Letters to the Editor: 12.08.16

Our readers comments

A Festive Success


December 5, 2016

To the Editor:

Sunday night, Dec. 4, was the 25th annual celebration of the Lights of Love tree-lighting celebration. Lights of Love is a fund-raising event for the Springs Improvement Society that raises money for a scholarship for a deserving East Hampton High School senior. (Now before anyone disagrees, Lights Of Love was started in 1990 but we did skip a year recently, so this was actually the 25th celebration.)

The night was a festive success, and I would like to thank Troy Grindle of E.H.H.S. and the strings ensemble, Ben Jones and the Springs junior high band, along with Josh Brussel for the wonderful holiday music they all provided for us. I would also like to thank my co-volunteers Valerie and Bruce Bates, Jean and Ricky Muller, Karen McCaffrey, Karen Mackin, Sue McGintee, Arthur and Eileen Goldman, Suzanne Janis from the Springs School, and all the volunteers who baked cookies and treats. Also to thank are the One Stop Market and Barnes Deli for their donations of cider and baked pretzels. Thank you to everyone!

We hope to keep this community tradition alive for many years to come. New volunteers and ideas are always welcome, and anyone interested can email me at lauraotto7366@gmail.com. May everyone have a happy and blessed holiday season!


Lights of Love

For Fire Commissioner


December 5, 2016

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Peter Joyce.

I would like to let the voters of Montauk know that I am running for the position of fire commissioner for the Montauk Fire District. My qualifications for this position are: I have been an active member of the Montauk Fire Department for 43-plus years, have held the offices of lieutenant, captain, second assistant chief, first assistant chief, and the rank of chief. I currently am the hurricane preparedness coordinator for the department and work hard with members of our town and community to keep improving this plan.

I am a 65-year-old, third-generation Montauk native and a fighter for our beautiful community.

At this time in my life, with two grown children off and on their own, I feel that this is the perfect time for me to give back to the community and it is the perfect time to run for commissioner of the Montauk Fire District.

The board of fire commissioners is the government body chosen by you, the taxpayers, to oversee the tax dollars that are collected and used to run the facilities, employees, and purchase of equipment that is used by the volunteers to protect lives and property of this great community. This board is also encumbered with looking into the future to predict when to purchase new equipment, equipment replacement, and the continuation of the paramedic plan that was put into place a few years ago. I also feel that there is an increased role for them to play in being advocates for the ever-increasing requirements forced on the members and officers.

I have also run my own business for 50-plus years and know how to handle employees, equipment, properties, and how to determine priorities. This, with all my years and experience in the fire service, makes me the perfect candidate for this five-year position.

Please come out on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to the Montauk Fire House and cast your vote by physically writing in my name.

Thank you,


Improved Our Lives

East Hampton

December 4, 2016

Dear David,

My neighbors and I, who live in Hampton Waters, would like to express our appreciation to Steve Lynch, Kevin Ahearn, and the East Hampton Highway Department for their efforts to resolve the serious run-off and drainage problems we have had for many years on our road.

They took the time to consult with us, engineering the right solution by installing a stormwater remediation system. That not only improved our lives but that of our beloved Three Mile Harbor.

They went above and beyond. We thank them.



Allene Talmage


December 5, 2016

Dear Editor,

I am saddened by the recent death of Allene Bass Talmage, teacher at Springs School (1968-1989) and longtime pillar of the Springs community. 

I was fortunate to grow up on Fireplace Road in the 1950s with a group of families whose children watched Asa Miller milk his cows, pulled mussels from the banks of the creek, and ran through the woods without much fear of ticks.  The local families shared in the child-raising responsibilities, and the children were expected to maintain the high standards set at Springs School.  While raising four children, Allene Talmage headed the Brownies and Girl Scouts with the tenacity with which she approached everything in her life. 

She and her sister (Ophelia Harris) represented the kind of teachers whom I tried to emulate in my career. There were no time constrictions or barriers to their commitment. If there was a child in need or work to be done, Allene Talmage was there. Her empathy for animals and children permeated her life. 

