GNL number 39

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #39, Sunday, September 12, 2010
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

(George Bernard Shaw, referring to…)

…that older and greater church to which I belong:
the church where the oftener you laugh the better,
because by laughter only can you
destroy evil without malice, and
affirm good fellowship without mawkishness.


THEME

What makes us LAUGH? Nancy thought first of play—teasing and being teased by people, especially kids.  Then, the element of surprise—unexpected sweet silliness, or fresh-thinking, bold, brave (and funny) acts like that of the Yes-Men, Rev. Billy, Colbert, and Stewart, or moments in favorite movies like the peace and quiet scene in What About Bob, or almost any Larson cartoon.  Or just being in the same room when the Car Guys start their show—contact laughter. She read some limericks too.  See AFTERWORDS for notes/quotes.

Sue began with Woody Allen’s wonderful quote about laughing till milk comes out your nose, then referred to favorite movies, cartoons, and books, and then told several hilarious family anecdotes, including ones about a “dumb” family fight, which all the participants were able to laugh at afterwards, and Jay’s uncle whose name inspired a gloriously funny misnomer.  Please see AFTERWORDS for her further notes and quotes.

Chris spoke of her dad’s sharp wit, and then of her husband’s sense of humor.  She said Paul makes her laugh at least once a day (which she requires), and told several stories about his funny replies, including one early on in their relationship, which probably sealed his fate.  She also said she’s noticed that she gravitates toward people who laugh and make her laugh, a healthy habit.

Ann also mentioned her father’s sharp sense of humor, and then that she’d noticed that it was not only fun to laugh, but to provoke laughter in others, realizing how much she enjoys this (–us too, thanks, Ann).  She and others also spoke of the pain caused by derisive laughter, and wisecracks to relieve tension, as in a MASH unit. And she recalled a favorite bumpersticker: “She Who Laughs, Lasts”.

Adair, who gave us a most happy report before the meeting started on taking her critically ill friend Peggy to a fabulous concert at the Troy Bank, added to the discussion of laughter as relaxer and loosener of grief.  And she told a story on herself as longtime boycotter of things, with her son’s funny line to his friend, about their quick getting some food before Mom boycotts it.  She also cited a photo piece online (“the world’s strangest creatures”, which closed with a picture of Sarah Palin).

Jack just smiled and said he had no new funny stories for us at the moment, but others jumped in immediately to say his grin and eyes and funloving attitude make people ready to laugh with delight, and this brought a bigger smile.

Anna said she had no prepared comments, but did want to report that after years of being entertained by the various small animals that visit her back deck every night, she will also get to be amused by some big animals out front, as the neighbors across the road now have horses.  And she noted one of the beauties of social encounters like this is the opportunity to share and laugh at life’s ironies.

Gail and Virginia were visiting in DC, but sent word of a special anti-stress diet, which Cynthia read to us, and which made us very happy. See AFTERWORDS.

Cynthia described an incident at the funeral of her father, who had left the family early and she and her siblings did not know well;  her sister had been seized with a little giggle that turned uncontrollable, and after a few moments, Cynthia found herself caught in this laughter too, and they had to leave the room.  The situation seemed to underline how close laughter and tears are, and how laughter sometimes has to pave the way for tears.

We decided to offer our collection today to the program Elliott knew of through Vets for Peace, called Stand for Justice, which is preparing a ship with goods for Gaza.


BENEDICTION

There was a young artist called Saint,
Who swallowed some samples of paint.
All shades of the spectrum
Flowed out of his rectrum
With a colorful lack of restraint.
—–Anonymous


NEXT TIME

(CHANGE OF PLANS! TWO meetings, back to back in October!) Sunday, October 3, 2010 (1030), but at Nancy’s house, 155 North Street, Cobleskill, and  our regular date, Sunday, October 10, 2010 (1030) at Jack’s. The topic is Thoughts about our own Funeral/Memorial. Come to either, or both, just come!

