Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is God Speaking....

A few years back, billboards bearing "messages from God" appeared along American highways. Those arch one-liners were commissioned anonymously and conceived by Charlie Robb, former creative director for the Smith Agency in Fort Lauderdale.

Some sample messages, each signed, simply, "God":

Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage.

Will the road you're on get you to my place?

That "love thy neighbor" thing -- I meant it.

Do you have any idea where you're going?

Follow me.

Keep using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer.

Need a marriage counsellor? I'm available.

I don't question your existence.

What part of "thou shalt not" did you not understand?

We need to talk.

Don't make me come down there.

(Tom Kuntz in The New York Times

Can you think of others you'd add, if you were God?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Men in a Boat...

(To Say Nothing of the Dog!)

Well, many thanks to my hundreds of followers for all your comments :)

It seems it's not altogether easy to assess exactly what it is that makes us laugh.

In my research for the magazine article, I remembered something that, many decades ago, really made me laugh. Maybe you will get a chuckle out of it too:

But I want to share with you something that my British sense of humour really enjoys.

I am reading Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. Jerome wrote it in 1889. I've probably read it three times in my life -- that's a lot, considering I rarely read a fiction book more than once.

Here's the introduction:

...a merry, but scandalously lazy band of well-to-do young men -- and a plucky and rather world-weary fox terrier named Montmorency -- (decide to take) an idyllic cruise along the River Thames.

Feeling seedy, muses one of them dreamily, "What we want is rest." What they find instead is one hapless catastrophe after another.

Soggy weather, humiliating dunkings, the irritating behavior of small boats, and the "contrariness of teakettles" are just a few of the barbarisms our genteel heroes are forced to endure. But to which a delighted reader can only sing, Hooray!

But it's a passage about Montmorency the dog I'd like you to read:

To look at Montmorency you would imagine he was an angel sent upon the earth - for some reason withheld from mankind - in the shape of a small fox terrier.

There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been know to bring tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen.

(At first) I used to sit down and look at him, as he sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: "Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that's what will happen to him."

But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens he had killed; and dragged him, growling and kicking by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large that had kept him pinned up in his own toolshed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer after all.

If you've never read Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), I can only encourage you to get a copy. If you don't have much to laugh about, this book will change everything!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Laughing Out Loud

I've been given an assignment --

to write about laughter.
I've got some great ideas in mind -- but I thought you might like to help me.

First -- what makes you laugh?

Is it listening to a good joke?

Hearing from a special friend?

Being with someone you love?

Watching a sitcom together?

Or seeing your favourite team win?

Do you laugh when someone tickles you?!

I'd really like to hear about what makes YOU laugh!

(or -- maybe you don't laugh very much)