Pay attention

Pay attention

School teachers are known for telling their students to “Pay attention!” The phrase itself is now close to being a shibboleth: it tips you off to the fact that the speaker has never studied the educational, psychological or neurological implications of using a word that is included in the phrase attention deficit disorder.

Still singing in new choirs

Still singing in new choirs

When I was applying for jobs in my younger days, I disliked the part about “Your Work History.” I didn’t know whether to record “Paper Route.” Some of the jobs I had later didn’t sound all that impressive, either. Some applications even had a section asking more about my previous work experiences and my “vocational goals.” Yich!

A land of lawns
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A land of lawns

A nice piece of well-tended lawn is just the thing to introduce you to gardens, a patch of forest or perennial beds. A lawn is also a habitat for some creatures: robins thrive by using lawns as food buffets, as do rabbits (nasty nibblers) and swallows that swoop and dive for open-air insects.

Just farming

Just farming

Amish people are often looked upon as quaint cultural curiosities by those of us who are, well, not Amish. The idea of a horse and buggy on a country road makes for a fuzzy feeling. It is tempting to think something like this: “Is it just wonderful that some people still live in this old-fashioned way?” Or to remark, “I’ve heard that they hire people with tractors, but won’t own one. And some of them have propane refrigerators but won’t have electric ones; quite inconsistent.” We condescend to what we don’t understand.