Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
January 12, 2017
Mary’s great-grandmother, a star of stage and the early screen, reportedly said — or so the family story has it — on passing by the open casket of a woman who had in life borne the burden of her severe lameness with good humor, “She never suffered as I have.”

Mary’s great-grandmother, a star of stage and the early screen, reportedly said — or so the family story has it — on passing by the open casket of a woman who had in life borne the burden of her severe lameness with good humor, “She never suffered as I have.”

David E. Rattray
January 12, 2017
Waiting for the traffic signal to change to green at Wainscott Stone Road on Monday, a dark bird soaring far above drew my eye against the gray and empty sky. From its size and broad and fingered wings, it seemed a bald eagle, likely a first-year juvenile, according to illustrations in the Sibley guide I looked at later on.

Waiting for the traffic signal to change to green at Wainscott Stone Road on Monday, a dark bird soaring far above drew my eye against the gray and empty sky. From its size and broad and fingered wings, it seemed a bald eagle, likely a first-year juvenile, according to illustrations in the Sibley guide I looked at later on.

Helen S. Rattray
January 5, 2017
Given the plethora of exotic foodstuffs available these days from the five corners of the world — as well as the continual reports about what foods are good for you (or not) — it is understandable that people are changing what they eat.

Given the plethora of exotic foodstuffs available these days from the five corners of the world — as well as the continual reports about what foods are good for you (or not) — it is understandable that people are changing what they eat. 

Christopher Walsh
January 5, 2017
Finally, that year is over. But will it ever fade to black and be gone? Or will it prove a harbinger, someday to be known as Year One of the Bad Times?

Finally, that year is over. But will it ever fade to black and be gone? Or will it prove a harbinger, someday to be known as Year One of the Bad Times?

David E. Rattray
January 5, 2017
The summer’s drought ended the last of whatever miracle had been holding up the old beech tree outside my office window. Two weeks before Christmas, Kevin Savastano and his crew arrived early on a cold Friday morning, as promised, to take it away.

The summer’s drought ended the last of whatever miracle had been holding up the old beech tree outside my office window. Two weeks before Christmas, Kevin Savastano and his crew arrived early on a cold Friday morning, as promised, to take it away.

Jack Graves
January 4, 2017
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama seem to agree that joy springs through suffering, and so, I suppose, it’s appropriate that I’m reading “The Book of Joy” at the moment, while in the throes of a wretched cold.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama seem to agree that joy springs through suffering, and so, I suppose, it’s appropriate that I’m reading “The Book of Joy” at the moment, while in the throes of a wretched cold.

Helen S. Rattray
December 29, 2016
The grandchildren were visiting one day last week when one of the boys noticed a large box with a bull’s-eye logo on it, and came running. “Target,” he shouted, “Is it for me?” Yes, I know this is a visual age, but I was still surprised. Thinking he was just too smart for his own good, I grabbed the box and slid it under a bed, out of sight.

The grandchildren were visiting one day last week when one of the boys noticed a large box with a bull’s-eye logo on it, and came running. “Target,” he shouted, “Is it for me?” Yes, I know this is a visual age, but I was still surprised. Thinking he was just too smart for his own good, I grabbed the box and slid it under a bed, out of sight. 

Jack Graves
December 29, 2016
The late boys basketball coach Roger Golden, when I asked what it was he loved about basketball, said, “The gyms are warm.”

The late boys basketball coach Roger Golden, when I asked what it was he loved about basketball, said, “The gyms are warm.”

And indeed it’s so, especially in Bridgehampton’s, that tiny black-and-gold bandbox that has a precious quality that you don’t find in the more modern, ill-lit, cavernous ones. 

Carissa Katz
December 29, 2016
My first home of my own after college was an apartment on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, just south of the Sag Harbor Cinema. I lived there for six years in my 20s, watching the village’s daily life unfold through the front windows.

