heal than others so again I listen to this fool so after 30 days was up I went back he told me everything is ok now I had sex again and I had the same result as before so I call and call and call he never return my call so I went there he told me if I want that he would do it over and that I only have to pay $500 so I said no! no more money I am giving you beside that I don’t want to do anything over so he told me to leave and good luck so I call a lawyer now I’m asking you for help I’m 21 years old and I don’t know what this guy did to me please help me I have no where else to turn.


Just because you see it on TV doesn’t mean you should try it at home.
From: (and his friend Cecil)
Seeking justice due to HBO over stepping the lines of sexual content in a television program. (graphic male intercourse) during primetime television. Please help, seeking medical attention.

Sad story but I think there are too many problems here which go beyond my ability to fix.


I started a case with Social Security Disability. To sum it up, my paper work was sent to the appeals council in Virginia in June 2004… I started this case with two legs and ten toes. I now have one leg cut off below the knee, the other leg is missing all the toes and half the foot. I presently have diabetes, chronic heart failure, acid reflux disease, am anemic, two stints placed in my heart and had a stroke on my left side.


But do they help your TV reception?


Hxxxxxx, please help.
In June 2002 I had surgery to reduce and lift my breasts and also a tummy tuck. Unfortunately, one breast is bigger than the other and on my tummy tuck one of the sides it looks like two bunny ears sticking out. It sounds kind of funny but it is the truth.


Maybe God is trying to tell you something?

Hello Mr. XXXXX, My husband and I have been trying to have children, but my husband has a sperm problem so we baught a product which claimed to resolve the problem. We tried the product for almost a year. My husband did the semen analysis and we found out this his sperm quality has been reduced to 0% but before taking this product it was 20%.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Notes From A Newsroom: Pt. 1

Hi All,
Tough day, the tsunami in Japan is horrifying. So I thought I would send out this post that should brighten your day a bit.

A few years ago I proposed writing a book with a good friend who was a producer for a local news station. (Local to New York City that is.) He worked on an advocacy show, one where viewers with problems would contact the station and if found worthy the station would try to find some answers or satisfaction on their behalf.

It was a good show and my friend had some success with it. But of course there had to be a flip side, which is that they received scores of emails from people who were, no other way to say it, bat shit crazy. Or deluded. Or simply angry with no way to help. Or too stupid for words. Or ... you get the idea.

Our idea, in turn, was to take some of the emails, format them, provide some snarky captions and put it out in book form. We sent it to a few agents, but no one bit. And my friend, in turn, had questions about whether the emails were even his to use.

But now a few years have passed and probably no one would care if I reprinted the old emails here, would they? If they do I am sure I will hear from them.

So, we didn't publish a book, but I will share with you what the book would have been. And if there are any agents who find themselves salivating to do this, well, shoot me an email. I am sure we can find a way to accommodate you.

Again, these are all true letters and emails from the public.



(Note: Our snarky captions are in italics below. I think you'll figure it out.)

I can see it now…”At 10:00 an important consumer warning for all you lonely women out there, your 9 volt lover might get you hotter than you want.”


I have a situation that I am at a loss for. I spoke to several attorneys and did not receive any luck…I was told it is far too extensive to proceed without costing me a lot of money…I feel now I have been through enough, being asked to go through this again is very difficult for me, and is now costing me to defend myself. This was very traumatizing for me, very emotional, and a very embarrassing situation.

A few years ago, I had a fire in my apartment, I did not have renters insurance, and took what was a severe loss for me. The fire had started from a battery operated device of mine. A vibrator. Smoke alarms in my building were not working at the time, and caused the fire to brew for several hours. The Ft. Lauderdale Fire Dept. did not want to get involved in a legal issue and refused to make a statement on that behalf. My neighbors stated they smelled smoke at 6pm, the fire dept. did not arrive till after 10pm.

