1. Procrastinatory is a real word, but Webster’s online dictionary is now subscription based. WTF? 2. My kid has a cute wave, with large smiles and much enthusiasm. I am stealing it. It seems to be going well. 3. Instead of trying to explain in simplistic language why we don’t call Asian people “Oriental,” it goes much better with a map of the world “upside down.” 4. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in the same movie? Way too much hawtness in one movie. 5. My fifth post today. Obviously I’m feeling chatty. 6. Ben Affleck is a better storyteller than he is an actor. KevinRead More →

Nonverbal communication expresses power and dominance. In public, professional settings, who gets to touch whom and the nature of that touch play out and define gender relations. Because it’s typically subtle, people are often unaware of this dynamic. When it’s more obvious, those in the “one down” position see it clearly, and those in the power position remain oblivious due to their sense of entitlement. The stereotypical male boss/female secretary and male customer/female waitress interactions illustrate this over and over again. Of course, as gender roles change, the accompanying nonverbal behaviors change with them. Hillary is the perfect example. Let’s track the changes, from oldRead More →

Thank God for Akismet keeping my blog clean.  Some of the posts trapped in the Akismet toilet bowl are hysterical. Here are some trends: 1. People who are obviously not native English speakers posting in “Engrish.” The errors are amusing. Yet, some SEO company is probably outsourcing spam comments along the lines of third world WoW gold farmers. This is not about ethnocentric “English-only”-ism. This is about the ridiculousness of the spam comments. 2. The usual “your post is interesting, you’re brilliant, I will come back and read you every day.” These comments are completely random and usually don’t fit the content of the post.Read More →

Teaching issues of race and other identity categories presents a challenge in a racially mixed classroom. Student responses to race-related topics are unpredictable, and can send irretrievably shut down classroom dynamics for the rest of the semester. Last semester, for instance,  as some intentionally provocative students claimed that black people really do like fried chicken, others genuinely bought into the stereotype, and the class deteriorated into a discussion about fried chicken, rather than the point of stereotypes. Reigning in these kinds of conversations get increasingly difficult, and conversations get more uncomfortable and tense as conservative rhetoric toward people of color gets more hostile. If theRead More →

The Black Doll, White Doll test was used in the Brown vs. Board of Ed case to contest desegregation. A 17-year-old high school student made a documentary, A Girl Like Me, revisiting this test today to see how much things have changed. Not much. The clip is great to show in class for discussions about race and identity. It’s useful for talking about how communication influences perception and the self. The Black Doll, White Doll test asks black children to choose between a white doll and a black doll, asking questions such as “which doll is the prettiest” (they pick the white doll),  “which dollRead More →

Getting students invested in a public speaking class on the very first day can present a challenge. They see fear, a job skill, and something that they can wing through if only they can get over their nervous stomach and stand up in front of their peers without puking. How do you teach a student the value of a speech class? Here’s a fun activity for early in the semester that I’ve used successfully: 1. Assign students to search the web for the cheapest public speaking lesson, class, seminar or workshop. The class cannot be from a college or university such as a continuing edRead More →

Driving home to Baton Rouge from vacation in Tampa, and blogging from a wi-fi hotspot generated by a Palm Pre, we’re stuck in a traffic jam outside of Gainsville for almost an hour.  An 18-wheeler jack-knifed across two lanes.This makes me think about what I miss about Tampa,  a place I called home for ten years. In no particular order: 1. Disney – Grueling in August, when we usually go, but magical during the cooler weather. (Magical is cliche, but apt.) 2. Orange blossoms – Not only do they smell divine, they smell of divinity. 3. Cuban food – From the dive at the stripRead More →

1. Add your home as a venue. 2. Become mayor of your home. 3. Add your work as a venue. 4. Become mayor of your job. 5. Add places that are clearly not venues like THE BEACH. The beach is not a venue. 6. Become mayor of the beach. 7. Lie. 8. Lie a lot. Note: I have done none of these things. Update: 12/1/12 In the world of cheaters, monetizers, gamers, and people who need external motivation, do things for gold, XP, and badges, and those who seek only to level up, NONE of these 4Sq ethics seem to matter. Hence, the “Commission toRead More →