My first home of my own after college was an apartment on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, just south of the Sag Harbor Cinema. I lived there for six years in my 20s, watching the village’s daily life unfold through the front windows. 

David E. Rattray
December 29, 2016
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Leo the pig. Regular readers know all about Leo, a supposed teacup pig that now, at age 4, has grown to what I estimate to be 130 pounds.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Leo the pig. Regular readers know all about Leo, a supposed teacup pig that now, at age 4, has grown to what I estimate to be 130 pounds.  

Helen S. Rattray
December 22, 2016
In putting The Star together we agree that it benefits not just from a variety of feature and news stories each week but diversity among the opinion pieces. “How about the holidays or a funny anecdote?” I’ve been asked when trying to come up with a topic of late. In recent weeks, though, it has not always been easy to supply the requisite entertainment or light humor.

In putting The Star together we agree that it benefits not just from a variety of feature and news stories each week but diversity among the opinion pieces. “How about the holidays or a funny anecdote?” I’ve been asked when trying to come up with a topic of late.

Jack Graves
December 22, 2016
My sister, who has agreed that she was “a basket case” not so long ago, has made a complete turnaround, thanks to an Egyptian-born psychiatrist who utterly revamped her medications with what I would call miraculous results, “and, ultimately, God.”

My sister, who has agreed that she was “a basket case” not so long ago, has made a complete turnaround, thanks to an Egyptian-born psychiatrist who utterly revamped her medications with what I would call miraculous results, “and, ultimately, God.”

Or He and Allah.

David E. Rattray
December 22, 2016
Mobutu Sese Seko was by the time I arrived in Africa as a college student in 1985 renowned as one of the globe’s most corrupt leaders. Zaire, as the Congo was then called, had withered under his rule. The story was that you could have driven a Cadillac from the Rift Valley in the east all the way to the Atlantic without hitting a single pothole when he assumed power in 1965. Twenty years later, only traces of the road remained, most of it sucked up into the jungle.

Mobutu Sese Seko was by the time I arrived in Africa as a college student in 1985 renowned as one of the globe’s most corrupt leaders. Zaire, as the Congo was then called, had withered under his rule. The story was that you could have driven a Cadillac from the Rift Valley in the east all the way to the Atlantic without hitting a single pothole when he assumed power in 1965.

Helen S. Rattray
December 15, 2016
We’ve heard a lot these days about fake news and know that cyberspace is crowded with misinformation — and disinformation — which often make it hard for anyone to know who and what to believe. But I never expected to find a film on a kids’ TV channel infested with advertising masquerading as a happy holiday production for the whole family.

We’ve heard a lot these days about fake news and know that cyberspace is crowded with misinformation — and disinformation — which often make it hard for anyone to know who and what to believe. But I never expected to find a film on a kids’ TV channel infested with advertising masquerading as a happy holiday production for the whole family. 

Jack Graves
December 15, 2016
It was Tuesday night when it occurred to me that I hadn’t — because I was flying back from having spent the weekend in Pittsburgh — seen the first half of the Steelers’ delightful 24-14 win that Sunday over the Giants.

It was Tuesday night when it occurred to me that I hadn’t — because I was flying back from having spent the weekend in Pittsburgh — seen the first half of the Steelers’ delightful 24-14 win that Sunday over the Giants.

David E. Rattray
December 15, 2016
Having spent most of the past two weeks in bed with what appeared to be the flu, Twitter and I have gotten to know each other well. Not that I tweet, or post, much; instead I have spent hours upon hours following various threads on which the authors express outrage about the election. Twitter is as good a place as any to drive you to despair. But it is also a place where one can get a deeper understanding of what is going on.

Having spent most of the past two weeks in bed with what appeared to be the flu, Twitter and I have gotten to know each other well. Not that I tweet, or post, much; instead I have spent hours upon hours following various threads on which the authors express outrage about the election. Twitter is as good a place as any to drive you to despair.

