Shorebirds, especially small ones, are difficult to distinguish from one another. I first became familiar with a few shorebirds, large and small, in their brilliant summer plumages on Cape Cod beaches in the 1990s. Last winter on a Longboat Key, Florida beach I slowly came to recognize a number of shorebirds in their dull winter plumages and observed things about them, which I hadn’t before. These accidental discoveries gave me a fuller picture of each bird’s behavior and a greater appreciation of them.
A group of 35 to 40 red knots are feeding on a raised wet sand mound that resembles a whale’s back beginning to rise from the water. Plump sandpipers, their breasts appear covered with small pale dots. In late February those breasts appear to be getting darker, a sign that the knots are morphing into their rust colored breeding plumage. One bird has both a green and a yellow tag on its legs, showing that it was banded twice. Because they plunge their pencil-thin black bills into the wet sand, which come up glistening, I’ve begun calling them “pencil pushers.” These birds take hard-shelled tiny creatures from the sand, which are crushed in their sinewy stomachs.
There has been a profound change in My Old Gang. I guess, at 75 years of age, I would still like to see my old friends as they were at 17 years of age.
Lorraine and I attended a 75th birthday celebration (not a surprise party) for one of my oldest pals. He is my age, but has gone through a difficult bout with Mesothelioma. He lost a lung, but he keeps on ticking.
I’m writing to invite veterans and Boy and Girl Scouts to participate in a unique initiative I am bringing to our community: The Library of Congress’s Veterans Oral History Project. Too often, the sacrifices that our veterans make are forgotten with time. As the years go by, the stories and legacies of the Greatest Generation – those who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II – are passing with those who fought.
Last spring brought the tragic news of the death of Yeardley Love, a member of the University of Virginia (UVA) women’s lacrosse team, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend, a UVA men’s lacrosse team player, in an alcohol-fueled fit of rage. Both teams competed in NCAA championship tournaments after Love was buried.
The last two weeks, Lorraine and I were involved in “Surprise Parties”. At a surprise party, you are not allowed to be late…or you will ruin the surprise. That is the most callous thing a person can do- ruin the surprise.
One of the very best judges I worked with when I practiced law was Michael B. Mukasey, who went on to serve with great distinction as our Attorney General under President George W. Bush. Judge Mukasey had a favorite saying: “If not for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”
Of the six years I have been privileged to serve in the State Assembly, this is the first in which Albany has failed to deliver an on-time budget. While some might say that five out of six is not a bad average, every New Yorker has now experienced the havoc and anxiety resulting from the failure of state government to produce New York’s budget before the expiration of “the last minute.”
On behalf of the Plainview Water District, we would like to express our appreciation and gratitude for your continued efforts in conserving water during this hot and demanding summer.
With your cooperation, the district was able to meet the water demand of all its consumers and continued to provide adequate water pressure throughout the system, which provides the ability to fight fires in the community.
On a Saturday at the end of May a year ago, my wife and I went to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, one of the premier spots in the NYC metropolitan area to witness the annual avian spring migration. The first things we hear are the sounds of birds. In my high-powered scope is a vocalist, the rufous-sided towhee. It’s a striking black and white bird with an amber eye and a generous dash of rust on its side. Its bill opens, sending out calls into the morning air.
It has been said that we human beings sleep away one-third of our given lives. Those eight hours that we spend on mattresses during the night could be put to much better use. Imagine if Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer or Charles Darwin could have had all that productive time to invent things to better humanity. What a waste!
I want to share a story with you about a courageous little girl named Julia who lives in my hometown of Glen Cove. Julia was born with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis. The disorder causes tumors to grow on nerves. NF will often lead to other conditions such as cardiovascular problems, chronic pain, blindness, deafness, bone defects, disfigurement and many other complications. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
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