Since when has altruism become a bad word

Local economist Cecil G. Brumley's recent wistfully engrossing Hometown News column – The Slow Death of a Turpentine Seller -- inspired me to pause and ponder money and less about about how much is made than how it's made, both in Volusia County and elsewhere.

Whether past wealth of men (Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie) or women (Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great); present (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg) or (Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey), reasonable responsibility rather than dirty dealing would wish the objective.

Drug smuggling, human trafficking, insider trading, money laundering and other dastardly deeds by which the scurrilous Bernie Madoffs, Sackler families, Jeffrey Epsteins, Jared Kushners and many others have so questionably established their financial empires is more shameful than even illegal.

Let's hope the financial investing, real estate and retail business ventures by which the three dozen billionaires in Florida live their privileged lives are on the legal up 'n up as well as profound benefit to the common good. Reward, that is, by way of great feelings as well as good investments. Motivated by compassionate concern for the well-being of others, free from the usual greed for self. Other than, that is, the heartfelt grace imparted by way of the true meaning of altruism.

An unexpected bouquet

I would like to thank the young gentleman who gave a beautiful bouquet of flowers to me and my service dog Lieu.

It was 10 in the morning the day before Christmas just outside the New Smyrna Beach Walmart. Totally unexpected and so gratefully appreciated. I should mention I’m probably old enough to be his grandmother or even great grandmother.

Thank you, hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Go with concrete and steel

How can it be safe or legal to build hundreds of four-story apartment buildings with wood framing?

Steel and concrete block structures are equipped with fire stops, fire walls and sprinkler systems to minimize the fast spread of fire. Being constructed out of steel and concrete also helps to minimize the fire dangers. But guess what? Fire still happens and the concrete and steel structures burn and suffer damage.

How is it that a multi- occupancy structure that is occupied nearly every hour of every day, and most heavily occupied overnight when most folks are sleeping, allowed to be built with one of the most flammable building materials ? How much faster and more of a catastrophe would it be if one of these wood apartment buildings caught fire?

Sure-there are fire stops and sprinklers in these wood structures, but that is tantamount to having a band aid to put on a finger that just got chopped off in an industrial accident. If unfortunately a fire should break out in one of these massive wood structured apartment buildings, I would anticipate not only heavy structural damage but loss of life also.

I can’t believe the fire departments can be very happy with these humongous wood structures. Equally important is the question of whether or not the fire department has enough man power, equipment or ladder trucks to reach four stories?

It gets worse

Dan Smith is right, way too many Medicare ads.

But it gets worse. Once you have insurance, you get pestered with phone, text and email messages asking to have staff visit you at home and virtually even if you are feeling great. And it all gets charged to Medicare to help funds get depleted faster.

It's not an advantage

Today, I totally agree with Dan Smith, and I’m happy to say so.

He is absolutely correct that this year’s swarm of Medicare enrollment ads is the biggest crock yet. Mr. Smith doesn’t mention, however, that the bulk of these are trying to scam elders into Medicare “Advantage” plans. For a very few seniors, these are practical.

Overall the hidden costs (and I used to have one) outweigh the loudly touted savings. And they have been an insurance company wedge for years to undermine Medicare itself.

Don't misuse the flag

As an American, I love this country and the American flag, and it hurts to see it co-opted in other forms for various ax grinding with different colors running through it as well as seeing it used to attack the U.S. Capitol and it’s police.

I’m not quite sure what we may be teaching our children these days, but I am hopeful they learn to handle problems and resolve issues in a better way than we are now. Merry Christmas and may we have a happy and prosperous new year!

What a dump!

"Waste is the discarded leftovers of our advanced consumer society. The growing mountain of garbage and trash represents not only indifference toward natural resources but also a public health problem. And, a disregard for those around us,"as presciently stated more than four decades ago by former President Jimmy Carter.

With waste pick-up three days a week on my street, there's no excuse for that which more than ever mounts up in my beachside New Smyrna Beach neighborhood. At first such blight seemed the fault of transient tourists and/or snowbirds unaware of specific Monday, Wednesday, Thursday scheduling. But, year-round residents, who should know better, also area to blame.

Rather than an exasperating exception, it's become the routine rule to leave on public view mounting messes of castoff items of one kind or another.