As a sixth-grade teacher, she opened her door to my sister and created a sanctuary for a rebellious, misunderstood child. I will be forever grateful. 

Her son Thomas Talmage set forth her life in a moving eulogy on Nov. 21, outlining her legacy of successful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, not to mention over 1,000 students whom she impacted in her classroom and on her nature walks. 

Her final act of social activism was the completion of the Springs Youth Association Building. She was an advocate for children and a lifelong learner who inspired all who knew her. 


A Special Spirit

Sag Harbor

December 5, 2016

Dear David,

On Saturday evening, the beauty of the East End was celebrated at Wolffer Vineyard’s Lighting of the Vines, which also drew in scores of local businesses and artists who crafted one-design wreaths auctioned off to benefit our charity, Fighting Chance, the free cancer-counseling center for the East End.

Marders donated all of the wreaths, and here is just a partial list of the artistic souls who decorated them: The Baker House 1650, Domaine Franey Wines, English Country Homes, Hampton Coffee Company, Hampton Nursery, the Milk Pail, Whitmore’s, the Styleliner by Joey Wolffer, and April Gornik.

The event was another example of neighbor helping neighbor, a special spirit that runs deep on the East End. Thanks to all who made the event so special.


Founder and Chairman

Fighting Chance

Will Be Greatly Missed

East Hampton

December 2, 2016

To the Editor:

Sadly David Lee, the chairman of the East Hampton Housing Authority, passed away this week. 

The board of commissioners of the housing authority wishes to recognize the many achievements of David Lee. He will be greatly missed by the board of the housing authority as well as by the Sag Harbor community and the Town of East Hampton.

David was appointed to the housing authority board of commissioners in 1997 and was most recently reappointed to a five-year term in 2014. He served as chairman of the board for 17 of his 19 years of service.

David was a very active member of the business and professional community. His civic involvement in the community was extensive.

David was a veteran of World War II. He served the British Army as a radar technician and telecommunications mechanic.

Rest in peace, David.



Board of Commissioners

East Hampton Housing Authority

The Secret? Mulching.

East Hampton

November 28, 2016

To the Editor:

The snarl of leaf blowers marked the morning before Thanksgiving at our house, courtesy of the landscapers that keep our neighbors’ yard looking terrifically well-groomed. I appreciate the trim results; I appreciate the neighbors. But I am much happier with the look of our lawn, a look which I hope increasingly becomes the fall fashion. 

Its slogan is “Look, Ma. No leaf piles!” Also “Listen, Ma. Less noise!” Also, “Breathe, Ma. Less pollution!” And come spring, “Hey, Ma. Nice grass!”

The secret? Mulching. 

For willing clients, four years ago the landscaper we use converted much of his leaf-raking operation to special blades on his rotary lawn mowers. They cost roughly between $50 and $120 per “mulching kit,” depending on how big the mowers are, and he says a number of other yard-care firms are now using the blades too. As they snip the last of the summer’s lawn, they chop up the fallen leaves into flakes about half an inch wide that settle between the leaves of grass, too small to block sunlight but enough to provide weed control. Visually, the effect is less like cashmere, more like tweed. 

After the winter’s rains — and snows, if the accelerating march of global warming hasn’t yet produced coconut-palm weather for East Hampton — the leaves will have decomposed into progressive gardeners’ favorite natural nutrient.

To be sure, our landscaper still uses leaf blowers to buzz our paths and patio. But he said that over all, the “organic lawn care” system means he can get the job done faster, not only because mulching is faster than blowing and raking, but because his workers don’t have to bundle leaves into tarps and carry them to the street or the dump. In addition, he doesn’t have to apply fertilizer and weed killer. “My customers are spending less money,” he said, and though mulching does not work instant magic, in “one or two years, they can see the difference. The grass looks stronger.”

Maybe the folks on the town’s leaf-pickup crews are muttering “curses, foiled again” because the need for their services is diminishing as mulching catches on, but for the rest of us, the increase in quiet may be just enough so the crews can hear us applauding.


