Welcome to a continuation of National Autism Awareness Month.

DSM-5 or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition by the American Psychiatric Association defines autism thusly: “The neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of conditions with onset in the developmental period. The disorders typically manifest early in development, often before the child enters grade school, and are characterized by developmental deficits that produce impairment of personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning. The range of developmental deficits varies from very specific limitations of learning or control of executive functions to global impairments of social skills or intelligence. The neurodevelopmental disorders frequently co-occur; for example, individuals with autism spectrum disorder often have intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) … For example, autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed only when the characteristic deficits of social communication are accompanied by excessively repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, and insistence on sameness.” For further reading on this topic, please take a look at Autism adulthood: strategies and insights for a fulfilling life by Susan Senator ; Autism all-stars: how we use our autism and Asperger traits to shine in life edited by Josie Santomauro, foreword by Tony Attwood ; The complete IEP guide: how to advocate for your special ed child by Lawrence M. Siegel and/or Bethany K. Laurence ; How the special needs brain learns 3rd edition by David A. Sousa ; In a different key: the story of autism by John Donvan, Caren Zucker ; The prodigy’s cousin: the family link between autism and extraordinary talent by Joanne Ruthsatz and Kimberly Stephens ; Temple talks … about Autism and the older child by Dr. Temple Grandin ; The un-prescription for Autism: a natural approach for a calmer, happier, and more focused child by Janet Lintala with Martha W. Murphy, foreword by Elizabeth Mumper. Andy Warhol was a hoarder: inside the minds of history’s great personalities by Claudia Kalb was a book in which the author suggested that Albert Einstein may have been on the autism spectrum. Another book which I recently read suggested a change in the terminology we use for mental disease. The writer suggested that we change from “mental health” to “brain health” and “mental illness” to “brain illness.” By using these words, the author felt that as individuals we might come to view the brain as just another organ and therefore, worthy of regular health maintenance exercises. On a lighter note, April is also the month which hosts National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, National Pecan Month, and Zam! Zoo and Aquarium Month and April 2nd is International Pillow Fight Day as well as National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. To learn more about International Pillow Fight Day, feel free to visit www.pillowfightday.org and for National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day visit http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-peanut-butter-and-jelly-day-april-2.



A friend of mine shares a birthday with Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, on March 14 in 1879. On this day in history by Leonard and Thelma Spinrad ; revised by Anistatia R. Miller & Jared M. Brown offers an encapsulation of Einstein’s life. “Einstein’s life story illustrates quite a few morals. For one thing the man who is regarded as one of the world’s great geniuses was not a particularly good student. He was not really a late bloomer, just an individualist who went at his own pace in his own way. He won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for creating a tremendous revolution with his theory of relativity, which he once explained in simple terms, ‘When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.’ He also escaped Nazi Germany and immigrated to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life championing the need for atomic research. Einstein even wrote to Franklin Roosevelt to plead his cause. If there is any truth to the adage that right makes might, Einstein’s story seems to bear it out. This man of peace helped forge the key to the world’s most terrible weapon.” For those among our patrons who admire or share an affinity with Einstein’s ideas or just want to learn more, please check out one or more of the following. Driving Mr. Albert: a trip across America with Einstein’s brain by Michael Paterniti ; Einstein: a hundred years of relativity by Andrew Robinson with contributions by Philip Anderson et. al. ; Einstein: his life and universe by Walter Isaacson ; Einstein: a life in science by Michael White and John Gribbin ; Evolution of physics: the growth of ideas from early concepts to relativity and quanta by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld ; God’s equation: Einstein, relativity, and the expanding universe by Amir D. Azcel ; Possessing genius: the bizarre odyssey of Einstein’s brain by Carolyn Abraham ; Relativity by Albert Einstein ; Relativity simply explained by Martin Gardner, illustrated by Anthony Ravielli ; Theory of relativity and other essays by Albert Einstein. Let’s enjoy getting to know this scientific genius.

This is National Hazing Prevention Week.

