Monthly Archives: July 2006

Futon looking for a good home

Hey local folks,

Anyone looking for a new-to-you futon? It’s a double-bed sized 8″ thick mattress, with a metal/wood frame (that’s easy to take apart/put back together again). We were hoping to get some money for it, but we’re flexible — and are really just looking for a good home for it.

Email me or leave a comment if you want details about the futon or actually want it. It comes with a cover, and the mattress itself is white.

Jeanette Winterson on Faith and Reason

A quote from show #3 of the seven part PBS series:

BILL MOYERS: How do you compare the gods of Greek mythology, with the God of the Old Testament?

JEANETTE WINTERSON: Well, of course, it’s monotheism. The God of the Old Testament, Yahweh is one God. And the Greek gods were many. They were a pantheon of playboys and dodgy actors. But you know, they worked for the Greek people. And Yahweh is something which is much more, somebody much more intense, much more poetic, much more terrifying. I mean, the Old Testament is a terrifying book, because you never know what Yahweh is going to do next. And what’s really scary, is that Yahweh doesn’t know what Yahweh is going to do next. Again, it is a figure, a huge figure, full of inconsistencies.

You know, in the Book of Job, for instance, God actually has to hide people from himself, under His throne, because if he doesn’t, he’ll get so cross he’ll destroy them. So, it’s almost as though, this God splits Himself in two, and thinks, “On the one hand, I’m a merciful God, and on the other hand, I’m a vengeful God. And I’m both of these gods in one God. So, I’m gonna hide you in case I get too vengeful before I get merciful.”

I think one of the pleasures of the Old Testament, is these contradictions, because the Right Wing fundamentalists won’t have any of this. They make God completely in their own image, much as the Greeks made the Olympians in their own image. The mystery of the Jewish God, who became the Christian God; is you can’t really make that force in your own image. Because there’s nothing in the sacred text, which would really allow you to do that. And if God says, that He, She is made us in His image, then we are the ones who are full of contradictions. So, that might suggest, that God also, is full of contradictions. And if you look at the texts, that seems to bear it out. [transcript]

Non-verbal communication & personal accountability

This has been a much beleaguered topic in classroom discussions, especially as of late. Non-verbal communication is an interesting topic — but it’s also one that is misunderstood.

One thing that I tell my students, as I teach them about personal accountability regarding their communication, is that they are partially responsible for how they are perceived by their audience. Sure, there’s always a possiblity to be misread or misunderstood in what you convey — but you also have to ask yourself, “what message am I sending that is causing people to react this way, and misinterpret me?”

And that’s a hard question to have to ask yourself. It’s far easier to blame others and say that the fault lies completely with them — and not yourself. But, that’s a shallow way of looking at the complexities of communication, and a way of avoiding any responsibility for “coloring” your language with the subtle tones and hints of chosen non-verbal techniques.

In a way, I suppose the posting of this topic is a non-verbal message of my own. In the last few weeks, I’ve had to deal with several instances of people conveying one message in words, yet through their tone/attitude, another message was perceived altogether. If your non-verbal message contradicts what you are actually saying — then the audience will typically pay more attention to whatever non-verbal elements they’re perceiving, rather than the actual words of your message.

An important element of non-verbal communication (which, incidentally, shows up in both written and verbal instances) is noticing the communicator’s tone. I define tone for my students as the “writer’s/speaker’s attitude to the audience and material.” It’s a huge part of communication — and usually is the first thing noticed by the audience, yet the first aspect that is denied by the speaker.

This business of teaching/learning about communication is like a double-edged sword. While it’s great to know what’s going on in relationship dynamics, it’s also a burden when you see a disconnect, and others playing upon it.

Best Colbert interview yet.

Maybe it’s because the DC representative gets really pissed off at him — but this exchange is too priceless not to immortalize on the blog.

This morning our sewer line backed up, so it’s been a (literally) shitty day. This interview helps to alleviate some of the day’s earlier stinkiness.

Mostly harmless.

Don’t panic! It looks like my site has made it into the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blogosphere.

That’s a nice surprise for a Thursday. (and the timing of it is pretty remarkable, especially considering I’ve picked up HHGTG on tape, and I’m halfway through book 1)

I like the sound of that!

I’m scheduled to go into a meeting tomorrow, where we’ll discuss the different benefits that will be a part of my University employment. On the appointment confirmation email, the person wrote “Dear Professor Bennetch” — not exactly true, considering I’m at the bottom-of-the-feed-chain* as an Instructor, but I think I’ll enjoy the misnomer of that title when I see it.

*Well, I suppose graduate students and sessionals would technically be considered in a lower position than Instructor — not that I’m complaining, mind you! This is a great entry-level job for someone with my experience and education. I just know I haven’t been accorded the title of “professor” (yet).

Should America invade Saskatchewan?

Because today’s a day for a little Rick Mercer talking to Americans –

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
and Part 5

am I offically less of a patriot because I find this so hilarious?