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First let me make it clear that I enjoy some of Tyler Perry’s movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed “Why Did I Get Married” starring Jill Scott, Richard T. Jones and Tasha Smith, as well as “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” starring the magnificent Mary J. Blige.  I also found “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” mostly entertaining.  Now, with the latter out of the way, I’m not sure I’m excited about seeing Kim Kardashian in MARRIAGE COUNSELOR.

ART THAT ENRICHES MY LIFE (most likely art that doesn’t include Kim Kardashian)

I enjoy entertainment, especially movies that enrich my life, either through well-crafted comedy stories or dramas that enlighten me, cause me to reflect, and even inspire me to grow as a human being.  For that reason, I’m drawn to artistic endeavors such as the upcoming RED TAILS, based on the Tuskegee Airmen and THE HELP, based on the lives of domestic workers in the 1950s, as well as EIGHTH WONDER the novel, surrounding the real life story of Thomas Bethune, a blind, autistic slave who began playing Mozart at the age of three.

I’ll come clean and admit I used to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloe take Miami, Kim and Kourtney take New York, thoroughly enjoying the mindless prattles of the K-clan.  Although I understand Mr. Perry’s decision from a business perspective – Kim has millions of fans – I just DO NOT want to see the whiny, untalented, but pretty Kim in a movie.  Barbara Walters said it best in an interview that ran before the end of 2011 – the Kardashians  don’t have any real talent.  They are privileged, stylish, pretty, and that’s it.  Quite frankly, I won’t be going to see the MARRIAGE COUNSELOR not because Kim is a sinner and such a bad person – although that 20 minute wedding did cause her to lose points in my book – but primarily because I cringe at the thought of watching her hatch through scripted lines.   Sorry Mr. Perry (rolling my eyes)  I’m sitting this one out.

A.M. Cal



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Red Tails’ star Terrence Howard picks up some presidential salutes

RED TAILS is gaining momentum and the highest praises.  Like EIGHTH WONDER the novel which is set in the antebellum south and surrounds the remarkable blind autistic slave who began playing Mozart at three, the WWII film is based on a powerful true story.

                        President Obama has a screening of film backed by George Lucas; George H.W. Bush gives a thumbs-up

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Thursday, January 12 2012, 6:00 m

Updated: Thursday, January 12 2012, 6:00 AM
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	Terrence Howard (r.) gets a closeup with his ‘Red Tails’ co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. (l.) and filmmaker Spike Lee at the New York premiere.<br /><br />

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Terrence Howard (r.) gets a closeup with his ‘Red Tails’ co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. (l.) and filmmaker Spike Lee at the New York premiere.

If you’re known by the company you keep, then these days you can call Terrence Howard presidential.

After the suave Hollywood actor recently screened his new movie, “Red Tails,” for former President George H.W. Bush, he’s due to watch it with President Obama at the White House on Thursday.

Howard, who stars in the movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African-American fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. armed forces, told us Tuesday at the New York premiere of the flick that he’s “way past excited” to screen it for Obama.

“That shows you the significance of this film,” Howard said.

Howard was part of a starry crowd at the Ziegfeld Theatre that included the movie’s executive producer, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, Howard’s castmate Cuba Gooding Jr., filmmaker Spike Lee and the voice of Darth Vader, actor James Earl Jones.

On the red carpet, Howard recalled watching the film with Bush 41 and his wife, Barbara, at a private screening.

Howard told us he “shared popcorn” with the former commander in chief and said “Red Tails” got the presidential seal of approval because the 87-year-old Bush “stayed awake” for the entire movie.

The film likely brought back a flood of memories from Bush’s days as a Navy pilot in the Pacific during World War II.

Howard said Mrs. Bush’s reaction was much more emotional. He noted that she was “crying at the end” of the picture.

When we asked the actor if he consoled the former First Lady, he shook his head.

“I’m not touching another man’s wife,” he said with a smile.

Also on the red carpet, Lee praised Lucas for the bold move of personally financing the film.

The “Do the Right Thing” director told us, “I’m going to get on Twitter and all that stuff” to promote “Red Tails” and will be “praying” for its success.

Lucas reportedly spent nearly $100 million of his own fortune to produce and market the picture because he couldn’t convince a major studio to gamble on a big-budget action-adventure movie that featured an all-black cast as well as a black director and screenwriter.

