Showing posts from 2020

Pandemic Musings Amid COVID-19 -- There's much to be thankful for on this Memorial Day weekend

I woke up Sunday morning sleeping on my left side, facing the window, and looking at a bright sunny day. My personal care assistant would be here in about an hour to help me up out of bed and get ready for the day. Body surfing can be fun, but also dangerous . As I stared out the window and listened to the birds chirping, I thought about being paralyzed for the past 40 years, since breaking my neck in a surfing accident on Condado Beach in Puerto Rico . I was 25 years old at the time of my accident and employed by the IBM Corporation. I was also an assistant swimming coach at the City College of New York, and working for my childhood coach and mentor Marcelino Rodriguez, whom I met at the St. Mary's Park Recreation Center in the Bronx, New York. At that time, I was 11 years-old, and wanted to learn how to swim. Actually, my brother Victor and I were encouraged to learn how to swim by our grandfather, after our Dad died at the young age of 28. For 40 years I have alterna

The Covid-19 Virus was depicted 178 years ago, by author Edgar Allen Poe, as the "Masque of the Red Death"

As I learned more about the infamous Covid-19 Virus in the newspaper and on television this week, as my wife and I remained secluded, the unconscious part of my brain was nagging me, pinging me that I heard about such a calamity before this news breaking occurrence.  "Where did I hear about such a pestilence before?,"  I thought. Then it came back to me, as I was having coffee this past Sunday morning as I watched the news. I recalled a story I read more than 35 years ago at Colgate University , a small but quaint college, located in Hamilton, New York. I was enrolled in an English Literature course, where we studied the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, among other authors of his generation. As many of you may know, New York State is one of the "hot spots" for the Covid-19 Virus as of this writing. And, what disturbed me was a news story that described "wealthy people" leaving New York City in the wake of the virus, and going to their mansions in the Hamp

Alumni Leverage Master’s in International Business and Policy Degree to Boost Their Globally Oriented Careers

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business James Sinocchi, our son, was recently featured in a news story for the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service. ================================================================ What are proud parents supposed to do when they see their children succeed? We praise and brag about them, of course! Although not explicitly about disability, it is, as our children, a girl and a boy, were raised by a disabled father and able bodied mother. I hope you enjoy the read. Jim =============================================================== James Sinocchi (IBP’17) was looking for ways to advance his career and move into a leadership position. At the time, he was a counterterrorism analyst for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he was seeking a graduate program that would deepen his knowledge in global security studies. “Government agencies were increasingly

"Deja vu" and The Red Suit

Over the weekend, my wife Maggie was going through items in storage boxes we accumulated over the years, which we have stored in our basement. There were old files, clothes, furniture and other items, including photographs dating back 30 years or more. Many items would be discarded, others we will keep. She called me over as she sorted out decades-old pictures, a good many in black and white and in color. One of the photographs was of our five year-old son, Jimmy wearing a red  suit, tie and white shirt. The photograph brought back many memories as "Jimmy," as I fondly call him, is now 30 years old. I recall the story of Jimmy and the red suit as it has remained a legendary story in our family. From left: my son Jimmy, and daughter, Danielle, on my lap at the circus at Madison Square Garden in New York. A Shopping Weekend At the time, we lived in Rockland County, New York, and decided to go clothes shopping for our then 11-year-old daughter Danielle and 5-year-old,

Who holds elected officials accountable when it comes to employment?

The following article was written by by John D. Kemp, President and CEO of the Viscardi Center.   Published in the Hill: 01/14/20  John D. Kemp “I just want a J-O-B, but no one seems to want to hire me because I’m disabled and assumes I am useless:),” read a recent Twitter post by a graduate from the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center, a graduate who holds not only a high school Regents diploma, but a Bachelor’s degree; a graduate who presents with a severe physical disability and medical fragility, and who has been dismissed within minutes of arriving at many job interviews. The common thread: approximately two-thirds cannot find employment. Those who have landed jobs know the road to securing employment is long, tedious, and filled with mostly arbitrary, unnecessary obstacles. Further, some are limited by earnings caps due to the fear of losing critically needed benefits. Where education has succeeded, employment has failed them quite miserably. There is frustr

"Wheels on Wheels:" Commuter Rail Accessibility in Boston

Getting to work by train and wheelchair. My wife and I moved back to the Boston area from New York City about six months ago. One of the challenges we were concerned about was finding transportation to get to work. I didn't want to travel to Boston by car, because the commute is daunting. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered transportation that quite a few people use in the Boston area. I decided to get to work by train, or the "commuter rail." To my pleasant surprise the 50-minute commute to Boston from my town, Hanson, works really well. The train is mostly on time, the conductors are efficient and diligent, and the passengers I ride with thus far have been delightful! South Station, Boston I catch the train every day each morning on the Kingston line to South Station, The beauty of the commute for a wheelchair rider is that the train is very accessible. And, the process is quite simple. When a wheelchair rider boards a train, attentive conductors p