Web Analytics


What’s in a name?

As a fish hugger (compare with tree hugger), I am always baffled at how people describe sea creatures as ugly. Who do we think we are that we can make value judgements about these extraordinary living neighbours of ours?

Perhaps they’d rather be judged “ugly and inedible” by the folks in the UK, than re-branded as Cornish soles and now highly desirable.

Fascinating what a bit of re-naming and re-framing can do. And if all it takes for people to eat “ugly fish” is some tweaked communication, just imagine what tweaking your communication could do for your professional and social relationships!

Read the article over at The Guardian.

A thought about small talk

I came across a thoughtful article this morning on the art (and power) of small talk.

As someone who facilitates group discussions, champions meaningful conversations and connections, and spends a great deal of time thinking about creating respectful gatherings, I found that this gentle, humour-filled article gave me space to breathe and think.

In her opinion piece in The New York Times, Maeve Higgins talks about how skipping the small talk can be too intense and reminds me that there is a time and a place for everything: a time for talking about where someone bought their sandals, and a time for digging deep into the family issues that are blocking someone from moving forward.

Here’s to embracing conversation in all its forms!

A recipe for cremation

Barlow Bonsall, Cook @ 1700 to 1800 degrees for 2 to 3 hours

This is the text of a tattoo surrounded by a yellow and orange flame. It belongs to Army veteran and cancer survivor Russell Parsons, who was quoted in NBC News as saying, “It’s a recipe for cremation.”

Barlow Bonsall, the addressee of the tattoo, is the name of the Funeral Home and Crematorium that will carry out the cremation.

This unusual form of will or epitaph ensures that Parsons’s corpse itself will communicate directions for a proper disposal to the crematorium staff. The tattoo doesn’t mention what will happen to his remains after his cremation, rather the words describe the process of cremation that will perish during the cremation process.

Why this piqued my interest:
As part of my MA, I’m doing some research into death rituals and in particular, how helpful Van Gennep’s theory of ‘rites of passage’ is in understanding the evidence for ancient practices surrounding death. Thinking about Parsons’ tattoo made me think about how a living body might be “branded” (tattooed) with a symbol of an individual’s mortality that allows the living to interpret wishes for the handling and disposal of the body after death.