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PJMcK

Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: Catskill Mountains
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 15,678

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Ocracoke is a lovely but remote island

We normally live in New York City and it's a two-day trip to get here. The capper is that you have to take a ferry boat to get on the island. So, if you're going to spend a week on the island, you really need two weeks otherwise you're only here for a few days.

About a year and a half ago, Hurricane Doria's storm surge flooded the entire island with over 5 feet of water. It's a barrier island and it's normally only a few feet above sea level. There wasn't a lot of wind but the wall of water inundated many of the homes and businesses. Our house was already on 7-foot stilts but many of the homes have been raised since then. The process of lifting a house is incredibly fascinating and if you're interested try this YouTube video:



The locals are still recovering. However, last summer was a huge success for the island in spite of the pandemic. Based on the advance bookings, it looks like the island will do at least as well as last year. The local economy needs it. The storm surge destroyed the school and the bank but they're being rebuilt.

It's a funny place because only about 700 people live here year 'round so the employment opportunities are somewhat limited. For example, there's generally only one of many professions: plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, food market, hardware store, etc. There are quite a few carpenters but that's probably due to all the repairs the homes need. The seafood restaurants are among the best I've ever eaten in. The fish and shellfish are fresh out of the ocean and the locals prepare them in some delicious recipes. There are many artists and musicians who bring a lovely creativity to the island.

The Landlady(!) bought our property about 20 years ago and built a cute two-bedroom beach box with the idea to use it during the off-season and rent it in the summers. Since we've been together, I've been here about a dozen times and love the island and its people. However, I always get roped into repairing, painting, upgrading, etc. It's exhausting and not a lot of fun! And I'm almost always here when it's cold and damp.

If you're interested in coming back one day, here's a link to the island's rental agency. They're friendly, professional and reasonable.

https://www.blueheronvacations.com

As for dinner, we're just starting to get it organized and I'm hungry!

That's too bad

I've lived in and around New York for 45 years and it still fascinates me. I moved there to go to college and stayed when I started my career. Business opportunities in the city are numerous, diverse and generally well compensating. There are opportunities in almost any endeavor and field. Anyone with ambition and a bit of drive can find opportunities for a successful life.

The diversity is incredible as there are people in NYC from everywhere! They've brought their cultures, languages, arts, clothing, personalities and foods with them making NYC one of the world's great melting pots. The sheer variety of restaurants is a testament to the many cultures represented in the city.

Pre- and hopefully post-pandemic, NY's entertainment choices are nearly endless. The Metropolitan Opera, Broadway, the NY Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, dozens of clubs and venues all provide top-flight entertainment. You mentioned Colbert's show; there are actually dozens of programs (and movies) filmed in NYC, many with live audiences. The museums are fantastic and have collections that people come from all over the world to see and appreciate. The Hayden Planetarium, part of the Museum of Natural History, is world-class and run by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Our sports teams are (usually) very strong and events like the U.S. Tennis Open and the NYC Marathon also draw crowds from around the world.

Because of the OP, I assume your opinion of NYC is a fear of crime. That's understandable. However, crime in NYC has declined precipitously in the decades I've lived there. The freak who shoved people onto the tracks is one person out of 8 million. I suspect you would find an equal or probably higher ratio of crime in nearly any other city in the country. The subways are cleaner than ever and, generally, the service is excellent. Keep in mind, it's one of the largest and oldest mass-transit systems in the world. Consider this: You can ride nearly 50 miles on one swipe of a MetroCard, (roughly $3.00).

NYC's architecture is hundreds of years old and also brand spanking new with spectacular creativity. The history of the city is very rich and dynamic. Because it's a waterfront city, the beaches, boating, fishing, horseback riding and other activities are plentiful. There are championship golf courses, (just stay away from Trump's course in the Bronx!), marinas and parks in all five boroughs. The skyline is spectacular and Times Square is popular and, shall we say, unique.

My wife and I suffer from wanderlust and we've visited many cities and localities around the U.S. and the world. We had travel plans last year and this year that were screwed up by the pandemic. However, our hearts will always be in New York, our home. You might reconsider your view of this city and give it a second chance after the pandemic is under control.

In any event, it took me all day to write this reply so I hope you'll accept it the sincerity I've intended. By the way, where do you live?

Have a good evening.

My sad expectation for our future

The deployment of 25,000+ military and law enforcement forces in our nation's capital seems more than prudent given the disastrous siege of the Capitol. I'm confident that these professional women and men will protect our capital and its people. But I have a fear for the longer term for our country.

In the mid-1970s, my high school choral group was invited to tour Romania as part of a United Nations cultural exchange program. We spent three weeks traveling around this beautiful country, performing American music and meeting many wonderful people and seeing fantastic sites including Dracula's Castle! At the time, Nicolae Ceaușescu was Romania's president and he was viewed somewhat favorably in the West because he didn't always toe the line with the Soviet Union. It wouldn't be until years later that the world would discover that he was a vicious tyrant.

There were about 40 of us on the trip and for many of my fellow students, this was their first trip overseas. Actually, for some of them, it was their first time on an airplane! When we landed in Bucharest, the airport was filled with people, just like any airport back home. But then some students discovered that there were armed military scattered throughout the airport. Some of them were emotionally shaken and the tour guide hustled us out to our bus. Later, I asked the guide about the soldiers and she said people had come to accept them and to give them a wide berth.

In the post-1970s skyjackings, we came to accept the intrusiveness of searches and metal detectors in our airports. In the post-9/11 era, we came to accept even more intrusiveness and the stationing of military and police in all of our transportation hubs and shopping malls. We came to accept government's intrusion into our phone calls and electronic communications.

We even came to accept torture.

What I fear is that D.C. will become a locked-down city where the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and all the other Federal facilities will have even more restricted access. These are the dangers that the right-wing terrorists are inflicting on our nation. The buildings that house our republic have to be protected from some of the citizens represented by the people working within those buildings! Who said that irony is dead?

I understand that these actions by our governments-- at every level-- are intended to protect us from the violence that permeates our society particularly from these right-wing seditionists.

But I remember D.C. when you could walk into many buildings without any security and the others with a tour or a guide. I remember airports without soldiers guarding them. I remember when flying was comfortable and even a little bit fun.

All of those days are gone.

1968 was a terrible year

RFK was assassinated.

MLK was assassinated.

The Democratic National Convention in Chicago devolved into massive riots.

Nixon was elected president.

The Vietnam war was raging and the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive. It was the deadliest year for American soldiers with 16,592 killed. 1968 was the most expensive year in the Vietnam War with the U.S. spending the 2020 equivalent of $569 billion.

There was even a pandemic, the Hong Kong Flu, also known as the 1968 flu pandemic (it continued into 1969), which killed an estimated 14 million people globally.

One bright spot emerged during the Christmas season when Apollo 8 took astronauts into orbit around the Moon for the first time. They captured the famous "Earthrise" photo. An American sent a telegram to NASA thanking the astronauts for "saving 1968."

Nothing saved 2020 except that Trump lost the election. Good luck, President-Elect Biden. You've got your work cut out for you!
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