(And we’ll try again if it’s a rainless day to open the Skippy BookMobile for your borrowing pleasure.)


AFTERWORDS

from Nancy

Nothing, no experience good or bad, no belief, no cause,
is in itself momentous enough to monopolize
the whole life to the exclusion of laughter.
—George Bernard Shaw

Humans think they are smarter than dolphins
because we build cars and buildings and start wars, etc.
and all dolphins do is swim in the waters, eat fish, and play around.
Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.
—Douglas Adams

Other limericks

There was an old man of Calcutta
Who coated his tonsils with butter,
Thus  converting his snore
From a thunderous roar
To a soft oleagenous mutter.
—Ogden Nash 

There was a young fellow named Cager
Who, as a result of a wager,
Offered to fart
The whole oboe part
of Mozart’s Quartet in F Major.
—Anonymous

and Did You Know….

Every day at 6 am in Bangalore, India, dozens of people in their 40’s to 80’s gather in the city’s little parks “for their morning ritual of smiles, giggles, chortles and belly laughs, that in combination with stretching and breathing exercises, make up the quintessentially Indian discipline of ‘laughter yoga”‘. For 45 minutes they do ‘stretch laughter, blaster laughter, ice cream laughter, coffee laughter, mobile laughter, lion laughter, meditative smile,’ slowing down to feeling self as antenna, with cosmic energy entering through left hand and negative energy leaving through right hand,  then Shanti Shanti (peace), ending with appreciation laughter aimed at each other. Participants often say that even with history of serious illness, they now feel fit, and never miss this morning yoga.—taken from Washington Post article.

from Sue

Quotations

  • “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” ~Woody Allen
  • “At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” ~Jean Houston
  • “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~Victor Borge
  • “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” ~Yiddish Proverb
  • “Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Movies I mentioned

  • Groundhog Day
  • Charlie Chaplin, eating shoelaces like spaghetti in Gold Rush
  • Comics

  • Peanuts
  • Calvin & Hobbes
  • Book I recommended

    Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, by Donald Harrington, in which he invented—way before chronic fatigue syndrome came on the scene, a disease called the Frakes which sent you to your bed for decades, and which could infect a whole village with ridiculous results.

    2 little humorous tales

  • 1. Jay’s uncle Hyman Spivack once got a credit card mailed to him in the name of “Human Spinach.” He kept it and delighted in showing it to people.
  • 2. My brother Richard is a psychotherapist and many years ago worked at California State Mental Institution. He formed a support group of all the men confined there who thought they were Jesus Christ—there were at least six or seven of them. When I asked him what they thought of the other guys who were saying they were Jesus, he said, “Oh, they were all very compassionate and forgiving. They were Jesus Christ after all, so they didn’t try to talk each other out of their delusions.”
    This happened of course, before folks were saying “What would Jesus say?” or “What would Jesus do?” But these guys were really walking the walk.
  • from Ann

    I had a six wordie not quite worked out at our meeting, now finished: Only time separates us from death; a bit grim but then the thought came to me that in that time the survival mechanism is laughter.

    from Gail

    New Diet for the COS cookbook
    
This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds up during the day.


    Breakfast
    
1 grapefruit
    
1 slice whole grain toast
    
1 cup of skim milk

    Lunch
    
small portion lean, steamed chicken with a cup of spinach
    
1 cup herbal tea
    
1 hershey kiss

    Afternoon tea
    
the rest of the kisses in the bag and a tub of Hagen Daas ice cream with chocolate-chip topping

    Dinner
    
3 bottles of wine (red or white)
    
2 loaves garlic bread
    
1 family size supreme pizza
    
3 snickers bars

    Late night snack
    
1 whole frozen Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

    
REMEMBER: Stressed spelled backwards is “desserts”


    Here is my entry for laughter. I couldn’t live without it. It has changed many a glum day for me. If you listen real hard you can hear me laughing with you. Miss and love you all. See you soon I hope. Gail

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