In the fifteen years I have been writing this “world famous” column for the Syosset-Jericho Tribune, I have exposed much about my family and personal life. Recently, I came onto some facts that are interesting and harmless. Harmless, because all of the parties involved died long ago, and are now buried in our family plot in the Kopyczncer Lodge burial grounds on Staten Island.
My father’s father Eisig (Isaac) was a soldier in World War I for the Polish Army. I do remember my grandfather telling me some of his war stories, when I visited him and my grandmother Anna (Chancha) in 1945, in Monticello, N.Y.
When you go birding you never know what you’re going to see. During four days last February, walking a Florida beach on Longboat Key that has a rich variety of shorebird life, I was able to see up close some things I’d never before noticed about familiar birds.
Feb. 3. On Beer Can Island, which is the Longboat’s northernmost tip, are some ravaged ash colored fallen trees with huge exposed root systems. One is wet with weeds and clinging to it are barnacles and shells. Nearby is an oystercatcher, large at 17.5-inches, with a long, thick red bill, white breast and black back. Digging in the wet sand this shorebird is putting on a demonstration of how it gets clamshells. That thick red bill is partially buried in the sand. When it pulls the bill out there’s a small white shell that is quickly swallowed. When digging, the bill is turned somewhat to the right. Last year when I saw these birds feeding I wondered if they weren’t “right-handed.” Now I’m again wondering.
The long discussion on improving energy performance at the latest Syosset CSD Board of Education meeting got me thinking about fuel sources, not just for the school district but throughout our area.
It is a point of concern that most of the savings Syosset would realize on the Siemens plan for updating their heating systems is projected to come from changing over from oil to natural gas, and getting that gas comes at a price.
As we approach the Oscars, a formidable field of movies awaits recognition. Some years are more fruitful than others. The past year had a distinct variety of movies, of which I saw many.
Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy must be spinning in his Russian grave at this adaptation of his great novel. The story of Anna is indeed a great tragedy. A married woman, played nicely by Keira Knightly, falls for a dashing soldier and winds up being shunned by Russian society, and throws herself under a train. Greta Garbo played Anna in the black-and-white version years ago.
Argo—Ben Affleck as the director and star of this film based on a true story delivers a doubly skillful performance. This story of six Americans trapped in Iran delivers a powerful insight into a tense, nail-biter situation during the 1979 hostage crisis. Add John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Suspenseful!
It’s a little convoluted, but basically after the New York State Court of Appeals upheld the Town of Oyster Bay’s original decision to turn down the project in 2009, Taubman has been trying to take the decision away from the town. In 2010, spokesmen from Taubman convinced the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC) to add the project to a short list of “regionally significant” projects, next to the Nassau HUB. LIREDC recommends that the state assume control of the environmental review process for projects on the “significant” list in order to circumvent a lot of local red tape, which could take the mall decision out of the town’s hands.
The difficulty in which many writers find themselves is, should they pass up a good, solid interesting story or should they “rat out” some friend or acquaintance?
Joan Didion says, “A great memoirist, even one moved primarily by love and devotion, must possess a certain amount of ruthlessness.” The question to the author is, “Should I put down the truth about the person in my story or should I sugar-coat perhaps the lying and devious aspects with falsehoods and fiction?” That is the moral question!
The whole country continues to mourn the deaths of 20 children and six adults who died in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, CT. And while we wait for the motive to emerge and policy proposals to surface, we can speak out now on behalf of families who need greater access to mental health treatment and other social services that ultimately will prove more effective in protecting and strengthening all of us; children, adults and our communities.
As the head of a human services organization, I believe it is part of our mission to inform and educate the public on important issues facing today’s families in a balanced and professional manner. As the result of this tragic event, there will be a temptation to look for quick answers; overly simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
For eight years my wife and I have been staying near Whitney Beach on Longboat Key, Florida. For the first time it has two huge tidal pools, which I call Lake Victoria #1 and #2. These tidal pools, stretching for almost half a mile, not only have given this beach the look of a wild coast, but appear to have attracted more birds to this already avian rich beach.
On a recent morning thick fog covers the beach, making it mysterious. Two laughing gulls, a willet, a black-bellied plover and some brown pelicans are early morning habitués. Two ruddy turnstones, birds that turn over anything and everything, looking for a morsel, are at the end of lake Victoria #1. One is preening, the other digging. A black-bellied plover flies. I‘ve seen more of these birds in a few days here than in some winters and wonder if the tidal pools have attracted them.
Recently, golf’s two governing bodies, the USGA and the Scotland-based R&A, proposed a rule change that would prohibit the use of anchored—or belly—putters. Their rationale is that by anchoring the butt of the club against part of the body, a player gains more control and therefore an unfair advantage.
It’s hard to imagine that the advantage could be so great since relatively few people use these putters. Tiger Woods doesn’t like them and you hardly ever see them employed by casual players. The golfing community seems to be coalescing around the idea that there’s something wrong about these ungainly putters, and that they shouldn’t be part of the game.
My beautiful wife Lorraine and I spent part of the holiday season in Las Vegas, Nevada. We visited Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, where we had the opportunity to meet many celebrities. I hope you enjoy some photos from these exciting meetings, and happy holidays!
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