Bring On the Feast

Let’s start off this week with an eye to the celebration of Thanksgiving coming up next week. At Quaquanantuck is once again reaching out to readers for their input: What are some of the things about Quogue that stir the greatest amount of gratitude in you? The beach? The flora? The light at the Magic Hour? The social scene?

Whatever it is, or they are, please send the top items on your Quogue gratitude list, including photos (or just photos with captions) to AtQuaq@gmail.com and we’ll try to get them in to the column two weeks hence.

One thing we can all be grateful for is the Quogue Fire Department’s annual All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, November 25, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Firehouse. Tickets—at $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under—are available at the door or from any Quogue firefighter.

One hundred percent of all proceeds go to the Quogue Firefighters Benevolent Association. For more information, contact Ed Shea at 631-561-3229; Jodi Falla at 631-241-8052; or Irene Sipala at 631-903-2976.

2 days after
Beach access.                                                                                                            —A. Botsford Photo

Meanwhile, At Quaquanantuck is always happy to report on the achievements, exploits and adventures of Quogue residents. And never happier than when this kind of reporting ties in neatly with issues that are occasionally being discussed or commented on in this space.

Some readers might recall a recent column in which At Quaquanantuck averred that social media and reality television were two of the most significant factors in the downfall of civilization. Two weeks after that column was posted, some indirect support for this opinion came in the form of a Personal Tech column in The New York Times of Thursday, November 8, headlined: “Social Re-Engineering, From Myanmar to Germany.” The piece consisted of an interview with Times reporter Max Fisher about the tech he uses.

Readers are invited to read the entire column using the link provided above. For those who don’t, two excerpts of Fisher’s responses to questions effectively illuminate the thrust of much of the piece.

Here’s the first: “We think of any danger as coming from misuse — scammers, hackers, state-sponsored misinformation — but we’re starting to understand the risks that come from these platforms working exactly as designed. Facebook, YouTube and others use algorithms to identify and promote content that will keep us engaged, which turns out to amplify some of our worst impulses.

“I didn’t quite appreciate this until I turned on Facebook push alerts this summer. Right away, virtually every gadget I owned started blowing up with multiple daily alerts urging me to check in on my ex, even if she hadn’t posted anything. I’d stayed away from her page for months specifically to avoid training Facebook to show me her posts. Yet somehow the algorithm had correctly identified this as the thing likeliest to make me click, then followed me across continents to ensure that I did.

“Facebook’s terrorizing me into mourning a breakup hardly matters. But, for a lot of users, unhealthy-but-irresistible content can come in more consequential forms. Like a viral rumor or a statement of hate we might otherwise know to avoid.”

Asked “Where do you think this will all lead us?” Fisher answered: “I spend a lot of my time asking people this. What is the aggregate effect of routing an ever-growing share of human social relations through engagement-maximizing algorithms? Maybe the effect is broadly negative. Maybe it’s broadly positive. Probably it’s mixed. But it is almost certainly profoundly disruptive in ways that we may spend the rest of our lives trying to understand.

“Whether they set out to or not, these companies are conducting the largest social re-engineering experiment in human history, and no one has the slightest clue what the consequences are.”

To At Quaquanantuck, this is scary stuff.

img_1025.jpg
Clear day at the inlet.                                                                                               — Patricia Prentis Photo

Now, back to reporting on a much admired member of the Quogue community. At Quaquanantuck understands that not everyone in the village reads The New York Times, or watches MSNBC. So not everyone knows about the highly regarded work being done by journalist Nick Confessore. The latest example was published today, November 15: Confessore was one of five reporters credited for the comprehensive examination of Facebook’s response to all the revelations and allegations of the past two years, headlined “Delay, Deny, Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis.”

Nick Confessore
Nick Confessore

Yes, this big article on a major story offers more support for At Quaquanantuck’s mistrust of social media. But, more importantly, the piece is conscientiously reported, clearly organized, and beautifully written in a clear and facts-forward style. Even those who are not fans of the Times would do well to check out this story at the link provided above to get a clear picture of the battle lines being drawn and the issues in play.

