Archive for October, 2006

Las Vegas Tips

Monday, October 30th, 2006

We’ve updated our Las Vegas Tips.  If you ever visit Las Vegas you’ll find it interesting and filled with recommendations on shows, dining ideas, and tips for winning in the casinos.  Also check out the light humor touch which accents the page.

Related articles — Study A Celebrity

Rita Rudner
Barry Manalow
Clint Holmes
Society of Seven
Wes Winters Musical Tribute to Liberace

Humor and Speaking Skills — Toastmasters Articles

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Humor and Speaking Skills — Toastmasters Articles

If you have access to the Toastmaster Magazine, the October issue features three feature-length humor skills articles, including That’s Not Funny by John Kinde, pages 16-19.  If you can’t get your hands on a copy visit the Toastmasters web site for articles in their archives.  Although the October issue isn’t archived yet, there are many excellent articles on both humor and speaking skills for your enjoyment. 

Creative Humor Writing — Pet Peeve Limericks

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Here are the winners of our Pet Peeve Limerick Contest.  We had 240 entries which were judged by our panel of five judges (speakers and improv players). 

 Be sure to look at the honorable mention entries.  You’ll find lots of great limericks.  You’ll probably find your pet peeve in the list.

 Enjoy!

FIRST PLACE

“Less crimes” could be so undemanding.
The prisons we could be disbanding.
Have the crooks in one cage
Fight with all of their rage
And relock-up the one that’s left standing!!

S Frank Stringham, Las Vegas, Nevada
Note:  He titled each of his limericks.  A great idea.
The title of this limerick was:   Jailhouse Rocket Science

SECOND PLACE

“One bite won’t kill you,” they chant
As more food on your full plate they plant
Only good they intend
I don’t mean to offend
But my butt’s busting out of my pants!

Karishma, Lynchburg, Virginia

THIRD PLACE

My good advise is always free
Why won’t my husband listen to me.
He refuses to understand
He could be a better man
But listening to me is the key.

Nancy Lininger, Camarillo, California
Note:  You may recognize Nancy’s name.  She has placed in our top three more often than anyone else.  Congratulations!

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

Our meetings have a stunning hail
when Jack sets to clipping his nail.
One lands square in my eye
as I painfully cry,
“Let’s vote on putting Jack in jail.”

They want to drive oh so fast
So they ride up right on my @$$
One day I’ll snap
And my brakes I will tap
And laugh as I watch them eat glass.

They preempted my favorite show Cops.
I don’t care about home runs or jump shots.
I don’t care about sports
or men in those shorts
I’d rather see criminals get shot.

Device, device, why don’t you work,
much against the words of the clerk.
This isn’t funny,
I paid big money.
Now come on and function, you jerk.

The escalator’s slow, but I’m fast
If you block it then I can’t get past
The way is not wide
So stand to the side
Then I can get by you at last.

I hate people cutting in line.
I’m sure that there should be a fine.
A jumbo-size fee,
Or hung up from a tree…
Wait…up there’s a good friend of mine!

These drivers are making me hiss
This road is a pothole abyss
I’d take on the horde
Of the trafficking board
But I know what they’d want me to kiss.

Twenty bucks for organic produce
Tomatoes alone cost me a deuce
For that cash, the hag
Should be taught how to bag!
Once home, my tomatoes are just juice.

It’s a predatory hair raiser
And I’m froze, like a blast from a taser
I’ve bought cookies and candles
Beef sticks and pot handles
Egads!  Not another school fundraiser!

I talk to them, and sing, and hum
Pronounced is my very green thumb
But they die anyway
Who’s to blame?  Who can say?
Maybe me, cuz I water them none.

Such sweet anticipation fills the air
Affectionately she caresses my hair
The moment’s right
For love tonight.
Except our damn kids are there!

Sometime’s I’m a bit of a bunny
Picked for jobs that aren’t funny
But I get by
Because I try
And my family need the money.
 
I believe it’s far from clever
Questions answered with “Whatever”
Conceit underpinning
While Smugly grinning
It’s their throats I’d like to sever.
 
Every competition entered with aggression
Developing new humor at every session
A win or three
Disallows me
And now I’m suffering with depression

The wife’s nagging, I’ll take no more
I should oust her and slam the door
But she’s so tough!
I’m not strong stuff
And her wonderful cooking I adore

They come uninvited to my door
Flashing smiles with false rapport
Raving their teachings
Of various preachings
But it’s their self-righteousness, I abhor.

Cover your mouth when you have to sneeze
I don’t want a face full of your breeze
In the interests of good health
Keep your germs to yourself
And don’t go spreading your stinking disease

With myself, I need to be straight
It peeves me that I’ve put on weight
To my own shame
I’m only to blame
Because I’ve eaten plate after plate.

