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I-Laugh - Your 'Working' Humor Discussion List
Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg mailto:email@example.com
Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
1st October 2003 # Issue 131
An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
~ Spanish Proverb
IN THIS DIGEST :
Moderator's Comment -
The Other Moderator's Comment
~ from Tom Antion
IDEAS TO PONDER AND DISCUSS
Wanted: An Unpractical Man
THIS WEEK'S HUMOR
THIS WEEK'S STRESS RELIEVER
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I sit down to write this issue of I-Laugh on a sombre note.
I have just received a note from my good friend (and
Laughmate) The Doc (JD Lentz) that his mother has passed
I reflect about the internet and email and how it has brought
me so close to people halfway across the globe. People
who I've not yet had the chance to meet and yet consider
amongst the best of my friends. What a gift it is to have
an opportunity to interact and learn from such people.
I reflect on the beauty of the words written by The Doc
even at such a time. Yes, I need to keep practicing my
writing skills, till some day it becomes second nature
to me too. Only then I feel will I be able to come up
with such a beautiful note even at such a rough time.
I reflect on his words "I am both proud and humbled by
the thought that the physical world is a bit poorer with
today's sunrise." Simple words. And yet so beautiful.
Am I leading a life that will enable my son to one day
think on those terms ?
I owe much.
I have nothing.
I leave the rest to the poor.
...brings a smile - and you wonder, is it permitted to smile
at a time like this ? Would the Doc appreciate it ? How on
earth could he think of it now ? Would the smile be disrespectful ...
And then you remember, how Doc's mom had reacted when the
doctor had told her that she didn't have much time left and you
know that she would have loved that signature. She would be
proud that her son came up with something like that.
And then there's another hard part. Replying to the mail.
What does one say ? I'm sorry ! Naturally. But what else?
I hunt through tons of texts (I firmly believe that if you do
not have suitable words yourself, atleast search and see if
somebody else's words maybe appropriate).
After much thought I settle on a poem by Sri Aurobindo ...
Life And Death
Life, death, - death, life; the words have led for ages
Our thought and consciousness and firmly seemed
Two opposites; but now long-hidden pages
Are opened, liberating truths undreamed.
Life only is, or death is life disguised, -
Life a short death until by Life we are surprised.
With no further ado here's I-Laugh #131.
With best wishes
Many a true word is spoken in Jest
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The Other Moderator's Comment
Dear LaughMates and Dear Doc,
Mothers are wonderful. When you have your mother with you
until well into your adulthood, you're blessed with a precious
Another blessing is to know when you are dying. With Doc's
mother knowing her time was limited, you have the opportunity
to say all the things in your heart. To ensure your mother knows
just how much you love her. And she can tell you all those
little secrets about you that she's held from your childhood.
The more you love her, the more you'll see here everywhere
you turn, and in every experience you have. She'll always be
a part of your awareness, as you want to run to a phone at
the end of the day and tell her all about your amusing
It's OK. She's listening.
While I don't know if I really believe in life after death, reincarnation,
transmigration of souls, Heaven or Hell. I do know that I always
KNEW my mother was with me all through my adolescence.
I could always feel her protective presence - until I was over 30.
So, mothers, at least, live on and on.
Your friend and Comic Guide,
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===== CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS ========
===> Speaking Tip
MEET SAM ANTION
Speaking Leadership Skills from a Man Who Came
to America in a Dung Filled Cattle Boat
I've been bragging about my dad ever since 1973 when
I did my graduation speech. I've even done professional
speeches about one of the techniques he used to make me
tough when I was just a baby (see below). Until I was preparing
his eulogy this past week, I have never actually written down
all the leadership skills he taught me. As I was working
on them, I thought that they would be a good example that
anyone could use both in their life and from the platform.
I only saw dad speak in public once and that was at his
50th wedding anniversary, but I witnessed the leadership
skills listed below, my whole life.
Here's Dad's Memorial Top 10 List
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 1
BUILD IT STRONG
Dad would always build things more sturdy than they needed
to be so that he would never have to worry when an
extraordinary force was applied. He knew that whatever he
built would stand up to the test. This applied to both
character traits and real hammer and nail construction.
In fact, without his insistence on this leadership trait,
I would not be here today.
When I was 16 years old a drunk driver doing nearly
100 mph (161 kmph) ran his car off the road smashing it into
the corner of our living room. I was the only one in the room
when it exploded around me. Had this been a normally built
house the car would have burst thru the wall and killed me.
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 2
DON'T TAKE SHORT CUTS
Dad was an electrician by trade. When doing his wiring he
would always route the flat wires he worked with in a nice
symmetrical and evenly spaced pattern. He would never just
cut across the shortest distance to save wire and make his
costs a little cheaper. I remember as a child watching him
and asking him why he did this when it would be a lot shorter
to just run the wires directly between two points. He said,
"When someone looks at this job years from now they will
know that a professional did it and also, if they ever
have trouble, they will be able to track down the problem
easier because I did a nice neat job."
I can't remember dad ever being out of work one day in
my whole life. When everyone else was laid-off, he was
always in demand.