The “Star Wars” creator is betting the action-packed “Red Tails,” which opens Jan. 20, has blockbuster potential, although he told USA Today that if the movie doesn’t work, “I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk.”

Lee told us he staunchly disagreed with the assertion.

“I have great respect for George, but I don’t think any film can determine whether black cinema lives or dies,” Lee said.


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RED TAILS, is a must see feature for me because the story, like that of Thomas Bethune ( the classical slave prodigy) is entertaining AND IMPORTANTI enjoy movies that enrich my life, movies that entertain, educate, move me, make me nostalgic, and yes, it’s even better when I leave a better person. Whether it’s a comedy, a romance, a thriller, an action show, I like movies where I learn something. Even if it’s as light-hearted as “HITCH” or “BEACHES” or as heavy as”SAVING PRIVATE RYAN”  or  “THE GODFATHER,” I love experiencing the archetypes of human character and the positive messages of love, courage, and romance, along with educational stories that also entertain.

The Tuskegee Airmen, trained at the Tuskegee Institute, were the military’s first black jet fighters, a fierce, capable, heroic, and skilled group of trained pilots who shot down more enemy planes than any other unit during WWII.  These were real mean, heroic figures fighting a real war, so it’s based on historical facts, just like EIGHTH WONDER.  At the turn of the century,  the blind slave Maestro Thomas Bethune, known throughout the world as “Blind Tom” was the most famous figure on earth.  These are the kinds of stories I love to experience and deserve a place in our public consciousness.

I will be there, popcorn in hand, when RED TAILS hits the theaters on January 20th!

A.M. Cal


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RAIN MAN, the movie won four Oscars for the depiction of a greedy, selfish, upwardly mobile (Yuppy), Charlie, whose business life is spinning out of control and his dead father’s large fortune is just the ticket he needs to turn things around.  The only problem is, his older brother, Ray, the one he vaguely remembers, who happens to be mentally and emotionally challenged.  The yuppy discovers his brother has a way with numbers and statistics, a phenomenal, extraordinary way with numbers and decides that skill could be used to his benefit, especially since their father left the fortune to Ray.

The real life Rain Man was Kim Peek. He performed poorly on standardized tests, scoring below average, but he was discovered to possess a photographic memory.  Unlike the character in the movie “…Babbitt, Peek was not autistic[4] and likely had FG syndrome.” (Wikepedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Peek)

The great classical music slave prodigy, Thomas Bethune, was indeed autistic and much like the fictional character Ray, was left alone, thought to be worthless, yet turned out to be a diamond in the ruff for his master Colonel James Bethune.  Given the stage name “Blind Tom,” Thomas was socially awkward at times, but extremely confident, if not arrogant when it came to his musical genius.  He reportedly enjoyed the positive attention he received from performing and demanded perfection when it came to his pianos as well as the musicians who joined him on stage.

Other Famous autistic savants, as listed in Wikepedia

Alonzo Clemons, American clay sculptor [31]
Tony DeBlois, blind American musician [32]
Leslie Lemke, blind American musician [33]
Jonathan Lerman, American artist [34]
Thristan Mendoza, Filipino marimba prodigy [35]
Jerry Newport is an author, savant, and has Asperger’s. His wife, Mary Newport, is also a savant on the autistic spectrum [36]
Derek Paravicini, blind British musician [37]
James Henry Pullen, gifted British carpenter [38]
Matt Savage, U.S. autistic jazz prodigy [39]
Henriett Seth-F., Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist


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Thomas Jefferson enjoyed high classical musical fair, which included Haydn, Bach, and Mozart.  Based on historical facts regarding his interests and beliefs, he would have certainly been fascinated by Thomas Bethune:

c.1781. (Notes on the State of Virginia) “In music they [blacks] are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been found capable of imagining a small catch. Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved.”[7] http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-music

According to historians, Thomas Jefferson had a passion for the arts, architecture and music in particular.  However, according to his granddaughter, his own musical abilities were modest.  (From baroquemusic.org) “Mr. Jefferson played I believe very well indeed, but not so well as to stand comparison with many other persons . . . No amateur violinist could hope to equal a professor.” Thus Ellen Randolph Coolidge described the technical skill of “dear Grandpapa,” whom she adored.