Maidstone Club Bridge

East Hampton

December 4, 2016

Dear David,

Thank you for your editorial referencing the Maidstone Club bridge application, currently before the Village Zoning Board, in last Thursday’s Star. It is important that all of the implications of this project, from its impact on the environment and the fragility of Hook Pond to the open space and vista that we all enjoy, be understood by the community.

Undoubtedly it will take more time to address these issues. In the interim, additional enforcement of the speed limit on Dunemere Lane will help make the area safer for the public and the maintenance workers as well as the golfers, until a solution satisfactory to all can be reached.



L.V.I.S. Landmarks Committee

Put Safety First

East Hampton

December 5, 2016

Dear Mr. Rattray,

We are very troubled about the proposed bus depot on the East Hampton High School campus. It is our strong belief that safety comes first for the students and the townspeople.

Our three daughters played sports on the fields of East Hampton High School. We enjoyed watching them play under the guidance of excellent coaches. We were fortunate that they were able to play in a safe environment. They were not required to play on fields steps away from an industrial bus depot and be exposed to exhaust, fumes, pollution, chemicals, and all that goes with a bus depot. We believe that future students deserve to play sports in the same safe environment that our children did.

Two years ago, we had a medical emergency at our house. We are forever grateful that the emergency medical technicians were able to drive safely to the Emergency Services Building located on Cedar Street and that the ambulance and police could arrive quickly and attend to the situation. We fear that adding an industrial bus depot on Cedar Street will add to and impede traffic on the currently too-busy thoroughfare. We fear this bus depot will affect the response time of our emergency services. We believe that all townspeople deserve to have the same speedy response to an emergency that we did.

The East Hampton School Board must consider other options. The school board must put safety first for all students and all the townspeople.



Illegal Renting


December 2, 2016

Dear David,

The Ordinance Enforcement Department has just busted a landlord in Springs (of course) for 29 housing violations. This landlord has taken it upon himself to turn his house from a legally zoned one-family residence to an illegal two-family home — without acquiring building permits, certificates of occupancy, or required legal inspections. He has constructed a full kitchen and bathroom in the lower level, converted a garage into a bedroom, and installed electrical outlets and plumbing in the illegal lower-level apartment, which has no direct egress and illegal windows.

Besides these violations of state and local laws, the size of the septic system is in question with the county, over additional usage. We are not even mentioning smoke detectors, which were nonexistent, and the safety of all in the house and in the neighborhood. There were children in this illegal apartment.

Springs has a real problem, and it is called illegal renting. As a direct result, the Springs School is overcrowded and the Springs School Board is talking a $20 million to $40 million renovation and addition!

I hope our judges throw the book at this devious, greedy, and unscrupulous landlord and make his violations an example to others. Time will tell. This one case is but the tip of an iceberg. The taxpayers of Springs have been given a heavy burden.

I congratulate code enforcement and wish them many more busts.


Away From Carbon


December 2, 2016

Dear David,

With all the bad news on climate change, it is useful to enjoy some good news. People should understand that there are positive changes happening.  The things we do matter.

  Scientific American on Nov. 23 reported on a study “analyzing tissue from bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine between 2004 and 2012.” They found that levels of mercury concentration “dropped by more than 2 percent per year, for a total decline of 19 percent over just nine years.” This tracks perfectly with the reduction in mercury put into the atmosphere by American coal plants, due both to new mandated controls and reduction in coal use. Coal has gone from supplying 50 percent of our electrical power to 30 percent, and the positive effects are already evident. The speed of this change was a surprise to the scientists involved in the study.

Our canned tuna comes mostly from Asia, so this reduction is not evident there, but signs are positive for the future: China this year will put into service more solar power than the United States has in total. The world’s largest solar plant, covering 10 square kilometers, was recently opened in India. The entire world now understands and is gearing up to solve the problem.

Americans currently emit three times as much CO2 per capita as China. We emit 12 times as much per capita as India. But we have the technological muscle and skill to transition away from carbon. We lack only the political will, despite the fact that there are proposals that will stimulate the economy at the same time we reduce emissions.

