Thursday, 23 June 2011

That Settles it for Me

Dedicated to those You-Tube fundies who put to me such questions as:

@vilgessuola: explain to me how two men or two women can create a child. That's one of the natural functions of sexual intercourse. So explain to me how it's possible for any child to be produced as a result of gay sex. 

You make a pact with the Devil, as you knew all along. Simples. Then, of course, you eat the baby.

Gay adoption agency

I asked the same young man why Christians are so exercised about what other people do in bed. He protests:

It's more natural at some point in your life to have the strong urge to assault or murder someone than it is to want to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender. Murder and assault are illegal and are not tolerated in any circumstances, so why should homosexuality be accepted, let alone tolerated?

Christians aren't obsessed with other people's sex lives at all. Christians don't care about what goes on during sex as long as it's done within marriage between a husband (man) and a wife (woman). Then, anything goes. The couple gets to decide what positions to have sex in, whether or not to have oral sex, sex toys, etc. It's up to them.'
I've given up on him. When people think the urge to murder is 'more natural' and by implication less reprehensible than the urge to lust, then start refering you to 'Answers in Genesis' and articles by Ken Ham, you know the gulf between you is just too bloody wide to shout across.


Ah serve the Lawd
Guess I felt enspired by the Lord to share with you folks some uplifment I found on You Tube, oh my, you’re just gonna love it! There’s been a whole bunch of stuff around lately from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchinson and Sam Harry and Daniel Bennet and all the so-called self-stiled New Athiest’s about how God is not great and the Lord's people are plain dumb. Well, you know what, I for one am getting pretty darn sick and tarred of Darwinist homosexuals and those lesbians being all like butch and liberal and telling us that. We aren’t dumb, no sir! We know what side our bread's buttered. Once we accept Jesus into our lifes, we just better not think any more about stuff is all, in case we have forbidden thoughts without realizing it. I sure do hope you’ll join me in praying that God will reveal His love to all these deeply misguided folks before He’s forced to hurl them into the Lake of Fire for bamboozling other good folks who God’ll have to throw into the Lake of Fire as well for letting there selves get bamboozled unbeknownst, when all they need to of done was humble there selves before the Lord greatly. Really, it is soooo simple, you guys! Is it so much to ask, to escape the roth to come? For me, it’s a .... now, what do the young people call these days... a de-brainer! I guess Sir Dawkins and Dr Hitchinson had real traumactic afflicted childhoods touched by neglect, abuse, free thinking and alcoholism like so many others outside of the fold, and this made them hate God, which is such a pity when He loves them enough to die for there sins. Now, that's real ungratitude, so no wonder He’s gonna roast ‘em like hogs, LOL!* God doesn't want anyone to go to hell and so He through you a lifeline by getting His Self killed while He was living down here as His own son, and that means He took yours and my sins on Hisself, that who so beleiveth in Him might get eternal life and not be cast into the lake of fire where the worm is not quenched. That's why He's called the Saviour, guys! Stands to reason if you don't grab onto that lifeline, you go to hell! That's God's justice. That's the way God rolls weather you like it or weather you don't.

Well anyhow, about the video. Here’s a real profound and comforting song from way back before all that evil talk of gay jeans and same-sex marriage sung by a bunch of nice smiley God-fereing hetrosecxual folks in a real nice place - kinda like a wood with a farm and a waterfall and all green and all. I like to think, this is a four taste of that Blessered Place where all us true beleivers are headed. Its’ real soon, folks!

And finerly, Oh-My-Goodness, I pray in Jesus'es name that we will see Sir Dawkins and Dr Christopher Hitchinson smiling and singing right along, before it’s too late. Can you guy's just pitcher how wonderful that would be? I sure can! What a triumph for God! Praise the Lord!

*This is a abrevviation meaning 'Laughing Out Loud' and my daughter whose in college uses it in reply to all my texts. The Lord gave us a sence of humor!

I just know he'd look a hole lot happier
if he'd let Lord Jesus into his heart!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

'But my teacher have said me...'

The young lady with whom I share responsibility for Group 4 accosted me yesterday lunchtime. ‘I don’t want to worry you,’ she said, ‘but…’

You are going to anyway.

‘Well, you know group 4, right? They think all they have to do is paraphrase the sources.’

Oh, fuck.

Let me explain. For the writing component on the present course the students must produce a thousand words on emotional stress and three specific methods to combat it, all based on a pack of info from a variety of books, journals and web pages provided for their reference. From these they may cull direct quotes and paraphrases to back up their own ideas on the topic. Somewhere along the line the scary bit about their own ideas has got lost, and now they’ve formulated the comforting notion that they need only excerpt and reword odds and sods from the source material to sew together into a thousand-word Frankenstein’s Monster. There’s never enough time to devote to all the strands of any course, and this time round I have hammered writing at the expense of reading because writing just bloody baffles everybody so much. After loads of discussion of the source material aimed at helping them to own the ideas, it seems I have only succeeded in baffling them the more.

