Wednesday, July 23, 2014


   I recently finish a biography of Ezra Cornell in preparation for a presentation I will be making  in September 2014 at the Central New York Living History Museum in Homer, New York.   Although I knew much of the story of Ezra Cornell before, I was incredibly impressed in learning about his generosity in supporting educational, social and agricultural communities.  In fact at his death he had essentially given away almost all of his fortune gained through his development of the telegraph.   He left only a small legacy in land and support for his widow plus questionably valued railroad stock.   However, he has left an extraordinary legacy in the success of Cornell University and also the Tompkins County Library he started in the mid 1800's and still exists today.
   I immensely admire those who have gained so much in their lifetime who are committed to giving it away for worthy causes.   Although we have a plethora of plutocrats who cling to their wealth, we do have people of both modest wealth and extraordinary wealth who are committed to distributing that wealth to worthy causes in their lifetime.   Admittedly, some are holding onto half of their billions.  Not so with Ezra Cornell.
   For those of us with lesser wealth, there is also an opportunity to be generous.   Our philanthropy may not be so noticeable, but we still can support causes without seriously hurting our standard of living.   Once we have assured the comfort our spouse and/or our children of need we are left with other opportunities.,
   Further on the recognition of local philanthropy, I am impressed with the generosity of Peter Grimm whose significant support has enable the success of the Central New York Living History Museum.   Clearly a man of means but not likely a billionaire.
  For many who have started out as impoverished individuals and have accumulated great wealth, I admire their courage to distribute that wealth to worthy causes.  Be that it may that society will generate more of that kind.  Hopefully, our media outlets will ballyhoo those people to encourage more to participate in philanthropy.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Geezer Friendly Ski Areas

   I have been thinking about an App that might be useful to geezer skiers.  (Even though it is the middle of July).  An App that could be on your smart phone, iPad or the like.    Last summer my wife and I used a tennis court finder App while we were traveling across the USA to find a public court where we would stay the night.  It was a great App since it gave the conditions of the court and either an address or GPS coordinates so we could navigate to the court.  Is there a need for a comparable App for ski areas?
     Perhaps we ought be able to offer to the geezer skier an App that would define and rate ski areas for geezer friendliness.   The 70+ Ski Club already publishes data on the ski areas that give us a financial break.   However, there is no information that defines the geezer friendliness of the area.
   So how would one define the geezer friendliness of a ski area?  What criteria would we use?   Here are a few suggestions.
1.  Is there a break on the lift ticket cost?
2.  Special parking for the senior skier?
3.  Discount for food and beverage for the senior skier?
4.  Lift access without a long trek with your gear?
5.  Automatic entrance and exit doors?
6.  Convenient changing areas?
7.  Elevators for multi level lodges?
8.  Hosts and hostesses as volunteer guides?
9.  Periodic complimentary instruction?
10.  Large print ski area maps?
11.  Patience of the service and lift operator staff with the sometimes slower geezer skier?
12.  Significant amount of groomed intermediate trails?
     I am running dry on ideas so readers, let me know if you can think of other criteria one might use.
     If one were to accomplish creating the GeezerSki App it would require assembling data through the cooperation of volunteer geezers across the United States at least.  Through a central clearing house we could assemble the data base and then write the App that one could pull up on their smart phone or computer and based on you location find the most geezer friendly ski area.
      Maybe we could get some young computer hot shot to take this on.  And who knows it could go viral!
     Dear Readers - feedback is welcomed!