My Friend Flicker

Today I have been feeling a bit of pressure to get some things accomplished, and I even got to my office a bit earlier than usual.

So I’m working away when I happen to glance out my window. (My office window looks out over the porch roof, and I toss bird seed out there for the wild birds and squirrels.) What should I see but a beautiful Northern Flicker, eating seeds. What a handsome fellow.

Northern Flicker

(This is a picture downloaded from the web, not my personal Flicker)

I had to take a moment, relax and just enjoy his beauty. One of the things I noticed is that he was using his tongue to pick up the tiniest seeds and seed fragments. So I sat very still and just watched.
Two things about this experience:
  • You should never be too busy to take just a moment to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.
  • Riding a motorcycle is a lot like being a bird. We envy birds freedom, but have you ever noticed how alert and cautious they are? Riding a motorcycle is a lot like that; you have a wonderful sense of freedom, but you have to be extra alert and cautious if you want to live to ride again.

Wow, how’s that for disparit ideas from a single experience.

Ok, back to work!

Northern Flicker In The Wild



I’m sure that both of my regular readers know I’m a big fan of the pun, and several weeks ago I started a series of pun based shaggy dog stories. I called it a pun a day, or something like that. If anyone liked it, they didn’t say so, and I discontinued it. But last week, Mike Hall, of the Topeka Capitol Journal published a column filled with one line puns. I loved them. All of them, and for your edification, I’m posting them here along with a link (above) to Mr. Hall’s column.

You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish.

■ I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger, then it hit me.

■ To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

■ When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

■ A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.

■ When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

■ The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

■ The batteries were given out free of charge.

■ A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

■ A will is a dead giveaway.

■ If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

■ With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

■ Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

■ You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

■ Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

■ A boiled egg is hard to beat.

■ When you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.

■ Police were called to a day care where a 3-year-old was resisting a rest.

■ If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

■ A bicycle can’t stand alone. It is two tired.

■ In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

■ When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

■ The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

And for good measure, here are a couple I’d like to add:

  • Protect your right to bare arms. Wear a sleeveless blouse.
  • Corduroy pillows: They’re making head lines.

Oh my yes!

The Joy Of Giving

Last Thursday I had a great experience when I volunteered as a teaching assistant, teaching English as a Second Language at Vida Ministries. It reminded me how much joy there is in giving. Oh, I only gave about 90 minutes of my time, and I was only the assistant teacher in a beginning English class, but I came away feeling refreshed and fulfilled.

Last Saturday, I  gave a 45 minute demonstration of Laugh2Learn’s improv training to the Daughters of the King at Grace Episcopal Cathedral. I was reminded again of how much joy there is in playing. As George Bernard Shaw’s said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” 

But it wasn’t just about playing; we also rediscovered the joy of giving. One of the games we played, a game I almost always play at a Laugh2Learn gig was “Spread The Joy.” In this game we divide into groups of three, designate one person in each group  the “head honcho;” one the “big cheese; and, one the “top banana.” In the first round the head honcho is the boss and sends her minions out into the room to spread the joy by saying something positive to someone. She gives specific instruction — “Find someone who has helped you and tell them how much you appreciate them,” “Find someone wearing blue and tell them how nice they look today.”  After the “head honcho” sends her employees out  the big cheese and finally the top banana take their turn at sending employees to spread the joy. It is a wonderful experience. When we debrief, almost everyone comments on how good it felt to have people say positive things about them, but many always also comment on how much joy there is in paying compliments. .  . giving.

Below is a short clip of Lawrence LEAP playing “Spread the Joy.”  Notice the happiness on the faces not only of those who are receiving compliments, but also on those who are giving.

Great Week, And an Invitation

Last week I spent a very enjoyable Tuesday with the Oklahoma City Region of the Indian Health Service. I think my clients must have enjoyed my presentations almost as much as I did. Not only did I get several nice compliments, but I was extremely honored when Area Director, Admiral Kevin Meeks presented me with a challenge coin. (Most of the participants at the conference were members of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which uses Naval ranks.)