We New Yorkers should take pride in the fact that, along with California, we are leading the way with Governor Cuomo’s Clean Power Plan. But we can’t do it alone. We need the entire country on board. Our Congressman, Lee Zeldin, has joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House. Take five minutes, Google his name, find the place on his website to send him an email, and ask him to rally Republicans to join that group. 

There is increasing bipartisan support. There will be a turning point. You can bend the course of our country with your voice.


The Pivotal Point

East Hampton

December 4, 2016

Dear David, 

I write, with sadness, to refute a recent letter to The Star by four gentlemen from Montauk who wrote to chide the town board and the noise-affected residing in the west end of town regarding the town’s failed legal attempts to keep intact the airport regulations protecting the public from noise. 

The four gentlemen’s legal assessment omits the pivotal point leading to the town’s decision to proceed with an appeal. The prevailing law at the time was National Helicopter v. City of New York, where the Second Circuit acknowledged the municipal proprietor’s ability to impose reasonable restrictions to protect the public from noise. Inexplicably, and in a profoundly surprising move, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit effectively overruled National Helicopter with this decision against the Town of East Hampton.  

In addition to the National Helicopter case, a further anchoring of the town’s earlier prospects for success was a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration in response to inquiries by then Congressman Tim Bishop. In that letter, the F.A.A. indicated that the town would not have to comply with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, unless the town wished to take more F.A.A. funding, which it does not. It was that federal law that the three-judge panel ultimately found to be binding.

Clearly, it was appropriate for the town to have pursued its path defending the airport noise regulations. 

It saddens me that these four gentlemen have no empathy for the noise-affected, and continue to promote the old saw that people should have known they built homes near an airport. Even those who did recognize they were located near a small recreational airport could never have anticipated the air traffic, which has grown exponentially over the last decade or so. Our small, recreational airport is no longer. Commercial interests wishing to exploit our area for private gain have overrun the local aviators who live in this community.

Beyond the noise victims located near the airport, however, are those farther away in East Hampton Town, and neighbors to the west in Southampton and to the north in Shelter Island and in  Southold and Riverhead Townships. And those who are affected are profoundly affected. In addition to complaints from East Hampton residents, Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, and other chief elected officials across the East End have all called upon the Town of East Hampton to do whatever it takes to quell the roar of helicopters, seaplanes, and jets that rains down on East End residents. Our town board has answered that call. 

Funds for the town’s defense of airport regulations to protect the public from noise come from airport revenues, not from taxpayers. The writers’ suggestion that Montauk tax dollars are somehow funding the airport litigation is completely untrue and is apparently intended to distract your readers from the real issue, which is home rule.

While defending the litigation has been costly, the cost was expected, as was the availability of airport funding to cover that expense. The out-of-state helicopter interests who initiated the litigation and the national organizations supporting them have deep pockets and are eager to eliminate our right to govern our airport for our needs. They choose to litter the landscape to and from East Hampton with noise and carbon emissions by offering air taxis here from New York. They don’t care about our community character or quality of life. They’re just trying to make a lot of money.

The four gentlemen’s reference to increased helicopter traffic at the Montauk airport feels like a scare tactic. First, the town’s diversion study — it was mistakenly identified as a “diversity” study — is, in fact, a guess, precisely because assumptions had to be made for origins and destinations. A sensible approach that can still be accomplished (and might relieve the minds of any Montauk residents fearful that their private airport might become as popular a destination for helicopters) would be to see how many people flying into East Hampton actually end up in Montauk. My sense is there are not that many. But, that too, is a guess. Why not advocate for a study?

Second, perhaps Montauk residents should promote the town’s purchase of Montauk Airport through the Community Preservation Fund. If the town were also the operator of that airport, it could seek more local control over the entire area, irrespective of the outcome of the town’s bid in the U.S. Supreme Court.

It should be noted that some of these gentlemen from Montauk have advocated for townwide support for Montauk’s needs and surely welcomed the support of those outside their immediate hamlet to recognize and respect the needs they’ve identified and undertaken to support or effect change. They should realize that the rest of us in the Town of East Hampton will likely have to contribute actual tax dollars, for example, to help the downtown Montauk area avoid the effects of sea level rise and climate change. That is something one could reasonably argue was inevitable, far more so than the unanticipated growth of aircraft noise at East Hampton Airport. Apart from individual events like hurricanes and northeasters, most natural forces are predictable. Much less so the colossal corporate greed that has led to the East Hampton Airport noise disaster. 