But, was Thomas Jefferson – the President of the United

States, moneyed, a man of intellect, a perfectionist,

author of the Declaration of Independence, polished

pianist – also autistic? Other historical figures

sometimes considered autistic.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Famous historical people have been speculated to have had autism or other autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome by journalists, academics and autism professionals. Such speculation is controversial and little of it is undisputed. For example, several autism researchers speculate that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had autism and other conditions, while other researchers say there is not sufficient evidence to draw conclusions that he had any such conditions.[1]


Controversial speculation

Speculative claims that historical figures displayed behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorders include people who died before the work done by Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner in classifying autism spectrum conditions was completed. Autism has only been recognized since the 1940s, so many earlier cases may have gone undiagnosed.[2] Speculation about their diagnoses is based on reported behaviors rather than any clinical observation of the individual. Fred Volkmar, a psychiatrist and autism expert and director of the Yale Child Study Center says, “There is unfortunately a sort of cottage industry of finding that everyone has Asperger’s.”[3]

Michael Fitzgerald, of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, has speculated about historical figures with autism in numerous journal papers and at least three books: The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger’s Syndrome and the Arts,[4] Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger’s Syndrome[5] and Autism and Creativity, Is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability?[6]


Person Speculator
Hans Christian Andersen – author Michael Fitzgerald[4]
Béla Bartók – 20th century Hungarian composer Ioan James;[7] Oliver Sacks says the evidence seems “very thin at best”.[8]
Hugh Blair of Borgue – 18th century Scottish landowner thought mentally incompetent, now studied as case history of autism. Rab Houston and Uta Frith[9] Wolff calls the evidence “convincing”.[10]
Lewis Carroll – writer, logician Michael Fitzgerald[4][6][11]
Henry Cavendish – 18th century British scientist. He was unusually reclusive, literal minded, had trouble relating to people, had trouble adapting to people, difficulties looking straight at people, drawn to patterns, etc. Oliver Sacks,[3][8] and Ioan James;[2][7] Fred Volkmar of Yale Study Child Center is skeptical.[3]
Charles XII of Sweden – speculated to have had Asperger syndrome Swedish researchers, Gillberg[12] and Lagerkvist[13]
Jeffrey Dahmerserial killer Silva, et al.[14][15]
Anne Claudine d’Arpajon, comtesse de Noailles – French governess, lady of honor, tutor Society for French Historical Studies, New York Times[6]
Charles Darwin – naturalist, associated with the theory of evolution by natural selection Michael Fitzgerald[11]
Emily Dickinson – poet Vernon Smith[6]
Éamon de Valera – Irish revolutionary and politician Michael Fitzgerald[4][16]
Paul Dirac – British mathematician and physicist. He was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, 1933–1963 and a Fellow of St John’s College. Awarded the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the mathematical foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Ioan James[2] and Graham Farmelo[17]
Albert Einstein – physicist See analysis below
Janet Frame – New Zealand author Sarah Abrahamson;[18] this suggestion has been the subject of some controversy.[19][not in citation given][20]
Glenn Gould – Canadian pianist and noted Bach interpreter. He liked routine to the point he used the same seat until it was worn through. He also disliked social functions to the point that in later life he relied on the telephone or letters for virtually all communication. He had an aversion to being touched, had a different sense of hot or cold than most, and would rock back and forth while playing music. He is speculated to have had Asperger syndrome. Michael Fitzgerald,[4] Ioan James,[7] Tony Attwood,[21] and NPR[22]
Adolf Hitler – Austrian born, Nazi German politician, chancellor and dictator Michael Fitzgerald[6] and Andreas Fries;[23] although others disagree and say that there is not sufficient evidence to indicate any diagnoses for Hitler.[24]
Thomas Jefferson – US President Norm Ledgin[25] Tony Attwood,[21] and Ioan James[7]
Keith Joseph – father of Thatcherism Michael Fitzgerald[4][16]
James Joyce – author of Ulysses Michael Fitzgerald and Antionette Walker;[5] this theory has been called “a somewhat odd hypothesis”.[26]
Stanley Kubrick – filmmaker Michael Fitzgerald[27]
William McGonagall – poet, notoriously bad yet he never understood that others mocked him Norman Watson[28]
MichelangeloItalian Renaissance artist, based on his inability to form long-term attachments and certain other characteristics Arshad and Fitzgerald;[4][29][30] Ioan James also discussed Michelangelo’s autistic traits.[7]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – composer Tony Attwood[21] and Michael Fitzgerald;[4] others disagree that there is sufficient evidence to indicate any diagnoses for Mozart.[1]
Isaac Newton See analysis below
Moe Norman – Canadian golfer USA Today[31]
George Orwell – writer speculated to have had Asperger Syndrome. His troubled life went along with social interaction problems. Towards the end of his life he wrote a bitter polemic on his preparatory boarding school “Such, Such Were the Joys” which displays many of the characteristics of Asperger’s and interpersonal relationships. Orwell knew this intensely personal account was libellous and biographers have found it a challenge to explain its conflict with the truth, but Orwell still felt it important to publish this account eventually. Michael Fitzgerald[4][16]
Enoch Powell – British politician Michael Fitzgerald[4][16]
Srinivasa Ramanujan – mathematician Ioan James[7] and Michael Fitzgerald[32]
Charles Richterseismologist, creator of the eponymous scale of earthquake magnitude Susan Hough in her biography of Richter[33]
Erik Satie – composer Ioan James[7] and Michael Fitzgerald[4]
Jonathan Swift – author Ioan James[7] and Michael Fitzgerald[4]
Nikola Tesla See analysis below
Alan Turing – pioneer of computer sciences. He seemed to be a math savant and his lifestyle has many autism traits about it. Tony Attwood[21] and Ioan James[7]
Michael Ventris – English architect who deciphered Linear B Simon Baron-Cohen[34]
Andy Warhol – American artist Michael Fitzgerald[4][35] and Ioan James[7]
Blind Tom Wiggins – autistic savant Oliver Sacks[36]
Ludwig Wittgenstein – Austrian philosopher Michael Fitzgerald[37] Tony Attwood,[21] and Ioan James;[7] But Oliver Sacks seems to disagree.[8]
W. B. Yeats – poet and dramatist Michael Fitzgerald[4][16]

