Recent Stories: Opinion

July 21, 2016
Or not really worry, but maybe to think about if you can’t get to sleep some night. That’s how the question came up in the first place. My friend, who apparently often can’t get to sleep, asked me on the beach if I ever considered what would happen if the earth stopped spinning even for just a second. He thought everybody would fly off into space.

Or not really worry, but maybe to think about if you can’t get to sleep some night. That’s how the question came up in the first place. My friend, who apparently often can’t get to sleep, asked me on the beach if I ever considered what would happen if the earth stopped spinning even for just a second. He thought everybody would fly off into space. 

July 14, 2016
It’s been only a month since I returned from Dallas, where I, like thousands of other tourists, had visited many of its well-known attractions, including the Fairmont Dallas Hotel with its famous Venetian Room, centered in the largest arts district in the country, the 560-foot Reunion Tower, and the Sixth Floor Museum.

It’s been only a month since I returned from Dallas, where I, like thousands of other tourists, had visited many of its well-known attractions, including the Fairmont Dallas Hotel with its famous Venetian Room, centered in the largest arts district in the country, the 560-foot Reunion Tower, and the Sixth Floor Museum.

July 7, 2016
In the mid-1980s, East Hampton’s summer and year-round weekend population was growing rapidly. The demand for water views in particular was enormous, and the seemingly endless construction of new homes along the shoreline caused wastewater and other pollutants to run off into the bays. The contaminants made their way into clam and scallop beds; at least two lucrative fishing areas were damaged.

In the mid-1980s, East Hampton’s summer and year-round weekend population was growing rapidly. The demand for water views in particular was enormous, and the seemingly endless construction of new homes along the shoreline caused wastewater and other pollutants to run off into the bays.

June 30, 2016
In the beginning the happy couple are busy. Furnishing the house, bringing up the kids, working to pay the bills. So busy are they with the everyday stuff of life they barely see the anniversaries piling up . . . paper, diamond, silver. Gold even. With all this life going on, many couples have never had time to really know each other and, boom, it’s retirement time.

In the beginning the happy couple are busy. Furnishing the house, bringing up the kids, working to pay the bills. So busy are they with the everyday stuff of life they barely see the anniversaries piling up . . . paper, diamond, silver. Gold even. With all this life going on, many couples have never had time to really know each other and, boom, it’s retirement time. 

June 23, 2016
It was spring along the East End beaches of Long Island. The striped bass moved along the rolling surf, driven to follow all the baitfish before them as they had when no humans were around to remember. They were followed by the gannets and the ospreys diving from above, feasting on the baitfish pushed to the roiling surface by the bass and bluefish.

It was spring along the East End beaches of Long Island. The striped bass moved along the rolling surf, driven to follow all the baitfish before them as they had when no humans were around to remember. They were followed by the gannets and the ospreys diving from above, feasting on the baitfish pushed to the roiling surface by the bass and bluefish.

June 16, 2016
I live in a house surrounded by nature. It is for all the world like a tree cottage on the ground. Every view from inside is a window to the life of trees. There are oaks, of course, since we live in a place out here full of oaks, with Oak Lane and Wooded Oak a nod to the canopies that shade us on hot summer days. There are also cedars and pines and two huge cryptomeria we planted 28 years ago framing our driveway.

I live in a house surrounded by nature. It is for all the world like a tree cottage on the ground. Every view from inside is a window to the life of trees. There are oaks, of course, since we live in a place out here full of oaks, with Oak Lane and Wooded Oak a nod to the canopies that shade us on hot summer days.

June 9, 2016
On May 16, 1946, 70 years ago to the day I write this, I was in a Quonset hut in Camp Beale, Calif., sitting beside the desk of a graying sergeant who’d lost both his legs above the knees fighting the Japanese on one of those way-out-there Pacific islands. Typewriter keys whacked a form in the roller. He was processing my Army discharge.

On May 16, 1946, 70 years ago to the day I write this, I was in a Quonset hut in Camp Beale, Calif., sitting beside the desk of a graying sergeant who’d lost both his legs above the knees fighting the Japanese on one of those way-out-there Pacific islands. Typewriter keys whacked a form in the roller. He was processing my Army discharge.