Some people must do it from youth
Spreading stories completely uncouth
I hate their deceiving
Of  tales unbelieving
Why can’t people just tell the truth?

I hated an old teacher named Allen
Who was always a terrible smellin’
A whiff of his breath
Was a fate worse than death
And ripped at your lungs like a talon.

The thing that peeves me, I suppose
Is someone with a finger up their nose
Just for a chuckle
It’s in past the knuckle
And it’s worse when they use all their toes.

I’m sure that you can understand
I hate when things don’t go to plan
Nothing goes right
While tempers ignite
And you wish you’d never began

From the time my children were small
I was always at their beck and call
Now grown and gone
With lives of their own
Who am I, they never recall

Every night, I sit here alone
Just staring at an old phone
Why don’t they ring
And make my heart sing
But my kids have lives of their own.

I married a wonderful lady from Siberia
A life together is our only Criteria
But many cried
“Mail Order Bride”
And presented all kinds of silly hysteria.

What’s the matter you may ask?
Well I really hate being taken to task
With comments curt
My feeling are hurt
And in some praise I’d rather bask.

She always nagging I should listen
Then gets mad, her eye’s a-glisten
But words lose the race
When I look upon her face
And all I think about is some kiss-en 

I’m just an average bloke
But my problem is no joke
I’ve been outcast
And over passed
All because I like a smoke.

Twin girls in the family is quite nice
Always giving them lots of advice
Until I did learn
Their only concern
Is there’s never enough shoes to suffice.

I’ve got a grievance is with the IRS
They take more while I get less
Leaving me unable
To put food on the table.
Our tax system does not impress.

One thing that’s a big disgrace
What some girls put on their face 
Black, blue or even reds
Worn by some airheads
They are not worth the chase.

It’s only a game my son
Now go and have some fun
become part of a team
never mind daddy’s scream
And show me how fast you can run.

One thing that really does irk
And I cannot seem to shirk
Are those who call me ‘Cin’
I grin with chagrin
And consider the person a jerk!
(submitted by Cindy)
 
But if a job I forego
What I’d become I don’t know
Life wouldn’t be funny
Without any money
So back to the grind I must go.

We argue low-fat and low-carb
We love to hurl insults and barbs
It’s Joe Public who’ll lose
As he looks on confused
And gulps down more fries and Mars bars.

On the label it says “sugar-free”
But what’s that on the back I see?
Oh, it’s maltitol
The sugar alcohol
That on the loo all day keeps me!

Doctors, they all are so grand
But they’re bad about washing their hands
When you’re really sick
You want to get fixed
Not end up worse than you began!

When you’re sick and feel it’s getting worse
You want to scream, fume and curse
But try to understand
She’s doing all that she can
So don’t take it out on your nurse.

They say “Oh, I could care less,
That it’s wrong to say ‘irregardless.’
Oh, be a good sport,
Grammar’s not my forte,
And my spelling’s a definate mess!”

The cat won’t come when I call.
She’d rather run and play ball.
This is my pet peeve,
She turns to leave.
But plops on top when asleep I fall.

I hear the sound of alarm,
5 more minutes won’t do any harm.
2 hours later I arrive,
wet because of the drive.
Inside the building it’s nice and warm.

Lots of homework every day,
it’s annoying and gets in the way.
So postpone it I do,
Until the day is through.
Is the teacher happy? Nay.

Tourists, tourists, everywhere,
they just stand and numbly stare.
Everywhere on the road,
tourists by the load.
And they just don’t seem to care.

I always seem to be broke,
me and money is already a joke.
But money is necessary,
of that I seem unwary.
Much to annoyance of my folk.

On the escalator stepped we,
A guy ahead of us we could see,
sneezed a big cloud
which hung like a shroud,
So down the up steps we did flee.

She rode the escalator one night,
Her cart with wheels tipped right,
It was a short trip
As she did a back flip,
But the show was really a sight.

Music, today, makes me squawk
My head hurts so much, I can’t walk
Someone spoke in a rhyme,
Added drums and a chime
And now they’re revered much like Bach?

“Why rent?” says the Real Estate twit,
“When you could own this money pit?”
Then he drives to the pad
That he rents from his dad
Knowing he is a big hypocrite.

“They’re safer,” they say, so they drive one.
“Global warming’s a myth, so go buy one!”
Revenge at the pump,
Go ahead, fill ‘er up!
Suburbans and Hummers, who wants one?

“You are what you eat,” goes the adage.
How we talk is the food for our own age.
c u 2nite?
k, thx, a’ight!
We’re starving from modern day language.

