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Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg  mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

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

16th October  2002    #     Issue 81
"There's only one thing worse than the man who will argue
over anything, and that's the man who will argue over nothing."
~ Laurence Peter


Moderator's Comment -
                                           ~ Gunjan

The Other Moderator's Comment
                                           ~ Eva


Rude Clients
                           ~ Tom Trottier
                           ~ Joseph Harris
                           ~ Scott Simmerman

                           ~ Tom Trottier
                           ~ Eva
                           ~ Gunjan

Sales Test Pages
                           ~ Eva Rosenberg

Speaking Tip
                            ~ from Tom Antion


Call for Help
                           ~ from Joseph Harris


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Moderator's Message

Hi LaughMates,

Life is so full of coincidences. Just last week I was discussing
lateral thinking with a friend. He had a couple of lateral thinking
puzzles which much to his chagrin I enjoyed playing in my own
way. (I solved them in his way too ! ) ((More on that in the new
discussions post.)) We even fooled around with the puzzles
at a party. I say fooled around cause these games when
played in a group of 15 to 20 with alcohol flowing, they take
a very dimension altogether.

So it was a great coincidence yesterday when The Doc in
the latest issue of Jest in Literature mentions ...

"Research shows us that if parking lines are painted in paved lots,
people will park between them, even when they are the only
ones in the lot."

Isn't that amazingly accurate .... and frightening ? Doesn't it
want to make you double park your thoughts immediately
and make sure that you aren't stuck in a rut ? I know you're
now eager to skip over straight to the Lateral thinking puzzles
and games, but do enjoy the rest of I-Laugh #81 on your way.

With Best Wishes,
Many a true word is spoken in jest.

Subscribe to
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Jest in Literature (A) - lit-subscribe@topica.com


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The Other Moderator's Comment

Dear LaughMates,

Yesterday was the very last day of the US Income Tax filing
season for the 2001 income tax returns.

It was especially fun, because some of the people we've been
calling for weeks to either (a) pick up their tax returns, or (b)
just get me expense numbers that could cut their taxes by
thousands of dollars, stubbornly refused to help themselves...
and then had to scramble to come get their returns before
we closed the office at noon.

Yes, on filing deadlines, we always shut the office by noon. We've
done our job. We've gotten everything ready. There's no reason
people can't arrange to get their returns before noon - besides, if we
have to mail anything, that leaves us time to get to the post office
before the lines get too long. (We've been doing this for years.
Everyone knows, and yet.... we still got a fax with missing
information after we shut the office down.)

Overheard exchange on last filing day, between Tax Pro and Mom:

Tax Pro: "I don't understand these people. They've got 9 1/2 months
to get me the data. In that time, I could have had a baby."

Mom replies, "Yes, but having a baby is so much harder."

Tax Pro quips, "Have you met some of my clients?"

And speaking of babies, a very morose client told me about the
one laugh she'd had in the last year:

She and colleague we pushing some files through a doorway.
And they got stuck. He on side, she on the other.

She was telling him to push, push harder, squirm a little over and
push some more. Take a deep breath, breathe out and push.

Male voice says, "Pull, come on, pull on it. Harder, harder.
Let me just get in there. Harder..."

Her, "I'm trying. You need to push more. Come on, now, just push..."

You could hear the grunts all the way down the hall.

About 15 minutes into this, she heard herself. And him.
And dissolved laughing. (And finally noticed the audience behind her...)

So, what do you to do let off steam after a particularly tense


Me? Well, I'll be conducting that seminar tomorrow and
packing up my living room/office so they can install my carpet.

Oh, I just went into shock last night.

Sure, they're coming to install the carpet Friday. And I thought,
cool, I can just sit there at my desk and get work done.

Uh, the desk and the DSL connection are in the back corner
of the living room. The living has to be emptied out if they're
going to put carpet there. There's nowhere for me to plug in my
computer and stay online Friday and work. My box no longer has
a dial up card. So I can't use Rick's Earthlink connection. It never
even  dawned on me. (You should have seen the grin on Rick's
face as he saw me hit with this realization...uh, oh, Eva without
her DSL umbilical?!)

I'll get even with him! (Don't dare tell him, OK?) I'm just going
to go outside and pull all those weeds he's been bugging me about
for months. That will teach him to laugh at me!

Comic Guide

Eva Rosenberg
http://taxmama.com   - 4 Secrets to Happy Tax Returns

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=====  Continuing Discussions  =====

===> Rude Clients

Send a bill for your time with a note saying, "As soon as the payment
arrives, we will be glad to send you the extensions."

tOM Trottier

Just send her the bill for what she owes with a request for
immediate payment, stating the overdue time from the *first*
time she should have paid something. And then don't expect
an invitation to her next birthday party; or payment!

Joseph Harris   http://www.smilepoetryweekly.com

Why don't you simply suggest that a customer wants some jokes
and that her fax number is xyz.

