It’s few days before the official beginning of summer as my wife and I walk the west side of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. She quickly spots a delightful avian puzzle. It’s a sparrow-sized, brownish bird with two prominent, long white, eye bars on its rust colored head. The bird is perched on a bare branch in a clearing. Focusing binoculars we see that the bird’s thin curved bill is open and it’s repeatedly calling “tee it, tee it.” After a while the bird stops calling and sits there looking tired and cute. It’s a Carolina wren, a resident of the Eastern U.S.
Gray catbirds are suede smooth with small coal black eyes and have a distinct catlike call. Agile and athletic, they fly from one tree branch to another, landing as if on cats’ paws. One dives straight down from a height, lands and another comes up from the ground and chases it. Play time?
The doomsayers and naysayers have already written off the dominant role that the U.S.A. has played in world politics. They are projecting 50 percent unemployment, a plummet of 90 percent in the stock market and a 100 percent inflation figure. The possibility of a default on U.S. loans and debts is being called an economic calamity.
I do not believe that this deficit crisis is the end of U.S. influence in the world. Since 1941, America has been the outstanding nation for good in the world. We have been the most powerful and generous state in the battle against the Soviet Union in the past, and world communism.
The independent, nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) comprised of health care professionals recommended that prescription birth control be included as a preventive service under the federal health care reform law. If adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act will be required to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods without charging co-pays or other out-of-pocket fees. This could result in the elimination of one of the biggest obstacles to effective family planning for millions of American women. HHS is expected to make a final decision on the IOM’s recommendation in August.
Walking down Main Street in Rockport, Massachusetts, we viewed a quaint seaside community. The shops are filled with art items, ice cream, fudge, summer clothing, craft jewelry, and oceanview seafood restaurants. Miles of scenic beaches and wooded glades are nearby.
Next we visited Gloucester, MA, known as America’s oldest seaport. Along the coast we viewed the patina-clad fisherman statue at the helm of his ship. We also spied a statue of a waiting wife with two children beside her, watching for the fisherman’s ship to come in.
Cape Cod is what most people think of when you speak of the coast of Massachusetts. Cape Cod is south of Boston, but the other cape is north of Boston. It is Cape Ann; check it out on a map.
My niece Robin lives in Rockport, M.A., a truly maritime and touristy New England town. We left on the Bold Bus Line from 34th Street and 8th Avenue. The Red Bus headed up 10th Avenue in Manhattan, and I felt like a tourist. I don’t remember anything about 10th Avenue; it was full of shops and restaurants, similar, but not quite like 9th Avenue. Brand new, sparkling high-rise buildings could be seen all along the Hudson River.
As I was getting ready to leave for an educational delegation to Turkey in late June, it was easy to understand why I was getting excited. I was ready to see the grandeur of the Hagia Sofia and watch the Whirling Dervishes in awe as they spun around in religious devotion.
But the best part of the delegation was the stunning welcome and kindness we received when visiting the homes of Turkish families. We visited three different homes, and each time, we were met with an effusive reception. Our hosts explained Turkish customs and culture in the way that only a local could do.
When I was growing up in the East Bronx in the 1940s and 1950s, the Major League Baseball All-Star game was a grand and glorious time. New York City had three teams before two of them moved to the West Coast.
The American League Yankee fans rooted for their representatives and the National League Dodger and Giant fans (united for the first time) rooted for their guys. The arguments were heated, and everyone tuned in their radios on game day. Even Boston had two teams, the Red Sox and the Boston Braves. It was in the era of a total of 16 teams- eight American League and eight National League. There were no teams west of the Mississippi River. Today, there are 30 teams in major league baseball.
The West Birchwood Civic Association has announced that the annual 2011 dues membership mailer will be sent to every home in West Birchwood, expected to hit by July 15.
Membership dues will remain at $50 per home with an optional additional $15 charge for a one-year subscription to the Syosset-Jericho Tribune. Currently, dues membership is reported to be down 25 percent from the previous year. Because of this, West Birchwood residents should encourage friends and families who are not members to join. All dues should be in by July 30.
A tennis buddy of mine told me this week that he is getting rid of his old car. “It has 150,000 miles on the odometer, but in all these years it never gave me any trouble.”
I remarked immediately, “How can you get rid of your old pal so easily?” He sort of winced and just shrugged his shoulders in an “I don’t really know,” attitude.
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