GNL number 121

a report of doings at meeting #121, Sunday, August 20, 2017
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter
is a universal connection. ~Jakob Smirnoff

Earth laughs in flowers.~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Winnie  spoke about the healing properties of humor, especially the emotional healing it provides in tough times. She told a story of a couple who are close friends who have suffered a lot of serious illness. For a while they were very gloomy and pressed down by their troubles. But then one day their demeanor totally changed. They said, “We decided we can cry or we can laugh, and we decided we need to laugh.”

Louise talked about visiting with a very ill friend who had Lousie in stitches telling Trump stories. She calls this “Survivor humor,” which she learned from her Jamaican husband, and the African American and Jamaican community she became a part of. The game of dominoes played by Jamaicans, Louise reports is a huge laughing spectacle. Louise also described images and experiences that cause her to smile internally with a kind of quiet pleasure that lasts for days. She calls that “inner smiling.” “Truth is pleasant to me even if it’s an unpleasant truth,” she reports and recited this quotation which caused days of “innersmiling,” “Agriculture in America is a failure on its way to a catastrophe.” ~Wendell Berry

Marge says that hearing, reading and telling jokes helps her get through the week. She attributes her long healthy life to walking just about everywhere with her husband Don and to enjoying humor. The first joke she told: Why don’t blind people like to sky dive? Because it scares the dog. More in Afterwords.

Cynthia reports that when Trump was elected she decided to create a comic book about his first 100 days in office, which meant she was reading and watching a lot of news. By the end of March it wasn’t funny any more—she created maybe 3 cartoons that may be funny in 20 years. Now she’s off the computer. She told a funny story sent to her by
Marge’s husband Don. See Afterwords.

Ann says that accepting the worst makes her smile. and she takes humor seriously. She noted that humor can have its negative side—in irony and sarcasm and gave us a 6-wordy: Humor sometimes intentionally covers secret biases. She believes it’s humor that allow us to take it all in stride. And more than one of us spoke in adimration of her very quick wit as she offered puns and other word-plays that made us all laugh. See Quotations in Afterwords.

Gail reported that African-American and Civil Rights comedian Dick Gregory died yesterday. He had a daughter that he named Miss, so white people would be forced to call her Miss Gregory. Gail said that her parents were divorced for many years when she and Winnie were children. Then they remarried. To come back together, they decided to put all the the tough things in the past and just see the funny side of it all. This worked, and continues to work today. Gail said “You have to laugh & sing every day.”

Sue as usual searched the dictionary—the word laughter originates from Old English hliehhan or hlihhan — “to laugh, laugh at, rejoice, deride,” so the negative aspect of humor was there early on. The IndoEuropean root kleg is connected to the cackling sound of laughter. It turns out apes laugh, as do rats, dogs, birds, dolphins. Apes and rats have what researchers call “tickle skin,” and there are reports of young dolphins huffing and panting when they are playfully leaping through the water. Those sounds never occur when they seem threatened, attacking or pained.

Sue has read about “survivor humor” among concentration camp inmates—there were camp jokes, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl has written “Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation.” & “The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while
mastering the art of living. Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent.. . .” From Man’s Search for Meaning. Sue likes to imagine the sounds of children laughing as a way topick up her mood. More quotes in Afterwords.

Nancy and Vijaya who could not make it sent their love.

We agreed to give our offering to Northeast Organic Farming Assn of NY which supports organic farmers, works to effect Federal farm policy, and has a program of support for migrant farm workers. Louise will write a check for $120.


Laughter is carbonated holiness. ~Anne Lammott

Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one
sits on one’s bottom. ~Taki


Field Trip, Tuesday Sept. 12, Trip to Syracuse Cultural Workers Center in Syracuse, NY. Sue won’t be able to make the trip in Sept. Gail and Ann said they could drive. Carpooling and other details to be figured closer to the time, when the group sees who can make it
and who can’t

Backup Meeting: If for some reason the Syracuse trip does not work out, we set a date for a Sunday meeting Sept 17 (at Gail’s or Nancy’s house). Noting all the idol-smashing (Confederate statues) going on in our nation, and starting to think about the questions: What are each of our personal idols? Who and what has our culture or we as
individuals have we idolized? We decided on the Topic: Idols.



