Archive for January, 2006

Yello: Of course I’m lying

January 31st, 2006

The band Yello has a great song called “Of course I’m lying” on their 1990 album “Flag”. Here are (at least) the lyrics:

Her name was Julie
When she took me on a ride in her old Chevrolet
Straight into a dusty sundown
I knew she was gonna make up one of her stories
And then she couldn’t believe that I told her
How much I love her lies and how much I love her games

Riding on the highway
You’re going much too far
You’re lying so much better
When you drive a car
You’re lying ’til the sundown
So look into my face
You’re lying (I love it)

I love your games
I love your lies
I love your games
Look in my eyes
Don’t believe I’m worried
When you’re playing all these games
I love your lies just hold me tight
I got no one to blame
You’re lying, I’m buying
I’m buying every word
I love your lies
I love your games

Take me to the ballroom
We’re dancing through the night
I’m in your arms, I love your lies
They make me feel so light
You’re lying to your shadow
So look into my face
You’re lying (I love it)

Take me in your arms and hold me tight just for tonight
I need no drugs I love your lies
You hide me from the night
You’re lying, I’m buying
I’m buying every word
I love your lies
I love your games

Julie stopped her car
The sun had gone and left one of these dark red skies
She looked in my eyes and with a smile in her face she said
“Of Course I’m Lying.
But I think I love you.”

Take me on the highway
You’re going much too far
You’re lying even better
When you drive a car
You’re lying ’til the sundown
So look into my face
You’re lying (I love it)

The trouble with feedback

January 29th, 2006

The trouble with feedback is … feedback ;-)

First, we may ask how do we get feedback. This is simple because there is always feedback even if there is none since this is feedback, at least when you have been asking.

Thus, there is always feedback.

Now that we have feedback we may wonder what it says about us. It might be charming, and it might be disastrous (though I never know what to prefer, so it might be the other way round). But then, if you are asking for feedback you’d better expect some. If you do not like it, maybe it helps asking where it came from.
Anyway, we are probably well advised to ask what the feedback tells us about those who provided it. You know, they may be liars. Watch out!

Look closer! I am sure you will find something.

Eventually, we may want to ask for feedback about the feedback we have just received. As we are generally pretty much involved ourselves we are best asking outsiders and third parties for … feedback about the feedback. Some do this at social gatherings in a pub. A company might have implemented monitoring, service providers might have engaged mystery shoppers, our universities prefer “evaluation”, psychologists and therapists tend to call it supervision.

Feedback about feedback.

But can you trust it? — Oh dear, back to the start!
Ask for feedback about feedback about feedback, and do not forget to give me some, too.

How much time do we have?

January 27th, 2006

I believe that you can
ask the big questions about life, the universe, and everything in many ways. One of them — maybe less obvious — might be this:

How much time do we have?
And what are we going to do with it?

When I started thinking about these two questions I quickly found myself trapped in a number of feedback loops; time consuming loops, to say the least.

Yet, a whole bunch of people and scientists keep reiterating their unfortunately most valuable theories, ideas, findings, and models about what might have happened and what might happen (see e.g. Wikipedia: Global Change,, or

Assuming we have 10 years left (for whatever) what are we going to do?
Assuming we have only 1 year left (for whatever) what are we going to do?
And assuming we do not know how much time we have left what are we going to do?

Apparently, we are using time asking questions, and reading and writing posts on strange blogs.

As if the notion of time alone was not complicated enough.

Feeling not accepted

January 26th, 2006

You probably know the feeling of being not accepted the way you are. Since many years, for instance, my grandmother wants me to cut my hair. Some friends, as you might imagine, dislike what I am writing. Others, it appears, can’t stop moaning about my way of life. Why is it so difficult to accept me just the way I am?

Maybe, it’s because
if I am feeling not accepted by others, if I wish others would accept the way I am, then I do not accept others the way they are. I simply do not accept that they do not accept me.


January 25th, 2006


Feedback of students

January 25th, 2006

Yesterday, at the end of a series of lectures on human ecology, a lecturer uttered just after her own talk when the audience had left, that it is a pity that lecturers get so little feedback from the students, especially during one’s talk.

When I heard that my liar’s heart began to jump, my ears got spocky and my eyes made themselves ready to gleam into the bitter darkness of self-reference.

Fortunately, the lecturer did not hesitate to provide us with some possible explanations: It was late in the evening. It was the end of term. And, students are used to be quiet, they are rarely asked for feedback anyway, so how should they know.

When you have lost your key Paul Watzlawick unforgettably — I thought — showed us how ridicule it is to look for it where the lantern is shining instead of the place where you probably have lost it.

Apparently, self-reference hurts like hell. Maybe, I should have been nice by adding some more far away explanations: The lecture hall is to blame. The chairs, the tables, the light, and the air, they are all bad (and they are). Students do not know the importance of drinking during lectures. They have never learned to concentrate. They are distracting each other. They are having too much fun at nights. Or, yes, I have heard that often: They are just more stupid these days. No, it’s not their fault. It’s because primary school is bad, and the parents are to blame, too, of course.


If someone is asking for feedback she or he should be prepared to learn about themselves. If a lecturer is talking to an audience there is always feedback, especially if there is none (that is “none” in the sense of the one who is bemoaning it).

Of course, many explanations can be found. All are somehow involved. And mine are lies anyway. But for the sake of it, here are some explanations that lecturers may want to avoid like the plague:

  • Lecturers are talking too fast, or not loud enough.
  • The slides are badly prepared, and they are shown too fast.
  • The information provided is asking for too much of the students.
  • The contents are too dense and too complicated.
  • Concepts have been simplified too much, so they lost their coherence.
  • Or, maybe, part of the contents is plain wrong.
  • The talk is peppered with technical terms.
  • The lecturers’ gestures signal uncertainty and weariness.
  • They are reading out instead of talking freely.
  • They are not looking at the students but on their laptops.
  • Lecturers are simply not asking for feedback.
  • If there is feedback they are not answering in an encouraging manner.
  • And, I am sure, others can come up with more.

One explanation is left to me, though:
I believe they are no liars. It’s just me.

By the way, your feedback is welcome.

Patak’s Original Lime Pickles

January 24th, 2006

An advice for copycats, and a safety warning for others: I actually started to write this blog only days after I learned to love the strange taste of Patak’s Original Lime Pickles :-)

True contradiction

January 24th, 2006

Today, in a conversation with a friend I wrote

If something leads to a contradiction
it is probably true.

I believe this is probably true.

The original text was in German but that does not render it less strange:

Wenn etwas auf einen Widerspruch hinausläuft,
ist es vermutlich wahr.