#GoFundSki !!!

Nearly two years ago, in November 2020, my sister, Elizabeth Sciabarra—“Ms. Ski” to her students—nearly died. She has gone through agonizing hell for two years now, through surgeries and crippling illness. By October 2021, near death again, she was placed on in-home palliative care, under the assumption that she would not last six months. She confounded medical authorities and now must be re-certified for palliative care every two months because she refused to die on Medicare’s schedule.

With my sister living on a pension, Social Security, and dwindling savings, ineligible for Medicaid, we began a #GoFundSki campaign on March 25, 2022. As a testament to the impact she made as an educator of fifty years, influencing the lives of thousands of people, we exceeded our $150,000 goal within ten days. That money was designed to keep my sister at home, with the assistance of 24/7 home health aide coverage. We projected expenditures of approximately $15,000 per month on aides and other non-insured supplies to turn our home into a hospice. Unfortunately, $15,000 could not even cover our home health aide assistance; with supplies and other necessities, we have been averaging $20,000 per month, as inflationary pressures rose across the board. Nevertheless, our #GoFundSki campaign raised enough money (clearing $165,000+) to sustain my sister thru January 2023.

It was to my sister’s profound embarrassment that we had to pitch a #GoFundSki campaign to begin with. But at this juncture, we are faced with some very tough decisions. My sister is stable and has a strong heart. With a very strong will to live, she has no intention of dying anytime soon. Once the current money runs out, we will have no choice but to place her in a Medicare-insured inpatient hospice—as long as that choice is open to us and that she is not de-certified from palliative care simply because she’s outlived Medicare guidelines.

It is our conviction that my sister has survived this long precisely because she’s been at home getting loving, superlative, top-notch care that she would never have gotten in any inpatient facility, be it a hospice or a nursing home.

We are therefore raising our #GoFundSki goal to $325,000, which means that we’re hoping to clear an additional $160,000 with this extended campaign to cover her care way beyond January 2023. To be blunt: If Ms. Ski outlives the additional finances raised for her, we will not extend our #GoFundSki campaign. And difficult choices will be made for her.

We have updated this campaign several months before the current money runs out and do not presume that we will be able to raise the same amount of money we asked for at the end of March 2022. But this goal has been set—and we will be eternally grateful for anything we can raise toward meeting it.

Fully aware of the increasing economic pressures that have impacted so many people throughout this country, we thank every single person who has already contributed to my sister’s welfare—and all those who might still be able to contribute.

Sincerely,
Chris Matthew Sciabarra (on behalf of my sister)

Posted to Facebook.

#GOFUNDSKI

Ms. Ski celebrated her 70th birthday on September 2, 2022

Song of the Day #1968

Song of the Day: Star Walkin’ (League of Legends World Anthem) features the words and music of a host of writers, including Lil Nas X. The song was released last month for the esport 2022 League of Legends World Championship, but its been played during baseball’s postseason on ESPN as well. I hear hints of “Turn the Beat Around” [YouTube link] in the melodic line, and I love the spirit of the lyric: “Don’t ever say it’s over if I’m breathin’, Racin’ to the moonlight and I’m speedin’, I’m headed to the stars, ready to go far. I’m star walkin’.” Check out the animated video on YouTube.

Song of the Day #1967

Song of the Day: Loser, words and music by Charlie Puth and Jacob Kasher Hindlin, was released today along with Puth’s third studio album, “Charlie“. The album has an ’80s throwback groove, as Perfect Pitch Puth provides some emotionally raw content of unrequited love and loss. Rolling Stone praises the album as “terrific, cohesive” and “expertly crafted”. And Vulture praises Puth for incorporating a remarkable inclusiveness into his “font of musical knowledge.” The official video is hilariously ambitious, but it ain’t no spaghetti Western (Sergio Leone‘s legacy is preserved). Check it out here [YouTube link]. And check out an acoustic version, live from the Howard Stern Show [YouTube link].

Commitment! 62 For Judge!

9/29/2022: Started wearing; Yankees day off.

9/30/2022: Orioles beat Yanks, 2-1; two full days and μηδέν (that’s Greek for “zero”).

10/1/2022: Yanks beat Orioles, 8-0; three full days and nada.

10/2/2022: Orioles beat Yanks, 3-1; four full days and zippo.

10/3/2022: Yanks beat Rangers, 3-1; five days and nothin’.

10/4/2022 (Game 1, Double Header): Yanks beat Rangers, 5-4; still no Judge homer.

10/4/2022 (Game 2, Double Header): 10/4/2022 (Game 2, Double Header): Rangers beat Yanks, 3-2, but FIRST TIME UP AND JUDGE DOES IT! And after six days, g’bye to these sneaks and socks! (And Gerrit Cole breaks Ron Guidry’s team high season strikeout record with his 249th strikeout in the same inning!)

Aaron Judge: 61 HRs and Counting …

New York Yankees baseball player Aaron Judge hits #61, tying Roger Maris’s American League home run record … 61 years after it was set (in 1961). Judge is vying for the Triple Crown this year, leading the AL in Runs Batted In (RBIs) and Batting Average as well. Crossing fingers for 62 in ’22! Go Judge!!! (And check out Mike Lupica on Judge’s historic Yankee year.)

Check out the Facebook discussion here and here.

Song of the Day #1966

Song of the Day: Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, words and music by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was first released on May 9, 1972 by The Undisputed Truth [YouTube link]. Today, however, marks the fiftieth anniversary of its release on Motown Records by The Temptations—a seminal #1 Hit, that in its full glory went on for 12+ minutes, with extended musical passages (even the single version was 7 minutes!). The song won three Grammy Awards. Check out the full album version as featured on the album, “Psychedelic Soul” [YouTube link].

Song of the Day #1965

Song of the Day: Watermelon Man, composed by Herbie Hancock, was first recorded in 1962 for the artist’s bop album, “Takin’ Off“, with Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard. It was later funked-up by Hancock for his 1973 fusion album, “Head Hunters“, and given a Latin twirl by Mongo Santamaria, a recording that was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Just as we started this festival off with “Watermelon Sugar“, so we conclude it with “Watermelon Man“. Check out Hancock’s 1962 recording and his 1973 reimagining, as well as the 1962 rendition by Mongo Santamaria (below) [YouTube links]. The Autumnal Equinox arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 9:03 pm tonight. And so our Seventh Annual Summer Music Festival (Edible Edition) comes to an end.

Song of the Day #1964

Song of the Day: Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White is the English version of a 1950 song written by Louiguy. In 1955, Perez Prado recorded a version of the song that spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart. Check out the Perez Prado rendition and another by Harry James with the Buddy Rich Orchestra [YouTube links].

Song of the Day #1963

Song of the Day: Cherry, Cherry, composed by Neil Diamond, is from the 1966 album, “The Feel of Neil Diamond.” Considered by Rolling Stone to be “one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time,” it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Check it out on YouTube.

Song of the Day #1962

Song of the Day: (Ah The Apple Trees) When the World Was Young, music by Philippe Gerard, French lyrics by Angele Vannier, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, has been recorded by countless artists through the years. Check out renditions by Edith Piaf (in the original French, as “Le chevalier de Paris“), Aretha Franklin, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Eydie Gorme, and Frank Sinatra [YouTube links]. Apple is the official fruit of New York, and today, The Big Apple, and all those who have been nourished by its fruitfulness, mark the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11. In memory of those whose lives we lost.

The Twin Towers, from the Staten Island Ferry, May 12, 2001
Photograph by Chris Matthew Sciabarra

See Facebook discussion here.