Push Reel Mower

Today my son asked me to take him shopping for his favorite foods. He’s tired of fast-food take-out. I told him I was busy today running the spotlight for and videotaping yet another one of Carolyn’s performances (this time her voice teacher’s summer revue).
The poor boy has been left at home a lot while the rest of us did so much theater over the summer. He competed in a chess tournament last week. I fell asleep in the next room. He came in second place. (I have no pictures. I’m a bad father.)

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How Different Cultures Understand Time

Business Insider calls this article an “anecdote… provided by linguist and cross-culture studies expert Richard Lewis.” The article provides several direct links to other works by Lewis, including an Amazon link for his book and an advertisement for the services he offers to businesses. The article makes many unsourced claims, and assumes that all Americans (and all Spaniards and all Germans) have a uniform attitude towards time. I’m sure that…

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‘Thought Leader’ gives talk that will inspire your thoughts

Saving this for the next time I assign an oral presentation. Now that doesn’t sound important, and it’s not. But if I repeat it three times, I’m making you believe that it is important… Let’s look at a picture of the planet for no reason …. Slowing my speech, lowering the volume of my voice, by looking at you directly, and by making a list on my fingers, I’ve made you…

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Clickbait writers hate this English professor’s time-saving trick!

Defeat clickbaiters with this one weird trick! You won’t believe how punctuation can save you time. Will you regret clicking that headline phrased as a question? (You can safely avoid clicking any headline phrased as a question, promises an emotional reaction, or hedges a claim with “may” or “could be”. You won’t miss anything important if you don’t click that bait.)

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An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage

Interesting essay challenging the notion that medical difference equals pathology. With Children of a Lesser God, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, “Flowers for Algernon,” “Cathedral,” The Glass Menagerie, The Miracle Worker, and The Sound and the Fury, I can see putting together a special topics literature course on pathology and pathos in literature. An intervention to switch on my emotions succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, but…

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The dangers of ‘character education’ in universities

As the authors depressingly note, “the UK is one of the most economically unequal of the rich countries, and closing many of the gaps we describe will require systemic change beyond the scope of this report”. Well, quite. And herein lies the problem with teaching young people that through sheer vim and vigour they can achieve anything they want: for an individual, as the Sutton Trust report shows, it’s a…

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Why are we so bored?

On average we spend six to seven hours in front of our phone, tablet, computer and TV screens every day. All this is simply becoming boring. Instead of performing varied activities that engage different neural systems (sport, knitting, painting, cooking, etc) to relieve our tedium, we fall back on the same screen-tapping schema for much of our day. The irony is that while our mobile devices should allow us to…