Also, I would remind the gentlemen from Montauk that when the car ferry was proposed from Montauk to Block Island-New London, townspeople throughout our town took their side. In fact, the town passed legislation prohibiting car ferry traffic in and out of Montauk, a point over which the town was sued, and won, in court, again with actual taxpayer money. 

I would have hoped that our Montauk brethren had some empathy for their townsfolk in the western reaches. How can we possibly expect to overcome the tremendous challenges to community character that face each of our hamlets if each has to struggle with its own issues in isolation? 

We’re all part of the same town. We should be working together and not fighting among ourselves. Such divisiveness is a distraction, helps to feed the opposition, and diverts important energy needed to succeed at the many challenges we face. 



Quiet Skies Coalition

Excuse to Do Nothing


December 2, 2016

Dear David:

Ready — Fire — Aim!

Regarding the inaccuracy, the irony, and at times the complete idiocy contained in last week’s letters column allegedly penned by four Montauk residents regarding the East Hampton Airport:

The Concerned Citizens of Montauk have, for years, rebuffed the Quiet Skies Coalition. In fact, they have been non-participatory and antagonistic all along toward any attempt to quiet all skies in our town. Commuter helicopter and seaplane companies say thank you for this misguided stance, as they would rather see neighbors fight neighbors than have to contend with an entire town committed to a better quality of life.

The current town board will use this division as well, as it is an excuse to do nothing of substance. If they can’t please everyone, they can grandstand with a silly Supreme Court strategy, order another costly study, and continue to needlessly add to the billable hours of a law firm that knows a sucker when it sees one. 

The one accurate fact contained in last week’s letter by the “Montauk Four” is that the current town board is not doing right by its residents and taxpayers where the airport is concern-ed.  Only a single, strong townwide effort changes that.

Had western East Hampton acted the same way these four do when it comes to Montauk’s needs, perhaps today there would be ferry service to Promised Land or even Fort Pond Bay. Shadmoor would be a McMansion farm. And, sorry we couldn’t help you more with Dirtbag Beach, but you know we have and will continue to advocate for local control of the decision-making process. Trusting the feds to do the right thing is wrong when it comes to any local issue.

Your water comes from Wainscott and your electricity passes through our villages via ugly unsightly infrastructure. I guess we’re just taking one or two for the team over here.

When the summer 2017 blitzkrieg begins, the close-HTO movement will expand exponentially. Many of those abused for years will move from advocating for a smaller, quieter airport and work toward complete closure of HTO. Sixty-five percent of village residents are bothered by airport noise. Voters in East Hampton’s portion of Sag Harbor, Wainscott, and the Northwest Woods far surpass that percentage.

Nobody in East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Noyac, Sagaponack, North Haven, Shelter Island, Southold, Riverhead, or anywhere else should continue to suffer for the profit of commuter helicopter and seaplane companies and the convenience of those who could not care less about local folks.

The bottom line when it comes to unnecessary air commuting to our town is that no East Hampton Town resident deserves the noise, the pollution, or the direct degradation of the quality of life we all covet. A town working together can be successful. A town divided will not. A conversation among litigants? How about a conversation between neighbors?



Hosting the Chip


December 5, 2016

Dear Mr. Rattray,

You may recall, but probably don’t, that approximately 13 years ago I wrote in these pages about an acoustic neuroma I’d been diagnosed with by the neurosurgeon Dr. Chandranath Sen, then the head of the skull-based surgery department at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. Earlier, Dr. Sen had viewed the M.R.I. images with me in his office, pointed out the small, benign tumor — then the size of a pea — and explained that its proximity to the auditory nerve on the left side of my head was the reason I’d experienced hearing loss in that ear. Dr. Sen was wary of recommending invasive surgery at that time, pointing out that the tumor was harmless, or should be, and that its removal would probably compromise the delicate nerve anyway — meaning I would probably not regain full hearing on the left side.

