9-9-10 - Parker visits and an interview with John Elder Robison

In case you missed it...

Parker was in the studio today because his school has off today in honor of Rosh Hashanah.  Rosie told her listeners "Happy New Year" in Hebrew which she learned to say on a trip to Israel a few years ago for the "high holy days."

Parker talked about an App called Distant Shore for his iPhone that works like sending a message in a bottle.  He said you write a message and send it out into cyberspace and then someone with the app receives it and sends one back.  I totally just downloaded it. My sister just gave me her old iPhone because she got the iPhone4 and I use it like an iTouch, not a phone.  I love it though.    Bobby and Parker then talked about the wonders of the iPhone4 and Janette said that Bobby is "too often right" and she doesn't enjoy it.  Janette once poo-pooed Bobby's devotion to the Apple iPad and then she got one.  And now she's hooked. 

Pete was annoyed with Bobby too but for an entirely different reason.  Bobby made an awesome game tally board to keep track of the staff's game wins!  (see photo to the right)  Rosie said the board put Pete's pathetic attempt at a game tally board to shame and then she asked Bobby how he made it.  Bobby said it only took him an hour and he even decorated it with glitter for some extra dazzle!  It's also reusable for future months!

Rosie said Parker had big news to share - he made the soccer team at his new school!  He said he will be playing goalie or defense.  They discussed how Parker wants Rosie to get more involved with the PTA at school because he said he thought it would he "hysterical."  Rosie said that she didn't talk too much or ask too many questions at the parent orientation evening the other night and that Parker would be happy about that.  Parker said he was surprised by that and Rosie said she typically doesn't talk to strangers in public to which Bobby and Janette audibly disagreed!  Bobby said Rosie frequently talks to strangers so much so that it scares him and he worries a mob of people will surround her.  Janette agreed with Bobby and told a story about the first time Janette and Rosie hung out together at the mall and how she talked to every Tom, Dick and Harry.  Janette called her "gratuitously friendly."  Parker got a bit serious and said it makes him nervous when people surround his mom for autographs.  He referenced a time when a "stalker" of Rosie's approached her in public.  Rosie said that that particular person is a rarity and that most people are nice and just want to meet her.  And then she assured Parker that the situation was under control because her bodyguard and friend, Tommy, was with her if she needed him.  She said people have a greater chance of being hurt if they're a school teacher than a celebrity.  Parker just repeated that that particular time was scary for him and when it's his mom, not some celebrity, it makes him nervous.  OMG, I just love him.  

Rosie and Parker watched the Pat Tillman documentary together the other night and Rosie wanted his opinion of it.  Parker said he thought it was interesting but said it hasn't changed his feelings about wanting to join the military.  Rosie thought it might change his opinion on joining because of the cover-up over Tillman's death.  He said it did not.

Janette happily announced that Prince Poppycock made it to the final four contestants of America's Got Talent!  Janette was so excited as he is her favorite!  They played an interview of Prince Poppycock saying how because he's gotten as far as he has, every child who feels picked on or like an outsider can look at him and realize that dreams can come true.  Janette loves him, his talent, and his story.  Bobby wondered if Prince Poppycock would have a small fan base because of his particular talent and said he prefers the dance group Fighting Gravity. 

Rosie briefly mentioned an episode of Hoarders with a man named Sir Patrick. HERE IS A LINK to that episode.  Parker wanted them to have Sir Patrick on the show and said he would have to miss school for that interview so he could meet him.  Rosie said he will absolutely NOT be missing school.  Janette wanted to know when Prince Poppycock is coming on the show?!  Rosie played a clip of the Prince singing and took a call from a listener who also loves him. 

Rosie wanted to discuss the media attention that has been on a pastor in Florida who wants to have "Burn a Quran Day" on the anniversary of September 11th to "take a stand against Islam and remember the victims of 9/11."  Here is a link to an article about him.  Rosie wanted to be clear that her point in talking about the topic was not to shine even more media attention on him but to talk about how the media is perpetuating this hateful behavior giving it so much publicity.   She pointed out that he is just one man with a very small congregation of only 15 people and having so much media attention on his cause only fuels his fire.  She also said that it puts our soldiers at greater risk because it gives our enemies even more fodder.  She said by shining a spotlight on the pastor it only puts out more hatred and negativity in the world.  Rosie took a call from a listener in the Gainesville area who said that this pastor has been a problem in their community for a while.  Janette encouraged listeners to turn off the TV and not give the story ratings when it airs.  Rosie said that his act of burning the Quran has nothing to with 9/11 and that the religion Islam did not attack us, terrorists attacked us.  Bobby reminded listeners that many Muslims died on September 11th, too.  Rosie compared this man to Fred Phelps who Parker had never heard of.  Rosie then told Parker about what Fred Phelps and his followers do at military funerals.  Parker was completely disgusted and horrified. 

Rosie then introduced John Elder Robison, the author of Look Me In The Eye, a book about his life with Asperger's.  Author Augusten Burroughs, who wrote Running with Scissors, is his brother. 

Rosie absolutely loved the book.  She called it beautiful and a wonderful insight as to what it's like to live with Asperger's.  Rosie and John chatted for a while and John talked about his son who also has Asperger's.  John's son has a web series about Autism and Asperger's called Autism Talk TV that Rosie also loves. 

