NYC Heading for Economic Disaster

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They said a Democrat hasn’t been a major since 1989.  Now that is a stupid statement to make.  Bloomberg was a moderate Republican/Independent.  He was once a Democrat but remained a Democrat at heart.  His questionable mayoral leadership revealed all his ridiculous ideas and intentions.  I think I can place him at number 7 on the “Dumbass” scale.

Proposing a law to ban large soda cups was a strike against our freedom of choice.  Personal choice is our right not a privilege needing monitored.  I won’t continue to lose space here just to berate a past mayor, so let’s go to the next step.

The new NYC mayor, Bill de Blasio, is a would-be idiot in the making.  For the time being, I will put him one notch above Bloomberg as number 8 on the “Dumbass” scale.  His platform on income equality is another goal that is doomed for failure.  Why do I say this?  The reason is that he was backed by our elected dictator/president Obama.  He [Obama] has broken his oath, numerous times, by not defending our Constitution.  These acts, of Executive power of over-riding the law, should be punishable by both the Judicial and Legislative branches.

If De Blasio had any logical sense of intelligence, he would see that from the dawn of time, there has never been equality in income and there will never be in anyone’s lifetime.  Perhaps de Blasio is fantasizing and living in a Star Trek bubble where money is obsolete

Income equality will create more problems than he can imagine.  Raising the minimum wage would create a jobless increase when businesses decide to fire workers to compensate for keeping some at the higher minimum wage. If you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can see that the majority if minimum workers are teenagers who work for pocket money and saving for special things they want to purchase.  Waiters and waitresses are always below the minimum wage.  They are compensated for their good service with tips that usually far exceed the minimum wage cap.

An older person (20 – 30 years of age) who has lost his/her job and decides to take a minimum wage job on a temporary basis, those individuals are less than 1% of the population.  The best thing to do is find these people jobs.  Jobs increase the tax base, something that NYC is in desperate need of.

I recall traveling from Pennsylvania to Connecticut for over 50 years on Interstate 84.  The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge over the Hudson River was a bottleneck with traffic backed up for miles.  The best time was driving late night to early morning, when the traffic was slim to none.

A number of years back the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge placed a sign stating that another bridge will be built to alleviate the bottleneck and the 10-cent toll will be dropped.  The toll went up to 25-cents.  When the new bridge was complete, the toll on the westbound side heading toward Pennsylvania was dropped.  However, on the eastbound side, the toll was not dropped.  Over the years, the toll increased to $1.00, at least for now.  Take in consideration all the bridges in the New York City area.  The tolls are so high, that you need a high paying job just to pay the tolls.

De Blasio has his hands full, but I will predict that the economic structure of the city will not improve.  Not as long as economic equality is the goal for this administration.  It will be a lesson in futility for those who think that he will achieve that socialistic structure.  Education, fewer taxes, curtailing money spent for pet projects, and helping money-donating cohorts, will cause his future demise, as well as, the city’s functionality.

The downfall of NYC is looming in the shadows, and new Yorkers are blind to it.  With their selective hearing, they missed the obvious words of reason.  People of New York City, have fun eating your mistake.

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Losing a Dream

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As we get older, some of us create a bucket list and embark on completing it, hopefully, before we expire.  Some bucket lists are completed at an early age, but many are not, as I am about to tell you.  This isn’t an article to feel sorry about myself, but to tell you to make a valiant effort to do what is important to you in the earlier part of your life.

I will be 63 shortly, and looking back at my life, though adventurous in its own right, it still lacked that one thought of fulfilling that dream.  The only way I can explain it is go back to the beginning, before I was born.

My great grandmother was Austrian, as far as my mother related it to me.  She traveled from there to Poland and back selling her wares that my mother did not reveal.  I did not know anything about my great grandfather, but the story goes on when my grandmother was born in Vienna, Austria.  She married a Polish soldier and had a daughter, but he died by means, I do not know.  She remarried later to another Polish man and had three daughters and a son, with two sons dying shortly at or after birth.  He was my grandfather.

The oldest girl, of the second marriage was my mother.  The story continues when my mother was about 10 years old in 1940, and they were living in Poland, apparently in a town called Bochnia.  My grandmother and her sister started a butcher shop and later turned it into a restaurant/café operation.  She was an amazing cook because right around the corner was the Gestapo Headquarters and they frequented the place quite often.  It also housed rooms for individuals upstairs.  Some of her recipes are in my blog list.