I was grateful for this recommendation. Who wants to have their head opened up unnecessarily? That’s a rhetorical question, Mr. Rattray, so don’t bother raising your hand.

The surgeon suggested I not worry about the tumor but instead call his office if I experienced headaches or loss of equilibrium, in which case there would be another M.R.I. and further analysis. Perfect.

Thankfully, I experienced no subsequent symptoms (unless you regard these letters as a loss of balance or perspective). But six months after my office visit I received a call from a colleague of Dr. Sen’s, a fellow neurosurgeon named Dr. Alyson Kintal, asking me if I would meet with her concerning another matter — an experiment that she’d been asked to participate in with two computer engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I agreed to hear the proposal. 

It was both disturbing and compelling: The engineers had developed a tiny computer chip that they asserted could interpret the electronic wave patterns generated by the brain’s almond-shaped amygdala, located in the frontal portion of the temporal lobe. It was believed that this was the location from which dreams emanated, or the closest proximity thereof, and that their chip, if properly positioned, could receive those dream-wave patterns and then transmit them to a nearby computer engineered with a software program (think “app,” in the modern parlance) that could generate literal moving images of the dream or dreams. A fantastical notion!

Dr. Kintal said she had viewed my M.R.I.s with Dr. Sen and that my amygdalae were clearly visible on the images, that I was a healthy specimen for a male primate of my age, and she noted from my chart that I was single, with no dependents. I admit to being uncomfortable with these observations, knowing that she was covering her bases with this list of pluses. On a more positive note, she explained that the procedure would be painless and that the results of the experiment, which would be completed within five months, would be published in the New England Journal of Medicine as well as in Wired, and that I would have been part of an unprecedented and historic experiment.

I agreed to hosting the chip, signing many waivers.

As you may recall, Mr. Rattray, but undoubtedly do not, the procedure was performed on my brain, the chip installed very near the amygdala on the left side, without any unforeseen problems, and I was released from the hospital. True, I did experience mild headaches for the next two days, but was assured this was an expected side effect of the procedure. The headaches went away.

The specially engineered computer was situated on the night table near my bed, waiting to receive and “translate” signals from the tiny chip while I slept, dreaming my amazing, awful dreams. The BlueTooth fairy sent stories to the waiting box as I fitfully dreamt. By agreement with Dr. Kintal and M.I.T., I was not at liberty to discuss/describe the results of this experiment until after they were published. 

But something unanticipated occurred within the first week of the test ng. The computer ceased receiving signals from the chip. One of the engineers came to my home to examine the machine, but nothing was malfunctioning. It appeared to be operating perfectly. I was subsequently asked to return to the hospital for a follow-up M.R.I., to see if something might have happened with the chip.

What Dr. Kintal discovered I found even more alarming than the initial diagnosis of the tumor: My brain had experienced the tiny chip as an irritant, not unlike a speck of matter inside an oyster, and, like the oyster, had begun producing a nacre-like substance, an organic-inorganic composite, coating the chip to relieve the amygdala of this irritation.

I was, in effect, making a pearl inside my head! I was assured that this very small object would never be larger than one-tenth the size of a pea and no harm would come of it, except that the experiment would need to be terminated. I was not happy at the time, but that was that. The hospital and university had my signature in 30 places. Thank you for your time, Mr. Greenfield. Nice skull!

Over a decade has passed since the end of that experiment, and honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought until earlier this year, when I began experiencing low-lying headaches on a fairly frequent basis. After exhausting all of the obvious remedies including reduced wine consumption, aspirin, Advil, naps, yard work, nightly viewings of House Hunters, etc., I scheduled a visit with my physician, who, upon examining my earlier history, prescribed an M.R.I. and a follow-up visit with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Kintal.

The image where the chip had been implanted was clearly a larger nacreous object, nearly the size of a Concord grape (I prefer large pearl, thank you). It would have to be removed, through an invasive surgical procedure. And, of course, it would be “painless.” Ha! 

