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Archive for December, 2008

by Tara Cohen

My friend Laura was recently at one of those big-box-nothing-under-100-pounds-can’t-escape-for-less-than-100-dollars behemoth warehouse stores with her husband and daughter, and she thought of me. Now, Laura, being the conservationist-social activist-cloth-diapering-vegetarian that she is, is not a huge fan of oversized portions of toxic plastic crap, so it’s worth noting that they were picking up bulk consumables like kitty litter and rice, not single-use plastics and disposable diapers. As they perused the streets of this indoor mecca o’ stuff, Laura loaded their cart with a super-mega-ultra-jumbo bag of cat food and noticed a woman staring at her with something like disapproval on her face.

Now, me, I’m used to strangers’ stares because children with autism, like my son Will, do tend to become the main attraction when they’re upset. I should charge for tickets to “The Will Show” for as long as some people stare at us. When that child is upset, throwing things, hitting, full-body-flailing in the stroller, crying, or all of the above (yes, that happens, and often), people shake their heads at us. They do the “Wow. That’s one bratty kid” double eyebrow raise. They roll their eyes, cluck their tongues, whisper their disapproval to each other, and stare at me with their appalled “Well, I never” expressions when I don’t look adequately humiliated. But we are living in the year 2 A.D. (that’s “After Diagnosis”) in my house, and I’ve had enough time to learn that my kid absolutely has to come first, and explaining ourselves to strangers takes a last-row-of-a-15-passenger-van type of back seat to taking care of his needs.

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Microsoft OBS

by Tara Cohen

Microsoft announced today the release of their latest version of the Windows operating system, Windows OBS. OBS, which stands for Obsolete Before Sale, is widely considered to be the first operating system ever introduced that will be completely inoperable by the time it is installed on hard drives.

Consumers lined the streets in front of computer stores and other retailers this morning, many camping out overnight in hopes of being among the first to try OBS. “I just can’t wait to get mine! OBS is the newest thing! If you want to make it in this economy, you have to be up-to-date on all the cutting edge technology,” said Clarissa M. Goldsthwait, a technology student at the University of Michigan. According to Norman T. Jerbers, an Information Technology Specialist in the Detroit metro area, “Previous to the release of OBS, we computer techs had to wait months for an operating system to become obsolete. Now, the waiting is over! We can begin uploading pirated drivers and illegal software patches as soon as the hard drive comes out of the box! Now that’s efficiency!”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates held a press conference yesterday regarding the release of OBS. Said Gates, “For many years now, people have complained that their operating software was out of date within several months of release. Now, they can have completely obsolete software from the moment they purchase a computer. We at Microsoft are committed to finding the most expedient way of outdating software. After all, that’s what drives our business.”

OBS supplants Windows RE2M, or Replace Every Two Months, as the latest Windows operating system available for both home and office use. It is available only as a pre-installed operating system and backup disks are sold separately. For information on Windows OBS, you can log on to http://www.microsoft-obs.com, but Microsoft sources indicate that you must have OBS installed on your system in order for the site to load. Attempts to log on without OBS installed will result in a complete reformat of your system.

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By Tara Cohen

The next person who tells me that God chooses special parents for special-needs children is getting smacked upside the head. That’s it. I’m done being polite. Without question, that is one of the least helpful, most aggravating platitudes with which I, as a special-needs parent, am assaulted on a regular basis. There is an endless list of them, including, “Isn’t he so lucky God gave him such a wonderful mother?” and, one of my favorites, “Oh, God has a special, special plan for those children, I just know it.”

Let me offer one caveat here: I am a Jew. I am also an atheist. And no, I don’t consider the two mutually exclusive. It all really depends on definition and semantics, but the upshot is that I don’t believe in God or Christ, nor am I into being Saved or Blessed or Reborn. It also means I am not big on having other peoples’ religiosity poured on me like so much boysenberry syrup on my perfectly unsullied blueberry pancakes. Cultural religion and atheism can blend for me. But having a special-needs child and having God in my life, those cannot exist in tandem. And since the kid is here to stay, God is out.

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