I won’t go into details about some of the heinous things my young mother had seen and experienced, but the Gestapo did not bother my grandmother because she was an Austrian citizen, even though my mother was born in Bochnia, Poland.

Sometime in the 1940’s the family migrated back to Austria and ended up in Trefling, in a town called, Spittal-an-der-Drau.  Drau is the river adjacent to the town.  Many folks that were there were displaced persons due to the ending of WWII, and not having any home to return to live.  The place was a “Lager” a displaced persons “Camp”.  My grandmother accumulated much money from the restaurant and they were not struggling financially.

My mother was old enough to learn the German language besides her Polish and attended school to be a nurse’s aide.  It was at that time, when my mother got pregnant by my father whom I did not know, but later saw his photograph that my mother kept.  He tried to be a part of my life, but my grandmother was a very hard woman (in today’s terms she was a bitch), and he was scared of her rebukes.  So his continuation of his visits ended.

Trefling had 4 distinct areas at that juncture, English, French, American, and Russian.  We were in the Russian district.  If it weren’t for my grandmother I would have been waiting for Glasnost before I could even think about being in the U.S.  She paid a vegetable truck driver and later in the night he drove the family to the English District and we later entered the American side.

I was born on January 17, 1951, and 10 months later, in October, we arrived in New York City by troop ship.  I was told many had motion sickness crossing the Atlantic, including my mother.  Other immigrants went to Australia, England, Canada, France, Russia, and South America.  I was lucky to be in the states.  A charitable group gathered us and took us to a city named, Meriden, in Connecticut, where I grew up until I turned nineteen and left for the Navy in August of 1970.  It was the Viet Nam Era.

I will skip all the specific details, but I was married twice, with two kids from my first, and two with my second, including her 3 from her first marriage.  Being Austrian, I now felt like the Von Trapp family with seven kids.

And so now I can begin to tell you my dream.  Throughout the years, my finances had been up and down like a yoyo.  It got worse after the divorce of my first wife, though it was amicable.  It has been a constant struggle to pay bills and still have some monies left for extras.  We weren’t in poverty, but we weren’t rich.  In my second marriage, I was terminated after 20 years, due to a hostile takeover.  I worked part time as an engineering testing consultant for USB (Universal Serial Bus) consortium.  It involved all the big boys in the electronics field.

When that ended 6 months later I worked for 2 years as a contracted Engineering Technical Writer.  It was 2002 when I was out of work for 13 months.  By 2003, I lost all my IRA money trying to save my home, and I lost my car after owing only 7 more payments.  It was a terrible year, especially after I had to file for a chapter 7, bankruptcy.

It has been a struggle all these years, and for the last 15 years, we had no vacations.  We have an autistic son who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and my wife is not in the best of health as she just quit delivering newspapers in December after 17 years.  One of the reasons we couldn’t take a vacation.  She delivered 7 days a week and if she got a substitute, it would mean more money out of our normal income.

I grew up playing all kinds of sports, including swimming, diving, gymnastics, and running sometimes up to 10 miles a day.  Yes, I played all those regular sports too, but my main sport was racket ball.  It was in the early stages of the game before it became publicly prevalent.  I even owned a Joe Sobek racket, the man who invented the game.  It is ironic that now I am plagued with physical problems after being so intensely active.

Presently, at my age today, I went on disability from the State of Pennsylvania after working there for 9 years making many friends.  I lived to work, and now I had to give it up in June of 2012.  Last year, 2013, was probably the worst year of my life.  I am also on Social Security Disability.  I am a disabled Viet Nam Era Veteran, and after 3 different hospital stays, I had died twice in the ER, on separate times while I was there.  If it wasn’t for my defibrillator implant, I would have been gone.  I have diabetes, Fibromyalgia Rheumatica, complicated by arthritis and gout.  I am a CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) patient.  But I have lost 70 pounds, by my determination since my first bout in January of 2013.  No magic pills for weight loss, just plain being careful and losing it slowly.  I am on oxygen 24/7 but it is not critical if I do not become strained.