I had the operation two weeks before Thanksgiving in order to be substantially recovered in time to enjoy the holiday. Unfortunately, this was just two days after the election, compounding the pressure on my temporal lobe. The good news, Mr. Rattray, is that the operation was successful and my skull is healing. I should be able to sleep in my bed, instead of upright in a chair, by mid-December.

My “dream pearl,” as I have named it, was sent to M.I.T. The engineers intend to hone or grind the object carefully until the chip is revealed, and hopefully extract more images from it outside the confines of my brain.

Good luck to them.

By now the statute of limitations regarding our agreement has long since expired, so I’m comfortable revealing what I saw on the computer screen, before the nacre blocked transmission over 10 years ago. There was a moving image of a man, who vaguely resembled myself, running in an unfamiliar urban environment, attempting to find his way back to a familiar place — perhaps home. Through alleyways between buildings he ran, frustrated by dead ends. Through warehouses that seemed to have no exit. Into a subway station I’d never seen before, then onto a train heading in the opposite direction of my destination. And more of that anxious running to . . . nowhere. Troubling. And there it was, on that computer screen, in the morning when I awoke. And at the time I thought, why would I want to see this again? It was hard enough to take when I was asleep!

The M.I.T. research team told me they would reach out to me if and when they had additional results. I told them not to bother, just send me copies of the Journal of Medicine and Wired if they ever got published.

And that, Mr. Rattray, is the update on my journey from acoustic neuroma diagnosis to dream pearl breeder. I wish you, and my beloved readers, visions of sugarplums this holiday season. And don’t let anybody put bad ideas in your head!


The Ship of State

Not yet fully rigged,

The ship of state, at low tide,

Waits the press gang’s haul.


Three Billionaires

East Hampton

December 2, 2016

To the Editor:

With the ascendance of the racist misogynist pig to the White House, the United States has given up its leadership role in the free world and become just one more country in the neofascist alliance of Russia, England, Austria, Poland, France, Turkey, etc. Make America white trash. As the rise of democratic fascism takes hold throughout parts of the world, one needs to be aware that 73 percent of the American electorate did not vote for Trump, does not support his policies, and is not fascist in nature.

Yet three of Trump’s appointees, Steven Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, and Wilbur Ross, to head up the Treasury, Commerce, and Education Departments, are leading us down that slippery right-wing slope. 

When the heads of the Treasury and Commerce Departments don’t believe in raising the minimum wage, workers’ rights to bargain collectively, or health care and benefits for all workers, there is no way that they will do anything except continue the skewed distribution of the nation’s wealth. 

When the head of the Education Department doesn’t believe in public education (she’s a charter school freak), there is no way that the government will educate the population for better and higher-paying jobs.

Between Mnuchin and Ross, their job creation numbers are minus 700,000. Making money, not creating jobs, is their skill set. Ross is particularly adept at destroying businesses and jobs. DeVos, actually, never had a job. Never gone to a public school, probably never went into one. The three billionaires have never done a day of public service in their lives.

The idea of putting three billionaires who inherited their family wealth in positions of extreme power is in keeping with the autocratic democratic fascist concept of “we make the rules and you obey.” Our Constitution does not give special rights to pigs over the rest of us. Obama didn’t scream about saving the auto industry, while Trump goes batshit over the 800 jobs he bought with taxpayers’ money — not mentioning the 1,300 jobs that are leaving.

More than ever, we are obligated to rein Trump in and make him respect the Constitution and civil rights. The model he is following is a recipe for the evisceration of our democracy. We seem to have forgotten that we fought a war to destroy that model before; we don’t want to have to fight it again.


Palm Trees in Christmas


December 1, 2016

Dear Editor,

This is a poem I wrote about palm trees in Christmas, Fla. I captured one today in a picture I painted — I’ve started up my artwork once more. I guess you know Christmas is a place.


When we pass them

Six or more in a round

I give out a sound

Of excitement, I can hardly stop

It’s strange, and I have the

Same revelry when I see

A coconut drop and smash on the bay, causing ripples.

I guess this is what causes

Jollies for the cripples!


P.S. Currently disabled but will get back.