Helen S. Rattray
December 8, 2016
If, when you get behind the wheel of a car, your thoughts turn toward auto accidents, or if, when you board a plane, you worry that it will crash, you are apt to face your digital life with trepidation, too.

If, when you get behind the wheel of a car, your thoughts turn toward auto accidents, or if, when you board a plane, you worry that it will crash, you are apt to face your digital life with trepidation, too. 

Jack Graves
December 8, 2016
David Brooks wrote recently about the lack of trust in our society, and how corrosive walling oneself off can be when it comes to the intermingling a thriving democracy requires.

David Brooks wrote recently about the lack of trust in our society, and how corrosive walling oneself off can be when it comes to the intermingling a thriving democracy requires.

Helen S. Rattray
December 1, 2016
The distance between my house and the Star office building is less than a hundred yards, and some of the nicest moments of otherwise ordinary days are spent walking between the two. It’s a quick moment of stolen solitude, to listen to the wind in the high trees and, quite often, the roar of the ocean, about a mile away. I am supposed to walk a lot, at least according to the medical profession. But hurriedness often intervenes, preventing me from scheduling longer, proper hikes, and this gives my many short back-and-forth trips between house and office more significance than they might otherwise merit.

The distance between my house and the Star office building is less than a hundred yards, and some of the nicest moments of otherwise ordinary days are spent walking between the two. It’s a quick moment of stolen solitude, to listen to the wind in the high trees and, quite often, the roar of the ocean, about a mile away.

Jack Graves
December 1, 2016
I’ve been reading in comparative mythology recently, about ritual regicide, virgin births, thefts of fire, trees of life and of death, resurrections . . . that kind of thing, and apparently, at least according to Joseph Campbell, it’s all one — more or less the same stories and symbols from Day One aimed at reconciling earth with the heavens.

I’ve been reading in comparative mythology recently, about ritual regicide, virgin births, thefts of fire, trees of life and of death, resurrections . . . that kind of thing, and apparently, at least according to Joseph Campbell, it’s all one — more or less the same stories and symbols from Day One aimed at reconciling earth with the heavens. 

Christine Sampson
December 1, 2016
Does merely passing through someplace on a bus count as actually visiting that place?

Does merely passing through someplace on a bus count as actually visiting that place?

Not really, I have been told. Maybe it’s a superficial way to see what a small piece of a place looks like, but there is limited opportunity for a meaningful cultural exchange.

David E. Rattray
December 1, 2016
Not that I want to talk politics (we’ve all heard enough), but November’s election surprise did give me pause. Polls aside, why most of the national media missed the scale of Donald Trump’s strength among voters might be explained by the long and ongoing decline of regional and small-city newspapers, which in their heyday might have noticed.

Not that I want to talk politics (we’ve all heard enough), but November’s election surprise did give me pause. Polls aside, why most of the national media missed the scale of Donald Trump’s strength among voters might be explained by the long and ongoing decline of regional and small-city newspapers, which in their heyday might have noticed.

Helen S. Rattray
November 23, 2016
According to Kathleen Wall of the museum at Plymouth, Mass., the colonists and their Wampanoag guests in 1621 ate shellfish and wildfowl, perhaps with herbs and berries, but their meat was accompanied by no potatoes.

According to Kathleen Wall of the museum at Plymouth, Mass., the colonists and their Wampanoag guests in 1621 ate shellfish and wildfowl, perhaps with herbs and berries, but their meat was accompanied by no potatoes.

Jack Graves
November 23, 2016
I feel like one of Emily Dickinson’s birds that stay, now that someone whose advice I valued and whose actions in my behalf over the years to a great degree have contributed to the feelings of good fortune I entertain these days has died.

I feel like one of Emily Dickinson’s birds that stay, now that someone whose advice I valued and whose actions in my behalf over the years to a great degree have contributed to the feelings of good fortune I entertain these days has died.