The maker of the vibrator is Doc Johnson, and at the time of the fire, I had inquired to sue the manufacturer for a product liability case, but being told the cost of the case was beyond what I could afford, I put my head down, and proceeded to leave this matter behind me. The fire report humiliated me with my own words and took a great deal to recover from.

In my efforts to get over this, and move on with my life, I have recently been served papers for the damages to the building…I have searched for legal advice, my only luck was to hire an attorney in my defense of this case. Who then advised me I could write letters to the manufacturer, in hopes that they would not want to cause any hassels. Also being informed I might get a response or they might throw it in the trash. I don’t know what to do, and don’t understand why I have to go through this. On that note I came here to see if you have any further advice for me.


Watch out for that 4th step it’s a doosie!


Please help….A letter to the Long Island Rail Road

Tonight was the ultimate. I arrived home at the Lindenhurst LIRR station at 8:45pm to find two women placing police tape closing down a railroad stairway. They explained that the stairway was being closed because someone complained about the safety of the 4th step. What they neglected to expand upon (and I’m sure they didn’t realize they were speaking with a 4th step veteran) was that on the 4th step, and on the 4th step for the entire week before, was a huge pile of human feces. (I don’t think dogs would travel that high to alleviate their problems)… There are CONSTANT problems with the LIRR Lindenhurst facility…Any service provider who leaves an escalator out of service for an extended period while providing a stairway to customers paved with human feces for an extended period of time is asking for trouble. And you’ve found it.




Welcome to NYC, we have the Empire State building, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and tax free crack!


I have a few things bothering me about my travel occasionally to the city; the subways have no bathrooms, many stations have no or inadequate seating. When you get to the city the bus stops have frequently no or inadequate shelter or seating. The parks are frequently dirty, filthy and foul smelling. The bathrooms rarely have tissue paper, never have paper dispensers, no soap to wash your hands. Your story about fining a store owner for selling lousy made me sick. The city fines a hard working store owner for making a profit on cigarettes and not paying taxes, but lets the pot and crack dealers work the city with impunity, how come I have to pay taxes and the crack dealers don’t have to?


You got the wrong guy for this one.


Help me I need a girl will you help me? Call me at 215-XXX-XXXX. Please help fast I need a girl to have sex with and pride my life around. You must help, or if you are gay just tell me I’m kinda gay too.


No kids, no laughing, no traffic, no cold weather, Gods’ not listening? Got it, we’ll get right on it.


I just wanted to congratulate you on your hard hitting exposé. Your report has truly opened my eyes to the injustices that are surrounding me in my daily life. The children in the park next to my apartment building must be stopped! They are so loud. Have you ever heard a group of children laughing? It’s enough to drive you mad. I also live a few blocks from the George Washington Bridge. The noise from the bridge makes it quite difficult to sleep. The city of NY has ignored my numerous requests to close the bridge during my normal sleeping hours. Please help! It has also come to my attention that New York City is sometimes far too cold. I have talked with God multiple times about this “situation” but have yet to receive a response. I truly believe that if you speak to God the way you did those scoundrels we can get this cold weather taken care of right away.


This story will probably not have a “happy ending.”

From: Stacey

my problem is that today I had an interview with this person about a body rub position ... that I found on . I met the guy at 52st and 8ave and then he met up with me and he brang me to his business apartment. . he told me about the position and that you give massage topless. . to the client. .I gave him a full body massage while he was nake. . but then the part was that I have to jerk him off at the end. . and that doesn’t seem like this is part of a massage policy? What do you think? And he say that I have to be nuke too but I told him I feel unconforable. . and then at the end. . he say that I don’t have to use my hands but to use my mouth to give a blow job... my question to you howard is do you think this not a real business? He say that his other girls that work here are nuke and give bow jobs. . this is a private massage business. . I think this wrong? What do you think? Don’t you need a license for doing massage?


Wait, why do you know this?

