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  •     Early Monday I built a fire as I’ve done each morning of this cold winter. The fire first raced through crumpled, balled-up stories. “Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science” and “The Postwar Paralympics” and “Kiev Says Russia Seized Gas Plant Close to Crimea” — up in flames. Maureen Dowd moaning about Obama, too. And Bernard Malamud’s quote, “stories are stories” in The Book Review. So true.

  •     I played lacrosse when sticks were made of wood, gut, and rawhide. During the three years I played for Colgate we scrimmaged with Syracuse University several times during the season. We did well against them, although they were in a more challenging league.

  •     When a tornado, or tsunami, comes from out of the blue, it rattles our collective nerves. But it’s also unsettling when what we expect of nature fails to occur.

  •     During the winter months, the Montauk Post Office is like a watering hole in the Serengeti. Residents of all stripes approach cautiously for fear of crocodiles in the form of home-heating bills. Their junk mail becomes buffalo chips to feed the fire. They drink in gossip and news of the whereabouts of others not seen at the hole of late. They bay for summer, yet speak in fear of the herds that will descend on their place as the weather warms.

  •     Walked out onto the rock reef in front of the trailer park again the other day at super low tide to visit the life in the pools — the little black snails called rosettes, calico crabs, the gardens of red and green weed. Every 20 feet or so, I’d find a surfcaster’s lure, still snagged since the last bass season on seaweed, or trapped in the cleft of a rock.

  •     On Sunday afternoon behind the bar in the little red building across from the Montauk Movie, Vaughn Cutillo pulled the handle and out poured a “blond-haired lady in a black dress.”

  •     At first, the sound made me bolt up out of a deep sleep and reach for something to defend the house against an intruder, but now, I simply roll over and reach again for the arms of Morpheus. It’s only a deer eating the ivy off the cedar shakes, and ivy’s not good for the shingles.

  • “The Heart Of
    Everything That Is”

    Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
    Simon and Schuster, $30

  •     Sunday was friendly. At four in the afternoon, the Viking Starship returned to Montauk Harbor after a long day on a calm sea — cold, but calm and mostly sunny. Capt. Carl Forsberg smiled down from the Starship’s wheelhouse at the 80 booted, knit-hatted, and well-bundled anglers departing with coolers stocked with cod fillets. They had the look of a day well spent.

  •     Real life is seldom far removed from its cartoon version. The current plague of tattoos suggests the distance is shrinking.

        Elmer Fudd came to mind the other day.

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