07/05/15 6:00am
07/05/2015 6:00 AM

I am a lucky guy: I have three vacuum cleaners. It took years for this achievement. A story of hope. Each machine promised a dust-free life. Just let the new cleaner run in the house. Sit back, watch and relax. What is dust anyway? I never got a clear answer. All I know is that you can write your name in it wherever it settles. Never makes a sound. A good companion in a way. It doesn’t ask for much except no dusting, please.

Is dust dirty? If you leave it alone it doesn’t move about. If you come with a duster, cruel instrument, then it will fly until it finds another landing patch. I’ve lived with it at times. Then a woman friend comes in, frowns, raises her voice, pulls a broom out of her tiny purse and says, “How can you live like this?” Never try to answer such questions.

The problem with three vacuum cleaners: It raises the issue of choice. Which one to use. A perilous moment. The one with the “long-haired” brush, the one that can climb walls or the cordless that needs recharging just when I want to press on.

Which reminds me: Many years ago I drove in the “Press on Regardless Rallye” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We started early on bumpy roads and I’d like to report that my Renault won top prize. But it’s not true. We did finish in a cloud of dust, one of the last cars on the road.

“Press on Regardless,” when it involves pushing a recalcitrant vacuum machine around the obstacles scattered in the house, is not quite as noble as negotiating treacherous turns on a dirt road. Although in my house I seem to have done a pretty good job at replicating a Michigan road race. I wonder if some new invention, one day, will come along with a gadget that would swallow all the useless things that we manage to settle in our good homes. A machine that would have better intelligence than I to decide what can stay and what has to go. I classify myself as incompetent in this activity.

Perhaps I was born with a built-in incompetence. It seems that my brother Jean came into this world with an active filing system at his side. Where I stumble confused in search of answers he can pull out a file out of his well-organized cabinet and the answers to all questions are within reach. His speed of knowledge gives him authority. In a peaceful way. No need for loud demonstrations.

I’m running. Late again. Last chance one Saturday in New York City. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery. The first re-creation in the United States of Jannis Kounellis’s “Untitled (12 Horses.)” Twelve live horses. A church-like quiet. We don’t speak, we whisper. The horses, tied to walls, stand barely moving. Their magnificent, powerful bodies awaken a sense of peace. So unexpected. An experience of the spirit. At the end of the show, one by one they are taken to a trailer and driven away. The crowd is subdued, in a meditative mood. Not a word spoken. At times the sound of munching or a hoof unsettling the hay covering the floor.

Twelve horses, a work of art. No need for explanations. We just stand and listen to our own silence. So simple. Beautiful. All it takes, a gathering of horses at peace with the world.

Pierre Gazarian is a poet and a writer of one-act plays. Email: npgazarian.dc@gmail.com

Featured Story
07/04/15 5:59am

Almost daily, the media teases stories about how to lose weight and get into shape and the answer is always the same: diet and exercise.

Most folks don’t want to hear that, though. We like the idea of a magic solution, but in the end, most of life’s answers are pretty easy. It’s the doing it that’s tough. That’s why it’s kind of disheartening to see all the attention yet another downtown study is getting (cover story, June 26 Riverhead News-Review: “Downtown parking & traffic & housing, oh my!”). We know what the answers are in this town; the hard part has been doing it. (more…)

07/03/15 6:00am
07/03/2015 6:00 AM
John Williams. (Credit: Marty Heitner)

John Williams. (Credit: Marty Heitner)

If you’ve lived on the North Fork for a while, you probably have driven past it numerous times. It’s at the southwest corner of Front and Fourth streets in Greenport, and it’s currently known as The Captain’s Cottage in its most recent iteration as a rental cottage. But before that the little white frame building was the home of Williams & Company, the advertising and public relations firm, and, concurrently and somewhat improbably, the headquarters of the National SCRABBLE ® Association.  (more…)

07/02/15 6:00am
07/02/2015 6:00 AM

As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we should recall those words near the beginning of the Declaration of Independence that changed the world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

America witnessed a living example of those words, taught to every school child, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that people of the same sex are free to marry in all 50 states.

The ruling moves the United States forward toward a more just society, which the brave men in Philadelphia in July 1776 were willing to enact with the shadow of a British gallows hanging over them.

But our society has even further to go.

(more…)

06/27/15 6:00am
06/27/2015 6:00 AM

I’ve already owned two iPads. My newest MacBook Pro laptop is probably the fourth or fifth computer I’ve used since beginning my career here in 2006. (Some suffered ill fates, such as the laptop that got crushed by a rolling grill in the back of a van. Imagine explaining that to your boss.) I’ve always been careful with cell phones, but even without breaking any, the natural order of progression has required me to cycle through four or five phones in the past nine years. (more…)

06/26/15 6:00am
06/26/2015 6:00 AM

To the editor:

As a parent of a child with epilepsy, it is upsetting to see how narrow-minded people are in response to medical marijuana, and the opposition people seem to have regarding it being grown locally.

There are children who have died, and will die, before they see medical marijuana become available in the State of New York, despite it being approved several months ago. Children with Dravet Syndrome can have as many as 300 grand mal seizures in a week. Despite being on multiple anti-epileptic medication therapy and surgical interventions, their seizure activity is intractable/uncontrollable. Parents watch their children have seizures every hour of every day, helpless to stop it.  (more…)