A Storm by Any Other Name

Such is the commanding power of suggestion wielded by At Quaquanantuck that no sooner is there a column posted that mentions the dearth of snow this winter than we get a (for once accurate) Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service for today, Thursday, February 9. 

Because of the arrival of Winter Storm Niko (do we really need the whole sensationalism and mass hysteria provocation of naming winter storms?) I purposely waited to post this week’s column so as not to go into too much detail about Thursday, February 9, programs that were sure to be cancelled.

A prime example of such a program would be the Cooking: Kisses from Cowfish” culinary demonstration and tasting that was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Quogue Library on Thursday, February 9. Executive Chef David Hersh from Cowfish and Rumba Rum Bar restaurants and a few guest chefs will now have to bring their “unforgettable” presentation and dinner to the library on another occasion.

It’s a good thing that kisses never go out of season, even if Valentines Day is long passed by the time the Cowfish crew returns to the library. Still, best to ring up the library at 631-653-4224 to see if a new date has yet been set.  

At Quaquanantuck apologizes, and please forgive the indulgence, but just for a moment, let’s get back to the winter storm name game. Never let it be said that the folks at the Weather Channel don’t take themselves seriously. Witness this excerpt from a much longer dissertation on the naming of winter storms:

“The process of evaluating the potential to name a storm is a continual process [good to know the process is a continual process: the best kind] that includes a daily hemispheric map briefing among the Global Forecast Center’s team of meteorologists at The Weather Channel.

“During the briefing, candidate weather systems are identified as potential winter storms up to a week out. As the certainty for an impactful storm increases, a storm naming committee schedules a conference call to discuss the potential named storm.”

How’d you like to sit in on that conference call? Can’t you just feel the adrenaline rush as the “certainty for an impactful storm increases”? Of course, the adrenaline could be flooding based on the anticipation of the huge ratings surge and social networking cyclone that every impactful weather event brings to the meteorological media empire.

As long as we’re considering the white stuff, At Quaquanantuck would like to note that the names of one winner and three honorable mentions were announced at last Saturday’s reception for the Quogue Library Art Gallery’s “50 Shades of White” juried group photography show.

Best in Show honors went to Jon Schusteritsch of Cutchogue for his photograph, “Hallockville in the Snow.” As part of his prize, Mr. Schusteritsch will get a solo show at the Library Art Gallery in 2018.

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Rich Faron for “Barn Door,” Jacques LeBlanc for “New Snow, Jamesport” and Alan Weinschel for “Winter Treescape.”

Long Island Museum Director Neil Watson was the judge for this beautiful show of the work of 23 East End photographers, who were judged on technical excellence, artistic merit, expression of theme and overall impact. At Quaquanantuck believes that the quality of the works on view must have made Mr. Watson’s job very challenging indeed.

The exhibit will be on view until February 26, so local residents have a few more weeks to stop in at the library and enjoy this exceptional juried show.

Meanwhile, At Quaquanantuck is willing to concede that it might not have been this column that brought on the pummeling by Winter Storm Niko. Consider, as an alternative prompt for Thursday’s snowfall, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge scheduling its Full Snow Moon Night Hike on Friday, February 10, starting at 5:30 p.m.

As the QWR website instructs us, native tribes of the north and east often referred to the full moon in February as the Full Snow Moon, since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month. During the 90-minute walk through the forest up to North Pond and back, adults and families with children age 11 and up will look and listen for nocturnal creatures and undertake some night vision activities aided by the light of the moon.

This program is $5 for Wildlife Refuge members; $10 for non-members. Call the QWR at 631-653-4771 to make sure the program is still on, then pay the appropriate fee, dress warmly for the adventure (perhaps snowshoes?), and trek on.

A bonus for the full moon of February 10, according to EarthSky, is that there will be a penumbral eclipse showing up best at about 7:44 p.m. EST.   

Two other interesting programs are planned at the Refuge on Saturday, February 11, one outdoors and one inside the Nature Center. At 10 a.m.—if it’s still on and hasn’t been changed to a cross-country skiing expedition—adults and teens are invited to take a free Wintertime Botany Walk around the Quogue Wildlife Refuge that will focus on trees, shrubs and other plant species. Bark, buds and seeds will all be observed and used to identify plants. The walk will be led by  Park Ranger MaryLaura Lamont of the William Floyd Estate Fire Island National Seashore. A free program for adults and teens.

