‘Name That Letter’
December 3, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I live many miles from East Hampton, but I have subscribed and/or have been reading The East Hampton Star for several decades. Your publication is easily one of the finest in the country, and I especially look forward to the letters column every week. (God bless you, Bea Derrico!)
I promised myself that I would not be nasty or confrontational today, so here’s the crux of my humble submission. Those of us of a certain age remember the classic radio/TV program called “Name That Tune.” I submit that The Star should introduce a similar contest, but instead call it “Name That Letter.” If cash prizes were offered, I would win enough money each week so maybe I could afford Obamacare, as I am too rich to qualify for any help, and too poor to pay $700 per month with a $6,000 deductible.
My strategy for victory is simple: While I can name 75 percent of popular and classic tunes within the first seven notes, I can identify a letter from Neil Hausig within the first 1.5 sentences!
December 3, 2020
I’m a commercial fisherman who’s spent the best part of the last 49 years working in the bay. Though I’ve experienced bad years before, the last three and especially this last fall were very bad.
October has often been our most productive month. However, September showing little promise, I decided to keep a list of species we would expect to see and how many we caught. Here it is.
Of the species we would normally catch in commercially viable numbers we got about 5 percent of scup and about 10 percent of the blowfish. We caught 16 fluke, 9 striped bass. We got no bluefish, kingfish, false albacore, black sea bass, squid, weakfish, American eel, winter flounder, spot, blackfish, or Atlantic herring. Zero fish. We caught about a half-bushel of blue crab, but no horseshoe crab, lady or hermit crab, and just a few spider crab. No diamondback terrapin or mantis shrimp. No shark, stingray, or skate. Again zero.
Of the occasional, even exotic fish, which are released, we caught no sea horse, silver dollars, butterfly fish, big eyes, stargazers, or lizardfish. We only got one sea turtle.
That’s an amazing abundance to be gone in so short a time. Coupled with the total loss of the scallop harvest one can only assume something is badly wrong in the bay.
I do have a theory, but this letter would be too long if I wrote now. I’ll try to write about it in a letter soon. As a hint, think if there was a hidden cost to your oyster dressing this Thanksgiving.
December 1, 2020
To the Editor,
While taking a nice winter walk on Albert’s Landing Beach I was disheartened to see it littered with red shotgun shells and broken fluorescent skeet. It is bad enough that trucks and cars grind up our beautiful coastlines, but must we also endure the noise, danger, and refuse of shotguns?
December 6, 2020
To the Editor,
Thanks to all who made this year’s seniors dinner available. We always enjoyed meeting with friends at the firehouse and enjoying the great dinner, music, and fellowship. Unfortunately the party was canceled this year; however, the dinner was delicious, and those volunteers directing cars, the chefs, and all involved have our sincere thanks.
Thank you also to the Town of East Hampton, Southampton Hospital for the goodie bag, and the charming ornament from Girl Scout Troop 825 is most appreciated.
Merry Christmas to all, and may God bless all.
A New Pastor
December 1, 2020
To the Editor,
For well over the last 40 years I have been attending weekend Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux parish in Montauk. There were many times when I would come up with an excuse not to go, but not anymore.
Two months ago, a new pastor arrived and his name is Father Bob. This priest is blessed with a gift for speaking and connecting with all those in attendance during his 15-minute sermon. I cannot put into words how mesmerized the congregation becomes.
Father Bob has an uncanny ability to personalize events he has endured and translate them to change your life. If you attend his Mass you will walk out of the church and say, “Oh my God” and say to yourself, “I can’t wait for next week.”
December 7, 2020
“Mom, I just lost the connection to my class again.” This was yet another annoying virtual learning experience for this child. So was trying to get back in.
It’s important that parents are aware of how hard it is for children to learn virtually. Younger children clearly have it harder. They’re not used to doing their schoolwork on the computer. Accustomed to using the computer for entertainment, they must now sit for hours and pay attention (a really hard task) without direct contact with the teacher or students. And they must accomplish more complicated maneuvers than ever before.
Young and old alike are having problems remembering all the steps for getting things done. One “A” student I know recently received a terse message, “You failed math” from a very stressed teacher. This obviously shocked the child and upset her terribly. The explanation: “You’re missing 5 homework assignments.” In reality she had done them all, but when she finished the projects she forgot to press submit. Virtual learning is truly stressful and exhausting for kids and they need a lot of patience and support.
Virtual learning is hard for parents, too. They are there to supervise the learning experience and often have trouble with the system themselves. Parents talk to me about how hard it is to find their kid’s assignments or understand what the child has to do. In addition, they have not been to school for a long time and some things are certainly being done differently.
