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  •     The East End, or at least the South Fork half of it, is like a sponge filling up with more and more people and events every year. Sometime in the almost forgotten long ago, the sponge would begin expanding on Memorial Day and shrink again come Labor Day. Nowadays, the sponge gets heavier and heavier earlier and earlier in the season and, while it does begin to slim down in September, it doesn’t really resume its normal shape until after Thanksgiving.

        They say children are overscheduled in this day and age, but what about us?

  •     A so-called big birthday is looming and, as it approaches, I can’t help but notice augurs of change. I’m not superstitious, honestly, but some days it feels like the gods are dropping hints about aging — or, at least, like there is a clock ticking rather too loudly over my head.

  •     Even though it has been a long time since I saw the Japanese film “Rashomon,” I can remember the profound impression it made. “Rashomon” introduced Japanese cinema to this country, and its director, Akira Kurosawa, went on to become one of the most influential in American filmmaking.

  •     Why is it so hard for me to give things away? My friend Myrna says it’s because, like her, I was a Depression baby. Our parents held on to worn-out, broken, or tattered things, believing they could never be replaced. Balls of string in her parents’  case, Myrna said; old screws and nails in mine. Who really needs a drawerful of cheesecloth and canning-jar wax that predates the Vietnam War?

  •     Ever since I joined the staff of The Star decades ago, I have adhered to the old-fashioned journalists’ prohibition against public expressions of support for one political position or another: I do not sign petitions, attend meetings to either advocate for or oppose matters of controversy, and I do not usually participate in polls. This week, however, I broke with the last of these standards.

  •     The East Hampton Star has offered, and helped pay for, its employees’ health insurance for as long as anyone can remember. As premiums have soared, what it has cost to do so has increased every year, as has the amount employees pay toward their coverage. Nevertheless, I am proud that, as a small company in an industry undergoing its own changes, The Star’s contributions to employees’ health insurance have stayed at the same level since 2007.

  •      Bad news accumulates in my wire basket. It will make me feel better if I share it.

         There's a clipping about two sisters charged in Nassau County in January with endangering the welfare of their three children because they had lived without electricity in a shared apartment for about a year. The case was to come up tomorrow.

  •     A single batch of daffodils, in a tight cluster near the sun porch in my backyard, is almost in bloom. They seem to be saying “thank goodness” for this week’s sun and warmth. Before long, I will see which other plants survived the long, cold winter (and survived the ravages of the famished deer).

  •     That said, he hopes to grow the economy from day one. At the end of the day, it’s gaining traction and — going forward — some people will be pleased. Others? Not so much.

        The paragraph above contains seven of the many jargon-y turns of phrase that get my dander up. I’m proud of being a stick-in-the-mud where American English is concerned. I’m not entirely sure what my problem is, but I simply loathe trendy, overused words and phrases.

  •     A story in The New York Times on March 3 brought into more vivid focus all the news these days about the Affordable Care Act. At least for me, it reverberated more strongly than all the statistics about those who remain uninsured.