The night before should go out and the day of pick-up they should come in. There's no acceptable excuse for debris left out in view for just an extra couple of occasional days or as long as an entire week. Especially when hungry, possibly aggressive disease-ridden varmints and critters of one kind or another are enabled to creep in after dark to pillage for whatever morsels to sustain themselves.

As phoned, written and even face-to-face complaints to city officials and health authorities bring little if any sustained change for the better, restoration of orderly standards for neighborhood tidiness remains a lost though nevertheless important cause.

Save Ormond Beach

Sad and tragic how quickly folks forget what is important to them.

It seems the whole Save the Loop initiative in Ormond Beach has fallen to the wayside. For information on this, see the front page of the Dec. 17 issue of Hometown News. The developer land baron left us with snarky remarks and a wolf's smile, I would guess the current city commission is also smiling.

People better wake up and get out of their comfort zones and use their voices and votes wisely. This once labeled beautiful “city of trees” will be another Tampa or Orlando or Fort Lauderdale or worse. It seems the only thing the city commission is interested in is staying in bed with the land barons and developers.

Everywhere you look now is under “development.” Everywhere you look now are dead animals pushed out of their wooded environments. Everywhere you look now is litter and debris. Traffic and general congestion is worse than ever and continue to get worse. Graffiti is starting to rear it’s ugly head. Surely this is not why you live in this area, is it? Do something now people or sooner than you think it will be just a memory for you.

A hug is just a hug

Living in New Smyrna Beach, I have found our quaint little town to be almost perfect.

We have nice shops, beaches, homes and lovely neighbors (most of us). We also have lives outside of our little homes. I have male and female friends, as does my spouse (I am the wife writing this).

If I am out at the grocery store with my male friend, and hug him goodbye, that sure doesn't mean we are having an affair. What about hugging your girlfriend good bye, which I always do, same situation.

So, attention neighbors, who are still lovely, first, if I am having an affair I would not be seen in public with my secret lover, male or female. Second, if you do see me in public with a different person, other than my spouse, walk up, I will introduce you to our friend. Third, my husband knows all of our friends, so I don't need to know where he is and with whom he is, so save your dime and mind your own business. Have a great day.

Don't extend runways

Once again, the few millionaires and billionaires that live among us are pushing to extend the runways at the small municipal Ormond Beach airport.

This initiative was voted down in 2014. Why is it even on the agenda again? Because it is solely for the convenience of the four or five fortunate souls who can afford a private jet. And why? Because it is more convenient for them to land in Ormond rather than Daytona Beach. Don’t forget it is less expensive too. God forbid the millionaires should have to pay landing fees at Daytona.

Never mind Daytona International Airport is already and has been forever equipped to handle jet traffic. Never mind Daytona is already equipped to handle an emergency or crash landing. Never mind there are many many neighborhoods, athletic fields and schools directly bordering and neighboring Ormond airport. Never mind that a jet crashing into one of these neighborhoods, schools or child-filled athletic fields would be catastrophic. The millionaires need a place to conveniently land their private jets. To hell with the safety of the surrounding areas.

Do something people. Do something besides poo poo the idea. Get involved, make your voice heard, your opinion and vote count, before a jet conveniently lands in your neighborhood or worse crashes in your neighborhood.

In response to: 'Don't repair now'

On repairing the beach car ramps, here is the simple fact.

We are actually busier during the summer than we are in the winter. Many more people on the beaches.

In response to: 'Don't repair now'

This time of the year is our slow season.

Summer is your "thousands" multiplied by 10. Locals aren't impressed by your "northern dollars." (You guys suck when it comes to tipping.) Nor are they impressed with your nose looking down upon us.

Funny how the people fleeing their crappy states try to come down here and tell us how to run ours.

In response to: 'Looking for the Christ child'

The biggest issue with the religious groups is the lies they choose to believe.

No one is telling you that you cannot worship whichever religion you choose to worship. All others are asking for is the same respect you have gotten all of these years.

Stop attacking those that just don't go to church or don't believe. No one says you cannot say Merry Christmas, just stop the fake victim game. It is these "Christians" that get mad because others don't believe the same thing. That would be their problem, not yours.

Instead of whining about stamps or what you wish people, actually be Christian. Feed the poor, house the homeless, care for the unwanted and stop your Christian bullying.

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