There are two recognized definitions of hazing. The first deals with an initiation process involving harassment. The second definition taken from the website http://www.cowboyshowcase.com is a “rodeo term referring to bulldogging. The bulldogger rides his horse on the left side of the steer. The hazer rides on the right. When the steer is released from the box, the hazer attempts to keep the steer between his horse and the bulldogger’s horse so that the bulldogger has a better chance to get off on the steer and throw it down. The word haze is used to mean push or herd the animal.” That part of the definition “push or herd the animal” seems to apply equally to humans hazing other humans, forcing them through intimidation into acts they would normally not commit. The Suffolk County Library system has some resources for you, the patron’s, further insight into hazing. They are, as follows: Bullying and hazing by Jill Hamilton ; Goat: a memoir by Brad Land ; The Hazing reader edited by Hank Nuwer ; High school hazing: when rites become wrongs by Hank Nuwer ; Preventing hazing: how parents, teachers, and coaches can stop the violence, harassment, and humiliation by Susan Lipkins ; and Teen danger zone [videorecording DVD] : teens at risk by Cambridge Educational. To find out more about hazing prevention, please visit HazingPrevention.org.

Recently I was complimented on my handwriting.

This was a nice surprise since handwriting has always been difficult for me. The typewriter and then the computer enabled me to more easily commit my many convoluted thoughts to paper (in a manner of speaking) and transform them into something smooth, coherent, and flowing. If I write someone a short note, I do attempt to handwrite it because I feel it is more personal. If I am writing something longer, then I will use a keyboard with the proviso to the recipient that my hands just cannot handle such a long handwritten missive. There is talk circulating that cursive writing is no longer being taught in schools. I think that, if the above statement is true, we will be losing something. Cursive writing is, to my thinking, a much more difficult thing to emulate and trips many a crook. It has also caught many schoolchildren in its trap when they try to render their parents’ signature on report cards and/or permission slips. We have some books in the Suffolk County library collections, which you, our patron, may want to peruse. They are as follows: The definitive book of handwriting analysis : the complete guide to interpreting personalities, detecting forgeries, and revealing brain activity through the science of graphology by Marc J. Seifer ; Handwriting analysis: putting it to work for you — a practical step-by-step approach by Andrea McNichol with Jeff Nelson, illustrations by John McNichol ; Handwriting analysis made easy : quickly discover personality and behavior traits, personally and professionally by Jess E. Dines ; Script and scribble: the rise and fall of handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey ; Sex, lies, and handwriting : a top expert reveals the secrets in your handwriting by Michelle Dresbold with James Kwalwasser ; Simply handwriting analysis by Eve Bingham. If you are curious as to how the Dewey Decimal number is established for fraud, of which forgery is a subdivision, the number is built in the following manner. 364 is Criminology and adding a “1” as in 364.1 signifies Criminal offenses, adding to the “1” a “6” so that the number reads 364.16 stands for Offenses against property. The addition of a “3” to the number so that it reads 364.163 means that book discusses fraud. The two nonfiction books which, to me, encapsulate the skills and techniques of the forger are Caveat emptor: the secret life of an American art forger by Ken Perenyi and The Poet and the murderer: a true story of literary crime and the art of forgery by Simon Worrall. So come to the library and learn what secrets are contained within your handwriting.

Where did the summer go?

The nice weather is still here but the calendar is already reading September 8th. The September/October Half Hollow Hills Community Library newsletter is chock full of excellent programs. September is Library Card Sign-up month and Snoopy is our spokes-beagle. In fact, on Friday September 25th from 3 PM to 6 PM, Snoopy will be at Center Court in the Walt Whitman Mall. The library will, as a lead in to Snoopy at Center Court, have a Snoopy Storytime on Monday September 14th for those children aged 3 to 5 years old at 10:30 AM and accompanied by a parent and/or caregiver. This program will be followed by a Snoopy Movie Marathon on September 19th. The movie marathon will be from 11 AM to 2 PM. The Half Hollow Hills Community Library has recently added Lynda.com, “a web-based video subscription service with online courses for learning creative and business software. With over 3000+ courses and 129,942 video tutorials, you’ll soon be an expert in software like MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator …” For those adults who enjoy a concert, there are several upcoming musical events and they are: The Musical Theatre Songbook, The Acoustix, Shenandoah in Concert, Great Italian Songbook, and the Voices of Legends by Johnny Tunes. The program that, for me, is generating the most excitement is the Lend-a-Hand: e-Nabling the Future. “The Library is partnering with e-Nable (enablingthefuture.org) to assemble prosthetic hands for children using 3D printed parts. A representative from the organization will talk about the project and demonstrate the printing and assembling process. You may take home a kit and put a hand together.” Chase’s Calendar of Events features some memorable honorees for September. There is Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month, Eat Chicken Month, Fall Hat Month, National Coupon Month, National Honey Month, National Shake Month, Shameless Promotion Month, and Whole Grains Month. So enjoy your September and don’t forget to visit with Snoopy

There are many celebrity chefs out there.

