4-25-11 - Violent America, Discussing Kevin Hart and an Interview with John Elder Robison

In case you missed it...

Rosie began today's broadcast wishing Barbra Streisand a Happy Birthday!  (It was Barbra's birthday yesterday...).  Rosie was excited because she got a direct message from Barbra's assistant on Twitter.  Rosie discussed how much she adores Barbra and played the audio of a video of Barbra and Judy Garland signing (see below).  Rosie said she "cannot begin to explain how much she loves her." 

Rosie said it was her first Easter ever since having kids when she didn't have to get up and search for Easter eggs because Kelli had the kids so she slept in late.  Jeannie had a jam packed day.  She said her kids got up at 5:30am on Easter Sunday like it was Christmas morning!  Then they went to her in-laws for brunch and then her brother's house for dinner.  Jeannie told a hilarious story about drinking wine at her brother's.  She thought she had a bug in her glass so she spit out her wine all over everyone at the table!  She said she was embarrassed and her family was shocked it happened!  Janette once drank a cockroach in her low calorie Ovaltine! After taking a sip she felt something in her mouth and pulled out a cockroach!  GROSS!  Rosie said she's reading How to Be a Sister: A Love Story with a Twist of Autism and there is a scene in the book about the girl in the story spitting all over her family during dinner and their struggles with her being socially inappropriate.  Janette and her sister decorated hard-boiled goose eggs for Easter and she brought one in to show everyone! 

Rosie said she saw a horrible video of a transgendered woman being beaten up by two women at Baltimore McDonald's this weekend.  Here is a link to a version of the video.  Rosie said the images from the video have stayed with her all weekend.  Rosie said it was horrifying to watch.  She thinks we've become so used to seeing violence in movies and on television that when we see it in real life it is shocking to see!  And Rosie couldn't believe no one intervened more than they did.  Shoshana wondered about the intentions of the person who videotaped it.  Rosie read the man who videotaped the incident was fired for encouraging the violence.

Rosie took a call from a listener who has a transgendered son who is in the process of transitioning from female to male.  She said stories like these scare the hell out of her.  She said she's decided not to watch the video because she thought it would be too frightening for her.  Rosie talked with the caller about her son's transition and when he knew.  The caller said her son told her at the beginning of the school year that she wanted to be a he.  They've gone to therapy separately and as a family.  She said she never rejected her child but was secretly hoping the therapy would help him change his mind.  She's since learned no one would choose to live the life and the trials he'll have to face so she's fully accepted him.  Rosie and the caller discussed the high suicide rate of transgendered teens and Rosie recommended the documentary Becoming ChazBecoming Chaz premieres on the OWN network May 10th at 9pm EST.  Rosie said even the gay community has trouble accepting transgendered people which is surprising.  She said Becoming Chaz even helped her come to understand it better.  Rosie thanked the listener for calling in and for being such a caring and supportive parent.  Rosie then asked for her to stay on the line while they got her information so she could send her a copy of the documentary.

Rosie took another call from a listener who lives in Baltimore who was outraged that this type of behavior is coming from their community.  They discussed whether the assailants should be charged as adults and whether they should be charged with a hate crime.  Rosie and Janette recalled many stories of violence where bystanders stood by and did nothing while someone was being attacked.  Rosie said she used to have horrible nightmares so she took a self-defense course.  She said with a good self-defense course you can learn to find your inner voice that has been silenced.  Rosie was proud of the woman in the video that she was able to scream.  Janette said self-defense is something that should be taught in high schools and the video made her think she needs to take one.  Shoshana has taken several  self defense classes yet still thinks she wouldn't be able to fight back. She thinks it's something innate inside you and that she would forget everything she learned because she'd be too scared. 

Rosie took another call from a listener who witnessed a fight outside her daughter's school.  She was waiting for her daughter to come out of school and saw the fight and got out of her car and broke it up.  She said when she got back to her car she cried so hard she could barely drive because it was so frightening.  Rosie recalled the time she and Jeannie were involved in a fight outside a movie theater.  She said they had their high school jackets on and some kids from a rival high school started a "rumble" with them when they came outside the theater.  She said they were all fine but when they got home they all started crying.  Rosie told the caller she was proud of her for stepping in and breaking up the fight she witnessed and that she wished more people would do the same.