My ten days off the rails has given me some insight into how they probably feel about writing. Every lesson I taught for two weeks felt like the first lesson of my career, as if I were a rookie who kept forgetting things and couldn’t think straight for sheer bloody funk. Many of the students won’t write a second sentence until I have checked their first one, or a third until I’ve checked the second, and so on. ‘Just bloody write it, for Christ’s sake’ I say, politely, ‘then we can tidy it up. For is it not written, no point wiping your arse before you’ve shat?’

Well, honestly.

Student - me exchanges such as the following are common around this time of year:

‘Introduction, how long should be?’

Piece of string, how long should be?

‘How many word can be in a paraphrase?’

As many as you need to back up your own view, bearing in mind there’s a thousand word limit and most of the language needs to be from you. Measure by eye, not weight.

‘Fifferty? Sickersty? Seffenty?’

Please refer to my previous response.

‘I can say about my obinion in the introduction?’


‘My other teacher have said me, to don’t say about my obinion in the introduction.’

She was right, I’m lying.

‘I can say about my obinion or no?’

So long as you can back it up.

‘I can say ‘I think’ for my obinion in a issay?’

Yes, if you want.

‘My other teacher have said me, to don’t say ‘I think’ for my obinion in a issay.’

So don’t say it, then.

‘Who right?’

Me. I've got the dick. Settled.

Actually that last part of this kind of exchange is never necessary – it’s simply assumed that being a man, I’m right, even if I’m not.

Look, folks, I try to tell them, I really wish there was a formula I could give you instead of what sound to you just now like arbitrary and contradictory rules, but there ain’t. If there were, you’d never find your own voice. Yes, you need to find your own voice. You exercise critical thinking skills in so many areas of your life, and here, we expect you to do that in class, in contrast with certain cultures represented here where they really, really don’t want that kind of thing going on. Resign yourselves to not making a terribly good job of this essay, then learn from the feedback.

‘I don’t want to worry you, but…’

You bloody well have! I’ve only got two teaching days to clear all this up, and as always, I feel it’s my fault that they’ve all got the wrong end of the bloody stick. I’ll just have to count on the strong likelihood that they will all be thinking it’s theirs.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Call off the Dogs

D'you know, it's a funny thing, but all that black doggery has diminished somewhat. I got up at four yesterday morning because I couldn't sleep for nasty thoughts, and started the day feeling like a man awaiting execution. I went into my class with the aim of introducing my charges to the idea that attention to the considerations of theme and rheme would make their paragraphs more highway than scrapyard. My hands were trembling - not because I have not done this before, as I have, loads of times, but because it was as if I had forgotten it all and was bluffing my way through it, as well as being the only one aware of some imminent disaster of an unspecified nature. Well, we got on with things and nobody died, bloodshed was minimal, and I wasn't marched off to the cry 'deyde man walken! We gad us a deyde man walken heeya!' and by lunchtime I felt easier. After lunch, we did a reading passage. I made sure I had the teacher's book to hand as I didn't trust myself not to get snagged up in the pointless complexity of IELTS texts. The students did, of course, but that's what they pay for, so I suppose they were happy... or maybe that's not why they were there... like I say, I was a bit vague. Anyway, standing on platform two waiting for the 15.18 home, I realised my hands were not trembling, my guts were not rolling, circumstances were no brighter, but, you know, who cares? Even fantasies of smacking people's heads in for open-mouth gum chewing had left my mind. After ten days when paranoid, four-in-the-morning insomniac thoughts had occupied my mind all day and all night, they finally fell into some perspective. Some mental rubbish I had swallowed had been digested and shat out. Not a pretty image, I know, but one that feels apt.

I'm always surprised how suddenly a period of gloom starts and fizzles out, and how, once it's fizzled out, it seems so strange that one could have felt it so real. I'm tired from so little sleep and so much bloody pointless worrit for ten days, so nobody's in for a scintillating lesson today, but normal service is expected to resume after the weekend.

Many thanks to those who offered kind comments and kicks up the arse here, on facebook and by e-mail.

Monday, 13 June 2011

I come no more to make you laugh: ...

