Memoirs of an Amnesiac: Llama Mama
From my early childhood in the 1950s I recall a petting zoo, probably the Catskill Game Farm. My brother and I cried bitter tears when it came time to leave. We had adopted a baby donkey, but Dad and Mom wouldn’t help us smuggle it home. We could have squeezed it into the car, for sure, but the folks weren’t having it. They may have regretted going in the first place, as our visit ended in misery.
Decades later I was the father. My wife, Carol, and I visited the Catskill Game Farm with our little boy. Paul was much better behaved than his old man had been.
Around the park there were vending machines where you could buy over-priced, bland pellets for the animals. But Carol had planned ahead, and sneaked in a box of (deluxe) cinnamon-sugar Graham Crackers. The critters soon discovered who had the yummy snacks. Deer, goats, llamas, any that were free to wander the park, trailed after Carol, who looked like the Pied Piper. At one point a young deer tried to nuzzle its way into Carol’s handbag after the crackers. I literally had to grab the deer by its antlers and wrestle it away.
In the Petting Zoo Hall of Fame, Carol earned a place as the “Llama Mama”, alongside those notorious donkey-rustling kids from the 1950s.
There were animals waiting for us at home, too. Carol made friends with all the neighborhood cats, and every morning they assembled on our back deck for breakfast (two sittings). At night it was raccoons, skunks, and ‘possums. We didn’t leave food out for them, but they showed up anyway. You could see where they’d beaten a path under our back fence and across the yard to our deck.
One night we had the sliding door open, and we noticed a baby skunk peering in through the screen. I tiptoed over and slid the glass panel closed–gently, so as not to alarm it. If that skunk had sprayed into our living room, there wouldn’t have been enough Febreze in Christendom to erase the smell.
Ron McKee, Averill Park
Tax Implications of the Coronavirus Pandemic
I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio when he ran down a list of businesses that he predicted would suffer a trickle down or domino effect as a result of this pandemic.
I was in agreement with him right up to the point where he mentioned government’s loss of tax revenue. I mean, they tax toilet paper, right? Okay that was cheap humor …and not a big deal in the broad scheme of things but let’s have a look at property taxes. Property taxes are a big deal. Businesses have to pay them whether they are open or not and their employees have to pay them whether they are working or not. I have friends and family in the banquet hall/hospitality industry who aren’t going to have any income for the foreseeable future.
This shut down of businesses is going to benefit some people though. I mean, look at the fitness centers/gyms. People have already paid their annual memberships. They won’t be losing revenue while they’re shut down. How what about public schools? Teachers are still going to be paid throughout the shutdown, right? Home schooling is looking pretty good now, isn’t it?
We have a situation where certain people in the private sector are being forced to stop producing tax revenue. We have people in the public sector who will still be collecting their paychecks …consuming tax revenue. Anybody see a train wreck here yet? To top it all off we have politicians proposing bailouts.
Property taxes are fatally flawed because they are not indexed to income. Those taxes devalue your property at the same time that your tax assessor artificially increases its value so they can collect more revenue. This Ponzi scheme has been a huge problem long before the damage that this pandemic is going to do to our economy. There have always been people who have been forced out of their homes because they got sick or laid off or retired but far more people are going to feel the effects of this dysfunctional tax collection system now. Maybe now something will be done about it