June 1, 2016
I recently moved from New York City to the town upstate where my children and grandchildren live. It will likely be the last of my many moves, and I gathered a lifetime’s worth of books, writings, photos, mementos, souvenirs, and other accumulated stuff. As I began to sort through it all, hoping to pre-empt my children’s Dumpster, I came upon my college graduation book. Friends and fond memories returned, including a humorous history of our class, which began, “Nothing happened sophomore year.”

I recently moved from New York City to the town upstate where my children and grandchildren live. It will likely be the last of my many moves, and I gathered a lifetime’s worth of books, writings, photos, mementos, souvenirs, and other accumulated stuff. As I began to sort through it all, hoping to pre-empt my children’s Dumpster, I came upon my college graduation book.

May 25, 2016
It used to be that if you called someone and he didn’t answer (and there was no answering machine), you could almost see the silence yawning at you. You placed yourself in that imaginary office or kitchen or bedroom and conjured either a void or something going on that was mysteriously alluring and that you were somehow being excluded from. Your wife, friend, or lover might be betraying you in that silence, but there was always an anchor, a place to which the ringing belonged.

It used to be that if you called someone and he didn’t answer (and there was no answering machine), you could almost see the silence yawning at you. You placed yourself in that imaginary office or kitchen or bedroom and conjured either a void or something going on that was mysteriously alluring and that you were somehow being excluded from.

May 19, 2016
On April 12, President Obama expanded the national park system to include the historic Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. In designating the site as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, the president honored the trailblazers who fought for women’s rights. President Obama described the site’s significance as “a hotbed of activism, a centerpiece for the struggle for equality, a monument to a fight not just for women’s equality but, ultimately, for equality for everybody.”

On April 12, President Obama expanded the national park system to include the historic Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. In designating the site as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, the president honored the trailblazers who fought for women’s rights.

May 12, 2016
I woke up from a nightmare with the television on. An evangelist was hustling cash. This man had been defrocked by his own church. He had cried on his television show asking for forgiveness for consorting with a prostitute. Then another prostitute appeared. His redemption slow­ed. But he sees himself redeemed by his Lord. And needs cash now.

I woke up from a nightmare with the television on. An evangelist was hustling cash. This man had been defrocked by his own church. He had cried on his television show asking for forgiveness for consorting with a prostitute. Then another prostitute appeared. His redemption slow­ed. But he sees himself redeemed by his Lord. And needs cash now.

May 5, 2016
You may have heard of the Sagaponack Village mayor, but let me tell you about the unofficial mayor of Sagg Main Beach.

You may have heard of the Sagaponack Village mayor, but let me tell you about the unofficial mayor of Sagg Main Beach.

April 28, 2016
The back row of the East Hampton movie theater is kinda like your own studio apartment with a wide-screen TV on gym candy. Not only can you feast undisturbed in stocking feet on contraband Cracker Jacks, Raisinets, Strawberry Twizzlers, and a large can of Arizona green iced tea with a foot-long veggie delight made fresh by Joe the deli manager at Stop & Shop, but if the movie’s boring, you can nod out, if the movie’s romantic, you can make out, and if the movie sucks, you can sneak out without someone behind barking “Down in front!”

The back row of the East Hampton movie theater is kinda like your own studio apartment with a wide-screen TV on gym candy.

April 21, 2016
She is there sitting on my shoulder. She is there every Passover, scrunched in the folds of a damp dish towel thrown over my shoulder. She is shrouded in the moist cloth between folds of fabric that hold my memories.

The Book of Ruthie

She is there sitting on my shoulder. She is there every Passover, scrunched in the folds of a damp dish towel thrown over my shoulder. She is shrouded in the moist cloth between folds of fabric that hold my memories.

April 14, 2016
When my aunt bought land in Springs in 1962, she put her own aunt’s name on the deed, “just in case.” The house she had built was about as basic as could have then been made: single-pane glass windows, uninsulated attic, water heater rusting in a crawl space.

When my aunt bought land in Springs in 1962, she put her own aunt’s name on the deed, “just in case.” The house she had built was about as basic as could have then been made: single-pane glass windows, uninsulated attic, water heater rusting in a crawl space.

God the family had fun there.

April 7, 2016
I didn’t always. For years, I didn’t quite get what the Facebook fascination was all about. An office mate of mine, Tim, an early adopter, as they say (or as I used to say, or mostly hear from clients when employed in the advertising biz before I got bounced out of it four years ago), was on Facebook a lot. Other raunchier sites, too, but he was careful and conscientious and he is another story.

