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  •    “Childrens’ Garden — No Ball Games, Cycling, Dogs” reads a sign published with a recent story in The Guardian, an English daily newspaper, informing readers that “the sometimes vexing question of where and when to add an apostrophe appears to have been solved in one corner of Devon: The local authority is planning to do away with them altogether.”

  •    “It’s not fish ye’re buying, it’s men’s lives.” This Sir Walter Scott quotation provided Peter Matthiessen with the title of his book “Men’s Lives, “on the history and decline of the South Fork’s inshore fishery — and about the men whose lives depended on it. The quote has an ominous ring, and I wasn’t surprised that it kept coming to me when I was in Nova Scotia last week.

  •    The flight from La Guardia to Halifax is a cinch: A small plane operated by Chautauqua Airlines for Delta gets you there in less than an hour and a half, and makes it hard to believe you are traveling to another country and have to bring along your passport. So it was with what you might call careless abandon that, in the air headed to Nova Scotia, I filled out a Canadian customs declaration. Too much abandon, as it turned out. Just exactly why I answered in the negative when ticking off the query that asks if you are bringing in food remains unclear even to me.

  •    The worst television commercials (IMHO) are those that hype drugs — those obnoxious, fast-talking “ask your doctor if” messages about panaceas for all kinds of ailments. They make me happy that I don’t watch much television.
        In the last two months or so, however, similar pitches (advertorials? infomercials?) have invaded my Mac’s inbox. I have clicked to request that the e-mail system filter them as junk, but so far it hasn’t worked.

  •    If you are like me and do not have many friends or family between the ages of 18 and 25, it is possible that you aren’t entirely aware of the Selective Service System, in which 20 million young men are now registered — and therefore signed up to be drafted should a draft be instated.

  •    Complaining when it snows is strong evidence that you are growing older. What? You don’t look forward to how enchanting the landscape looks in fresh snow? What? You don’t get excited about a chance to watch kids, especially your grandchildren, sled down a hill? What? You’d rather sit by the fire than help make a snowman or a bowl of real snow dripping with chocolate syrup?
        I am beginning to understand why some folks, after they retire, become snowbirds or, even more drastically, actually move permanently to places like Florida.

  •    Things were certainly simpler back in the days when it was good old Eames Taxi or bust. My husband and I had an experience on the weekend with a cabbie who acted like he was auditioning for the Robert De Niro part in “Taxi Driver.”
        There are so many cab companies in town these days that I don’t even know which one was involved. If I had paid attention to the service’s name or phone number, I might have complained, but I hadn’t and I didn’t. Instead, I thought, “I’ll write a column!”

  •    Do people who live in hot climates get into the concept of comfort food, as we do here where winters can be harsh? In my mind, comfort food should be warm, and generally also soft, sticking to the ribs —  with a spoonful of nostalgia stirred in, of course. With temperatures having been unexpectedly low recently, I’ve found myself keeping warm over the stove.

  •    The very first attempt I made at  journalistic writing was a fictional obituary as an academic exercise in an evening course at the Columbia School of Journalism. It never occurred to me at the time that I would go on to write and edit hundreds (and hundreds) of them.

  •    Let’s hear it for the Springs School’s fourth-grade opera, “Cat Tales” — or  “Ton of Fun 61 Opera” —  which was performed four times at Guild Hall this month. Imagine, 61 kids divided into small groups, writing a libretto, composing music, building sets and doing lighting, working on makeup, sewing costumes, and handling promotion. I’ve been to lots of kids’  productions over the years, including some directed by theater professionals, and you can take it from me: This was extraordinary.