I've been dying to send my 1200 page compendium of jokes,
currently residing in word and in pdf format, to someone to test
the ability of my computer and cablemodem to send faxes.

Oops - gotta run.  My FAX machine just rang...

Scott Simmerman - - "The Square Wheels Guy"

[Eva: Aw guys, you can't terrorize a (former) client just
because she has no manners, breeding, or brains! I wasn't
looking for a way to DO anything to her, just for advice on
whether to give her the extensions she so dearly wanted, or not.

She did call, asking how much she would have to pay to
get her papers. But, somehow, her call didn't include an apology.
That never even occurred to her. With an apology, I might even
had prepared her return.

In the end, she did try doing some childish things, like faxing
me a dozen blank pages. Though, I was sitting right next to
the fax having lunch and deleted it as soon as I saw her
return phone number. I'll admit, I did fax her back ten blank
pages. Then, blocked her fax number from that phone.

Thanks for the tips. Eva]

Comments -

=== > Mistress of Ceremonies

[This is in response to Grace's question last week about her
first MoC gig.]

Yes, add chatter, but personalise it to the performers. Ask them
well ahead of time about funny stories of their performing or
practicing or going to or from. And/or get tales of previous
editions of the event or graduates who have gone on to
greater fame.

tOM Trottier

Don't try to do something you don't do.

If you're not funny, don't tell jokes.

Don't prepare stories. If one comes to
mind, related to what's happening, tell it.
But make it short.

The best thing to do?

Meet all the acts when they arrive and learn one personal tidbit.
A good item, not an insulting one.
Introduce the acts with a personal touch.

Say something nice about the last act that
just finished. Then do your intro to the next act.

If something comes naturally to mind and
flows with the mood, use it. But don't look
for things. It's not about you - it's about the acts.

You will shine.

Good luck.
Best wishes,

Eva Rosenberg

Whether you should try to fill time with jokes and stories or
just announce facts.... depends mainly on two factors -

1) Yourself
2) Your Audience

With Regards to the first point here's what Tom Antion has
to say in his ebook Wake 'em Up....

You will see throughout this book a mixture of the serious and the
humorous. I believe, and I have proven to many business people,
that this is a winning combination. I also feel that rigid structure and
absolute organization are counterproductive. That's why, when you
least expect it, I'll change up on you and do something different.
I want you to push your limits, but don't do anything that is not
you.You will look affected and probably do worse than if you just
delivered your normal routine. I'm known for my sometimes
outrageous style; if you tried to copy me, you would likely fall flat
just as I would if I tried to copy your style.

So, it would be nice to fill time with a FEW jokes and stories,
provided you are comfortable delivering them.

I hear so many Master/Minister of Ceremonies who are reading
out a joke, pretending to make it a personal incident, but you can
make out that it's straight out of a book somewhere. In those
circumstances I feel you're much better off without it

If you relate to a story and feel comfortable with it, then use it and
even make it personal if you want. If you like it but don't really
relate to it, use it but start with something like .... I read ....
or Yesterday's Times had a ..... (Don't make it personal)
And if you're in doubt skip it.

Next coming to the audience. Keep a keen look out whether
your audience is appreciating your little quips or seems more
keen to get on with the show. Use more or less of them as
per the reaction you get. (Be an optimist and prepare as if
they're going to love each line. So have as much in reserve as
possible. Don't be disappointed if you use a very small fraction)

I was at the announcers desk for a school sports event recently.
In my enthusiasm to do a good job I had over 100 pages of
collected material .... The History of the Olympics, Inspirational
Stories of top sportsmen like Jesse Owens, Al Oeter, etc ....
Quotations, Jokes, Trivia etc, etc. After using two or 3 bits
I had ascertained that the audience wasn't really too keen on
listening to anything and would much rather have just facts like
results. So I dumped all my stuff in the wastepaper basket.

About an hour later there was some hold up by the organisers
and nothing was happening at all on the field. With nothing to see
(and no results to hear) the audience seemed to now start getting

It wasn't a pleasant act scrummaging through a dustbin but it
was great filler as I entertained the audience with my junk for
the next 10-15 minutes.

Lastly, as to where you can find such stories and jokes on the web.
First think of relative subjects. e.g. .... the name of group that's
coming up next, or the title of the item that they're going to present,
the kind of music etc ....

Go to google.com

Do a search for a few key words from the subjects that you've
selected and a few key words like humor, stories, quotations etc.

Hope you find this useful,

With best wishes,

Comments -

=== > Sales Pages

Dear Gunjan and Uncle Joe,

and www.smilepoetryweekly.com/salestest2.shtml

First thing that catches my eye on
is a typo, top left hand corner, the little poem:

When you a re selling

s/b  When you are selling

I like the larger logo on

I don't like that mouseover effect in the gold box on
http://www.smilepoetryweekly.com/salestest.shtml .
It's annoying to have that appear as I move around
the page. If you want to tell me something - just tell me.

One of the things that I find really self-defeating about
those aggressive mini-sites is all those words droning on
an on down a page, without clearly showing you the
price or where to click to buy the book or product.

