2001-11-03 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

When good things happen to good people, there is applause and all is well with the Universe. When bad things happen to good people, there is spiritual commentary about trials to be borne and about being brought closer to the Almighty.

When a major tragedy happens, as at the World Trade Center on September 11th, there is such commentary also and beyond the mystery of shared sorrows about why it happens. There is explanation on a global scale (think of major earthquakes and floods) that the Almighty demonstrates control and that worship becomes necessary to the giver of all life and resources. The spiritual significance of Creation is given prominence and there is a message in Ground Zero turned into brown field, contaminated earth, waste site. Would it be safe to build on given air pollution problems too?

The ‘human agency’ in the tragedy, Moslem terrorists, like a simulation limited to Ground Zero earthquake, brings to mind the squabbling family or "family feud" of the Biblical descendants (the first Jewish leader of idolatry fighting virtue). Thus Esau’s descendants (Europeans), Jacob’s descendants (the Jewish people) and Ishmael’s descendants (the Arab Moslem Nations) are still in conflict. That the Almighty told Abraham that he should follow his wife Sarah’s directions to send Ishmael and his mother, Haggar away, the Almighty would rescue them and provide for his descendants ‘just speculatively’ may be the point to investigate and to consider whether there should be an inter-spiritual women’s conference. This conflict is a source of potential warriors in present, past and future Wars. This conference would iron out the differences and thus promote peaceful coexistence and stewardship of resources. Is this too idealistic or what is next in the bio-terror war zone?

Locally, it should be considered that governance that deals with human resources as if it were cattle - sheep to be shorn (think of wool shearers contracting anthrax of topsoil microbe) or cattle to be butchered and skinned (think of hide handlers contracting this microbe) might well ultimately have to deal with this anthrax of topsoil ‘And Especially’ if Land and Topsoil were aggressively handled as well! If there is disagreement, then the mailbag is there for comment. Note that the dumping of marine sediments, contaminated like a flooded topsoil, in Norton Basin, planned by the Federal Government with State and City Approval, ‘is aggressive’ on truth and ethics and so is part of the general problem of governance equity.

But back to the last column, with Mom and me – simpler times in the 1940’s on the beaches of Rockaway and Jamaica Bay.

My father was a hard-working CPA who had his problems getting started due to discrimination. He died young just as he was getting a junior partnership in an accounting firm. It was my grandfather Harry Brand who took care of my brother and me in the bungalow colony with trips to Jamaica Bay, and when in the City with the Third Avenue elevated subway and other lines to Coney Island, which has retained a tourist industry even with an aquarium and new baseball field. When I think of the Bay these trips come to mind and the sound of bread baited milk bottles clunking against rubble. Killi fish and sand shrimp were always fascinating to catch and observe in the numbers that filled the string-tied bottles when pulled in.

These killi fish are serious feeders on mosquito larvae that generate the Arverne mosquito plague around Dubois Point. But the Parks Department sends out mechanical equipment to clean a beach in chilly October, rather than sending equipment to open up blocked channels where mosquito larvae numbers build-up in countless quantities and could feed the hungry killi fish.

After October 9th, it will be more difficult to write to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany to get some of the 2 million dollars from the 1996 Bond Act Funds to unblock the channels. Many Arverne and other mothers and children need not wait for ‘equitable treatment’ in the future if communication is made now. Hopefully Spiritual Woman in Heaven and on Earth close to the Almighty read The Wave.

In the 1940’s, my father David I. Blum, myself and brother Elliot in front of cozy stucco bungalow: B.69th Street Arverne with mosquito filled nights requiring calamine lotion remedy against scratching.

My grandfather, Harry Brand and brother Elliot – future local baseball star – outfitted to catch a mess of killi fish and shrimp with milk bottles, bread, and string.


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