  • Why do Pilgrims’ pants always fall down? They wear their belt buckle on their hat.
  • A day without sunshine is like night.
  • Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  • Remember half the people you know are below average.
  • I intend to live forever—so far so good.
  • When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Ole and Lena were sitting listening to the radio. “There will be 5 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd numbered side of the street. Ole gets up from his coffee and replies”Jeez, O.K.
Two days later the same thing only park on the even number side of thestreet. Ole replies, “Jeez, O.K.
Three days later, same report only the power went out and Ole didn’t hear the rest of instructions. He says to Lena”Jeez, what am I going to do?”
Lena replies,” Aw Ole, yust leave the car in the garage.”

Then there is the hypnotist story about a retirement meeting in the community hall. He hypnotized everyone by swinging his watch back and forth. Then he dropped his watch S**t! he exclaimed. They had to work hard to clean up the room.

Now here is a closing word from Confucius. Wherever you go, there you are.



The king wanted to go fishing, so he called on the royal weather forecaster and inquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours. The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days, So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen.

On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, “Your Majesty, you should return to the palace! In just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area”.

The king was polite and considerate, he replied: “I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional. And besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him.”

So the king continued on his way. However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.

Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the professional. Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of royal forecaster.

The farmer said, “Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey’s ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain.”

So the king hired the donkey.

And thus began the practice of hiring dumb asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions. The practice is unbroken to this date.


  • “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”
    Oscar Wilde
  • “There is nothing in the world more irresistibly contagious than laughter
    and good humor.” Charles Dickens
  • “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Winnie
    the Pooh, A.A. Milne
  • “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.” Mark Twain


  • “At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” Jean Houston
  • “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” ~Woody Allen
  • “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~Victor Borge
  • “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~Charlie Chaplin
  • “If you’re too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” ~Proverb
  • “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that islaughter.” ~Mark Twain
  • “As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.” — Lao Tsu
  • “If you have no tragedy, you have no comedy. Crying and laughing are the same emotion. If you laugh too hard, you cry. And vice versa.” ~Sid Caesar



GNL number 120

a report of doings at meeting #120, Sunday, July 11, 2017
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


Woodstock was both a peaceful protest and a global celebration.
—–musician Richie Havens

In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a
reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for
—–writer Audre Lorde

I celebrate myself, and what assume you shall assume. For every atom
belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I
lean and loafe at my ease…observing a spear of summer grass.
—–Walt Whitman


Sue opened today’s discussion of CELEBRATIONS with her research report on the word’s origin and meanings. She brought several quotes and twopicturebooks for all ages on the subject, and then recalled her own youthful celebratory crazed and stoned dancing to music, and earlier,so enjoying seeing her dad’s impromptu dance to early Elvis. And she
recalled how important the Jewish teaching on making each Sabbath acelebration of life has been to her. She also brought a cake to help us celebrate ten years of Skippy! See AFTERWORDS for her notes and

Though feeling festive about our cos birthday and looking forward to her family reunion at the lake later in July, Nancy’s first sense of celebration was of the small individual ways we express our thanks or joy in songs, poems, pictures, etal. She brought some, but most especially recalled two song moments of hers years ago—1st, on realizing she was whistling back to nature while walking (still doing it), and 2nd, on seeing while driving rte. 88, the hills were home. She read the 1st, Good Morning, Trees, and sang the 2nd, Muffintop Mountains. See AW for her N and Q.

Marge, our hostess, reported on a recent July 4th celebration she and Don had attended, the tradition of a couple they know, for a huge crowd with wonderful food and events, especially readings of the Declaration of Independence, with signees and background—much to inspire interest and pride in American history. They had a great time, with many new people, young and old. And later she showed us through her celebration of flowers in the backyard garden.

Ann brought us several fine 6-wordies (like Nature is the celebration of life), and quotes, and also played Three Dog Night’s old song (1970’s?)“Celebrate”! And she recalled her and Ell’s wedding a few years ago, after 40 years of togetherness, with its quiet celebration. And she admitted feeling puzzled about how the word celebrity came
into such use from derivation in the word celebration. See AFTERWORDS for her notes and quotes.

