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From my news feed:

So “Let’s go racin’, boys!”.

I was reading about a criminal in England who was thought to be “on the autism spectrum”.

I’m no rocket surgeon, but doesn’t the idea of “spectrum” run from roughly zero to 100%?  Measure it in colors, measure it in furlongs per fortnight, I don’t really care – there has to be some min and max for the population, even if those get changed occasionally (like the hottest and coldest places on earth).

I found this comic book which explains that it isn’t a single dimension, but rather a color wheel of different parameters. Fine.  My argument remains the same – the center is zero and the outside is 100%, no matter where you are measuring.

If the argument arises that even if someone measures 0% on all areas, that they are merely high-functioning autistic, my counter-argument is that the scope isn’t big enough.  Make it go up to 11, or 200%, or down into negative numbers, or whatever.

Just doesn’t make sense to say that some people simply aren’t on the autism spectrum.  There has to be some justification for including people on the list.  I say put everybody on the list, and then draw a line (somewhere, somehow) to say “this is autism”.  Otherwise, if everybody on the autism spectrum, say “they are autistic, and here is how”.

This picture, from the DSM, shows my thought.  There are different areas of concern – intense focus, repetition, etc. – and the impairment increases from the center of the circle.  There are examples of different individuals. Person A has impairments in all areas.  Person B has no impairments in the area of “intense focus”.  Person C has no impairments in the area of “sensitivities”.

I would like to propose Person D, who has no impairments in any of the five areas – they would be a black circle with the letter D in it – and they would still be on the spectrum!  The DSM has shown that individuals with measurements of zero are still in the spectrum.  That would seem to indicate that someone with zero in all measurements is still on the spectrum.

Another perspective: I don’t have diabetes – I’m on the diabetes spectrum. I’m not overweight – I’m on the fat spectrum.  I’m not employed – I’m on the job spectrum.  I wasn’t speeding – I’m on the velocity spectrum.

I dunno – maybe I’m obsessing.

This won’t last long, but a local TV station is forecasting a very hot night.

2018-12-31 17_23_37-Clipboard

Glad it’s cooling down for New Year’s Day.

From https://www.wcpo.com/weather/your-latest-forecast

I was going to call this one “It’s not fair” – except that it is.

The next working title was “It’s not right” – except that God is sovereign and good.

A friend of mine died Monday. Karen Tracy was about my age. I met her at Hands Against Hunger, and never saw her outside of that context, but we were friends.

She was in good health. She had volunteered at HAH on Thanksgiving morning, and helped decorate Christmas trees at her church on Sunday.

Monday morning, her brother found her body sitting in a chair in her apartment. No idea why she died, and it doesn’t matter.

I’m not arguing that God didn’t have the right to do anything He wanted with this part of His creation. He’s God. He owns everything, and He gets to do that. Six years ago, I died – no heartbeat, no respiration, no consciousness – and God brought me back to life. I appreciate it daily, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. All God.

It’s the case here, too. Karen is in Heaven. I don’t know if people in Heaven know about earth. I would imagine that all of our focus is going to be on worshipping God.

Holy, holy, holy

Is the Lord almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come

Second verse, same as the first. For eternity.

Intellectually, I get it, and I agree. Emotionally, I’m still struggling.

Job 13:15 says

Even though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him

Karen said that, in person, on Monday, and she believed it the day before. And it’s true.

So why do I feel bad? I’m mourning her loss, yes. She had a great attitude, a ready laugh, and a smile all the time. I’ll miss her presence.

I may be mourning my own impending death. “It is appointed unto man once to die” – that day is coming. No idea when, but both of my parents are still living, so possibly later rather than sooner.

And I think I’m mourning the loss of innocence that we had in the garden of Eden. No death there. Unsure if Adam and Eve would have had children, but if we were still there, I wouldn’t be writing this now.

Bottom line is that there is no bottom line. Not in a nihilistic way, but we aren’t promised all the answers here on earth. And I suspect that we won’t care in Heaven.

And God is good.

I did not see a hummingbird today.

I hope to see a hummer tomorrow.

I have dreams sometimes – nothing extraordinary, nothing prophetic.

Last night, though, I dreamed that Larry Niven (writing partner of Jerry Pournelle RIP) was visiting Bettie and I at her parent’s house. Not now, but the way it was back in the 80s.

Bettie, for some reason, needed some space on thumb drives, and was insistent that Larry give her some. I was trying to tell her that Larry Niven’s thumb drives have value above mere disk space, that I would give her my thumb drive but don’t format those!

Larry had tossed a couple thumb drives onto the coffee table (I heard them clatter) and then he said “the password is ‘McGarrity RabbitWhistle BugTussle'”.