I didn’t always. For years, I didn’t quite get what the Facebook fascination was all about. An office mate of mine, Tim, an early adopter, as they say (or as I used to say, or mostly hear from clients when employed in the advertising biz before I got bounced out of it four years ago), was on Facebook a lot.

March 30, 2016
Days before President Obama’s visit to Havana I saw a yellow Cuban taxi with an NBC sticker on its windshield. I knew things were changing in Cuba, and that logo was a sign of it. I was in Havana with Barbara and Dennis D’Andrea of Wainscott the week that included Obama’s visit. We had not planned to be there because of the president, it just happened that way.

Days before President Obama’s visit to Havana I saw a yellow Cuban taxi with an NBC sticker on its windshield. I knew things were changing in Cuba, and that logo was a sign of it. I was in Havana with Barbara and Dennis D’Andrea of Wainscott the week that included Obama’s visit. We had not planned to be there because of the president, it just happened that way. 

March 23, 2016
I’m always a little embarrassed when procrastination pays off. I probably shouldn’t be, since I do it enough that the odds ought to provide a positive result once in a while. This time they did.

I’m always a little embarrassed when procrastination pays off. I probably shouldn’t be, since I do it enough that the odds ought to provide a positive result once in a while. This time they did.

March 16, 2016
Friends, I thank you for starting another piece from me on this topic; please don’t move on yet. Yes, my efforts to defend Social Security from government and media lies have become familiar, though I fear fruitless, for more than a decade. Still, revelations in recent years of ever more skullduggery by both parties make my efforts even more relevant. Remember Bob Hope’s quip: “No one party can fool all the people all the time. That’s why we have two parties.”

Friends, I thank you for starting another piece from me on this topic; please don’t move on yet. Yes, my efforts to defend Social Security from government and media lies have become familiar, though I fear fruitless, for more than a decade. Still, revelations in recent years of ever more skullduggery by both parties make my efforts even more relevant.

Biddle Duke
March 10, 2016
I’m on the phone with my sister Tish, driving south through a blizzard in western Massachusetts to catch a plane to South Carolina. Mom, a New Yorker, moved there six years ago for the final chapter of her life. She’s stopped eating and drinking.

“Tell Mom I’m coming. Tell her to hang on.”

“I have. She knows.”

I’m on the phone with my sister Tish, driving south through a blizzard in western Massachusetts to catch a plane to South Carolina. Mom, a New Yorker, moved there six years ago for the final chapter of her life. She’s stopped eating and drinking.

March 3, 2016
To be candid, I walked into the Southampton Antique Firehouse (yes, there is one, and it is fully functional) with a singleness of purpose: to sell them a comedy show.

To be candid, I walked into the Southampton Antique Firehouse (yes, there is one, and it is fully functional) with a singleness of purpose: to sell them a comedy show. 

February 25, 2016
“The Duke makes me puke” is what I said to Ben, my 90-year-old stepfather, about his idol, the film star John Wayne, a.k.a. The Duke. Words I can never take back but will take to my grave.

“The Duke makes me puke” is what I said to Ben, my 90-year-old stepfather, about his idol, the film star John Wayne, a.k.a. The Duke. Words I can never take back but will take to my grave.

February 18, 2016
This political season the pundits failed to predict that the nonestablishment candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, would do so well. The pundits deluded themselves into thinking that voters would overwhelmingly stick with establishment candidates, timeworn ideologies, and business-as-usual initiatives. To date, the opposite is true.

This political season the pundits failed to predict that the nonestablishment candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, would do so well. The pundits deluded themselves into thinking that voters would overwhelmingly stick with establishment candidates, timeworn ideologies, and business-as-usual initiatives. To date, the opposite is true.

February 11, 2016
Standing on top of rubble — cement blocks, slabs of wood, a pile of bricks, shingles, and mounds of dirt — I could hardly believe my eyes. What used to be my family’s home of 55 years, on the 10th hole of the Montauk Downs golf course, was now completely gone except for the two-car garage at one end and one small remaining wall of the bathroom at the other.

Standing on top of rubble — cement blocks, slabs of wood, a pile of bricks, shingles, and mounds of dirt — I could hardly believe my eyes. What used to be my family’s home of 55 years, on the 10th hole of the Montauk Downs golf course, was now completely gone except for the two-car garage at one end and one small remaining wall of the bathroom at the other.