Rosie took a call from a listener with a cautionary tale.  She once saw a woman pushed out of her car by a man.  He then stopped the car and got out and started beating the woman.  Another woman intervened and the man started hitting the woman who was trying to help.  The caller said it's logical to say you'd stop and help but she warned there's a risk with helping too.

Rosie took a call from a listener who was friends in college with an exchange student from Sweden. He told her Americans have it all wrong because we're so afraid of nudity yet we allow our children to be inundated by violent images on television.

Rosie took Parker to see comedian Kevin Hart this past Friday with her brother Eddie and his teenage son.  She said it was wild to take her kid to this type of event and some of the jokes about sex were a little bit embarrassing to see with Parker.  But Rosie thought Kevin was both funny and adorable.  She also enjoyed his opening acts.  She said the comedy was so well-crafted, so tight, and so professionally done, she was totally impressed!  Rosie said Kevin was spot on and very handsome!    Rosie had performed at The Westbury Theater before and there were people working there who've been there since she performed there!  Rosie said she felt like Rodney Dangerfield when he used to walk into Catch in 1982 when she was an aspiring standup.  Rosie said it was the first time, in a long time, she was inspired to do standup again.  Rosie said she thinks Kevin is going to be a HUGE star.  Janette talked about how great Rosie was at standup and said she would love to see Rosie do standup again!  Rosie said another one of Parker's favorite comedians is Gabriel IglesiasDuring this conversation Rosie briefly mentioned how Kevin used the word "Faggot" in his act and how she was taken aback by it.  She asked Parker what he thought of the use of the word and Parker wasn't really affected by it.  It was such a short reference I didn't even write it down. 

But then, Rosie took a call from a listener who was quite upset that she was "throwing around" the "F" word like she was.   The caller was gay but said he doesn't ever use the word because of the negative connotations it brings him.  He remembers being called that word and then being beaten up!  Rosie asked James (the co executive producer who is also gay) if he ever uses the word the "f" with his friends.  He said he does not because he doesn't like the word either.  Bobby, on the other hand, is gay and uses the word with his friends.  He said he's "taken it back" so it would hold no power to those that use it in a derogatory way.  Bobby said if a straight person were to call him that he would be angry over it but if he's called that by someone who is gay, it wouldn't bother him.  Rosie told the caller she's not condoning the use of the word but said it's part of the cultural vernacular.  She admitted she was taken aback when she heard Hart use the word in his act.  In the end, the caller wondered if it was a generational difference for him and if the younger generation has familiarized themselves/normalized the word in a way that is different from when he was young. 

Rosie said she went to a baseball game of Parker's where his team lost 21-1!  She said his team hasn't won a game in two years and Parker didn't even play.  Rosie said she didn't want to get involved but since the team was losing so miserably she didn't understand why the coach didn't just throw in their second string.   The other team started bunting "lefty" out of sympathy for beating them so badly!  Janette didn't know what "bunting" was so Rosie stood up (in the studio) and showed her how one holds a bat when they bunt.  Rosie said it was demoralizing to lose so badly but admitted she partially blames the coach.  Jeannie had an opposite baseball experience this weekend.  She said her son just started playing T-Ball and it is the cutest thing ever because none of the kids know what they're doing.  Rosie and Jeannie remembered playing baseball together as kids when Rosie used to  tell Jeannie if she ever catches the ball to just throw it to her.

While at the baseball game, Tracy told her kids a scary story about a guy who got his arms ripped off from a combine and had to call 911 with his nose!  And Rosie said when Wyatt was in the hospital she asked her daughter Savannah if she wanted to come over and see the tube coming out of Wyatt with all the blood and the puss?!  Rosie acted horrified.  Tracy found it funny that Rosie, the woman who watches zit-popping videos online, was so horrified by this!