Hissy-Fit Leadership

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

You’ve heard the expressions.  Someone has a hissy or a conniption.  A snit or a fit.  They leave in a huff.  They take their ball and go home.  It could be the behavior of a man or a woman.   It could be a customer, a coworker or a leader. You see it at work, at home, in clubs, in choirs, almost anywhere.  Hissy may come from the word hysterical or perhaps the onomatopoeic word hiss.

People use hissy fits to get their way.  And for good reason.  They work.

People are accustomed to throwing fits because they learned as a child that tantrums get results.  As an adult, they are a great tool in the workplace because hissy fits remind others of their kids.  They love their kids, therefore they love working with people who throw fits.  It gives them the warm feeling of home.

Hissy fits also work for the same reason that horror movies are popular.  A scary movie may make you jump out of your seat, but it gets your adrenaline going.  The scarier the film is the more likely you’ll want to tell others about it, to re-live it, and also to go see the next one.  It’s the same with fits.  In our fight-or-flight world, people love that rush when their blood pressure goes through the roof.  They actually look forward to your next fit.

Hissy fits are also great time savers.  You’ll avoid long, drawn-out, logical conversations.  Other people, rather than trying to fit you into the tiny box created by their little minds, will simply throw up their hands and agree with the truth which you are so clearly pointing out.  It’s the shortest route from point A (where they are) to point B (where you want them to be).

One size hissy fits all.  This means that others are also inclined to throw a fit.  You need to start your’s first.  It they jump the gun, you’ll be inclined to let them have their way for the exact reasons we talked about earlier.  When it comes to two fits, this town (or company) isn’t big enough for both of you.  You never want to give the other guy the advantage of being the first to hiss, especially the quiet ones who rarely throw fits.  Remember still water runs deep, and if YOU don’t go first, watch out.  Be a true leader and be the first to throw your fit.

And what if hissy fits aren’t effective for you in your current job?  Remember the old saying, “If the hiss doesn’t fit, you must quit.”  Find another job where they appreciate your interpersonal skills.  And remember to throw a fit when submitting your resignation.  It’ll give them one last chance to realize how special you are and beg you not to leave.

Well, I see there are still two people reading.  So, for both of you, let me be serious for a moment.

The truth is that hissy fits are neither attractive nor effective.  They are the paths taken by those who lack higher-level social skills.

A person can actually have a hissy fit when alone.  But the most memorable ones are when two parties are involved!  Of course both parties to the interaction may have different interpretations, different labels, which describe the interaction.  One person’s fit is another person’s reasonably justified behavior.  Justified or not, such behavior is counterproductive.  It tears down relationships.  Both parties lose.

The most important thing is not being able to point the finger at someone else having a hissy, but recognizing the non-effective coping strategy when WE use it!

If someone wants to have a fit, they’ve probably been having temper tantrums since childhood.  Most of us are prisoners of habit, if not hissys then some other tactic which may be equally ineffective.  Unproductive patterns are pre-programmed responses to stimuli.  The thing which usually triggers a programmed response is someone else failing to meet the hissy-person’s expectations.  The world revolves around them and others must conform to their idea of the way everything should be.  Hissy-Man or Hissy-Woman owns the truth.  At least they think they do.

In unhappy relationships the stimulus-response cycle spirals downward.  One hissy deserves another.  One tone of voice begets more of the same.  One nasty look is mirrored back.  One harsh word gets translated into something worse and comes zinging back.  Good intentions end up being gasoline thrown on the fire.

And often it’s such a habitual pattern that when we’re guilty we don’t even realize what we’re doing.  I know I’ve heard the expression: “It wasn’t what you said…it was HOW you said it!”  I didn’t mean for a tone of voice which would carry a negative inflection.  But how the message is RECEIVED gives a clearer picture of the actual meaning than does the INTENT of the sender.  Truth is measured by the perception of the receiver.

Sometimes the problem is word choice.  I remember saying to a good friend, “Don’t be childish!”  Wrong word choice.  And sometimes it’s facial expression which conveys the meaning, without saying a word.  Have you ever simply looked at someone and they said to you, “Well what!?”  They knew that your “look” was making a statement but they weren’t sure what it was.  I’ve heard those words before.

Are you in touch with how your actions, words and tone of voice are affecting others?  Do you know how your input to a relationship is helping to define the relationship, improve it or destroy it?  You have no influence over other parts of the relationship equation other than your own role.  And the truth is, you change other people by changing yourself first. 

Do you ever play the part of Hissy-Man or Hissy-Woman?  If you do and you know it, you can do something about it.  If you do, and don’t know it…you better find another super hero to help you out.

