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Your Working Humor Discussion List

I-Laugh - Your 'Working' Humor Discussion List
Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg  mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf   mailto:gunjan@workinghumor.com

31st October  2001    #     031
You can make Dollars, Marks, Yen ......... or you can make
excuses, but you can't make both!
~ Animation at http://www.expand.to/my/Heritage


Moderator's Comment -
                                 ~ Gunjan


Moron Firewalking
              ~ Scott Simmerman

Getting to Know Your Laughmates
          "Featured Laughmate - Srivatsa Kadaba"
                             ~ Gunjan

Public Speaking Tips
                           ~ Gunjan

Chicken Soup for 7 Highly Effective People
                              ~ Scott Simmerman

Deceive only for a moment
                                         ~ Gunjan


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Moderator's Message

Dear LaughMates,

Thanks for the great response to our survey. It led to
some great offlist discussion and to getting to know
lots of Laughmates better which I think should be a great
help in increasing participation in future discussions.

We've decided to have much more surveys or questions
to increase participation.

On another front I've just started reading Sigmund Freud's
"Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious"
(Thanks Dr Shridhar for a wonderful gift!). It starts with
Dr Freud examining the definitions different thinkers had
given to jokes or humor.

It sounds silly doesn't it. I mean everyone knows what
a joke is so why should it be hard defining it, but try to
define it and it's not so easy. (I started with "jokes are funny", but then
I found Catch 22 extremely funny, and I bet Joseph Heller would have been
offended if anybody had called his
book a joke.)

To quote Stephen Jay Gould - "It is the things we think we
know - because they are so elementary, or because they
surround us - that often present the greatest difficulties
when we are actually challenged to explain them."

So, Laughmates, shall we take up the challenge and try
to explain or define a joke. (Please try to enjoy the fun
of doing it yourself, rather than sneaking a look into a

Send in your definitions to -

I am working on finding some sponsors to sponsor some
prizes for these little surveys, games, or contests that
we'll keep having. If you would like to, or know somebody
who would like to please get in touch.

Without further ado, welcome to another issue of I-Laugh...

WZ-ard of Virtual Travel
(Mini/Maggie - Is the signature better now? :-)

Please, send any comments to:

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=====  New Discussions  =====

====> Moron FireWalkers

From Scott Simmerman <scottsimmerman@home.com>

In one of the training lists, there has been a VERY humorous series of posts
about a recent Fire Walking team building*
by Burger King where a number of people got their feet
burned and blistered.

Among other funnies, the session leader / organizer of this session also was
quoted as saying, "Some people just have incredibly sensitive feet."

(Don't you always blame the customers for any problems?)

>* Note:  "Fire Walking Team Building" is NOT an oxymoron
>like interdepartmental collaboration or religious tolerance.

The Miami Herald original article of October 6 is here:

There, you will also read neat quotes from the "team building organizer"

   "The majority of the people get through it without a nick
    or a blister. When you see over 100 people and only
    10 to 15 people have blisters, I don't term that unusual."

Kinda of makes me want to run out and do team building.
Or maybe just run. <grin> After all, this event was reportedly designed, "to
help motivate the marketing department's employees for the challenge they
face in turning around
the struggling Burger King brand."

Anyway, as back channel conversations on the Burger King
Fire Walking continued, I got carried away and developed a brand new team
building simulation that readers should find
of interest.

 -- Team Building and Strategic Planning using LEGO® --

We developed a new team building and problem solving
exercise as part of our series of Team Development Courses
that we thought to share with the list. The participant challenge was
relatively simple and straightforward:

 "Construct a LEGO Structure to represent how your
  organization really works. Then, design a plan to bring
  the structure down from the "Ivory Tower" to the ground.
  Plan, Do, Check and Act. Review and Debrief."

Our challenge was to assemble a structure out of LEGO
blocks on top of a small platform situated on top of a 30 foot
tall wooden pole (The "Ivory Tower"), with one individual going
up at a time to add their thinking to the sculpture. Once completed, the
team needed to select a Team Leader
who would implement their strategy to get this structure "grounded" in
organizational reality.

This was a great deal of fun, as people climbed and contributed. All went
well for the first 30 minutes and
the structure became very colorful and pretty magnificent.
Each team member shared and contributed. It was an
excellent group challenge.

Over the course of the session, each participant brought a
few pounds of LEGO pieces to the top. Eventually, this probably reached 100
or so pounds of LEGO parts and
a somewhat magnificent and colorful structure.

Pictures were taken from all angles with lots of cheering and

The second part of the challenge was to bring it down to earth -
The Implementation and Leadership Challenge.