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 3
DON'T WASTE THINGS OR PEOPLE
Think a rock isn't worth much? Read on. At the age of 73
dad was purchasing some used lumber that someone had
advertised in the paper. When he went to pick it up he saw
a large number of boulders in the front yard of the place
where he bought the lumber. He asked what they were going
to do with the boulders. The man said, "I just want to get
them out of here." Dad spent two weeks hauling them back
to our house and another two months cutting them up with
a chisel and a hammer. He then built a beautiful stone
fireplace and chimney for one of our rental properties.
Also, I can't tell you the number of nails I removed from
used lumber that dad made me straighten and use over
again. I still do it to this day. A bent nail with a little help
can be very useful again. Sometimes people also need a
little help to do the job they were meant to do.
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 4
BE SELF RELIANT
Working as a team is great, but when the team isn't there
you just don't sit down and wait for help. Dad built pretty
much every building and rental property we own. I remember
being so busy with football and other activities that I didn't
get to help him too much (I probably would have slowed
him down anyway). One day while he was working on
remodeling one of our buildings he asked me to go to the
automotive parts store to get him about 20 feet of clear gas
line tubing and several bottles of Coca Cola. I wondered what
he was up to because he never drank Coke and our car was
I came back with the tubing and the Coke and stood back and
watched as he did his thing. He plugged one end of the tubing
and started pouring Coke in the other end (I was sure he had
lost his mind after spending three months building the
chimney). He said, "When you boys aren't around it's hard
for me to make things level because I can't be at both ends
of these long 2x4s. So I'm going to nail one end of this
tubing on one end of where I'm working and take the other
end of the tubing with me to the other end of the board.
He knew from his self-taught physics studies that liquids
seek their own level. He could see through the clear tubing
to the Coca Cola inside. The level of the Coke on one end
of the tubing would be exactly the same level as at the other
end of the tubing and that's where he would nail his board
and it was always perfectly level.
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 5
Dad only went to the 5th grade and that was after skipping
two grades, so he really only had three years of formal
education. At ten years old (the oldest boy with father
deceased) he was head of his household and shining shoes
to support the family. He saved part of his tips and ordered
an electrical engineering course from the American School.
At 13 he had his own electrical contracting company and
installed the first electric light in Carnegie PA. He also
bought his younger sister the first electric washing tub
in Bridgeville, PA
He would read, read, and read some more every time he
wanted to learn how to do something. When he retired around
the age of 73 he sat down and read the ENTIRE World Book
Encyclopedia. Now that's a lot of reading! Still at 94 and
being legally blind he listened to hours and hours of
biographies and books on tape, and newspapers on tape
provided by the Library of Congress for blind people. He
knew more about current events than anyone. If you want to
learn how to do something, study and try it out until you
get it right.
LEADERSHIP SKILL #6
YOU CAN HAVE WHATEVER YOU WANT
IF YOU ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR IT
This was the 1910 version of "Just do it." I don't want you
to think I wasn't given tons of things by my parents,
because I was. But the most valuable thing was that I was
conditioned from a very young age that the world didn't
"owe" me a living. I had to earn it. I got a serious work
ethic that I will always carry with me. If I want something,
I go after it. I won't step on people to get what ever it is,
and I won't cheat or steal, but I will work until I get it
or don't want it anymore.
This would be a foreign language to many of today's youth.
LEADERSHIP SKILL #7
GIVE BEFORE YOU GET
During the depression work was more than scarce . . . more
like non existent. Even my dad was out of work. He told me
that he said to himself, "I'm a really valuable worker and
I'm not going to sit around here and do nothing when there
is work out there to be done." He knew there was a fruit
shipping warehouse not too far from where he lived so he
went down to the loading docks dressed for work and just
started helping the men load apples. Eventually the
foreman noticed him and asked the other guys who he was.
They said they didn't know but that he just started loading
apples. In fact, he was doing the work of three men. The
foreman was so impressed he hired him on the spot and
he hired several of my dad's cousins who were willing to
prove themselves first.
Not realizing I was being influenced by my dad, I used to
do the same thing when my landlord in college would work
on our house. I would go out and help him just to learn how
to fix things. This same landlord gave me the biggest
financial break of my young career when he guaranteed the
financing and sold me his largest rental property when he
retired to Florida and I hadn't even graduated from college
LEADERSHIP SKILL #8
YOU CAN OVERCOME OBSTACLES
This is one of my favorites. I have a visual that I use
in a segment of a program called "You are Unstoppable."
The visual depicts a baby crawling on cushions with a red
ball on the other side of the cushions.
Dad told me that he
would put my toys on one side of the room and put pillows
in front of me to teach me to overcome obstacles. Anyone
that knows me sees all the time that I'll figure a way to get
something done if it is worthwhile getting done.
Knowing that you can't be held back no matter what happens
to you is a very powerful feeling to have inside. It gives
you an unbridled confidence. Both my parents aligned to
make me feel this way. Most of you don't know this about me,
but 14 years ago I lost everything and was totally broke,
sleeping on a mattress in a vacant house, injured and unable
to walk, and living off credit cards. The powerful feeling
burned inside of me to overcome this obstacle which I did
by coming up with an idea for a unique entertainment company
that in turn helped launch my speaking career.