Einstein, Tesla and Newton

It has been speculated that Isaac Newton had what is now considered Asperger syndrome.

It has been speculated that Albert Einstein was on what is now considered the autism spectrum.

Albert Einstein (1879–1955), Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) and Isaac Newton (1643–1727) all died before Asperger syndrome became known, but Ioan James,[2] Michael Fitzgerald,[16] and Simon Baron-Cohen[38] believe their personalities are consistent with those of people with Asperger syndrome; Tony Attwood has also named Einstein as a likely case of mild autism.[21]

Newton, when he was 50, suffered a nervous breakdown involving depression and paranoia. After Newton’s death however, his body was found to contain massive amounts of mercury, probably from his alchemical pursuits, which could have accounted for his eccentricity in later life.[39]

Tesla was able to mentally picture very detailed mechanisms; spoke 8 languages; was never married; was very sensitive to touch and had an acute sense of hearing and sight; was obsessed with the number three; was disgusted by jewelery and overweight people and also had several eating compulsions [40] [41].

In her 1995 book In a World of His Own: A Storybook About Albert Einstein, author Illana Katz notes that Einstein “was a loner, solitary, suffered from major tantrums, had no friends and didn’t like being in crowds”.[42]

Arguments against

Despite having a lot of savant-like abilities, Nikola Tesla is more likely to have had some form of OCD.

The evidence that any one of them had autism “seems very thin at best”.[8] Glen Elliott, a psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, is unconvinced that either of the scientists had Asperger syndrome, particularly due to the unreliability of diagnoses based on biographical information. Elliot stated that there are a variety of causes that could explain the behaviour of interest, adding that Einstein had a good sense of humour, a trait [stereotypically] uncommon among those with Asperger syndrome.[38] Tesla was more commonly assumed to have suffered from some form of OCD, which is not related to the autism spectrum disorders. There is no indication that Tesla had a late onset of speech or other disabilities during childhood.


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A very interesting article published in 2008 at http://www.telegraph.co.uk suggests some of the brightest and most creative minds in human history were held by individuals with autism…Read the article below:

Many leading figures in the fields of science, politics and the arts have achieved success because they had autism, a leading psychiatrist has claimed.

Michael Fitzgerald, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, argued the characteristics linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) were the same as those associated with creative genius.

Prof Fitzgerald cited Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, George Orwell, H G Wells and Ludwig Wittgenstein as examples of famous and brilliant individuals who showed signs of ASDs including Asperger syndrome.

