Did you know that all 400-some-odd members of the House of Representatives are up for election every two years? (Okay, the number is 435, not including the non-voting members who represent the United States territories and the District of Columbia.)
I am willing to admit my own ignorance on this quite simple fact. Apparently I’m not alone: I’ve gotten consistent responses in the negative over the last few days, when I asked friends if they realized elections in the House aren’t staggered, as they are in the Senate.
“Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits.” If that musical ditty doesn’t immediately ring a bell, I’ll tell you it is, or perhaps more properly used to be, a familiar (and jocular) ending for songs, particularly in bluegrass. I hadn’t thought of it for years, but I couldn’t get it out of my head for a couple of days recently, after making an amusing bungle of an attempt to make a simple appointment to have my hair cut.
From time to time, you get to meet extraordinary people, people whose lives have made others better. Such was the case last weekend when Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian women’s rights and peace activist, came to East Hampton to participate at Guild Hall in what is called the Hampton Institute, a two-day series of talks and panels on topics of national concern.
Having spent seven days on a 41-foot ketch this summer after a long hiatus doesn’t qualify me to judge the way boats of this kind now use electronic devices, but I know what I like when it comes to sailing: the taut feel at a tiller or wheel when a boat is in perfect balance as you tack to windward on a beautiful day in a breeze that is almost stiff. It’s that simple.
Nancy Pelosi was on the South Fork last weekend, although hardly anyone noticed amid all the excitement about Mitt Romney’s fund-raisers hereabouts. Ms. Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader of the House of Representatives, was here to promote the re-election of Tim Bishop, who is running for a fifth term as the representative from New York’s First Congressional District.
Concerts by the Choral Society of the Hamptons are sources of pleasure for our audiences, and they receive wonderful reviews. But for me, the Choral Society is more than that: It is a personal delight — and a good cause. I sometimes call myself a defrocked soprano, because I once had all those top notes, but now am an alto. No matter. I can head into a rehearsal feeling tired or out of sorts, and it falls away as I concentrate on the score in my hands and the collective sound of music-making. “Zen and the Art of Singing?”
During the 20 or so years when we rented our winter house in town every summer and moved to one five miles away, on Gardiner’s Bay, we had the drill down pat. Even when the kids were young — when we had a dog and a cat or two, plus assorted pets like Ginger, the goat, and Peeper, the aggressive goose — the process worked. Patterns developed about what had to be done. I knew which china to store away and which to leave for the tenants. Never mind that when we got to our summer house it was chaos; the tenants, at least, weren’t left with a mess.
East Hampton had a major development boom in the 1980s. At least in developers’ dreams: A 400-unit subdivision was planned for Montauk’s Hither Woods, 64 oceanfront house lots were to be carved from Shadmoor in Montauk, the 845-acre Grace Estate in Northwest was to become a community modeled on Hilton Head, S.C., with clustered and single-family houses and a nine-hole golf course, and Barcelona Neck, between Northwest Woods and Sag Harbor, was on the block.
What is going on when 314 lookalike members of a gigantic crowd, and 235 of their spouses or partners, gather under a huge tent and do things like wave big white handkerchiefs around while singing? It’s an Ivy League reunion, of course — at a men’s college.
Like most of us, I get a lot of spam — from politicians I do approve of, from organizations I don’t approve of, and from merchandisers of everything from country-style window treatments to sketchy-sounding laser-hair treatments. They really were annoying this week, however, when I got back from three days out of town.