So following all that nonsense, I am usually isolated here in my room every day, writing, emailing, and doing things I can still do before my hands and feet become too crippled to manipulate.

So the question you might ask is, “What does all this have to do with losing a dream?”  I am here to tell you to do the best you can and accomplish it as early in your life as you can.  Do not wait and put it off for retirement.  You do not know when or how things can drastically change and cause you to become cripple or your demise, before that retirement day arrives.  I have known friends who have experienced that fall as I have.

What was my lost dream?  It was to go back to Austria to see where I was born, as I have no memory of it at 10 months old.  I wanted to experience my family’s history when I got there.  It is finality, I wanted, to breathe in, touch, smell, and feel the aura of my family, something I can never mindfully resolve.  I suppose I was too naïve to think that I could achieve it, but I was not ready to deal with all these walls in my life that blocked my every opportunity to do so.

I probably can travel now, but financially, on a fixed income, it will never happen.  Don’t let your work and dedication stop you from your dreams.  Experience it while you are single or married, before you wonder where all those years have gone.

 

The Fairy Festival at Spoutwood Farm

2011 Faerie Festival & sell items 072

buzzard[1]I know it is early in the New Year, but I felt that it was important to expose an event that my wife and I have been a part of for 20 of the 22 years of its existence.  At Spoutwood Farm, in the Glen Rock area of Pennsylvania, the Fairy Festival is an attraction that brings over 11,000 people from all states and often from overseas.

It began as a tea party for friends and expanded from one day to two days and finally to three days of the first weekend in May.  As long as one day in May falls on one of the 3 days, the festival is open to the celebration.

Spoutwood Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm, growing and educating individuals for the natural farming of crops.  It also promotes the non-destructive and the protection of all living things both vegetation and animal.  You can read about Rob and Lucy Wood and their farm if you follow this link:

http://spoutwood.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=28&Itemid=6

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There are many photos from past years for you to look through and they will amaze you at the versatility and ingenuity of costumes that people wear.  You cannot go there without a camera as not everyone comes back with the same costume.

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There are many events taking place each day.  You can peruse some of them on a past schedule shown on the site.  It is a fun time for the whole family.  On Friday it is a very special day for the children as there are all kinds of events for them including making things in the craft barn.  It is the official opening of the festival and is dedicated to all the children with the dancing at the May Pole.  However, the entire weekend has activities for the kids as well.

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During the weekend, there are roaming musicians, bands scheduled, and drumming circles throughout the day where everyone dances to the beat.  There are also Belly Dancers that show their expertise in the dance.  There are food vendors at the lower half of the farm and the upper section with animals to see and there is a telescopic observatory.

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There are many vendors selling their wares that are handmade including artwork.  Of the vendors, 75% are usually those returning and 25% are new.  That is the standing order every year.  They only allow 5% of vendors with manufactured retail items but all vendors can sell some manufactured items if it is 15% or less of their original handmade inventory.  An ATM machine is also available for your convenience.

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There are many volunteers throughout the festival to help run the festival more smoothly.  As an example, at the end of the festival, all refuse is collected.  The refuse pile heaped outside of the festival area is where each bag was placed, is separated by hand, to make sure that the contents are recyclable.  Usually, if there are 100 bags, they end up with only a couple of bags of real garbage.

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Even though it is an open area, they have smoking areas designated in certain places located on the map all visitors receive.  One nice thing to remember is that if you decide to volunteer, you can have your entrance fee returned if you put in the designated time for your work.  There are price packages for all three days if you are interested and there is a parking fee as all parking is off site.  There are paths created for your trek through the woods adjacent to the road.

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The photo at the top, of the Fairy, is an example of the elaborate costuming.  This fairy is famous throughout the U.S., and is always at Spoutwood’s festival but a bit more down to earth.  This festival is similar to the Renaissance Fair that you may be familiar with, an event in the fall, and is at another location in Pennsylvania.

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Everyone attending is always friendly to all visitors and vendors.  It is truly an event you would not want to miss.  So start planning your schedules and I hope to see you there.  You shouldn’t miss it if you have never been there.  So start planning your schedules for May 2nd to May 4th of this year and I hope to see you there.  If you decide to visit, look for the Keeper of the Stones booth and say hello to the wizard…me!