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04th February 2004 # Issue 149
One evening I had been working late in my laboratory
fooling round with some gin and other chemicals.
~ Robert Benchley
IN THIS DIGEST :
~ from Tom Antion
How to get things done
~ from Chips off the Old Benchley
THIS WEEK'S HUMOR
THIS WEEK'S STRESS RELIEVER
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Imagine that you use a technique very different from
what others around you are using. It works like magic.
You haven't yet deliberated enough on it to write a
book on it ... but you are proud enough of it to sing
it's praises every time you get a chance.
And then one day you discover, that it's not really
YOUR technique at all. Other people have been
copying you for decades before you were born.
Now isn't that heart-breaking ? Maybe not enough
to make a grown man cry but certainly enough to stop
him from being able to write an entertaining opening
Not sure what I'm talking about ? Scroll down and
read "How to get things done" by Robert Benchley.
Without any further sobbing, here's I-Laugh # 149
With best wishes
Many a true word is spoken in Jest
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Jest in Literature (A) - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Oscar Wilde was the master of the studied insult. His jabs
at hypocrisy, pretense, and boring conventionality still have
a penetrating power. His snubs and put-downs became the
talk of his time, no less by his targets than by Oscar Wilde
himself. This collection features over 750 biting comments...
===== CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS ========
===> Speaking (Presentation) Tip
COOL COLOR COMMENTARY
By Tom Antion
Flip Chart Color
=> Black, blue and green inks have the greatest visibility.
=> Blue is the most pleasing color to look at with red coming
in second (note: pleasing to look at and visibility are not
=> Do not do the whole chart in red ink.
=> Avoid purple, brown, pink and yellow inks.
=> Permanent markers give the most vivid color but dry out
faster if you leave the cap off. They also frequently bleed
thru to the next page. Forget trying to get the ink out of
=> Water colors are less vivid and squeak when you write. Ink
will wash out of clothing.
Use Color Thoughtfully
=> Use bright colors for small graphics to make them stand out.
=> Use subtle colors for large graphics so they dont overwhelm.
Use Color Psychologically
According to Greg Bandy in "Multimedia Presentation Design for
the Uninitiated" certain colors evoke certain emotions.
=> RED = Brutal, Dangerous, Hot, Stop!
=> DARK BLUE = Stable, Trustworthy, Calm
=> LIGHT BLUE = Cool, Refreshing
=> GRAY = Integrity, Neutral, Mature
=> PURPLE = Regal, Mysterious
=> GREEN = Organic, Healthy, New life, Go Money
=> ORANGE / YELLOW = Sunny, Bright, Warm
=> WHITE = Pure, Hopeful, Clean
=> BLACK = Serious, Heavy, Profitable, Death
~ from Tom Antion's 'Great Speaking' newsletter.
To subscribe (free) why not use our affiliate link (given below) ]
Comments or if have you a tip to share -
Click: The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing for
Speakers, Authors, Coaches and Consultants...by Tom Antion
========= NEW DISCUSSIONS =============
===> How to Get Things Done
~ Robert Benchley
A great many people have come up to me and asked
me how I manage to get so much work done and still
keep looking so dissipated. Hundreds of thousands of
people throughout the country are wondering how I have
time to do all my painting, engineering, writing and
philanthropic work when, according to the rotogravure
sections and society notes, I spend all my time riding to
hounds, going to fancy-dress balls disguised as Louis XIV,
or spelling out GREETINGS TO CALIFORNIA in formation
with three thousand Los Angeles school children. "All work
and all play," they say.
The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting
work done is a simple one. I have based it very deliberately
on a well-known psychological principle and have refined it
so that it is now almost too refined. I shall have to begin
coarsening it up again pretty soon.
The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount
of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing
at that moment.
Let us see how this works out in practice. Let us say that I
have five things which have to be done before the end of the
week: (1) a basketful of letters to be answered, some of them
dating from October, 1928 (2) some bookshelves to be put up
and arranged with books (3) a hair-cut to get (4) a pile of
scientific magazines to go through and clip (I am collecting all
references to tropical fish that I can find, with the idea of
someday buying myself one) and (5) an article to write for this
Now. With these five tasks staring me in the face on Monday
morning, it is little wonder that I go right back to bed as soon
as I have had breakfast, in order to store up health and strength
for the almost superhuman expenditure of energy that is to come.
Mens sana in corpore sano is my motto.
As I lie in bed on Monday morning storing up strength, I make
out a schedule. "What do I have to do first?" I ask
those letters really should be answered and the pile of scientific
magazines should be clipped. And here is where my secret
process comes in. Instead of putting them first on the list, I put
them last. I say: "First you must write that article for the
newspaper." I sometimes go so far in this self-deception as
to make out a list in pencil, with "No. 1. Newspaper article"
underlined in red. (The underlining in red is rather difficult, as
there is never a red pencil on the table beside the bed, unless I
have taken one to bed with me on Sunday night.)
I then seat myself at my desk with my typewriter before me
and sharpen five pencils. (The sharp pencils are for poking
holes in the desk-blotter, and a pencil has to be pretty sharp
to do that. I find that I can't get more than six holes out of
one pencil.) Following this I say to myself "Now, old man!