I am sure that the majority of the celebrity chef watchers have their favorite(s) whether it be Giada DeLaurentiis with her calm, joyful attitude, or Guy Fieri with his rocker biker persona, or Bobby Flay with his BBQ addiction. My mom is not a celebrity chef but I often consider her thus. I have mentioned that I was ill during my childhood and perhaps my memory is not 100% accurate, but from what I do recall, dinner was always ready the minute my father walked in the door. To me, that seems worthy of consideration for celebrity status, timing the meals correctly and cooking to please the palate of the ones you love. The Half Hollow Hills Community Library frequently has cooking demonstrations hosted by Rob Scott. Rob Scott has worked in the culinary arts field for many years with a short break in-between as a toy store manager. He has also been a private chef and now he travels the library circuit on the joys of cooking. While he is demonstrating the recipe(s), he is sharing and educating patrons on the best places to buy particular ingredients. In my eyes, he too, is a celebrity chef because he makes the sessions enjoyable and entertaining. Some of the meals I found most enjoyable were Mexican Lasagna, Gazpacho, Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Peaches & Brown Sugar Whipped Cream, Corn & Basil Salad, and Strawberry Peach Sushi. For the Grilled Pound Cake, you need 4 1/2 T packed golden brown sugar divided, 3 T balsamic vinegar, 6 fresh mint sprigs, 6 large ripe peaches (cut into 1/4 inch thick slices), 1 c chilled whipping cream, 6 slices store bought pound cake and 4 T unsalted butter at room temperature. Prepare barbecue (medium high heat), whisk 3 T sugar and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl until blended, add peaches and toss gently to coat, let stand for a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes. Using an electric mixer beat whipping cream and remaining 1 1/2 T sugar in another large bowl until peaks form and then refrigerate, spread both sides of cake slices with butter, grill until lightly browned, arrange cake slices on 6 plates, top each with peaches and syrup, then tip with whipped cream and enjoy. If you do not particularly care for peaches, you may substitute another stone fruit.

Anyone out there have a crystal ball?

I know I mentioned last year around this time that I was car shopping. Well, here it is a year later and I still have not decided on a new vehicle. Do I want to slide into the driver’s seat or drop down? Taking into consideration how little (in mileage) that I actually drive, how important is gas mileage? The most distressing factor about the car search is that I cannot actually test drive the car myself but must rely, not on the kindness of strangers, but on the kindness of my family in being test drivers. The reason for this, my family being test drivers, is that approximately twelve years ago I decided, or rather my body indicated to me, its doubt regarding the placement of my feet upon the gas/brake pedals. I would be glancing down to assure myself that my feet were securely placed and that is no way to drive. This physical failure led to the acquisition of hand controls and what a blessing that has been. Recently, I discovered that I must sever my allegiance to the model and make of car I have been driving as long as I have been able to drive which leads me to another thought. Due to a pre-existing condition, my pediatric physician mentioned to my mother, that I might never be able to drive. Naturally being a child at the time, this fact was only confided to me many years later. Wouldn’t the doctor be astounded to see me now! Anyway, I am so glad that I am able to drive since Long Island would be uninhabitable without automotive transportation. I have narrowed down my vehicle choice and will soon be a new vehicle owner. However, I did discover something through this car search. The Handicapped plate, which I currently possess, falls under the heading of a Vanity plate. I find this absurd. To me, a vanity plate is usually a plate touting something or someone of which you are proud. To aid you, the patron, in your car search, please make use of one or more of the following: http://www.edmunds.com, http://www.kbb.com, http://www.truecar.com. At the library, behind the Reference Desk, we carry Consumer Reports and their April issue is car-centric. Happy trails to you.