Sure, they seem to be effective, but I haven't figured out
why yet. I've left several of those sites, that I've gone to,
ready to pony up my credit card, simply because they
wasted too much of my time trying to find their price
and 'buy' link.

Both of your options are doing the same thing.
People may come to these pages the first time and
read them. But they'll return to buy. Put a 'buy' link
at the top of the page, in the middle of the page, all over.

In the middle of the page, amidst all the poetry, just
call it 'want your own copy?" or something like that.

As to overall appearance, I like this page better
simply for tidiness.

Yet, this page, with its table of contents for the book
is a much better tool. (Although, I would not link each
title to the poem. Let them buy the book.)

I would use this page,
but tighten up the top part of it to put more information
about the book and a buy link in the first window.

I don't know which of you created which page, so I hope
I don't step on any feelings.

Incidentally, you might also make up a nice cover and
submit your book to http://ebookad.com it's free.

I just uploaded one that I am test-marketing there.
I will use their announcement tool later this week.


Comments -

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=== > Speaking Tip

Last week we started off with 'why use humor' in Public
Speaking. Here are the first few reasons ....

Using humor does the following for you:

What audience is going to listen to you if they don't feel you are
one of them?

MAKES YOU MORE LIKEABLE. The more an audience
likes you, the more they will be likely to agree with your ideas.

AROUSES INTEREST. Many of you speak to audiences that
don't even want to be there. Humor can help you gain their interest.

KEEPS ATTENTION. Grabbing interest at the beginning of a presentation is not
enough to carry you to the end. You must keep
the attention of the audience all the way. Unfortunately our audience's
attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. They are becoming more of
the MTV generation where the average time a shot is on the screen is just a
few seconds. According to Ron Hoff in his presentation skills book, I Can
See You Naked "If corporate managers ever saw
their own meetings on TV, they would pick up their remote controls
and zap themselves into oblivion in the flick of an eyelash." We are
competing with movies that have 100 million dollars in special effects.
We must be prepared to deliver a fast-paced program that
surprises members of the audience. At times we need to knock them
in the head to make sure they are present. Humor and other
presentation devices placed appropriately will help you do this.

[This is an extract from Tom Antion's ebook Wake 'em Up.
You can get your own copy via

This extract is not from Tom Antion's Great Speaking
Newsletter. However the Newsletter has tons of great
tips too.

You can subscribe FREE to Tom's newsletter 'Great Speaking'
To subscribe why not use our affiliate link (given below) ]


Comments or if have you a tip to share -

=====  New Discussions  =====

====> Lateral Thinking Games

Lateral thinking puzzles are often strange situations which require
an explanation. They are solved through a dialogue between the quizmaster
who sets the puzzle and the solver or solvers who try
to figure out the answer. The puzzles as stated generally do not
contain sufficient information for the solver to uncover the solution.
So a key part of the process is the asking of questions. The
questions can receive one of only three possible answers -
yes, no or irrelevant.

This kind of puzzle teaches you to check your assumptions about
any situation. You need to be open-minded, flexible and creative
in your questioning and able to put lots of different clues and pieces
of information together. And you're supposed to arrive
at the 'most' viable solution which is naturally the solution
that the puzzle writer came up with.

The way I enjoyed playing / solving these was to come up with
my own set of funny solutions. In fact what I found intriguing was
how many solutions I could come with for each situation.

Let's take an example ....

A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened
package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?

The solution you're supposed to arrive at after your set of
questions is ...

The man had jumped from a plane but his parachute had failed
to open. It is the unopened package.

The favorite among my own numerous solutions is ...

The unopened package contains a number of blasphemous
books. The man is trying to open the package when a bolt
of lightening....... ;-)

So whichever of the two above methods you prefer to play
I do hope that you will enjoy playing and will send me either
your questions which I'll answer with a "Yes, No or Irrelevant"
or send me the solution which tickles you enough to have you
rolling on the floor for the following situations....

1) A man walks into a bar and asks the barman for a glass of water.
The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man. The man says
'Thank you' and walks out.

2) A man pushed his car. He stopped when he reached a hotel at
which point he knew he was bankrupt. Why?

Waiting to hear from you,


Turning Dreams into Dollars...

An ebook in which you won't find the get-rich-quick
garbage or motivational fluff that sounds good but never
works. Not too surprising, since the editors of
Internet ScamBusters are publishing it."


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

I have a reputation at work for being a strict boss...

One day I was in the break room with another manager. I
reached into the refrigerator for my lunch, which was packed
in an Lowes Hardware paper bag.

My co-worker stopped in mid-bite and stared at me, looking
a little tense. When I pulled my sandwich out of the bag,
he sighed in relief.

"What's the matter?" I asked him. "Oh, nothing," he replied.
"I was just beginning to think you really DO eat nails for
(From Jo-Lene's Daily Humor)

Comments :


I-Laugh is edited by:
Eva Rosenberg mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

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