Also, Rosie said she promised Tracy she wouldn't tell this story on air but she decided to anyway. One night Tracy and Rosie were in bed and Tracy was saying all these loving things about Rosie's curves.  She was talking very lovingly about how she looked and she told Rosie she would like to take beautiful photos of her naked body.  Tracy referenced Leonard Nimoy's naked photos he's taken of "heavy" women, as an example of what she meant.  Tracy didn't mean it in a bad way but Rosie said she took it badly and it ruined her whole night!  Jeannie said her husband has told her before that the beautiful bodies of the Renaissance era remind him of her and she's never felt the compliment he was trying to convey to her either.  Rosie said she and Tracy talked about it in therapy and it made Tracy cry because Rosie made her sound like a horrible person.  Tracy has asked Rosie if she's supposed to act like Rosie's not fat.  Rosie said that's a good point.  Janette suggested that Rosie is actually really beautiful to Tracy and what Rosie is really having an issue with is her not accepting her own body.  Rosie admitted that was probably true. 

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Rosie then had John Elder Robison on who was in the studio to discuss his book Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspbergians Misfits Families and Teachers.  Rosie told him how much she loved his new book and how much she loved his previous book Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.  

John explained that he was disabled as a child and hopes parents read this book and learn that if they have a child with Autism they too might grow up and live successful lives.  John said he was very socially isolated as a child but if it wasn't for that time he wouldn't have invested the time he did to learn the things that helped him become exceptional in many areas.  John said he was a very sullen, withdrawn child and even 20 years ago he wouldn't have been able to have this interview with Rosie.  He said he wrote the books to give parents hope and let them know there can be amazing transformations with kids on the spectrum. 

John said it wasn't until he read Tony Atwoods' book Asperger's Syndrome when he realized what it meant to have Aspergers.  John said he was always good at explaining things to people and the more he had to interpret his thought process through his books the better he understood himself and the better he got at explaining it.  Rosie and John talked about manners and how they don't always make sense to people on the Autism spectrum.  He said holding a door open for the person behind you never made sense to him and what that had to do with other people wanting to be his friend.  But he said when he started looking at manners a different way and realized manners are the way people make superficial judgments about you and that's the key to making friends, manners made more sense to him.  He said he had to learn that presenting yourself as a likable person is how you'll get friends in the world.

Rosie and John discussed Mirror neurons and how we learn behavior and emotions through positive feedback.  He said Mirror Neurons are suppressed in people with Autism.

In the book Be Different, John encourages people with Asperger's to embrace their differences.  John said the book is a celebration of being a geek and being your own person.  John's son Cubby, who also has Asperger's, works with Alex Plank from Wrong Planet doing videos about what it's like to live on the spectrum.  Rosie and John couldn't imagine what it would be like to have a reference like Wrong Planet when they were kids.  John said it surely would have made a huge difference with how his life turned out.  He said he might have stayed in the entertainment industry had he known more about Asperger's and had the guts to follow his career to New York or Los Angeles.  Rosie asked John if he thinks most creative people are somewhere on the spectrum.  John said when he listens to what people say about Rosie that she's "rude" he said that's what people might say about him too!  The thing is, they say what they think and some people see that as rude.  Rosie said if she hadn't been in the entertainment industry she's not sure how her life would have ended up.  She said she couldn't graduate college and get it together enough to follow the typical path that people are supposed to follow in life.

Rosie told John she gives his book Look Me In The Eye to people whenever she meets someone who has a child diagnosed with Autism.  She asked John if he's seen the documentary The Horseboy.  He hasn't seen it but Rosie said she was going to give him a copy before he leaves.  Read more about The Horse Boy HERE.   Rosie asked John about his book tour and the reception he's been getting from readers and John said he's been getting great feedback.  He said he looks around the room at the venues he's been attending and they are filled with geeks and people of varied levels of impairment and gifts.  John said the most important message he wants to send is that we have to make our best life out of the way we are.  He said people on the spectrum have these differences that can either disable us or become gifts to us. He said there are many people who have Asperger's or Aspergian traits who are successful.  Rosie asked John about his next book and he said he's writing a book about raising his son and John said he would like to do a book of his photography.  Rosie thanked John for coming in to the studio again and she said she would like to have John and his son on her talk show when she goes to OWN!  She said John's story is an amazing tale of Autism and self-acceptance and how to succeed in life with the hand you've been dealt. 