Gail noted a special occasion to celebrate coming up in her family—Virginia’s 16th Birthday! Always one to appreciate and celebrate the natural world, Gail was recalling beautiful places she had been, including a special spot of nature in West Texas that should get more appreciation and celebration. (And later she and her sister sang the praises of a new book discovery: The New Science of Cooking Cookbook.)

Gail’s sis Winnie, still up north enjoying her summer home here near Gail, was thus, happily for all, able to be with us again. Winnie was recalling family celebrations, and also ones she’d been involved in through her duties in organizations, where contributions by volunteers and staff are acknowledged and praised. And she admitted
celebrations in her experience have often been memorable for the work needed to do them as well!

We decided to direct today’s offering to Headstart, to help the kids
learn how to celebrate.
Falling Water farm, on Rosenberg Rd. Directions to follow. The
theme is Laughter/Humor.
(And Louise’s addition: Gardens)


Sunday, August 20 (1030) at Louise’s


Being thankful for and celebrating what is attracts more of what can
and will be.
—–T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise


from Sue

Notes & Quotes
Definitions/Usage:celebrate mid-15c., originally of the Mass, from Latin celebratus “much-frequented; kept solemn; famous,” past participle of celebrare “assemble to honor,” also “to publish; sing praises of; practice often,” originally “to frequent in great numbers,” from celeber “frequented, populous, crowded;” with transferred senses of “well-attended; famous; often-repeated.”

Quotations: “People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.
Source: The Wisdom of Heschel ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we’ll die” ~ dave matthews

“At the heart of the celebration, there are the poor. If [they] are excluded, it is not longer a celebration. […] A celebration must always be a festival of the poor.” ~Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

“To celebrate someone else’s life, we need to find a way to look at it straight on, not from above with judgment or from below with envy.” ~ Sharon Salzberg, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

“Celebration is a kind of food we all need in our lives, and each individual brings a special recipe or offering, so that together we will make a great feast. Celebration is a human need that we must not, and can not, deny. It is richer and fuller when many work and then celebrate together.” ~Corita Kent and Jan Steward

Books: (just ordered copies of these to donate to Head Start along with our contribution of $100)
Baylor, Byrd, I’m in Charge of Celebrations, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1986
Kindersley, Barnabas & Anabel, Celebrations! Festivals, carnivals &
feast days from around the world, UNICEF Just Like Me Series, DK
Publishing, 1997

Poem I didn’t read:
Celebration by Susan Fantl Spivack
How all the crickets,
locusts, katydids—
those humming buzzing clicking
rhythm setters—fill the morning
air with celebration.

As the risen sun shines through
last night’s rain clouds,
the breeze breathes
through the oak tree’s branches,

tossing to the ground showers
of illuminated raindrops
from all the shaken leaves.


from Nancy:

The arts are a celebration of life.
—–Michael Douglas

The connection of what I do, to flamenco lies in the whole lament, whole cry, whole pouring back into the earth and giving energy back to the earth. It’s a cry and a celebration. That’s what music, sound,vibration should do. It should spark energy in someone.
—–dancer Savion Glover

Welcome Morning
There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.
All this is God…
—–Anne Sexton

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
of the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

—–Chief Dan George

and my old walking song:

Good morning, Trees, I thank you, Trees, good morning,
Good morning, Birds, I thank you, Birds, good day.
Green growing things, I thank you all, good morning,
Small unseen things, I thank you all, good day.

All life today, I hear your song, it’s endless.
I sing to you, pray hear your song, forever.
I sing to you, sing back to you, your song.


From Ann

Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the
hands of the Gods. So let us celebrate the struggle! -Stevie Wonder

Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your
whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of
that miracle. Martha Graham

Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the
more trenchant for its being lost. Joyce Carol Oates

If Congress can move President’s Day, Columbus Day and, alas, Martin
Luther King’s Birthday celebration for the convenience of shoppers,
shouldn’t they at least consider moving Election Day for the
convenience of voters? Andrew Young

Where does the noun celebrity fit in?

Six Wordies:
Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music (stolen from Three Dog Night song)
We celebrate to acknowledge and enjoy.
Victory isn’t always cause for celebration.
Nature is the celebration of life.
Celebrations have more than two sides. was where I found the lyrics for Celebrate song by
Three Dog Night. Probably have to request the song specifically.
from Sue, I also found this link to full lyrics










« Older entries