From: Yehuda

There is something going on at Delta airlines. When I call the 1-800 number for reservations and am put on hold, one of their hold music/advertisments “for switching to AT&T residential service and get Delta sky miles” has a guitarist playing the music of the NAZI National anthem, “Deutschland uber alles” in the background! This is a great injustice to all jews, and a violation of my civil rights every time I call that I have to hear this. Can you help?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Sensory Processing Disorder Means To Us

Hi All,
I realize that a few posts back I left a bit of a cliff hanger, in regards to what it means for Stella to have Sensory Processing Disorder. So, I will do my utmost to explain it. Please, I am not a doctor, so this is not the gospel truth, just my best interpretation of what it means. At least as far as Stella is concerned.

Basically it means that you have a hard time, as the name of the disorder implies, processing sensation, information and stimuli. We all have the ability to regulate how we deal with stimuli. This can be new ideas, the signals that coordinate our muscles and brain, or things as basic as the five senses. The latter two are the major areas that people with SPD have to work at, and develop strategies for.

You see you can be overly sensitive to stimuli, meaning you jump when you hear loud noises and light makes you squint, even if it's not all that bright. (And so on.) You can also be under-stimulated, meaning that normal sensations don't really register with you. These are the kids who put their tongues on everything, twirl around getting dizzy until they throw up, and don't feel pain like the rest of us do.

If you are overly-sensitive the world can be quite an overwhelming place. In Stella's case the world, quite literally, was an overwhelming place, in fact. THIS is why she didn't sleep for the first 18 months of her life, or so. The very worldness of the world, I suppose, bombarded her in such a way that she literally couldn't handle it.

It all makes so much sense now. The first night we brought her back from the hospital she screamed and cried, and couldn't sleep. Aha!, I thought. I have just the thing!

Our bassinet had a vibration mode on it, kind of like a junior, junior version of the old "magic fingers" found on some of your seedier motel mattresses. (And that's saying something.) And failing that it had a curved plastic tower that emitted soft music, had lights that oscillated up and down and even a mobile with little spinning bears.

No crying child, I thought, could withstand this onslaught of soothingness.

She was so adorable, so small, so new, I just couldn't bear to see her upset. (In her little onesie, the memory, I tell you, of her back then, it makes me tear up a bit, even now.) So with great confidence I flipped the switch on the magic fingers and awaited her soft, soothed cooing sounds.

Instead she only screamed louder and longer, as if in mortal pain. Ah! No way! This could not be!

Stubbornly I kept the bassinet on "vibrate" mode for about five minutes, confident this was all just a mere misunderstanding. It was not, she wailed and wept, and would not be comforted.

I begrudgingly turned the vibration mode off, sad that it would never get to do its intended job.

But I had options! I turned on the soft music and oscillating lights, and found myself almost hypnotized by the magical effect. Stella, once more, only screamed more and louder. The spinning bears, too, did dick.

And so it went. Nothing we did soothed her for days, weeks, months. (Nothing, that is, except nursing on Randi's breast for hours at a time, until Randi began to bleed.) We had gotten a baby swing for a present, she, again, only screamed more.

I could go on, but I am sure you get it. The point is, and we didn't learn that she had a disorder that upset her thus until three months ago; she was overstimulated by it all, and those various toys only amped up the stimulation. The magic fingers probably felt to her like electric shocks or needles, or made her want to crawl out of her skin. The lights probably shone like magic cubes, the music probably pounded in her head like a hi-fi set on "annoy."

Over time other symptoms manifested. Stella was late to roll over, late to crawl, late to walk, even late to talk. (Hard to believe the talking part if you see her today, she talks a blue streak, and has a great vocabulary for a little child. Seriously, it's better than some possessed by my old customers at the dive bar I used to tend bar at.) She had and has a hard time going up stairs, or down. Her utensil skills are still fairly crude. She doesn't know how to jump.

All this is a function of her body not being able to process the signals coursing through it. There is a slight lag, the regulator inside is not quite regulating right. So external stimuli floods her and her electrical nervous impulses can't keep up with what needs to be done.