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 9
STICK BY YOUR SPOUSE
Well I haven't had much chance to try this one out yet, but
when I do get the chance . . . I will. :) My dad stuck by
my mother even when, as a know-it-all teenager, I knew she
was clearly wrong. Maybe that's why they made it 57 +
years. (I'll have more to say on this one if I ever get
some real life experience. ha ha ha ha)
LEADERSHIP SKILL # 10
RISK EVERYTHING FOR SOMETHING
Did you ever wonder why many people don't achieve their
goals? Could it be because they were never really willing
to commit fully to them? . . . They always gave themselves
easy outs so if the going got tough they could bail out
easily. Around 1946 with a house full of kids and more on
the way Dad took every nickel he had, went 50 miles out of
the city and bought 156 acres of land, a bull dozer and
enough fuel to run it. He did not want his kids being
raised in the filthy air and tough streets of Pittsburgh, PA.
He built a truck stop and motel and eventually warehouses,
rental cottages and our house on National Route 40 one mile
east of Claysville, PA His work can still be seen there today
(along with the chimney I mentioned earlier that is on one of
our rental properties).
All the kids grew up healthy and strong and not one ever
got into any trouble (except the time I ran away from home
and ate grass soup and hotdogs for two hours before I gave
up and returned home)
~ from Tom 'Great Speaking' newsletter
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=== IDEAS TO PONDER AND DISCUSS ======
===> New Extract - Wanted: An Unpractical Man
Last week's extract was from G.K Chesterton's
"What is wrong with the world."
Read the introduction to this book and you'll be hooked.
I certainly was ...
To C. F G. Masterman, M. P.
My Dear Charles,
I originally called this book "What is Wrong," and it would
have satisfied your sardonic temper to note the number of
social misunderstandings that arose from the use of the title.
Many a mild lady visitor opened her eyes when I remarked
casually, "I have been doing 'What is Wrong' all this morning."
And one minister of religion moved quite sharply in his chair
when I told him (as he understood it) that I had to run upstairs
and do what was wrong, but should be down again in a minute.
Exactly of what occult vice they silently accused me I cannot
conjecture, but I know of what I accuse myself; and that is,
of having written a very shapeless and inadequate book, and
one quite unworthy to be dedicated to you. As far as literature
goes, this book is what is wrong and no mistake.
========== NEW DISCUSSIONS =========
===> Funny Words
In the last couple of week's I've been doing a lot of humorous
reading. You already know that I've just gone through Dave Barry's -
'Dave Barry is not taking this sitting down'. Since then, I've
read Scott Adam's 'Don't Step in the Leadership' and 'Seven
years of Highly Defective People' which is a Darwinian tale of
how his comic characters evolved (after he created them ;).
I've noticed, that both of them often come to this theme of
"funny words." Dave for example finds the words 'weasel
boogers' hilarious and right in the introduction to his
book has a Test of your Humor-Columnist Aptitude.
In the test the second question reads -
The primary purpose of a newspaper column is to:
a) Inform the readers about all sides of important issues.
b) Change reader's minds through reasoned argument.
c) Contain the phrase "weasel boogers".
If you didn't answer c, in Dave's opinion, you have very little
hope of making it as a humor columnist. In a later chapter
he explores how it is amusing to use the word 'brassiere' in
a column and puts an entire column of them into his column.
Dilbert's computer determines for Adams that chainsaw,
weasel, prune and any reference to Gilligan's Island are
the funniest words in the world.
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in business communication particular words which
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=========== This week's Humor ==============
Dan Rather, Jesse Jackson, Cokie Roberts from National Public Radio
and an Israeli soldier were hiking through the jungle one day when they
were captured by cannibals. They were tied up, led to the village and
brought before the chief.
The chief said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting
condemned a last wish. Before we kill and eat you, do you have any
Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of
spicy chili." The chief nodded to an underling, who left and returned
Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."
Jesse Jackson said, "You know, the thing in this life I am proudest
my work on behalf of the poor and oppressed. So before I go, I want
to sing "We Shall Overcome" one last time."
The chief said, "Go right ahead, we're listening."
Jackson sang the song, and then said, "Now I can die in peace."
Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out
my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to
happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was
on the job till the end."
The chief directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Roberts
dictated some comments.
She then said, "Now I can die happy."
The chief said, "And, Mr. Israeli soldier, what is your final
"Kick me in the butt." said the Israeli.
"What?" said the chief. "Will you mock us in your last
"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the butt."
insisted the Israeli.
So the chief untied the soldier, shoved him into the open, and kicked him
in the butt.
The Israeli went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9mm pistol
from his waistband, and shot the chief dead.
In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his uzi,
and sprayed the cannibals with gunfire.
In a flash, the cannibals were all dead or fleeing for their lives.
As the Israeli was untying the others, they each asked him, "Why
you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you in the butt?"
"What!?" said the Israeli, "And have you idiots call ME the
(From Dr Stan Kegel's Groaner's Digest
=========== This week's Stress Reliever? ==============
This is amazing. The summary I got was fantastic though
I left around 5 of the questions unanswered.
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