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From Brendan Schweigart

Wiser’s Wramblings-Money Speaks! But now in English

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

Pictured is the Wiser Family in their “youth”

That heading is a teaser, suggesting the thought…”What the hell is Wiser speaking about now?” First though you’ll have to read the “set up”, In literary terms, Prologue.

Learning is love, and Love is learning. As I wrote that, I pondered the depth of that seemingly “flip” comment and decided it was philosophically, pretty deep. Other than the instinctual Mother/Child love with new birth, most other love is learned with blossoming friendships, or developed crushes, most of which occur over some time span. I met my wife on an outdoor skating rink in Friendship, NY one winter in the 60’s. We started a “mild”, long distance letter writing “affection and attachment” relationship which was dashed when I met another on a bus ride back to Virginia, with whom I developed a faster “crush like” relationship. Shortly (VERY)  after pausing the letter writing relationship, I realized that I was absolutely in love with the one who eventually became my wife. Her Birthday was the 18th of this month, and my love grows stronger with each day, and given our 55th Anniversary in June, you can imagine how large my heart has to be by now. I re-typed, and enhanced, the first “Love” poem I wrote for the one to eventually become that love of my life. With your indulgence for my melancholy, I share the poem I wrote in 1965, that follows this piece. The poem, written two years before our marriage while I was at sea, is likely a little rough in style, and pretty “gushy.” But, it is a Picasso in my eyes.  

My “Love is learning” is a personal feeling thing started when I was a “formal” night school student at Alfred State College, which has been chronicled herein before. That love also continues to grow every day. One of my main topics, should I ever get there, was learned from my car radio as I listened to a “non-news hour” talk show station. The question arose as to “where did money paper come from?” I will provide the answer momentarily. I “learn” from listening to others, listening to the car radio, reading (and reading, and reading and reading) the newspapers and other printed media, selectively watching TV, and other online sources such as Facebook, Google, Bing etc.. In a future column I will address friendships and people that have influenced my life, and therein, will go into specifics of lessons learned from some of them, whether intended or not.

The Genesee Valley Chorus (GVC) is preparing for its formal Christmas season concert and is working on learning “I Believe-He’s The Son of God,” written by John F. Wilson. I learn music from “Learning Tracks,” but none being available I tracked down and purchased, a used “early 80’s” produced record. With a connection to Genesee Valley Media, through a GVC chorus member, arrangements were made to play/record the vinyl record and from that produce CD copies, for the learning or listening pleasure of the GVC. This was done, but the recorded MP3/WAV music files were very large in terms of Megabits (MB).

Shout out to Dave Toot, recent acquaintance, and now “teacher” in many ways including music, the re-birth of my formal “In Church” worship, and most recently in how to send a very large file previously verboten in email features. The “out of print” record re-production resulted in a 71 MB file. I had previously offered to email MP3 copies of the recording to Chorus members. While presenting the CD production completion to the chorus and discussing the difficulties in achieving my proffered email sending of copies, Dave introduced me to a free app download which can be used to transmit very large files. I can now share that recording with others, or provide USB Sticks, or CD’s, the only cost for which is the price of the media.

Where did paper as a monetary currency come from? Sadly perhaps, the lifespan of that currency standard may have a visible end as Cryptocurrency evolves. Prior to the development of paper currency, Metal and precious metals were used as barter, replacing the sharing or trading of produced goods. The value of the currency varied based on the value of the metal. Steel being the least valuable and gold the most. Carrying any significant amount of “currency” was difficult for obvious reasons. In Sichuan Province, China, around 806 AD, paper currency in the form of “letters of credit” were introduced with a paper note equivalent to its value in gold. It was preceded by a “leather notes” currency about 12” square, prepared from deer hides. “Paper money” production began in China about 1023. Paper money was then introduced in Europe in 1661 and in America in 1690.

With the onset of the first World War (WWI), the major powers abandoned the Gold Standard in order to finance the War via the printing press. People soon became acclimated to accepting a piece of paper in lieu of a piece of gold. Wow! Talk about depreciating the dollar 😉.

Despite its current value, the American dollar is still the world standard. Based on the data supplied by several financial entities and brokerage sources, and quoting a publication called the Trusted Broker; “Although it has no official status or is designated as the world’s official currency, the US Dollar today makes up 64% of the central bank’s known foreign reserves, making the US dollar the world currency. The US dollar remains the dominant currency in over 60% of all countries.”  Other, but not all, currency standards include the Euro; used by 19 of the European Union member states; Pound; United Kingdom, Egypt, Syria and 7 others; Swiss Franc, Dinar (used in several Mediterranean Sea countries), Peso, and others. You are on your own if you wonder how all of the other currencies equate in value to the dollar.

I had to laugh (to myself) at Monday night’s Hornell Maple City Barbershop Chorus practice. Our director has challenged us to memorize the next batch of concert sing out repertoire songs so as to be singing them “Off Music” which translates to “without held music”, or, in other words, “memorized,” by Thanksgiving. I have been spending a lot of time working on music between three different singing venues. Every moment I spend in the car, either traveling or out of the hearing of my wife, I spend working on learning, specifically memorizing. I now have the Barbershop music about 80-85 percent memorized. When our director announced Monday he wanted us “off music” by Thanksgiving. I was pretty sure I would make it…by next week.

I recently received my next Election Inspection assignment for the November 8th General Election. I will once again get to visit friends in Friendship, my hometown, as that is where I’m assigned. I was pleasantly surprised when flipping stations between news reporting programming on the TV, while eating lunch the other day, when one of the commentators/panelists was publicly thanking poll workers for the job they do assuring that voting procedures and activities are in compliance and enforced. We do not take this duty lightly, and are there to be able to assure you, the voters, that everything, at least within our control, and in our presence, is completely legitimate and above board, in compliance with the law. To have your choice and express your opinion Vote Nov. 8th.

This past Saturday I was privileged to attend the “Celebration of Life” for David (Dave) Dunbar, former Director of Vocal Music at Portville Central School, and more locally, at one time, Director of the Wellsville based Genesee Valley Chorus. The Celebration was, not surprisingly, well attended and stories of the life and legacy of Dave, were shared by many. Following is a link to the YouTube recording of the service if you would like to view any or all the proceedings. I read three poems all related to my time and musical teamwork in music with Dave.

Recently I commented on Facebook regarding numerous posts mentioning our local Cardinals. They are nearly always referred to as Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). Curious about the care people took in differentiating the “Northern” Cardinals I searched Google for other types of cardinals, including the term “Southern” but without much success.

Not surprisingly, Photographer of all things wild, Dan Jordan came through for me (and us) once again with these photos of Red-Crested Cardinals (Paroaria coronate) that he photographed on a previous visit to Hawaii. These had not appeared in my previous search, and even when I specified “Southern” assuming that if there was a Northern Cardinal, surely there was a Southern Cardinal. There are…but they look just like a Northern Cardinal for the most part. I guess searching Google is like trying to follow a GPS location direction through New Jersey if you don’t have a rough idea of where you’re going. In the latter case you may end up on Mount Misery Road and feel completely lost. True Story!               

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