After a good deal of discussion, one of the women was
selected as Team Leader; she was to secure and lower the sculpture. She was
a pretty good selection for leader, we
thought, since she was assertive, athletic and energetic
although only about 5 feet tall and built like a climber or

A rope and pulley system was devised and the materials for
a small wooden box / platform were assembled along with the
necessary power screwdriver, wood and screws. Securing one
end of the rope at ground level, she climbed to the top of the
tower, assembled the box, loaded the sculpture into it and
tied the rope to the box.

She deftly climbed back to the ground and untied the rope,
holding it tightly to ensure the sculpture's slow descent. Note
that I said earlier that this weighed maybe 100 pounds not
including the box. She was somewhat surprised when she
untied it because she was quickly lifted off the ground by
the combined weight of the sculpture and box. Holding the
rope tightly, she proceeded UP the tower at a fairly high

About 15 feet in the air, she met the sculpture coming down. This collision,
we know now, bruised her shoulder and
scraped her hip. Slowed only slightly, she continued her
ascent until the top. At this same time, the LEGO sculpture
hit the ground with some of it shearing off.

With the sculpture now a good bit lighter, her weight caused
her to rapidly descend from the top of the Ivory Tower,
once again colliding with the sculpture about 15 feet off
the ground and bruising her other hip and shoulder.

Now laying on the ground laughing amidst the colorful LEGO
blocks, we all watched as she lost her concentration and let
go of the rope, which was still attached to the remainder of the
LEGO. Gravity being a constant, we watched as the sculpture once again
descended from the Ivory Tower.

In hindsight, some of our most memorable team building
and planning experiences came during the ride to the
hospital, where we debriefed on the excitement and energy
that comes from constructing meaning in one's life. As well,
we focused on the issues surrounding the implementation of
the somewhat successful strategy and tactics for
implementing new visions (bringing the structure down
from the top of the tower). Additionally, most participants
got a clear perspective on some organizational realities.

On the ride from the hospital, we were able to talk clearly
about the risks associated with being a lightweight, that
clear goals were not sufficient and that strategies need to
be tested before being implemented.

In follow-up discussions, the woman Team Leader
recognized her tendencies to do things by herself and committed, once she
leaves the hospital, to work to
include others in similar workplace initiatives in the future.

Overall, our consultant facilitation team viewed this as quite
a success. We are preparing for a similar outdoor team
building challenge with other divisions within the company.
And the lessons learned will surely be implemented.

For more information on this exercise, you can visit
webpages. A printable, "All Inclusive Complete Waiver
of Liability" is included as a .pdf file.

Note: "Do Not Try This at Home. Professional Stunt Driver
on a Closed Course."

<BIG Grins>


For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman
Performance Management Company - 800-659-1466

       - Tools for Training and Development <http://www.squarewheels.com/>
       - Scott as Speaker <http://www.simmerman.com/>

Comments :

====>  Getting to Know Your Laughmates

Featured Laughmate - Srivatsa Kadaba

Hi Friends,

Old Timers among you may remember Srivatsa Kadaba's
neat little bullock cart story in I-Laugh #009. (Oh those
were the days, we were young and .... :-))

Oops, let me stop day-dreaming about the adolescence of
I-Laugh and get back to our featured laughmate Srivatsa.
Srivatsa is a trainer. He trains you how to handle Change,
not the stuff in your pocket, I could teach you to handle
that, or the IRS could handle it for you (now I'm getting
into Eva's domain), but Change as in - The Old Order
changeth yielding place to the New, kind of stuff.

Srivatsa has been taking I-Laugh too seriously and what
else he does is so full of big words that it all goes over my
head. If you'd like to figure it out for yourself here's some
of it...

1. Trainer
2. Trainee Performance Counselor
3. Training Needs Assessment
4. Course Development
5. Trainer Development
6. Trainer Evaluation
7. Training Design
8. Training Resource mobilizing
9. Training Systems Development

Your feeling, the first time you see Srivatsa, especially if
you're a trainee is - "Oh No! My company has been taking
this training stuff too seriously. Why else would they hire a boxing

But then once he starts to speak and you start listening to
him, somebody could come and pinch your favorite aunt who
was sitting right next to you and unless you're Bertie Wooster
(and really loved Aunt Agatha) you wouldn't even notice.

Unfortunately (for us) Srivatsa has been extremely busy
for the past couple of months and so hasn't been able to
contribute to I-Laugh, but I have his assurance that we'll
start hearing from him again. In fact just this evening he
told me a story that had me rolling on the floor. Watch out
for it in the next issue.

Srivatsa doesn't have a website as yet but you can
contact him at srivatsakadaba@yahoo.com
Please don't contact him with Godfather style offers,
he's likely to surprise you by refusing, but if you want
any help or guidance either in Mathematics which is
his passion, or about change management or training
he's your man. (Being a fan of Richard Feynman would
be a big bonus :-)

That in brief, friends, is a quick intro to Laughmate
Sritvatsa Kadaba.

www.workinghumor.com - Let your Humor Work for you !