It's not all that uncommon a disorder we have learned. Something like 10-15% of all children suffer some degree of this, one way or the other. Virtually every child with autism has SPD in some way, but the reverse is not true.

With Stella the way it shows up in public is that she becomes overwhelmed in scenes with a lot of commotion. So preschool with its bright colors and busy, busy children causes her to mainly shut down. The situation is very different at home, where she is completely at ease, and comfortable, obviously, with us. I wish her teachers could see that Stella a little bit. I know they care about her a great deal, and I wish they could get to have some of that kind of fun with her.

So we are doing our best to help her learn how to cope with it, and we have to learn how to help her cope as well. Twice a week she sees a great occupational therapist paid for by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, through an early intervention program called First Steps. She is eligible for this program up to age 3. So it will end on April 14, her birthday. We are also examining other schools that have staff that are trained in developmental and socialization issues.

But for us, we want Stella to get all the help we can get for her, but we also don't want to over-react, and make this some kind of defining thing for her. It's not. She is a lovely child, so friendly, so funny, so personable, so smart too. She is truly the sun and the moon to us, the reason the world turns, why it all was created, what it's all about. She is a gift and sometimes when I go to bed it's with a smile, knowing I will get to be with her the next morning. (Sometimes I don't go to bed at all, insomnia!)

We just want her to be able to share that face, that we are so privileged to see, with the rest of the world. And so that the rest of the world gets to know the real Stella back. So she has something called Sensory Processing Disorder, but it's not who she is, it's just a thing. We'll deal with it, get used to it, and eventually, I believe, perhaps well down the road, stop thinking about it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Enough With The F*cking Teacher Bashing

Punish the poor for not being able to afford private schools. Punish the teachers for wanting the wages and pensions THEY NEGOTIATED FOR. Punish those who believe a public education should be a right and that teachers deserve to be well paid as professionals. Punish the teachers again for daring to work with America's children, only THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB in this nation. Yes, you heard me. More important than being a cop. More important than being a firefighter. More important than serving in the now sainted military. More important than opening your own small business, or running a large mega-corporation. More important than what I do. More important, likely, than what you do too. More important than being a principal or superintendent at those same schools. (Seriously for all the vitriol directed at teachers there is VIRTUALLY NONE directed at those two jobs mentioned above. Yet public educational systems can only work as well as the principals and superintendents allow them to. Still, it's all the teachers fault.)

Yes, being a teacher is the most important job in America. Because it is the one job that truly keeps the American dream alive. What is that dream? It's not just getting rich. It's the dream of being able to achieve, to have the opportunity to do what you can conceive of. Of not being stepped on all your life because you happened to have the wrong parents. It's the dream that a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, with one white parent and one black parent can somehow, yes, become President of the United States. Despite all our problems NO OTHER NATION in the world has put a leader in place like Obama. Like his policies or hate them, we should all be proud that he had the chance, that's all the chance, to become the leader of the free world. None of this would have been possible without a decently funded public education system.

Only some people don't really like that dream, no! They like to keep all the power and all the money for themselves. And they have legions of useful idiot allies among the ranks our nation's ignorant, who have been brainwashed for generations to believe that all government services are somehow wrong and suspect. That charter schools are a miracle cure. They're not. There will always, and should always, be a need for excellent, traditional classroom teaching. The answer is not to find a way to pay teachers even less, and take away their benefits, all in the name of new-religion frugality. The answer is to pay teachers well, give them the benefits they've earned and deserve and find ways to help them educate better. One issue: how about making sure our nation's most poor actually have access to stuff like ... books? (My wife is a public school teacher and taught in the South Bronx. Yes, there weren't enough books. And her principal spent school funds on new, expensive mahogany furniture for her office. Again, somehow the under-performance of this school is the techers's fault. Shame on us all.)

Look, just pay the fucking teachers what they negotiated for and earned.