Laugh2Learn presented two programs: Rx for Stress: Laughter + Control, and Difficult Conversations. One of the points we always make in the stress presentation is how important it is to learn to laugh at one’s self. Not only is the laughter helpful, but if  you can laugh at something stupid you did, that event loses its power to embarrass you and make you uncomfortable. So I’d like to invite you to share your stories. Please, if you have an event that you need to laugh at, post it as a reply to this blog.

I’ll start: Many, many years ago when I was in basic training in the United States Air Force, our Drill Instructor was Sgt. LaFrance. He was a very short man, who spoke with a distinct accent. On of his favorite habits was to come up close behind us while we were shaving and say, “Eew better get a mewve on.” or “Eew better mewve.” Several of us, myself  included, developed the ability to mimic the good sergeant’s accent. We would come up behind a shaving Airman, bend our knees so that our face was about at his shoulder blades and say, “Eew better get a  mewve on.” One morning, as I was doing my LaFrance imitation, I heard a voice behind me: “Eew better get a mewve on too.” Still bent at the knees, I turned and, for perhaps the first time, looked the diminutive sergeant in the face. Immediately he ran from the room; I’m convinced so that we couldn’t hear his laughter. Neither of us ever mentioned the incident, but none of us imitated him again.

So there  you have it. I can tell you that when I turned and saw the sergeant, I was embarrassed and frightened. The look my face must have been priceless. Now if you would be so kind, I’d love to hear your stories. Please reply.

Not True!

Whoever said “What goes up must come down,” never tried to lose weight. I’m just saying.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching?

I’m very glad I chose not to make a New Year’s resolution about posting more frequently. I would be feeling so defeated about now. Actually I’m glad I didn’t post Monday, when I had told myself I certainly would. Instead I took advantage of some false spring weather and went for a motorcycle ride with a friend. Frankly, life is too short to work on a 70 degree day in the Kansas “winter” unless you positively have to.

Can’t remember why I didn’t post yesterday, but I’m going to say it was because I had to catch up on work I didn’t do Monday. . . Yeah, I like that.

I have been working on a gig for the Indian Health Service Oklahoma Area Office. One of the sessions I will present is my Rx for Stress: Laughter + Control. the last point I always make in that presentation is that we shouldn’t defer happiness, and I often read “Dance Like No One’s Watching.” It’s a lovely piece and I have always cited it as “author unknown.” In an effort to avoid copyright infringement by posting it here, today I did some research. Someone named Crysta Boyd claims authorship, but I’m not certain about that. I have also seen it attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to Satchel Paige.

Satchel Paige

So Crysta, Mark Twain and Satchel Paige estates, with or without your permission, here it is:

Dance Like No One’s Watching

  We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are.  After that we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.  We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.  We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.

The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now.  If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

  So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink, until you’ve sobered up, until you die to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy…Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

  Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching.

  Author unknown

Variety: The Source of Creativity

I truly believe that a variety of activities and interests keep one’s mind active and productive. If that is so, my recent and current activities should keep my brain from ossifying. To wit: (I have always wanted to say that!)

Last week I attended a great conference   in New Orleans, sponsored by Public Health Law Research. The conference was well-organized by a very helpful staff of professionals from Temple University. I am amazed at how much a good, stimulating conference with can recharge one’s intellectual batteries. As Hedley Lamarr said in Blazing Saddles, “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” I’m sure the students in my Public Health Law and Policy class at the University of Kansas School of Medicine will benefit.

Speaking of waterfalls of creative alternatives, Last night was a Laughing Matters workshop. We are preparing for our annual Valentine’s Day show. If you can get to Topeka on January 10 or 11 you really should make an attempt to be there.

Just finished helping the Northeast Kansas Muliticounty Health Department develop a visioning story. And speaking of stories, Laugh2Learn is about ready to roll out a new product to help employees develop and present stories about their products.

I’m quite sure I have enough things to do that I can put off cleaning my office a bit longer.