Monday, February 6, 2012


I mentioned the other day that I got caught up with the whole Casey Anthony Trial. Just writing that sentence will probably boost my blog up in the ratings on google. It seems a whole lot of people have become entangled in her mess.

I know why it fascinates me. I love crime drama. When I am not reading novels from the likes of Steve Martini, I'm watching it on TV. We own several whole TV series related to crime drama on DVD-- JAG, NCIS, Law and Order in all it's varied forms, CSI from coast to coast and my most recent favorite Criminal Minds. I swear there is an Aspie representative in all of these shows. Grissom and Sara Sidle (CSI) and Bobby Gorem (LNO Criminal Intent) are about as Aspie as it gets. And the young Dr. Reid on the FBI centered drama, Criminal Intent, has an IQ above 180 and is introduced as "our expert on ..... well everything" He is constantly coming up with exacting detail about endless topics. Finally there is our family favorite Abby Sciuto from NCIS. Katie calls her eccentric and says she talks like we do. I guess she is right.

We were in Florida at Disney World when the jury was being picked. Prior to this, I didn't know who she was. But in Orlando, you couldn't turn on the TV and not hear about this true crime story. Florida, it seems, has an open records law. Everything, and I do mean everything, from the first 911 call to the autopsy report is public record. And the TV stations and local newspapers petitioned the court for anything they could get their hands on. I've even seen transcripts of the sidebar conversations the lawyers had with the judge on the internet. It was just like Law and Order -- intensified. Just those few times watching the news in our hotel room while waiting for the next days weather report and I was hooked. We missed the coverage that occurred as we drove home after our four days at Disney World ended, but the very next day, I could tell you the channel numbers assigned to HLN, CNN and both the eastern and pacific versions of Insession/tru TV. The last time I had watched a real life trial was when Court TV chronicled the whole OJ Simpson debacle several years ago.

I admit it was entertaining. Judge Perry was great and had amazing facial expressions. Jose Baez was such a fumbling idiot next to my hero's on JAG or Law & Order. Even the forensics, that most people found boring, were fascinating to me. The prosecutions main witness, Dr. Vass from the Body Farm was as geeky as they come. He obviously loved his area of expertise, even calling it "really cool" at one point. He knew all kinds of the stuff, I also found interesting and spoke with a slight speech difference that made him seem so approachable.

So it was obvious to me, why I was hooked, but why was everybody else acting so off the charts? Some say it is because the players were attractive, white and middle class. Unfortunately, I have seen cases where poor /non white kids go missing and they barely make a blurb on even the local news. But there have been other attractive white kids missing or murdered, even in my home town, that don't take off like this one did. The blogs that have devoted themselves to missing or exploited kids mention these kids and write a lot about them, but the main stream news barely acknowledges them. On any given day, I could google Casey Anthony and there will be at least two news articles from within the past week. Why?

Most of the articles/blogs I have read have a very loyal group of commenters who discuss this case unceasingly. Their feelings either pro casey or anti casey are strong and obvious. Many express love for the victim and extreme hatred for Casey, her lawyer, her family and her supporters. Others attack the haters and pledge their loyalty to the suspect (who has since been acquitted.) There are very few without strong strong feelings one way or the other.

I remember such strong feelings during the OJ Simpson case. It was understandable. This man was a wealthy celebrity and a very charismatic character. Plus the two issues of sex and race were very present. The defendant was black, the victims were his white ex wife and her white male companion. Plus the fact that it was held in LA with it's long history of racial troubles and a police department known among some as being racist, didn't help. Mix all those things together, celebrity, wealth, race and sex and you get strong feelings. I get that. But what about Casey? Why did she evoke such strong feeling? The only racial issue I could find was never mentioned in the press. I saw one account in one book that Casey's mom, didn't care for hispanics. This was from one of Casey's childhood friends who said she wasn't welcome in Casey's home if her mother was home. If this was true, it seemed Casey played it to annoy her mother. She chose an hispanic lawyer, blamed a woman she described as half black and half Puerto Rican, and dated at least one hispanic man and one Italian. But again, I never heard this mentioned on the main stream media. Plus the family wasn't rich and were in fact struggling financially. There was a bit of an element of Sex abuse, but few details and that wasn't brought up until trial. So compared to OJ, the emotional components weren't there from what I could see.