Comments :

Cartoon Break

Told ya the stork brought you

Sophisticated Man seeking....

=====  REPLIES=====

====> Public Speaking Tips

Dear LaughMates,

I've always had this obsession for the word 'why'.
So even with last week's PRESENTATION
why I should ask those questions. How would each
answer benefit me. For some of them the benefit was
obvious but with others I wasn't too sure.

So I scribbled a quick note Tom Antion and believe
it or not in less than 3 hours I had his answer. WOW!
Here it is for any of you, who, like me, wouldn't know
what to do with the data, after collecting it ....

*  What does the organizer want to accomplish because
   of my appearance?
# If you don't know EXACTLY what they want to accomplish,
   how will you know if you were successful?

* Why was I chosen?
# They might like some specific thing about you that someone
   saw you do. If you don't do that exact same thing for their
   event they may be disappointed.

* How many people are expected to be in the audience?
# Size of crowd effects the type of humor, visuals, staging etc
   you will use. Also the number of handouts to bring.

* What are their job responsibilities?
# You need to know your audience.

* What is the male/female ratio?
# Females (at least in the USA ) laugh easier and go along with
   you easier. You can generally add more humor to groups with
   lots of women.
   You might want to find humor more slanted to women also
   when you know most of the audience is female.

* What time am I supposed to speak?
* What is on the program just before I speak?
# You want to know about it if they are having something
   emotional and then you are supposed to come on and
   be funny.

* What is on the program just after I speak?
# So you can refer to what's coming up after you're done

* What is the conference title and theme?
# You can make your title and visuals match their theme.

* Who will introduce me?
# So you can get with them and practice in advance.

*  Who are the other speakers on the program?
# You should know what is going on around you.

* What kind of seating is being used?
# Round tables are the hardest. Semi circular theatre style is
   the best.

* What kind of microphone and A/V equipment is available?
# You may have to being some of your own.

* May I have a list of expected attendees so that I may
  interview some of them for a few minutes by phone in
  advance of the program?
# To interview some of them. I interview at least 15
   audience members.

Tom Antion
Great Speaking

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coz 7 days without a pun makes one weak

===> Chicken Soup for 7 Highly Effective People - Update

From Scott Simmerman <scottsimmerman@home.com>


I think what you said was essentially true but in need of a
little updating...

>Aren't the 7 words in the title of my article the seven most
>highly overused words these days and yet why are they
>chicken soup for effective people?

I am reminded of the simpler days of yesteryear, when it
was Excellence and Tom Peters (who was Waterman and
how many books did he actually write?) followed by Quality
and Ed Deming.  Then of course Kaizen and Willie Ucchi.
But sure glad to see the Re-Engineering days of Mikey
Hammer are past - what a misnomer that one was...

>The solution to this mystery is not mine .... it's as old as
>the hills or at least as old as Murphy!
>Comin's Law :
>"People will accept your idea much more readily if
>you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first."

Jack Welch?  (soon to come, certainly)


For the FUN of It!

===========  Helpful Humor Tip  ==========

Deceive only for a moment :

One of the definitions of a joke in 'Jokes and their
Relation....' is "a contrast of bewilderment and
illusion". In this regard Kant says that a joke has
the remarkable characteristic of being able to deceive
us only for a moment.

The importance of this statement may have slipped me
if this incident hadn't happened just the previous day.

I was having a drink with S. S is normally one of the chaps
who catches a joke or a pun easily so I had no hesitation
in narrating the following Groaner to him from Dr Stan Kegel's
Groaner's Digest....

It had been a quiet night at the local bar so far, but then the
door was thrown open and an Interstate highway barged in.
He then strode up to the bar, ordered a beer, and began
drinking it, while looking around.

A short time later, a four-lane highway came in, went to the
end of the bar, and ordered a beer. The Interstate looked
him over and walked over to him. "I'm an Interstate highway," he declared.
"I stretch from coast to coast and have at least
four lanes, shoulders,and a median almost my entire length.
I have the highest speed limit of any highway. I'm
the best of the highways, and I'm not afraid of you."

The four-lane highway said "I agree that you're the best. I
don't want any trouble with you. Let me buy you a beer",
and he did. They drank their beers and discussed their engineering

After a half hour, the door opened again and a two-lane
road came in, went to the other end of the bar, and ordered
a beer. The Interstate looked him over and told the
four-lane highway that he had to take care of the new
arrival. He walked over to the two-lane road and said
"I'm an Interstate highway. I stretch from coast
to coast and have at least four lanes, shoulders,
and a median almost my entire length. I have the highest
speed limit of any highway. I'm the best of the highways,
and I'm not afraid of you."