As a leader in a company, club, or civic organization, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be heading up a conflict-free organization.  Not everyone will agree with your vision.  Taking your ball and going home is the easy way out.  You never win by quitting.  The effective leader hangs in there, makes peace, stills the waters.  The effective leader also realizes that leadership is not a popularity contest, but also knows that it’s hard to lead or manage people if they don’t like and respect you.  Negative, hissy-like leadership styles repel followers.  Tantrum experts have temporary control, win a few battles but lose the war.  Be open to and solicit feedback.  Be open to being wrong.  Be open to changing courses.

The more you are open to feedback, and to knowing yourself, the more effective leader you’ll become.  And the more you anticipate and assume that others are doing their best and coming from a good place, the more you’ll find harmony and enjoy your relationships.  And above all, keep your sense of humor.  Remember that a sense of humor is not about the jokes, it’s a way of looking at life.  Make good choices.  Personally, I prefer not to play the role of Hissy-Man.  I don’t look good in tights.

World Smile Day

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Today is World Smile Day.  A smile makes you appear friendly, trustworthy and attractive.  Make a choice to share your smile often.  Flash a smile at a stranger and see what happens!  I’ll bet they smile back at you. 

Don’t smile at:
  – A person wearing a ski mask in a bank.
   – A drunk in a singles bar.
  – Someone with a serious frown leaving an IRS audit.

Do smile at:
  -Everyone else.

Smile at someone who isn’t smiling.  Smile at someone who is preoccupied.  Smile at someone who looks like nobody has smiled at them for weeks.  It’ll be good for them.  It will be great for you.

To give you a smile, check out our Pet Peeve Limerick Contest for October. 

Horn Honkers are Bonkers
I blinked when the light changed from red,
The guy behind me must think I’m dead.
With anger and scorn,
He lays on his horn,
World smile day never entered his head.

Related articles:
Add Smile Power To Your Life
The Smile Myth

Breaking the Pattern — Doing Something Different to Spark Your Creativity

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Adding variety to your life to expand your creativity is the subject of the October Ezine issue of Humor Power Tips.  This 1300 word article focuses on how and why doing something different helps your creative humor process.  It examines the many ways you can break the pattern in your daily routine.  Subscribe at www.HumorPower.com.

The Limerick — Creative Humor Writing

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

Pet Peeve Limericks  — The October Humor Writing Challenge

The contest this month is to write a limerick about your favorite pet peeve.  While I’m not a huge fan of limericks, I do enjoy writing them as a creative tool.  If I make a mistake, I’m likely to write to someone using a limerick to explain it.  A couple of times, my disc golf partner and I have exchanged limericks to summarize our morning golf match.  My improv troupe uses the limerick form as a warmup exercise in our improv workshops.

I wrote five Pet Peeve Limericks below to show you the limerick form.  If you’re not familiar with the limerick format (rhyme and rhythm patterns), check out these websites: 

Reading A-Z

Giggle Poetry

VolWeb UTK

Examples of Pet Peeve Limericks: 

The menu is fancy and tall.
but the print is ever so small
To something I point
It’s a classy joint.
Till my entree begins to crawl.

For business hours press seven,
You’ll soon press ten and eleven.
While waiting don’t cry,
On the phone should you die,
You’ll be treated much better in heaven.

They’re always honking their horn
Last week is when they were born.
They’re simply crude,
and nothing but rude,
The highway’s version of porn.

They drive with a phone to the ear
It’s safe as drinking a beer.
Headset they have not
So it would be hot
If a cop with a ticket were near.

Frisbee golf we play in the park,
as soon as it’s no longer dark.
Folks stroll with their dogs
and endanger my clogs
The dog’s poop is worse than their bark.

The Contest

1.  We’re not looking for the perfect limerick from the standpoint of structure.  The samples I’ve provided for you aren’t perfect in format.  But they’re close.  It’s all about stimulating your creativity and having fun.

2.  List some of your pet peeves.  Think about them and come up with a few key words for each one.  Look for rhyming patterns.  I highly recommend using a rhyming dictionary.  It’s not only a great tool for this contest, but for humor writing in general.

3.  Write some limericks.  Then set them aside for a day or two before trying to edit them.  Over time your limericks will improve as you zoom in on the best words.

4.  I’ve written the sample limericks using five of my pet peeves.  You could write one using an identical pet peeve, just taking a different angle.  And you likely have a dozen or more pet peeves that I didn’t write about.  The creative possibilities are endless.

5.  You won’t have to work too hard on the humor.  Good humor springs naturally from the truth.  This month’s contest plays with the reality of everyday life, a perfect source of humor.

6.  Select your best Pet Peeve Limericks and submit them to HumorPowerTips@aol.com by October 15, 2006.

7.  The winners will be published by the end of the month.  Good luck and happy writing.