Which takes us to the location. Orlando has been called an entertainment center but not a high crime area like Miami might be. BUT there are those pesky Florida Sunshine laws. We have access to everything. There was always something to report on no matter how small or insignificant. We knew who the witnesses were going to be, we knew about all the evidence, even some that never made it to trial. We even knew what Casey bought from the jail store, from snacks to cosmetics. We saw every picture her parents ever took of her and her child. We saw the video tapes of the visits she had in the jail. All of these things fall under Florida's public records law.

Could this be the reason everyone was hooked on Casey? It is certainly part of the reason I watched. Could it be that I am not so different from everyone else, at least as far as obsessions go.

Something to ponder. Maybe later. NCIS is almost on ;-)

Why can't blue always be blue?

A few things happened in the last few days that help illustrate the difficulties some Aspies have in translating from neural typical speak.

I was sautéing some mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers and dill in margarine today to eat with my baked potato. (it was really good, you should try it). My 14 year old Aspie came in and stated, "That smell is much more tolerable than what Dad used to make for breakfast". She immediately followed this up with, "That wasn't insulting was it?" She does this a lot. She enjoys having a larger than average vocabulary but so desperately wants to avoid hurting anyones feelings.

So I asked her what her intent was with a series of questions. On a scale of one to ten, one being awful, how did she rate the smell of my mushroom, (a four) and how did dad's smell rate, (a one) This I knew. We all hated the smell of his one time favorite breakfast. Was she trying to say that she liked my mushroom smell or was she saying that it was barely tolerable but still better than dad's?

I assured her that while she could say anything to me, she might want to follow her grandmother's advice: If you can't think of something nice to say, don't say anything at all. I also told her that if she complimented something she really didn't like , she needed to be prepared to have that person, make that dish for her in the future. She wrinkled up her nose at that one.

A bit frustrated now, she said, but isn't the truth always the best option? Wow, how to answer that question coming from your teen. Then I remembered something. We had just watched an episode of Star Trek, Next Generation. The crew was watching Dr. Crusher and Lieutenant Barclay perform a scene from Cyrano D'Bergerac. It wasn't going well for Barclay as he stumbled with his lines. When the scene mercifully ended, the crew all clapped enthusiastically and yelled Bravo. Cmdr. Data (an android who strives to be more human for you non-trekkies) looked on with a puzzled look on his face. He turned to Cmdr. Riker and stated something on the order of, why are you all clapping, his performance was barely adequate. Riker responded, "Data, it's Polite"

I also relayed to her a conversation I recently had with her dad. He was wearing a pair of parachute pants and a white Tee shirt. I told him, they made him look like a clown and he should never wear them again. Normally that would be considered extremely rude and I am sure my inlaws would point to it as further proof that I am a sub-standard wife. But my dear husband has been married to me for over 36 years and knows more about Aspies than most people. We have long since come to the understanding that we will be honest with each other when the old question, "Does this outfit make me look fat?" comes up. If you don't want the truth, don't ask the question. We both appreciate, knowing what not to wear out in public.

So what to tell her about telling the truth. I wish it were an easy question. I told her to ask herself, what she was trying to achieve with her statement. If she was trying to compliment someone, then by all means say something. But that brought up another problem. As stated, she has a large vocabulary and it is growing everyday, but sometimes, she uses her new word improperly. This means that her statement can come out several different ways
1. She could be using the word properly and the person she is talking to might also know the proper definition of her word (a good thing)
2. She could be using the word wrong and the other person may know the proper usage. (bad thing)
3. She may be using the word correctly but the other person may not know the word. Which could lead to the other person being hurt because they have the wrong impression of the word, or they could feel like she is trying to show off how smart she is and trying to insult the other person's intelligence. That one bothered her the most because she never wants to hurt someone's feelings.

Sometimes it's best not to say anything.

I left her to think about all this. She came to me a little later and said, "Why can't everyone speak the same language? Why can't blue always be blue?"

It never is you know. Blue is always different. Honesty isn't always the best policy. And the rules are always changing.