Again, check with the Refuge at 631-653-4771 to see if the walk is going ahead as planned or if it’s being rescheduled to a later date, when walking (and identifying early blooming skunk cabbage) might be easier.

Inside the Nature Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. the QWR is offering one of its wonderful Animal Encounter programs for all ages, with the proviso that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

The fee is $5 per person for the opportunity to meet a Chilean rose-haired tarantula, African ball python, opossum, great horned owl, and fuzzy chinchilla. Interesting (not alternative) facts will be provided on what these animals eat, their defense mechanisms, and their native geographical range.  

At Quaquanantuck met the opossum on Wednesday morning at Amy Hess’s Earth Yoga class (with real earth, i.e. dirt, handed out in small glass dishes for all participants to contemplate this week ). And although this columnist has always found these creatures to be somewhat unattractive, it must be conceded that the one on view in the Nature Center was undeniably cute, even fetching.

Next weekend, the Refuge will play host to a Shinnecock Yacht Club winter gathering, on Saturday, February 18. According to one local old salt, SYC members stranded on the East End this winter and trying to combat cabin fever can look forward to cocktails, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of “yachty joviality.”

Although there won’t be a chinchilla to pet, a Valentines related indoor program will be offered on Saturday, February 11, at 2 p.m. out at the Southampton Inn: a presentation of A.R. Gurney’s perennially popular epistolary play “Love Letters.”

Not that a Quogue connection is needed for this lovely piece, but the link in this case is that the two actors presenting it are regularly seen on the stage in Quogue, AT Quaquanantuck columnist Andrew Botsford and Jane Lowe Baldwin. The two, who have done “Love Letters” before on several occasions in different venues, were last seen together on the Quogue stage in last spring’s HTC production of Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Due to the generosity of the sponsors—the Southampton Historical Museum, the Rogers Memorial Library, and the Southampton Inn—tickets are free, but, perhaps because a reception will follow, the Inn is requesting theatergoers to call and make a reservation at 631-283-6500.

A compelling indoor program will be offered at the Quogue Library this weekend: another installment in the Winter Documentary Series moderated by Naomi Hogarty, on Sunday, February 12, at 2 p.m.

This week’s film will be “Before the Flood,” directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Fisher Stevens, in which Leonardo DiCaprio, now a United Nations Ambassador of Peace, sounds the alarm bell about the increasingly harmful effects of climate change while offering realistic approaches to halting, or at least slowing, its pernicious, planet killing progress.  

As Andrew Barker wrote in a review for Variety: “Handsomely shot and entertainingly paced, “Before the Flood” may not tackle too much new ground, but given the sincerity of its message, its ability to assemble such a watchable and comprehensive account gives it an undeniable urgency.”

Call the library at 631-653-4224 to be sure to get a seat.

And while we are thinking about films, and Academy Award winners, remember that the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is screening a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film next weekend, the German film “Toni Erdmann” on Friday, February 17, at 7 p.m., Saturday, February 18, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 19, at 4 p.m.

The reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that “‘Toni Erdmann’ is an immensely rich, deeply felt exploration of human relationships that draws you in and holds you fast.” And the New York Times reviewer suggested that “if a single movie were enough to silence reports of the death of cinema, it would be this one.”   

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Colette and Pam at the Inn Spot by the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge will once again be serving a seven-course Chocolate Tasting Dinner on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11, and Tuesday, February 14. Open seating begins at 5 p.m.

There will be seven tasting courses, all incorporating chocolate, with sweetness a factor only in the dessert course. A wine pairing will be offered with each course for lovers of the grape. The price is $85 per person with wine; $55 per person without wine. For more information, visit www.theinnspot.com, or call 631-728-1200.

Next week’s globetrotting menu will be from Sweden.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes of interest to Quogue residents, even if geographically at a remove from our beautiful village. And please tell friends and family who enjoy Quoguish things to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list, or just to visit AtQuaquanantuck.com and feel free to follow.

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