Tugging the Same Thread

Perhaps this happens to everyone; it’s doubtful that the phenomenon is unique to At Quaquanantuck:

You have an experience that makes you start thinking about an issue or an idea. And then, as you make your way through your days, you notice that lots of other people are thinking about, and talking about, and even writing about their thinking about the exact same issue or idea that you’re thinking about.

Camouflage. One measure of the cold is how many heads are tucked under wings. —A. Botsford Photo

It’s one thing to have readers weigh in on a topic that has been broached in this column, such as the question of proper etiquette, or the need for same, when communicating with artificial intelligence. It’s quite another to see articles and essays in major periodicals and even to hear podcasts all touching on the same issue.

A case in point would be the marvelous short story, “Asleep at the Wheel” by T. Coraghessan Boyle, published in the February 11, 2019 edition of The New Yorker magazine. Readers are encouraged to read the entire story by this very gifted writer, which should be accessible by clicking here. (If that doesn’t work, paste the following into your browser: www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/11/asleep-at-the-wheel)

For the purposes of the discussion at hand, though, consider just the excerpt below. In this section of the story, Cindy, the female protagonist and mother of Jackie, is on her way in a self-driving car to pick up a man named Keystone. Carly is the name of the operating system in control of the self-driving car.  

“She’s feeling angry, suddenly—and it’s not Carly’s fault, she knows that, but the comment about Jackie just rubbed her the wrong way. ‘I didn’t give you permission for that,’ she snaps. ‘You ought to know better. I mean, what good is your program if you can’t follow it?’

“‘I’m sorry, Cindy, I just thought—’

“‘Don’t think—just drive.’

“Of course, Carly was right, and if they wind up being ten minutes late to pick up Keystone that’s nobody’s fault but her own. ‘All right, Carly, I’m sorry—good job, really,’ she says, only vaguely aware of how ridiculous it is to try to mollify a computer or worry about hurting its feelings.”

And so, it seems that even fiction these days is concerned with how we treat the burgeoning number of artificially intelligent devices that are increasingly becoming an ever more essential part of too many people’s daily lives.Q Library 0220
Work continues apace at the Quogue Library. In recent weeks, teams of interior and lighting designers have been looking over the space with reference to staffers’ visions for different rooms. Meanwhile, project managers have been grappling with engineering problems related to the installation of the elevator and the level of the water table just below what will be the floor of the basement. —Lulie Morrisey Photo 

Getting Greener with Nature Crafts
This week’s “color the future green” news item comes from the Quogue Library, which is hosting a Green Families Ecosystem Terrariums program at the library’s temporary outpost at 4 Midland Street today, Thursday, February 21, at 4:15 p.m.

Building an ecosystem terrarium is a great way to bring nature indoors. If space is still available, you can register by calling 631-653-4224.

Bideawee Humane Awards Luncheon Honors Melissa Morgan Nelson
On Saturday, March 2, Bideawee, the renowned shelter/rescue organization founded 103 years ago, will host its East End Humane Awards Luncheon at the Patio 54 restaurant in Westhampton Beach at noon.   

All are invited for cocktails and lunch to celebrate individual and corporate commitment to saving animals on Long Island. This year, dedicated volunteer Melissa Morgan Nelson, the wife of retired Quogue Police Detective Sergeant Thomas Mullen Jr., will be honored as Bideawee Volunteer of the Year and Teachers Federal Credit Union will be honored as Bideawee Business of the Year.

At Quaquanantuck was graciously provided with this account of Melissa’s dedication by a source familiar with her tireless work on behalf of Bideawee. “Melissa goes in between 6:30 and 8 a.m. every morning that she is in Quogue. She averages between 20 to 30 hours a week and last year contributed almost 800 hours to the no-kill animal rescue shelter. Over the past seven years, she has given approximately 4,600 hours of volunteer time to Bideawee.”

The well-known weaver and generous supporter of many other local charities, Melissa also collects sheets and towels for Bideawee that have worn out their welcome in local homes and are not nice enough to be donated to the Hospice Thrift Shop, but come in very handy for the animals.

All proceeds from the East End Humane Awards Luncheon will support the renovation of Bideawee’s Westhampton Shelter training room, helping to improve the organization’s ability to connect homeless animals with their forever families. Tickets are $100, available on the Bideawee website,  www.bideawee.org/Humane-Lucheon-Tickets-2019.

buck FM
On alert. —Florrie Morrisey Photo

Winter Wildlife Camp All Filled Up
Any parents who had hoped to get their youngsters signed up for the last day of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge 2019 Winter Wildlife Camp are advised that this year’s camp is all filled up and there are no spaces available.

The lesson, of course, is to sign up early for these very popular school recess camps; keep an eye out in case QWR puts one together for the spring recess in April.

Mancha 1
Up next for the Hampton Theatre Company at the Quogue Community Hall. Stand by for details. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Inn Spot on the Bay Features Italian Cuisine This Weekend
With culinary tributes to France, Tahiti, Germany, Spain and Sweden—and a Valentine’s Day lovers’ chocolate extravaganza—already in the rear view, globetrotting cheffes Colette and Pam of The Inn Spot on the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge are turning their attention to Italy this week.

As the duo wrote in this week’s email update: “While in Italy, we went  truffle hunting in the forests of Bagno a Ripoli overlooking the city of Florence. After our successful trek, we were served a wonderful lunch by the truffle hunter and his wife, using, of course, our newly found truffles.

“One of the highlights was the White Bean Soup with truffle oil; we convinced Christina to give us the recipe and we have included it on this week’s menu for you to try.”

Also noted was the fact that while this week’s menu includes many recipes from people they met while on their trip, one exception is the “Waffalioni,” which is their own creation, combining two favorite ingredients: homemade waffle triangles and canola cream.

This week’s $39 three-course Italian prix fixe will be served on Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23, starting at 5 p.m. First course options include the aforementioned Tuscan White Bean Soup with a touch of white truffle; house made crab cakes; gnocchi; and salad. In addition to cavatelli with chicken and ricotta; roasted pork with caramelized onions on a tomato bread pudding; and oven-roasted tuna meatballs with sun dried tomato and caper sauce; entrees include risotto with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs; and Not Your Momma’s Tortelloni: cheese filled pasta in a pistachio sauce.

In addition to the Waffalioni, the dessert menu includes tiramisu and cookies and Vino Santo.

This week’s “$6 Street Food Special” features two choices: Pam’s Pizza Tuscan and the Tuscan Treasure, a white pizza with golden potatoes, fontina and mozzarella garnished with sea salt and rosemary with a dash of truffled olive oil.

For reservations, call 631-728-1200.

Coming up in March will be menus devoted to the cuisine of Brazil, Singapore, Ireland, Greece and the Netherlands.  

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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