In general, it is hard for parents to be their children’s teacher. Parents are often emotionally overidentified in their child’s success. If the parent had a hard time in school and didn’t do well, the parent will want the child to do better. Unconsciously, the parent may be driven to demand perfection from his child and get very angry if the child makes a mistake. Parents often view their child’s successes and failures as their own: “If I were a better parent, he’d be doing great.”
If the parent was a high achiever in school he might expect his child to handle school with the same fervor he did. If the parent studied three days in advance of a test, he will find himself losing it if the child finds it best to cram the night before.
To ensure your child will succeed in virtual learning, assume the role of a supportive advocate.
Set up a quiet, uncluttered place for him to work, where he will not be disturbed. Sit with him in class at times to make sure he is able to follow the lesson. Establish a clearly defined schedule for homework. You might have him take a break after class for a half-hour and then do his homework while he is still alert. (Some kids might do better in late afternoon.) It’s best not to sit next to him while he is working on his homework.
For a parent, it can be as exasperating as watching a pot of water boil. Children are slow moving, naturally fidgety, may sit upside down in their chair or drop their pencil over and over again. They also learn by trial and error and may make many mistakes and only over time correct them. It’s best to stay in the vicinity and be available to help when it’s needed.
December 6, 2020
I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.
Earlier this year, the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott garnered a great deal of publicity by obtaining signatures on a petition, the purpose of which was to incorporate the hamlet of Wainscott into a village. However, C.P.W.’s petition violated the requirement of New York State Village Law 2-200.1 that “a territory may be incorporated as a village under this chapter provided such territory does not include a part of a city or village.”
C.P.W.’s proposal to follow the boundary of the Wainscott School District, ostensibly pursuant to village Law 2-200.1.b., failed to take into consideration that the Wainscott School District extends into both Sagaponack village and East Hampton village, thus dooming the petition from the start.
Having bolloxed its earlier effort to present a legally viable village, C.P.W. unveiled its new village boundary at a Zoom meeting of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee this past Saturday. This time, C.P.W. presented a boundary which “do[es] not contain more than five square miles,” in purported compliance with New York State Village Law 2-200.1.a.
This new boundary would cut out from the proposed village all the Commercial-Industrial-zoned property on Goodfriend Drive and Plank Road, as well as portions of the land around the airport and every residential parcel on the south side of South Breeze Drive and on Cobber Lane. By my count, this means that approximately 30 houses would not be within the boundary of the proposed village.
C.P.W. proposes to raise revenue by charging non-village residents a fee to park at the village beach. This means that those 30 homeowners on the south side of South Breeze Drive and on Cobber Lane would be deprived of the free and unfettered access to the ocean via Beach Lane, the beach closest to their homes, which would be enjoyed by residents of the village.
When presented with this reality, one of C.P.W.’s representatives used words along the lines of: “We had to draw a line somewhere.” Really?
So, in order to realize their grandiose dreams of incorporation, the would-be Masons and Dixons at C.P.W. decided that the rights of those measly 30 homeowners had to be sacrificed. One of C.P.W.’s representatives later said something about one day annexing those 30 parcels, but that slapdash proposal is hardly a certainty and, particularly in view of C.P.W.’s apparent failure to know the law before bringing its prior petition, not terribly persuasive.
Leaving aside the startling arrogance of unilaterally denying beach access to their neighbors, C.P.W.’s representatives — despite yet another slick PowerPoint presentation — failed to answer one fundamental question: Other than possibly preventing the landing of an electrical cable at Beach Lane (an issue about which I have no opinion one way or another), of what genuine, long-term value is incorporation?
I will leave it to others to parse C.P.W.’s rosy financial projections. But at the W.C.A.C. meeting, C.P.W.’s representatives stated that although the village would have an unpaid planning board and zoning board of appeals (but, alas, no architectural review board), it would subcontract the essential and expensive staff support of a planning department to its neighboring municipalities. This means that the hard work required to “preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics through more responsive zoning,” to quote C.P.W.’s website, would be left for others to actually administer. It seems clear to me that once C.P.W.’s goal of stopping the electrical cable is, or is not, achieved, the single most essential reason to incorporate, namely to “preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics” of Wainscott, which is a goal I share, will be little more than an afterthought.
Very truly yours,
December 7, 2020
I think the community of East Hampton should be aware of the assault that has occurredˇin neighboring Westhampton, which may very well come to haunt the Town of East Hampton in the future.
Specifically, Steve Bellone and the County of Suffolk have signed with Amazon to use the Gabreski Airport for Amazon’s business.
