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Point of View: Nailed It

‘What was the book where the bookcase fell over and killed the guy?” I asked Mary one day recently after having banged nails somewhat haphazardly into the shelves of our living room one that had become bowed out, thus rendering precarious one of our stores of knowledge, much of it having to do with cookery.

Mar 5, 2020
Connections: Word Wards

Long ago and far away, back when I was an eighth-grader at Horace Mann Elementary school in Bayonne, N.J., I was given an aptitude evaluation and tested high for “persuasion.” I don’t remember what methods they used to determine what our defining character traits were — traits that might indicate what lines of work we were best suited for. But I do remember that my own defining characteristic was this one, slightly poetic, word.

Feb 27, 2020
The Mast-Head: Global Panic

There is nothing like a good, old-fashioned global panic to get people moving on an important issue like climate change.

Feb 27, 2020
Point of View: Imagining

I’m living a life of quiet desperation at the moment, for nothing is hoving into view on the sportive horizon. I have, as Georgie and her peers say, reached out, though no one thus far has reached out to me. I guess I’ll go on reaching out. Surely something (or someone) will turn up. . . .

Feb 27, 2020
Connections: Economic Empires

Almost everyone paying attention knows the Lehman family went from rags (in their case raw cotton) to riches and then collapsed into bankruptcy in 2008, dragging the national economy with it. 

Feb 19, 2020
The Mast-Head: Hidden No Longer

For the third week, I have had an article in the paper about East Hampton’s history of slavery. This is part of a much larger project started about three years ago to identify every enslaved person who ever lived in the town.

Feb 19, 2020
Point of View: I’ll Read On

“Without some understanding of Puritanism, and that at its source, there is no understanding of America,” Perry Miller said in the foreword to “The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry,” a little book I’ve long had around, but have, until now, never read.

Feb 20, 2020
Relay: For Diego

My close friend Lisa sobbed in the doorway of her apartment last Wednesday night, and the only sustenance I could offer her was a warm embrace and some of my mother-in-law’s homemade chili. Even so, it felt inadequate and I started to cry, too. The chili was hot and hearty, but we, distraught over the death of a friend, could barely taste it.

Feb 19, 2020
Connections: Long Ago, Far Away

I was the age some of my grandchildren are today when “Cover Girl” won the 1944 Academy Award for best music scoring in a musical picture. The film was in Technicolor, which was new and exciting. Given the plethora of distinctions by which Hollywood awards are given out, I suppose it wasn’t surprising that a different film won best musical picture that year and that although the cinematography was nominated for an Academy Award it did not win that one, either. Today, aficionados consider “Cover Girl” one of the most lavish and successful Hollywood musicals ever.

Feb 13, 2020
The Mast-Head: Splitting Wood

There is something special about splitting wood. You get a likely billet somewhere, stand it on end, and bring a wedge-shaped maul down hard into the end grain. The force pushes the log fibers apart, as a crack hisses away from the impact. One or two more swings, and the log falls in two.

Feb 13, 2020
Point of View: Playing Deaf

It’s taken a while, 70 or so years, but I’ve finally achieved a version of Nirvana when it comes to tennis, and the answer, the answer for me at any rate, is to play deaf.

Feb 13, 2020
Relay: Falling For Greta

If cultural archetypes were as unkind to men as they are to women, I would be considered a spinster. Unmarried? Check. Getting up there in age? Just turned 55. Cat owner? As of last month, yes!

Feb 13, 2020