Then he wanted me to book an appointment at an interesting fair in California for he and his wife Marilyn (they actually live there – she didn’t appear in the dream).

I was on the phone, he was messing with his phone (Android, in the dream).

Then I woke up, and really wanted to write down his password. Seemed important at the time.

I’m at my lowest weight since May of 2015.

I’m also sick, looking like a bad cold, so past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future returns.

A week ago, back when it was still summer, Bettie and I stood outside at 2AM and watched the Orionid meteor shower. We didn’t stay long, and it was chilly, but we each saw a couple shooting stars. Fun.

In the week before that, around the middle of October, I was still seeing lightning bugs. Not flying around, but resting on the ground. That’s the same way I saw them back in February, which was extraordinarily warm this year.

The two events aren’t related, not directly. One looking up, one looking down. One fast, one very slow. One cold (a dirty snowball, except for at the very end), one doing much better in the heat of high summer rather than either cooler end.

But they are connected. As James Herriot quoted, “The Lord God made them all“. I’m in that bucket, and so are you. We are all creatures, created beings, and we have a Creator. Rather, He has us. What is He going to do with us? It depends on what we do with Him.

I’ve seen a lot of death recently. A coworker’s husband lost both his mother and his father this year. Another coworker lost his teenage son unexpectedly. A third coworker died from cancer after winning a serious battle against another disease. One of Bettie’s former coworkers, younger than she was, died a week ago. The end of life came for each of them, and it’s coming for me. Not a dire announcement, just a recognition that we’re all going to die eventually.

And after that comes the judgment. We’ll be judged on how we lived our lives and spent the blessings we have been given. I have been very blessed, from my parents being who they are to growing up in a family of faith, from attending a church college to finding a wonderful wife, from losing my way to finding solid ground and a well-grounded church and pastor. And still, though I am not perfect, the blood of Jesus makes me so in the eyes of God the Father.

I don’t know what led you to this site. I encourage you to think about your past, and your future, and eternity. Pick up a Bible and read the book of Romans. Take your time, make the investment, decide what matters.

I did, and it has made all the difference. In the world and the next.

While I was growing up, I wanted to be a race car driver. I’d still like to do that, but the realistic option is gone. It was pretty well gone when I realized that race car driving was dangerous – I could get hurt!

Still, I like racing. Pretty much anything going fast, but focused mainly on NASCAR. My first hero was Richard Petty – the king. He won 200 races, finishing in front of President Ronald Reagan.

After he retired, I moved to supporting Darrell Waltrip, #17. He had a mouth, he had an attitude, and he had the championships to back it up.

When he retired, Tony Stewart moved into my top spot. He had a temper, he would sometimes sometimes cross the line, but he also had the skills to win championships.

Tony Stewart retired a year ago. For me, nobody has taken his place. Some don’t make the list – Logano and Keselowski, I’m looking at you. Jimmy Johnson – nice guy, but no passion from me (maybe because he exercises). The replacement in Tony’s car, Clint Boyer, doesn’t have a spark.

The racing itself has changed, with stages and weird end-of-race rules, not to mention artificial cautions to bunch the field up.

Bottom line, I’m done with NASCAR. it just isn’t worth the investment of my time. I’ll still watch a few races – Daytona to start the season, the World 600 as part of the Memorial Day triple header. The Indy 500 is the only Indy-car race I watch.

The first race in that triple header is the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco. It’s always been fun to watch, with the long underground chute leading into the blinding sunlight, the tight corners and the water right there!

This year, I watched that race with different eyes. I saw internal struggles, man against machine and man against man. The incredible power and incredible fragility of the cars. The money spent and the technology used.

And I started watching F1 races, enjoying them more than I expected. Even the practices are fun, with David Hobbs mentioning the occasional “argy-bargy” in his understated English way.

So in 2018, I’m dropping NASCAR and switching to F1. It isn’t necessarily permanent, but it will take a lot to turn me back.

Forty seven years ago today, a strange man who went by the name “Tiny Tim” was at the Clinton County fairgrounds in Plattsburgh, NY.

A wire report from the next day read

Tiny Tim Joins N. Y. Jaycee Unit

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. AP — Tiny Tim, the long haired, falsetto-voiced singing star, eagerly signed an application card for a local Jaycee unit Wednesday and was promptly accepted as a member. The performer was rehearsing for an appearance at the Clinton County fair when he was approached by several Jaycees who suggested he join the organization. “His wife filled out the card,” said Sgt. Gary Flaherty, an Army recruiter who is president of the local chapter, “and Tiny Tim signed it.”

I don’t remember whether I saw him – memory says yes, but memory is funny.

Documented from the August 6 papers here and here (lower right corner).  Unfortunately, I can’t find the text of the (almost) unreadable Press-Republican story online.