Rosie explained that she was a huge fan of his brother's work and that was how she found his book.  She said she thought it was an inspiring and a unique perspective into the world of Autism spectrum disorders.  John had  no idea people would see it the way that they did and said that the response to the book has been shocking to him.  He had always thought the way he was was just his own eccentricities and never realized that there were other people out there who felt the same way.  

John wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's until the 1990's.  He said it was the diagnosis that really changed his life.  John said his entire life people had told him he was a freak and he assumed he was defective.  After he was diagnosed he finally felt part of a group and that was extremely liberating thing for him. 

John and Rosie talked about a scene from his book when John tells the story about a Pink Floyd concert and how he got hired to fix sound equipment for the band.  The job came after John alerted the crew to the fact that an amp/speaker system wasn't working correctly and he fixed it for them.  Rosie said that she often has to switch movie theater seats because she can hear when speakers are buzzing.   John said that is common for successful music producers to be somewhere on the spectrum.  John said that he had always heard that musicians are freaks but once he was in that world everyone welcomed him.  He said that he could help them create beautiful music and they appreciated him for it.  For John, it was the first place where he was successful and welcomed.   

John told Rosie about how he was hired to work with the band Kiss when he was working for Pink Floyd's sound company.  He saw a band member digging away at his guitar with a chisel and was horrified.  The band member was trying to make it blow fire and John told him he could do it for him without ruining the instrument.  He went home with some help from friends he made it happen.  John said seeing his invention on stage during a performance and the crowds reaction to it was one of the proudest moments of his life.  As a child, John explained that he often took things apart to see how they worked including his toy fire engine and small household appliances.   

John said he wrote Look Me In The Eye partly to tell young people with Autism that life gets better as you get older.  He said that Autism crippled him as a child but has given him gifts that made him successful in the world as an adult.

John and his first wife divorced when their son Jack was 6 years old. Jack is now 20 years old and also has Asperger's.  Jack joined forces with his friend Alex Plank who created Autism Talk TV where they have amazing interviews having to do with Autism and are now even sponsored by Autism Speaks. Alex also founded http://www.wrongplanet.net/ which has grown to be the largest online community for young people on the Autism spectrum. If you would like to learn more about John and get involved in his discussions on Autism, join his Facebook community.
Rosie asked John if he knew Temple Grandin, another well-known spokesperson for the Autism community, and he does.  John and Temple have worked together on a Google project called Sketch Up.  Sketch Up allows children with Autism to create 3D worlds. 

Rosie asked John if he has the same sensitivities to light, sound and noise that many Autistic people have and John said that he has written about that in his next book set to be released in the Spring.  You can pre-order a copy of John's latest book Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families and Teachers on Amazon. He hopes that the book will provide even more explanation on his journey with Asperger's.   

John spoke with Rosie about his son with Asperger's and how his fascination with explosives got him in trouble with the law.  He said he was investigated and cleared by the ATF but a local prosecutor made him into a terrorist and charged him with malicious destruction of property.  He paid thousands of dollars defending his son and his son was acquitted of all charges.  John's son still has a fascination with organic chemistry and is working on gaining admission to the University of Massachusetts. 

Rosie asked John if he thought there was an increase in the prevalence of Autism today.  He said he thinks that there is an increase but it's hard to quantify.  He said that there has always been Autism but instead of hiding kids with special needs, society is showing kids with Autism in more of a spotlight.  He said that being part of a group has been liberating for him.   

Rosie told John that when she was doing her talk show in the 1990s the University of Seattle wanted to test her for Autism because of her amazing ability to recall song lyrics.  She never got to go and do it.  She said she doesn't think she has all of the criteria that qualifies her to be on the Autism spectrum but she definitely has some.  John said that anyone can go on CambridgePsychology.com and take the Autism profile tests for free.  He said they're not diagnostic but they're strongly predictive and legitimate.   

Rosie mentioned John's photography and how she read that last year was a very difficult year for him.  John explained that when the economy went bad he lost a lot of money and became scared, depressed and anxious.  He also went through a divorce.  It was an extremely hard year for him and there were times he thought he might be better off dead.  For Rosie, she said being a parent has been the ultimate life preserver.  He said that it's harder for him to see his importance as a parent and to internalize how people feel about him.  John said that talking to friends and focusing on writing his next book helped him come through the bad time.   Rosie asked if he thought that being Autistic effected him being married.  John said that is a hard question to answer but said that he's afraid that she's right.  John said he prays that he can get it together and be successfully married one day in the future.

John told Rosie that people on Facebook had warned him not to come on Rosie's show, that she wouldn't be nice to him.  Rosie said she's been accused of not having a filter to which John said was an Autistic trait!  She admitted that people often also tell her that she's very loud and John said that people tell him the same thing and that's also an Autistic trait!

Rosie told John that his book Look Me In The Eye is the best book she's read about what it's like living on the spectrum.  John thanked Rosie and said she hopes that his next book, Be Different, will even go deeper into the issues that he's had to deal with being on the spectrum.  Rosie told John that if she were to ever meet him on the street she would never think he was Autistic.  He said that he still has Autism even though you cannot see it and the fact that she cannot see it just means that there's hope for children out there to know that there are people who have emerged from a disability and have been able to achieve.   

Rosie said that tomorrow's show will be LIVE and encouraged listeners to tune in!   

 and that's what you missed -kw

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