Beethoven, Mozart, Hans Christian Andersen and Immanuel Kant have also received post mortem diagnoses of Asperger’s.

Speaking at a Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Academic Psychiatry conference in London, Prof Fitzgerald said argued the link between ASD’s, creativity and genius were caused by common genetic causes.

“Psychiatric disorders can also have positive dimensions. I’m arguing the genes for autism/Asperger’s, and creativity are essentially the same.

“We don’t know which genes they are yet or how many there are, but we are talking about multiple genes of small effect. Every case is unique because people have varying numbers of the genes involved.

“These produce people who are highly focused, don’t fit into the school system, and who often have poor social relationships and eye contact. They can be quite paranoid and oppositional, and usually highly moral and ethical.

“They can persist with a topic for 20-30 years without being distracted by what other people think. And they can produce in one lifetime the work of three or four other people.”

Prof Fitzgerald said traits such as a need to be dominant and in control and autistic repetitiveness were critical to the success of politicians such as Charles de Gaulle, who famously said “I am France”, US president Thomas Jefferson and Enoch Powell.

Another example he said was science fiction writer H G Wells, whom he described as socially insecure, controlling, lonely, cruel and emotionally immature.

Prof Fitzgerald reached his conclusion after comparing the characteristics of around 1,600 people he has diagnosed with ASDs and the known biographical details of famous people.

He said Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein demonstrated how many with Asperger’s traits could work for long periods on topics without taking note of others’ views.

Isaac Newton, he said, was known to work non-stop for three days without recognising day or night, often forgetting to eat, and Einstein worked in a patent office because he was too disruptive to get a university job.

Prof Fitzgerald’s book “Genius Genes: How Asperger Talents Changed the World” was published at the end of last year,

Estimates of the prevalence of ASDs in the general population vary widely from 60-120 cases per 10,000 people.

Amanda Batten, of the National Autistic Society said: “It is important to avoid stereotypes of people with autism as geniuses or otherwise, as everyone has individual character traits, strengths and needs.

“These might include attention to detail and the ability to pursue something for long periods of time, however apparent ability in some areas may lead people to underestimate the challenges individuals face in other parts of their lives.”

AUTISM, PRODIGY, GENIUS THOMAS BETHUNE, 12-year-old boy physicist

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Autistic Savant’s became a part of America’s popular consciousness with the movie “Rain Man” starring Dustin Hoffman as an autistic math genius and his greedy younger brother, played by Tom Cruise.   A recent story of a 12-year-old physicist in college made headlines.  But more than a hundred and fifty years ago,  THE “EIGHTH WONDER” OF THE WORLDThomas Bethune was invited to perform at the White House at age eleven by President James Buchanan.  He became the first black to ever perform at the mansion.

INDIANAPOLIS, March 20 (UPI) — A 12-year-old autistic boy functioning at genius levels in mathematics is studying doctorate-level astrophysics at an Indiana university, his parents say.

Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of borderline autism when he was about three when his parents noticed it was difficult for him to make eye contact with them, show emotion and interact with other people, The Indianapolis Star reported.

What he did do was work with numbers either on paper, a dry erase board or in his head working pi out to 200 digits for fun.

Jacob’s parents noticed when they took him to the planetarium he loved looking at the stars and planets, but as his interest in cosmology grew so did his boredom in school.

The Barnetts had a number of clinical evaluations done on “Jake” as he was known and decided to heed the last one made by clinical neurophysiologist Carl S. Hale.

“He needs work at an instructional level, which currently is a post college graduate level in mathematics, i.e., a post master’s degree. In essence, his math skills are at the level found in someone who is working on a doctorate in math, physics, astronomy and astrophysics.”

So, off Jake went to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis driven to class by his mom or dad.

His professor sees great things for Jake.

“We have told him that after this semester — enough of the book work. You are here to do some science,” said IUPUI physics Professor John Ross, who vows to help find some grant funding to support Jake and his work.

Mom Kristine, who says she is still not sure if this is work or play on his part, sent a video of Jake proposing a “new expanded theory of relativity” to astrophysics Professor Scott Tremaine at Princeton University.

“The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics, Tremaine said.

“Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.”

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/03/20/Autistic-physics-genius-12-in-college/UPI-86221300649912/#ixzz1iwXdpr5l

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