A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 67

May 16, 2020

Friday, May 15 Life goes on. I began writing this blog with the idea that an accounting of daily life during the pandemic could be of interest to our friends and to people in the future. But, for those not on the front lines, daily life is monotonous—that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’re isolated […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 66

May 15, 2020

Thursday, May 14 The demise of clothing retailer J. Crew threatens to leave us with a cultural void: color-branding. J. Crew, particularly in its catalog, was in the vanguard of color-branding. They were never satisfied to have a pair of shorts or a shirt in Olive or Khaki. No, instead the item would be listed […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 65

May 14, 2020

Wednesday, May 13 You see it at every time of year on the East End, particularly in our East Hampton neighborhood of Springs: ART. Situated in driveways or front yards, there are a lot of metal sculptures, often painted a first responder orange or some other eye-catching hue. There are beach-ball size metal spheres, metal-beam […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 64

May 13, 2020

Tuesday, May 12 Reading the obits for Little Richard makes me reflect on Trump, believe it or not. Like Mr. MAGA, Little Richard was full of braggadocio: He apparently once told talk-show host Arsenio Hall “I’m not conceited, I’m convinced!” It was far from the only sort of over-the-top behavior for Richard Wayne Penniman, but […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 63

May 12, 2020

Monday, May 11 The most visible minority presence in the Hamptons nowadays is Latino. But of course, it wasn’t always that way. Latin American immigrants have been coming to the Hamptons for decades, drawn here by the promise of construction and other work. Decades back, Colombians, Costa Ricans, and Mexicans were the first Latinos to […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 62

May 10, 2020

Saturday, May 9 Unemployment is at scary levels, it seems. But, hey, that’s not so bad for everyone. If actual U.S. unemployment is around 20%, as some at the Labor Department admit, employers will have no problem filling low-wage jobs. Those recently enacted laws mandating a $15 minimum wage? Fuggetaboutit. They’ll be undercut by the […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 61

May 9, 2020

Friday, May 8 Did yesterday’s post focus too heavily on the designer-label shops of East Hampton, and thereby neglect the town’s very lengthy and complex past? The area that now composes the town dates back to 1648, when it was purchased by two Connecticut governors. In exchange for the land, they gave the Montauk Indians […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 60

May 8, 2020

Thursday, May 7 I am back at BusinessWeek, working on the copydesk. I have at least three stories to turn around, some handed down to me by one slacker colleague who has finagled some way of leaving early. I am laboring at a very antique, manual machine, which seems unlikely to have any way of […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 59

May 7, 2020

Wednesday, May 6 I slept until almost 9 a.m. this morning. I suspect a lot of people are sleeping more these days. Maybe I was tired after my big adventure yesterday, going to the dump and coffee store. Today, we can spend time worrying about tomorrow’s grocery delivery—will it be raining when they come, will […]

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A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 58

May 6, 2020

Tuesday, May 5 Maybe I’ll start carving slashes in the wall to mark off the days…. You remember those movies. Humphrey Bogart or some such hardboiled type is thrown into the clink—likely on trumped up charges. In his loneliness, he makes a pet of a cockroach. Then, using a purloined spoon, each day he hews […]

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