The Times website describes Confessore as “a New York-based political and investigative reporter at The New York Times and a writer-at-large at the Times Magazine, covering the intersection of wealth, power, and influence in Washington and beyond.”

At Quaquanantuck salutes Nick Confessore for his outstanding work. Yet another Quogue resident doing the village proud.

Library Renovation and Expansion Underway; Programming Continues
And yes, there is another Confessore doing the village proud. That would be Lynda Confessore, who passed along some critical information about the project at the library and what village residents can expect while work is underway on the Quogue Street facility.

First up is the initial “transition period,” during which the library will be temporarily closed, from November 12 through December 3. During this period, library operations and essential infrastructure will be moved to the satellite location at 4 Midland Street next to the Quogue Post Office.

The staff will be setting up a library hub and phone lines will be temporarily unavailable. Patrons can return items and pickup interlibrary loans but no services or programs will be offered. At the same time, the library’s collections and furnishings will be moved to climate-controlled storage prior to the start of any construction.

On Monday, December 3, the library will resume operations and phone service in the Midland Street satellite headquarters, with staff on site to order and check out books, DVD’S and audio books. A children’s corner, adult reading area and a public computer will be available. Tech services will remain by appointment. The satellite office hours and days of operation will be announced prior to the opening.

Meanwhile, larger capacity library programs will resume in their new home base during the renovation project: the Quogue Firehouse. Programs for adults and children starting with the December 2018 calendar and throughout 2019 will be offered at The Quogue Firehouse. Small group activities will be held at the Midland Street location. Patrons can check the Events Calendar at quoguelibrary.org and will continue to receive web alerts on all activities. The events calendar also will be posted in various community locations.

The first day of programming, Saturday, December 1, will be jam packed with programs, including: a reading of a holiday radio play by members of the Hampton Theatre Company and friends; a family gingerbread house construction program; and a Film Feast featuring “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” More details on these and other programs in two weeks.

WGC Winterize

Members of the Westhampton Garden Club met with Sue Avery, the Environmental Chair of the Federated Garden Club of the New York State Second District, to winterize the Quogue Native Plants Garden she helped design and to plan for spring additions. The club maintains the teaching garden at the Quogue Pond as part of its mission to promote the conservation of native plants, woodlands, open spaces and waterways. In the photo above, left to right: WGC President Inger Mejean, Sue Avery, and club members Bobbie Young and Judy McDermott.


Learn How To Help Rescue Sea Turtles at Wildlife Refuge
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation will offer a free lecture at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, November 17, at 2 p.m. on how local residents can help sea turtles on Long Island.

Sea Turtle
Kemps Ridley turtle.                                                                                     —Joe Dlhopolsky Photo

Cold stunning is a condition similar to hypothermia that is brought on when cold blooded animals, in this case sea turtles, are exposed to cold temperatures of 50 degrees F or below. This condition can become fatal without intervention. Saturday’s lecture will demonstrate the correct protocol for saving cold stunned turtles.

All those who attend one of these lectures can sign up to become a registered beach walker and help the Riverhead Foundation in saving cold stunned sea turtles. Prior registration is required for this free program for adults and teens; call 631-653-4771 or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org to register.  Visit www.riverheadfoundation.org for lecture information.

Fall Leaf Pickup Underway, Ends December 15
Only a few more weeks remaining for the annual fall leaf pickup in our village. The rules are the same as in past years: no bagged leaves—they won’t be picked up; no brush, twigs, branches, or lawn clippings mixed in with the leaves; leaves must not be piled around fire hydrants or utility equipment. Leaves must be on the shoulder of the road by December 15 in order to be picked up.

There is a provision for property owners and landscapers who remove leaves from a property in Quogue to dump said leaves at the village highway yard, so as to preclude having the leaves blow back into the yard whilst waiting for the village pickup. To discuss such an arrangement, call the Village Office at 653-4498.

YR Warbler
Cold weather means farewell for now to the yellow-rumped warblers.      —Florrie Morrisey Photo

QWR Seeking Part-Time Maintenance Worker
To learn more about qualifications, responsibilities, hours and salary, visit https://quoguewildliferefuge.org/job-opportunities, or call 631-653-4771.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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