And stop the ignorant teacher bashing. How about blaming the huge, gaping wholes in our national budgets on the real villains? Those on Wall Street who actively destroyed our economy with financial weapons of mass destruction? How about blaming those who abetted them from 2000-2008 by deregulating every market in sight and making the Securities and Exchange Commission even more toothless? There were no cops on the beat to watch our nation's financial markets. We were told they would never destroy themselves in the name of enlightened self interest, those banks. And they didn't. They got bailed out. We got destroyed.

How about blaming our broke, indebted economy on the people in the mirror? We couldn't save, we spent every dime we had and then borrowed more to spend more. Now we're broke, as a nation and, once more, it's the teachers' fault?

I have heard this quote in many ways, many times, but it is especially apt now. If you think education is expensive try ignorance.

We've tried it. And look where it got us. And, again, somehow this is all the fault of our teachers? Maybe we should start blaming the students too? Only not the ones in school now, they are children, but the ones who graduated and then lead lives of deliberate ignorance. You know, us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back On The Wagon

Since I am printing, in serial form, the first blog entries I ever did here on The Huffington Post I've decided I also need to create some new material. If I'm going to, in other words, revive the past I also need to put something out that's fresh. I feel like I'm trying, in other words, to get back on the writing wagon. My goal is 10 minutes a day, not a whole lot more. If I can keep up with it, I will feel better about pretty much everything. I always feel better when I write.

Given this loose mission I am going to keep the first few entries pretty helter skelter. Whatever rises to the surface will be what I write about. In this case what's been on my mind is writing itself.

For the longest time I've had this idea that I want to, somehow, write a book. A memoir, to boot. I think I have an interesting story to tell, but I think I've developed a block about it.

The idea is simply to collect much of what is already on this blog, namely the first two and a half years of our life with Stella. Okay, a little bit before that as well.

My goal is to try to make something fun, interesting and worth reading. The center thread I see running through it is that for so much of the first year and a half of her life she didn't sleep really at all. And when you coupled that with all the problems we had with various apartments and living situations (our first apartment was on a block with five construction projects, our second apartment was under a Russian a-hole who would deliberately drop heavy weights on the floor to wake Stella up--and we had lead paint issues--our third apartment was riddled with bed bugs, twice) it drove first my wife and then me to the brink. And then a couple of steps beyond the brink. Couple this with the incredible stress of a nearly year long debate about whether to move to Kentucky or not, and me losing my job, I would have to say that the past three years or so have easily been the most stressful of my life.

Not that there weren't good things too, and not that some of it wasn't fun and funny, but it's hard to reconcile it all. Also there are things I've written that I love, but I am not sure where they should go. I wrote that huge piece about how hellish it was to simply drive out of Brooklyn to New Jersey. It was a 12 part series--it was like the I Cladius of blog entries. But Stella is only in it a bit. And when I printed it out it came to ... 60 pages. Gulp! Where does that fit in a book where the through line is about how our daughter didn't sleep and we learned she had Sensory Processing Disorder? Can it?

Seriously, we went into counseling, and much, much worse over the past two years. Some of it was actually quite horrifying. How to reconcile that? How to make it instructive and yet still a memoir? Do you have little asides where you talk about SPD? How to make it funny one moment and then deal with the horror of a stressed out couple, terrified their kid has lead poisoning, fighting, it seems, with everyone, even with one another? (And we did more than a little of that too during this time.)

I don't know right now, I just don't. I feel if I can get it together it would pin all your ears back and blow a lot of shit, frankly, clear the fuck out of the water. But I am just a bit stuck. How to make it a book, not just a disconnected series of interesting stories that all took place in a sort of rough sequence?

I know, just do it. I am thinking, or writing, out loud here. I can only thank you for reading, if you're reading. But this is the sound of a guy trying to figure something out, not really the sound of a man here to writing something clever. But this helps, somehow, it just does. I don't know why.

Well, that's 10 minutes. I feel like somehow this accomplished something. I am also oddly looking forward to the next entry. I guess that's what it's all about!