...things now that bear a weighty and a serious brow. For me at least. I'm subject now and then to periods of the gloomies, black dog days, and the present black mutt is a vicious bastard. At work I do my usual passable imitation of a calm, unflappable sort of bloke, although I might not be doing it quite as well as I think this time, and showing signs of curmudgeonliness. In my inner world, I feel like the blindfold prisoner of unknown captors with unknown intentions, and I alternate periods of gloom with spells of wall-climbing paranoia, guts rolling, heart speeding. For ten days, pretty much the only emotions I have known are anxiety and anger. I attacked an averagely dumb US You Tube christer with almost undergraduate viciousness the other day, deservedly eliciting an angry, hurt response that made me feel quite a heel. The poor sod had no idea he was being beaten up on by one mildly, temporarily unhinged. (However, 'Voice of God', you really are a fucking whack job and I feel no contrition for cremating you. So there.) Concentration is nigh impossible as my head is clogged and dusty as a hoover bag and oddly, worryingly, I feel as though I know nothing: can't implement basic teaching skills, can't remember what I read or assemble my thoughts: everything I attempt just confuses me.

It really is a right pain in the arse.

It's more than twenty years since I last had medication for depression, which was probably caused by a long bout of glandular fever. In those days, Happy Pills did little other than dehydrate you, causing unquenchable thirst and the sort of constipation the Victorians thought led to depression in the first place - nothing a day on the Syrup of Figs and a good brimstone and carbolic enema wouldn't sort out. So, tired of spitting feathers and passing shrapnel, I slung them down the bog and sat out the depression until it blew over. I understand the modern generation of Happy Pills actually work in the short term, and am pondering whether to petition my GP for some. I dunno. There are immutable, real world reasons for my feeling like this, although I'm over-reacting to them absurdly. The irritating thing is that I know this, but that doesn't alter the feeling that I'm being stalked by a maniac.

Anyway, this explains the lack of blogs recently, and may explain a lack of blogs to come for a while. I've discovered that whenever I predict a lull in blogging, it never happens, so making this public might well disperse the gloom.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Demise of Group C (Of Three)

If you see me more jovial and genial than of late, if I offer you a bite of my matutinal cheese scone from the campus caff or if, Lord love us, I even smile at you before mid-morning, this is because Group C (of three) is disbanded and its less talented denizens cast to the winds, with a fol-lol-lol and hey-nonny-nonny. Nobody could say they hadn’t been warned, although that is indeed what some of them did say. The course director had given them the hard word several weeks ago, but they saw it as bollockings and rumours of bollockings, and were not troubled, thinking the time was not yet. Which goes to show how wrong you can be.

Tests were administered and marked last week, and six out of ten Group C types dive-bombed spectacularly. No surprises there. A week before, we did a practice listening test, one of many. One part of this featured two women discussing local health centres, and questions such as the following were to be answered:

1. No. of doctors at Letsby Avenue Centre: ………………….
2. No of doctors at Upper Knocker-Down St. Centre: ………………….

Like a good IELTS exam prep teacher, I elicited that the answer would be a number. A number. So we listened to the dreary twaddle on the C.D., actors doing their Two Cunts in a Kitchen dialogue with anus-winking stage accents:

Mrs A: (Antipodean, sort of.) Will, these the Letsby Avenue cintre, that’s ILL-EE-TEA, ISS-BEE-WOY. Plus Avenue, as in Shaaaaftesbury. It’s aunlie tin minnets a-why. They have farve doctors thee.

Mrs B: (Writing this down, in R.P.) Lets…be…a…ven…you. Ten minutes away, you said? Goodness, that’s really convenient, isn’t it? And there are six doctors there, you say?

Mrs A: Now, now, now, not six! I said farve. Farve! Thit's the number that comes efter fore.

Mrs B: Oh, five! Gosh. (Chucklesomely at such silly-me-ishness) Sorry! Golly, I really will have to get used to a variety of regional accents, won’t I?

Everyone completed question 1. with ‘ten minutes’. Is number, no? You say us is number - why it's wrong?

There was a review board this morning where the fails could put their case if they thought they still had a leg to stand on. Amazingly, after failing pretty much every test since last October and showing every sign of regression rather than progress, all six showed up defiantly.

‘Did Hassan go without a fight?’ I asked the course director after lunch.

‘None of them went without a fight,’ she said.

Predictably, their failure was entirely our fault. Five teachers over eight months had been of no help to them. Our teaching is ineffective and our testing inequitable: that we had allowed them extra time for the reading test and a second hearing of the listening had served merely to confuse them. The question then is, why the fuck do you want to come back, if you have decided we are such a bunch of klutzes? Gotcha!

So now the four remaining Group C students are in a new class with a few new Saudi blokes, four new Chinese ladies and a cute, pleasingly compact Thai lad with a name as long as your arm, obligingly abbreviated to Tom. Today was pretty hard work, but there was none of the feeling of pissing into the wind or pushing a heavy truck up a hill that I’ve had every Thursday and Friday for the last eight months. This explains the unwonted sunniness of my disposition.


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