The two-lane road quivered a bit and said "You're
absolutely right. You are the best of the highways. I'm
just a lowly two-lane road. I don't want any trouble.
Can I buy beers for you and the four-lane highway?"

The Interstate motioned the four-lane highway to come
over, the two-lane road bought beers for each of them,
and the three of them drank their beers and discussed
the merits of various paving materials.

After another half hour, the door opened again and a
strip of asphalt about eight feet wide came in. The
Interstate highway ducked behind the bar and
hid there quivering quietly. The bartender was shocked.

After serving the asphalt strip, he walked over to where
the Interstate was hiding. "I watched you stand up to
the four-lane highway and the two-lane road. You said
you weren't afraid of any highway or road. Why are
you hiding from that little asphalt strip?"

The Interstate replied quietly, "It's true that I'm not afraid
of any highway or road, but he's a cycle path."

Unfortunately S missed the wordplay on cycle path/psychopath
and what should have been a great joke turned to a damp
squibble. Remembering this I realized the importance of your
joke deceiving the listener/s only for a moment and not passing
him/her/them completely or it becomes an aeroplane joke.

You haven't heard of an aeroplane joke? No point in
telling you, it'll go over your head! :-)

This tip is especially important when speaking to an
audience. I remember when Akash (Principal of
Bethany High) was planning to use the following joke
in his speech. His audience consisted of about 50%
Christians and 50% a mix of Hindu's and Muslims.
Moreover he wasn't sure how many of the Christians
too had heard of or knew the significance of the Wall
of Jericho.

So he started the part of his speech in which he was
going to use the joke as if he was going to preach from
the Bible. He talked of Joshua and how the Wall of Jericho
was brought down by the blowing of trumpets by Joshua's
people. Suddenly  he changed tracks and was into the
following joke ....

An inspector is assigned to the Grade 4 class in one of
the local schools. He is introduced to the class by the
teacher. She says to the class, "Let's show the inspector
just how clever you are by allowing him to ask you
a question." The inspector reasons that normally class
starts with religious instruction, so he will ask a Bible
question.  He asks, "Class, who broke down the walls
of Jericho?"

For a full minute there is absolute silence.  The children
all just stare at him blankly.  Eventually, Jimmy raises his
hand. The inspector excitedly points to him. Jimmy stands
up and replies, "Sir, I do not know who broke down the
walls of Jericho, but I can assure you that it wasn't me."

Of course, the inspector is shocked at the answer and
looks at the teacher for an explanation. Realizing that he
is perturbed, the teacher says, "Well, I've known Jimmy
since the beginning of the year, and I believe that if he
says that he didn't do it, then he didn't do it."

The inspector is even more shocked at this and storms
down to the Principal's office and tells him what happened,
to which the Principal replies, "I don't know the boy, but I socialize every
now and then with his teacher, and I believe
her.  If she feels that the boy is innocent, then he
must be innocent".

The inspector can't believe what he is hearing.  He grabs
the phone on the Principal's desk and, in a rage, dials the Minister of
Education's telephone number and rattles the
entire occurrence to him and asks him what he thinks
of the education standard.

The Minister sighs heavily and replies, "I don't know
the boy, the teacher nor the Principal, but just get
three quotes and have the damn wall fixed!!"

I remember how practically everyone in the audience 'got'
the joke and what a thunderous applause Akash got (This
might have been partly because he didn't go into preach mode :-), but I
think it was more because of the way
he ensured everyone got the joke by that little preamble.

In short, {hehehe} today's humor tip is deceive, but only for
moment, or try make sure your listeners will get the joke!
(Tom's 15 audience interviews can be really helpful to
access if the audience will get your jokes)

Jest a Quote (or three)

Comments :

===========  This week's Humor  ==========

A tourist in Vienna is going through a graveyard and
all of a sudden he hears some music. No one is around,
so he starts searching for the source.

He finally locates the origin and finds it is coming
from a grave with a headstone that reads: Ludwig van
Beethoven, 1770-1827. Then he realizes that the music
is the Ninth Symphony and it is being played backward!
Puzzled, he leaves the graveyard and persuades a friend
to return with him.

By the time they arrive back at the grave, the music
has changed. This time it is the Seventh Symphony, but
like the previous piece, it is being played backward.

Curious, the men agree to consult a music scholar. When
they return with the expert, the Fifth Symphony is
playing, again backward. The expert notices that the
symphonies are being played in the reverse order in
which they were composed, the 9th, then the 7th, then
the 5th.

By the next day the word has spread and a throng has
gathered around the grave. They are all listening to
the Second Symphony being played backward.

Just then the graveyard's caretaker ambles up to the
group. Someone in the crowd asks him if he has an
explanation for the music.

"Oh, it's nothing to worry about" says the caretaker.
"He's just decomposing!"

Comments :


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Eva Rosenberg mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

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