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Our Hearts are Broken

Beth and I are inconsolable.

Our beloved Princess

(also known as Peanut, because, she's such a peanut),

Rest in Peace, May 18th, 2015

Princess at Republic Airport | Princess at Republic Airport

Our Peanut, photographed by the late Dan Kours at his former pilot shop at Top Flight Investigations, Republic Airport

“One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Pope Paul VI

As cited in the New York Times, December 11th, 2014.


My (somewhat brief) Bio

Steve Sconfienza, Ph.D., is the Chief Research Scientist for the New York State Office for Aging, where he works in the Division of Aging Network Operations. (The State Office for the Aging helps older New Yorkers to be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs and services which support and empower the elderly and their families.) His current work is devoted to demographic research and policy analysis, especially concerning the aging of the Baby Boom generation. His previous work involved the implementation of a statewide case management, data collection, & reporting system for the many service providers and local agencies providing services to the elderly and their caregivers in New York State. His work also involves assistance to the local agencies on technical and research-related issues.

Steve received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the Graduate School & University Center of the City University of New York, where he pursued researched in the structure and management of government agencies. He continues to write on issues of organizations, the state, and public policy.

Steve is a Past-President and Board Chair of the Capital Area Consortium on Aging and Disability, and has also held leadership positions in the Civil Air Patrol, the Jaycees, the Holy Name Society, and other community service organizations. He is a graduate of the 1998 "Capital Leadership" class sponsored by the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Steve has been involved with several small businesses and also teaches. He was the President of Community WebWorks, a provider of World Wide Web services to the business community, and the proprietor of Mastair, a provider of consulting and technical services in aviation, electronics, and statistics to individuals, academia, and the small-business community. He also operated a flying school, air-taxi, and aviation consulting business for several years.

Prior to joining the State Office for the Aging, Steve taught sociology at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and at Hunter College, where he taught both traditional undergraduate and graduate students as well as many mature students who were returning to academic studies, as well as at Marist College. He has also served as adjunct faculty at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose.

In his leisure time, Steve enjoys telemark and cross-country skiing in the winter, hiking and rock climbing in the summer, and travelling at any time (especially if it entails SCUBA diving, as Steve is a certified Master Scuba Diver). He has successfully completed various triathlons and marathons, including four New York City Marathons. He is an avid railfan and can often be found, camera in hand, near the various railroad tracks in the capital region and beyond. He developed the extensive on-line resources of the Mohawk & Hudson Chapter, National Railway Historical Society (unfortunately, no longer maintained as the chapter in now defunct, but still available, in large part, on his own Steve's Railroad Pages) and is also a presenter for Operation Lifesaver, the national railway safety organization.

Steve regularly flys out of South Albany Airport. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot license, Flight and Ground Instructor Certificates, and has over 6000 hours of flight time. He has held the positions of Chief Pilot, Chief Flight Instructor, Director of Operations, & Director of Maintenance and was issued a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate in 1978.

Steve also holds an Extra Class amateur radio license, is an Extra Class Volunteer Examiner, and a General (formerly First Class) Commercial Radiotelephone Operator License with Ship Radar endorsement.

Steve Says, "Things I'm Passionate about"

O.K., aside from the rather sterile piece above, which is what I use when I'm asked for a bio, you may have gotten an idea about a few of the things that I like: while they are essentially listed above in the site index, in an order of precedence they would be,

  1. Trains & Railroading, the first and the one transcending passion of my life
  2. Flying, the close second, but not the first one: a few benchmarks,
    • I soloed at Zahns Airport when I was 16,
    • I received my private pilot license when I was 17,
    • I received my flight instructor certificate when I was 20, and
    • I received my ATP when I was 23.
  3. Skiing, which I came to as an adult (but I've always loved playing in the snow!)
  4. Running and Bicycling (until my back and neck gave out)
  5. Amateur (Ham) Radio
  6. Diving (SCUBA), a fairly new addition
  7. Sociology, the study of the structure of our social world/social systems
  8. Motion Pictures (good ones, that is)
  9. Music (I admit that I'm a product of my generation: I tend towards 50s/60s/70s music)
  10. Motorized toys, like
    • Corvettes, which I've dreamed about since I was in high school, and
    • Motorcycles, which I should probably avoid, but what the heck, they're fun!

In case you haven't noticed, I am fortunate enough to work in a field related to the above, sociology, while I manage to keep my hand in aviation with flying and flight instruction. My first and life long passion has been trains, since I can remember, drifting from model railroading to the prototype side, and I do what I can there as a hobbyist and occasional practitioner. Like trains, radio has been another long term hobby, but not quite as long as trains: from my mid-teens. Running was always cross-training for my true love, skiing, but as the miles have piled-on the back just doesn't accept the pounding any more: an occasional 5k is all I risk now.

I should also mention that I think that dachshunds are pretty cool dogs, having had a couple of them over the years, my current little boy being Doc (insufferable in his intelligence), one of the three dogs and three cats in the family.

Doc at Republic Airport

Doc at the now-former pilot shop at Dan Kours's Top Flight Investigations, Republic Airport


FAA Safety Sentinal Decal
Logo of Operation Lifesaver . Logo of the American Radio Relay League

Steve's Thoughts to Live By

(From Great Works of Literature)

On the meaning of life:

"[T]he most persistent principles of the universe [are] accident and error."

From Dune by Frank Herbert


More on the meaning of life:

Wisdom from the Ages

" . . . it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

From Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5) by William Shakespeare


Still more on the meaning of life:

Wisdom in Music

"Why are we here? Because we're here, Roll the bones;
"Why does it happen? Because it happens, Roll the bones."

From Roll The Bones by Rush

(Words by Neil Peart, music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson)


"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke."

From All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan

Variously covered, including by Jimi Hendrix & Dave Mason (Electric Ladyland), Jimi Hendrix, Dave Mason, and a pagefull of others.


Want More?

See more of what Steve thinks makes the world funny or interesting on the Notes and Rants page.


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revised 22 May 2015 [ TOP ]

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