What is permitted? Amazon may use large buildings at the airport for the storage of its merchandise. This merchandise will be brought to Gabreski in large tractor-trailers. The trailers will also take outgoing merchandise. Surprise, Amazon will also use airplanes to fly their merchandise where needed! This is all promised to happen at night, till 6 in the morning. Promises, promises, promises.
This is an offense committed on a small town that is a resort. It is an outrage. Our town has an airport with many, many empty acres around it. The feds will be giving up their authority at East Hampton Airport next year. Then come the really big decisions that will have to be made. We must decide whether we wish to continue having jets and helicopters come and go at all hours, polluting our air and ruining our quality of life and even affecting our property value, whether to consider closing the airport, consider the land use for community projects, or invite Amazon.
I assume that Amazon paid anything Suffolk asked for. The same could happen here. All you need is a town board who wants more money for the town no matter how negatively it affects the community. If you are interested, concerned, or terrified, read the local papers, watch the board on TV, and contact board members who will be making decisions. There is also a town advisory board on the airport and we should be hearing from them soon. It’s your town, decide what you want in the near future. Amazon, anyone?
December 7, 2020
To the Editor:
In your Nov. 12 issue, a cartoon by Peter Spacek depicts a child and adult standing next to a “U Pick” sign. They are looking at a pasture. But the pasture isn’t filled with pumpkins.
Instead, it contains several turkeys who are peacefully foraging or interacting. I am not sure if the cartoonist intended a specific message, but for me the cartoon raises the question: Would people so readily eat turkeys and other animals if they were more familiar with them as individuals?
In addition to our activities in East Hampton, my wife, Ellen, and I oversee a farm sanctuary upstate. We have provided lifelong homes for many turkeys and have learned that each turkey is an individual. Each has his or own temperament and personality. Each possesses a unique mixture of traits such as friendliness, bravery, fearfulness, and caring.
This individuality also characterizes our pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, and other animals. I wish many more people would respect the feelings and individuality of nonhuman animals and think about whether they wish to eat any of them.
November 16, 2020
In a letter dated Nov. 16, the writer asked the question, “When will the Biden-Harris team speak up about the violence from Trump rallies?” I know the answer: Biden has spoken out against violence from all sides many times. For example, on July 28: “I’ve said from the outset of the recent protests that there is no place for violence or the destruction of property. Peaceful protests should be protected, but arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted ? local law enforcement can do that.”
And on August 26: “Burning down communities is not protest — it’s needless violence that endangers lives and . . . shutters businesses that serve the community. That’s wrong. . . . We need to end violence and come together peacefully.”
Ms. Harris, a former prosecutor, has also pronounced her disdain for violence.
Also, the writer took issue with Hillary Clinton’s failure “to suck it up.” Clinton has never claimed that she won the 2016 election, nor did she “demand” of Joe Biden that if he loses, “under no circumstances” should he concede. Although Clinton won the popular vote, she called Trump that night to congratulate him; then, the next day delivered a gracious concession speech in which she said: “I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. . . . We owe Donald Trump an open mind and a chance to lead.” (You can find a video of her entire speech on the internet.)
Regarding her remark to Biden, what Clinton suggested was that he wait until the results were final before conceding, if necessary. It took several days, but on Saturday, Nov. 7, it was clear that Biden had won both the popular and the electoral vote. We’re still waiting for a concession speech.
December 1, 2020
Here we go Again. D.J.T. continues his war against “illegal aliens” with unlawful attacks upon the United States census. He wants “his” Supreme Court to agree to changing the very basis of the counted population of this country.
The census is mandatory and part of the original U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 2). It legally requires the country to accurately count U.S. residents, whether citizens or not. The first complete national census occurred in 1790.
Our aggrieved and defeated president, and his remaining sycophants, would like us to think they remain viable and were robbed by an imagined election conspiracy. No fraud found. The voters, both actual and electoral, wanted him gone. He was decisively voted out, deposed, rejected, however you wish to call it — he lost. Elections, as they love to say, have consequences. But apparently not for them.
There is a popular expression, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” It explains that the standards for one group should be similar for another, but not according to the failed Trump administration, it seems. Senate Republicans enjoyed obstructing everything the Obama administration did, and ultimately, when he lawfully nominated a Supreme Court justice replacement. This was an obvious strategic play with no real merit, but they got away with it, arguing that during an election year the winning candidate should have the say in who should be on the Supreme Court.
