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DAN'S PAPERS, December 19, 2008 Page 22 www.danshamptons.com

Jaws

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Sometimes, the fish were so large they could not be weighed. Montauk had no cable or scale back then to either hoist or weigh anything of that size. Of course, Mundus had on board rod and reel with heavy line test, so if there were no luck finding a monster, they could still fight with smaller sharks and hang them from the stern after reeling them in. It wasn’t quite as dramatic, but it was a pretty good backup plan. The other Montauk fishing boat captains at that time went out to catch swordfish or tuna that might weigh a whopping, er, 700 pounds. They said Mundus might have his boat lined up with theirs, but what he was doing was not fishing. Mundus continued to fish out of Montauk for two generations this way. He was loud, annoying and irascible, but also soft hearted, so it was hard to know which was him and which was the act. He certainly was the only fisherman who carried a high-powered rifle around at the dock there. In 1969, a novelist named Peter Benchley wrote a novel about this obsessed maniac. It was called Jaws and became a best seller. Interestingly, Benchley always denied that his book was based on Mundus. He said it was fiction. Some fiction. Benchley summered in East Hampton, 16 miles from Montauk. The locations in the book were all in the Hamptons. The fishing town was called Hampton Harbor. Not a real place. Yeah. Seven years after that, Jaws was made into a blockbuster movie that starred Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, who played

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Quint the shark-obsessed fishing boat captain who even looked like Mundus. (And who also, in the end, gets eaten by the shark.) In 1986, Mundus, Donnie Braddick and two other men brought in a 3,400-pound shark which they fought for 10 hours with rod and reel. Although a larger fish was caught off Australia by rod and reel a few years later, Mundus’ catch broke the world record at that time. In 1991, the government decided that all charter boat fishermen, even the ones that had been fishing for 50 years, had to be recertified. Mundus, who was 71 at the time, considered it an affront. When, at the beginning of the test, he was asked, given certain weather conditions, how he might plot a course from Montauk to New London, Connecticut, Mundus said that he’d been doing this half a century, this was the stupidest question he ever heard, issued an expletive, got up and walked out. Several years earlier, Mundus’ wife died. He was living alone for some years at this point. Now, a “retired” captain, he decided to remarry. He met an Englishwoman on the Internet, proposed to her, and they became husband and wife. But they didn’t stay in Montauk. Instead, Mundus and Jeanette picked up and bought a spread on the Big Island in Hawaii. It was and still is, about 110 inland acres, and there he and his wife raised farm animals, including giant boars, that weighed upward of 600 pounds each. Every summer, however, Mundus would come back to Montauk for the month of June. He’d made a long term lease agreement with another fisherman to captain Cricket II, but there was

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nothing to prevent him from coming back to his beloved Montauk as a “guide.” People would pay extra for him to be along. Today, Montauk holds numerous shark tournaments. Both sport and charter fishermen chase sharks these days, although none go after the monsters as Mundus did. When Mundus came back from the day’s fishing during these recent forays back to Montauk, he’d set up “shop” on the deck of the Star Island Marina at a picnic table, where he’d sell books and brochures and paraphernalia, sign autographs and tell stories about his time as the Monster Man. His most famous book is called Monster Man. He died last summer in Hawaii at 82, after suffering a heart attack while flying from Montauk back to Hawaii in July. Registration for the auction begins on December 15. Go to maltzauctions.com/auction_detail.php?ID=394054.

LIPA

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LIPA agreed to cut costs on postage (postage?), which would apparently save the company $2.7 million next year. They also factored in revised fuel forecasts and planned to defer capital projects, not including alternative energy projects. Yet even with the reductions they maintained they had to increase rates. Despite a reduction to the initial increase, people are dissatisfied with the result. With fuel costs down, few can wrap their heads around why rates would increase when oil, the source of electricity, has come down in price so much. The reason for this is that LIPA’s CEO is responsible for growing revenue. Ironically, it was the high cost of electricity that caused revenues to fall in the first places. The fact that electricity prices have become so astronomically high has caused consumers to act differently about how they use energy, and thus usage has been significantly reduced, which has cut into LIPA’s profits. The solution to the problem? Increase rates. In other words, instead of decreasing rates to increase usage and therefore increase revenues, LIPA is increasing rates (assuming usage will be maintained) in order to increase revenue. This logic of course doesn’t go very far with products people can do without. But people need their lights, so LIPA is finding the price point that requires customers to pay a higher rate so that they can see in the dark, and LIPA can see revenues grow. There’s one argument that if LIPA continues to move forward with this business strategy, the cost of turning on a lamp in your house will be $100 an hour. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a valid theory based on LIPA’s current practice. Unlike oil companies, which reduce the price of oil when demand goes down to increase demand, LIPA is doing the opposite. Interesting, yes. Easy on the wallet of consumers, no. Another hefty line item for LIPA is investing in renewable energy, which nobody wants to cut out of the company’s expenditures. Ironically, LIPA contributes $27 million to the state’s voluntary renewable fund.

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

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