After the interview Rosie and Jeannie said John, his mannerisms and his uniqueness, reminds both of them of their fathers.  Jeannie said her father was a brilliant man but had poor social skills and could not hold a conversation well.  But apparently Rosie would try her hardest to make him laugh and she usually did.  Jeannie said Rosie could get away with anything with him.

Very quickly before Rosie closed the show she said she saw Atlas Shrugged this weekend and she would like those 2 hours of her life back.  She said it's probably the worst movie she's seen in the last 10 years.

and that's what you missed - kw

and because we're celebrating Autism Awareness Month, I thought I would include a video I made about my son Thomas.  Thomas just turned 6 and was diagnosed with Autism when he was 4 years-old.  I'm trying to embrace Thomas' passions and when he showed interest in video making and ceiling fans I got him an iPod Touch so he could combine both those loves.  In fact, while I was listening to Rosie's interview with John I sat and watched Thomas collect every lamp in my house and plug them into one extension cord so he can turn them all on at the same time with the flip of a switch. :)  And I wanted to share Thomas with you all.  People like John and Temple Grandin give me hope for Thomas' future.  Who knows what he will invent or create!  


  1. Thank you SO much for sharing Thomas! He is beautiful and his laugh made my day. And....if you ask me....we all need a few more celing fans in our lives.....

  2. Your video on your son was sooo beautiful and touched my heart. It made me laugh as well. He is blessed to have you as his Mother.

  3. thank you for sharing Kelly. What a great mom you are! Thomas is a beautiful boy with many gifts!

  4. I have tears in my eyes as I thank God Thomas as YOU Kelly as his mother, someone who truly loves accepts and celebrates who he is in all his glory.xxxooo

  5. i nominate michele and myself as co presidents of the thomas fan club!!!!!! i adore him! :)

  6. Thank you so much for sharing that video of your beautiful son Thomas.
    He is so blessed to have you as his mom Kelly as are you blessed to have him.
    After listening to John Robison today and seeing your video I definitely think Thomas' future holds many great things.

  7. Kelly, your son is a beautiful boy and I loved his laugh...it made me smile. Because of people like John and Alex, and all the help out there, Thomas will have a bright future.

  8. Thank you Kelly for sharing your beautiful son with us. You are so blessed to have him in your life as he is so blessed to have you as his mommy.

  9. How do you cope? I know nothing about Autism.
    I was blessed with three healty children,and moms like you are my heroes. There must be many tears and sleepless nights worring about the future or just tomorrow. In your own quiet way, you are teaching the rest of us. Thanks for that.

  10. Love the video of Thomas!
    Alison (Ella)

  11. Kelly, thank you for sharing beautiful Thomas with us. He has a wonderful laugh that could brighten anyone's day... and he has a wonderful mom too! love & blessings to both of you. xoxo

  12. from one mom to another....
    just beautiful.

  13. What a beautiful boy!! Thank you Kelly for your blog (I love it!) and for sharing your amazing son! You are a fabulous mother!

    Amy in Ohio

  14. Kelly, I loved watching the video from Thomas. Touched me thru and thru. I will not look at a ceiling fan without thinking of him and smiling.

  15. The video itself was done beautifully...He's lucky to have you as a mom....He will be fine....His laugh makes the world seem brighter!

  16. What a wonderful video of Thomas!! And his terrific, joyous laugh. Thank you!

  17. Thank you for sharing the video of your beautiful boy. You are a very special woman/mom, and Thomas is very lucky to have you, as you are to have him.

    Thank you also for your daily recaps of Rosie's radio program.

  18. Haveyou ever taken him to see the Huge Wind turbine generator things that create wind power? If there are any near you I am sure he would be completely fascinated and would be a trip he would love. Also what about a ferris wheel? Or you could build him a great big "mobile" thing for his room that spun around items and lights hanging from his ceiling. Just some ideas for things he may LOVE..

  19. Awesome video Kelly! Live - Love - Learn.

    Dennis - Fort Lauderdale

  20. Thank you for sharing Thomas with us! Kelly he is amazing!! Make no excuses for the smushed chalk, I think it was perfect cinematography!! Much love to your whole family! :)

  21. not sure why, but when I clicked to watch your video, all that came up was an advertisement for South Park... I wonder if maybe your video isn't available to Canadians? :(