Trump won only the Electoral College, and Republicans gained control of all three branches of the government. They then changed their tune, and their ethics. Right up to a few weeks before this current election, they decided that the sitting president now had all the rights in the world to appoint as many Supreme Court justices as he could get away with. A total of three extremely conservative judges were rammed through, to strong objection, the last being a religious extremist.
Today we have a soundly defeated lame-duck president, feverishly engaging in a petulant and very personal destructive streak. His increasingly aberrant behavior, and failure to perform his proper presidential duties, raise questions of purpose and diminished mental stability.
This deposed president should be making plans to leave the White House, and responsibly turning over the duties of the presidency. However, he is approaching the Supreme Court in a last-ditch attempt to change the historic basis of the United States census, in place since 1790. This spoiled-sport loser is obsessed with a radical change to the established database of the census, with the assumed cooperation of his stacked Supreme Court. Fortunately, this Monday, the court seems to indicate even his SCOTUS can’t easily swallow this absurdity. This is an outrageous travesty for an outgoing president. Let’s hope SCOTUS does the right thing for this country.
December 6, 2020
I remember rereading recently this poem from a pretty good poet. His name was Robert Zimmerman, and he wrote this many years ago:
Come senators, congressman
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing
Seems just like today.
December 7, 2020
To the Editor,
It's not over yet. If I were one of the leaders of the Democrat Party and saw the rally with President Trump in Georgia the other night, I would be shaking in my boots! That crowd was cheering, "We love you."
When was the last time a crowd of people supporting Joe Biden shouted, "We love you?" I think of this situation like the time of "You gotta believe." Was that the ‘69 Mets? We all remember how that turned out.
God bless America and President-elect Donald J. Trump. We Love you out here in the Hamptons!
December 6, 2020
There is a bizarre parallel between Black Lives Matter and the current voter fraud conundrum. That they are both so absurdly obvious is what ties them together. B.L.M. because if you are unaware of the premise of 400 years of racism you are either a village idiot or a committed racist. On the other side, if you believe for a second that voter fraud is a real issue and that the Dems were capable of such a grand scheme (See Ross Douthat’s New York Times column), then you are either delusional or a racist and have been living in a cave for the past 50 years.
It is impossible not to know, that since Chicago’s Mayor Daley stole the election for J.F.K. in 1960, the Republican Party has owned voter repression and election fraud. Once the Civil Rights Act of 1965 opened the gates for a political racist agenda, the Republican Party pounced on racism and owned it lock, stock, and barrel.
Our culture is based on repetition. Say something over and over again and it becomes true. If enough people call your mother a slut, you will question her purity even though she has been in a convent for 30 years. Voter fraud, while more insidious than a slutty nun, is basically the same story. It is much more a statement of who we are as a nation and why we are in the mess that we are in.
B.L.M.’s connection to voter fraud is more linear. Blacks and other minorities have been suppressed forever in our country and the idea that their votes influenced this election is an affront to who we are as a nation. We have never not successfully suppressed Black people’s right to vote. Despite the Constitution, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, we have always found a way to marginalize the Black vote. What the F? Blame it on Trump!
When the B.L.M. call came out six million people came out to support it. Millions more all over the world, 63 percent of Americans. When the violence began in the cities, support dropped to 41 percent. The bad behavior of a thousand people wiped out the efforts of six million. Dog whistles blew everywhere. Repeatedly. It was enough.
When I spoke to a conservative friend about it she only talked about the violence. She seemed not to understand the violence in our racism. I tried to explain the “good Nazi” theory of American ambivalence. She stared blankly.
Donald Trump got more than 70 million votes, but only 29 percent of the electorate. If 71 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote for me I would stick my head in a hole and never come out. He didn’t get 45 or 35 or even 30 percent. He really got squat and all he can do is whine. Biden got 33 percent. Mickey Mouse could get 25 percent.
The opposition to B.L.M. is Americans being Americans. We are so inured to and unconscious of our racism that we are clueless of how it defines who we are. If everyone walks with a limp then no one is limping. Limping is normal. We aren’t racist by personnel choice, at least most of us, but by systemic acceptance of our national racism. It’s way worse than when Catholic bishops reassign abusive priests to different districts. We are unconscious.
Accepting Trump’s voter fraud claims passes under the purview of consciousness. We forgo consciousness as part of our devotion to the cause. It exists because he said it more than once. The problem is that it not only plays out in real time but it helps to erode the institutional framework of our political system. The threat, as communism once was, is real.
Why Republican politicians remain silent is the real question. Why are they willing to blow up the system for something that they know is untrue?
So we struggle with reality, and while racism has clear, unquestionable victims it is the voter-fraud proponents who claim victimhood. Ass backwards was not invented by Trump, it’s just like apple pie.