Get at this article!"
Gradually the scheme begins to work. My eye catches the
pile of magazines, which I have artfully placed on a near-by
table beforehand. I write my name and address at the top of
the sheet of paper in the typewriter and then sink back.
The magazines being within reach, I look to see if anyone is
watching me and get one off the top of the pile. Hello, what's
this! In the very first one is an article by Dr. William Beebe,
illustrated by horrifying photographs! Pushing my chair away
from my desk, I am soon hard at work clipping.
One of the interesting things about the Argyopelius, or "Silver
Hatchet" fish, I find, is that it has eyes in its wrists. I would
have been sufficiently surprised just to find out that a fish had
wrists, but to learn that it has eyes in them is a discovery so
astounding that I am hardly able to cut out the picture.
Thus, before the afternoon is half over, I have gone through
the scientific magazines and have a neat pile of clippings
(including one of a Viper Fish which I wish you could see.
You would die laughing). Then it is back to the grind of the
This time I get as far as the title, which I write down with
considerable satisfaction until I find that I have misspelled
one word terribly, so that the whole sheet of paper has to
come out and a fresh one be inserted. As I am doing this,
my eye catches the basket of letters.
Now, if there is one thing that I hate to do (and there is,
you may be sure) it is to write letters. But somehow, with
the magazine article before me waiting to be done, I am
seized with an epistolary fervor, and I slyly sneak the first
of the unanswered letters out of the basket. I figure out in
my mind that I will get more into the swing of writing the
article if I practice on a few letters.
This first one, anyway, I really must answer. True, it is
from a friend in Antwerp asking me to look him up when
I am in Europe in the summer of 1929, so he can't actually
be watching the incoming boats for an answer, but I owe
something to politeness after all. So instead of putting a
fresh sheet of copy-paper into the typewriter, I slip in one
of my handsome bits of personal stationery and dash off
a note to my friend in Antwerp. Then, being well in the
letter-writing mood, I clean up the entire batch.
I feel a little guilty about the article, but the pile of freshly
stamped envelopes and the bundle of clippings on tropical
fish do much to salve my conscience. Tomorrow I will do
the article, and no fooling this time.
When tomorrow comes I am up with one of the older and
more sluggish larks. A fresh sheet of copy-paper in the
machine, and my name and address neatly printed at the
top, and all before eleven A.M.! "A human dynamo" is the
name I think up for myself. I have decided to write something
about snake-charming and am already more than satisfied with
the title "These Snake-Charming People." But, in order to
write about snake-charming, one has to know a little about its
history, and where should one go to find history but to a book?
Maybe in that pile of books in the corner is one on
So, with a perfectly clear conscience, I leave my desk for a few
minutes and begin glancing over the titles. Of course, it is
to find any book, much less one on snake-charming, in a pile
which has been standing in the corner for weeks. What really is
needed is for them to be on a shelf where their titles will be
visible at a glance. And there is the shelf, standing beside the
pile of books! It seems almost like a divine command: "If you
want to finish that article, first put up the shelf and arrange the
books on it!" Nothing could be clearer or more logical.
In order to put up the shelf, the laws of physics have decreed that
there must be nails, a hammer and some sort of brackets. You
can't just wet a shelf with your tongue and stick it up. And, as
there are no nails or brackets in the house, the next thing to do is
to put on my hat and go out to buy them. Much as it disturbs me
to put off the actual start of the article, I feel that I am doing only
what is in the line of duty. As I put on my hat, I realize to my
chagrin that I need a hair-cut badly. I can kill two birds with
one stone, and stop in at the barber's on the way back. I
will feel all the more like writing after a turn in the fresh air.
Any doctor would tell me that.
So in a few hours I return, spick and span and smelling of lilac,
bearing nails, brackets, the evening papers and some crackers
and peanut butter. Then it's ho! for a quick snack and a glance
through the papers (there might be something in them which
would alter what I was going to write about snake-charming)
and in no time at all the shelf is up, slightly crooked but up, and
the books are arranged in a neat row. There does not happen to
be one on snake-charming, but there is a very interesting one
containing some Hogarth prints which will bear closer inspection.
And so, you see, in two days I have done four of the things I had
to do, simply by making believe that it was the fifth that I must do.
And the next day, I fix up something else, like taking down the
bookshelf and putting it somewhere else, that I have to do, and
then I get the fifth one done.
The only trouble is that, at this rate, I will soon run out of things
to do, and will be forced to get at my newspaper articles the first
thing Monday morning.
[from Chips off the Old Benchley (c) 1949]
=========== This week's Humor ==============
The Right Word ?
(I came across a Mark Twain quote which says ...
"The difference between the right word and the
nearly right word is the same as that between
lightning and the lightning bug."
... soon after, I stumbled across this - )
I recently overheard a boss talking to one of his employees
at a restaurant recently. "Was your wife mad when you got
home so late last night?" the boss asked.
"Yes, she was plumb historical," the employee replied.
"Don't you mean hysterical?"
"No, I mean historical. She brought up things that happened
forty years ago."
(from Jo-Lene's Daily Humor)
=========== This week's Stress Reliever? ==============
is right here ...
And on the 8th day God said, "OK Murphy, you take over."
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