Thursday, February 1, 2018

When love goes wrong. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Courtesy of
Did you know that Valentine’s day was rooted in a festival called Lupercalia in pagan Rome? It involved abusing women and engaging in some sort of sexual lottery. I guess that sounds romantic to some people. 

And how did the image of a naked baby flying around and shooting arrows at people become a symbol of love? That's more like a scene out of a horror movie.

Valentine’s Day Trivia

When sugar and candy were rationed during World War II, flowers became the preeminent gift for Valentine’s Day. 

Americans spend about $13 billion annually to celebrate Valentine's Day.

About 145 million valentine cards are purchased annually. Women purchase 80%of all greeting cards.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Overcoming fear when it goes from reasonable to irrational

Overcoming Fear
The Gator Whisperer
I once went hiking up a mountain with some friends. As we went higher the trail got thinner. In some places we were one small slip from plunging to the depths of Hell. Then there was a spot where the trail had been washed out. A jump of about three feet was required to go forward.

I was at the front of the group but I was so scared of missing the little jump that I stepped aside and let the others go first. I was in good shape and there was no reason to think I would have any trouble with the jump. However, the more I looked, the more I envisioned myself sliding down the mountain to my demise.

Seeing my friends make the jump should have helped. Instead, I was focused on the horrible consequences if I missed. Soon I was the only person who hadn’t made the jump. I was nearly paralyzed with fear and I seriously considered staying behind. My friends told me there was nothing to it. Finally, I took a deep breath and made the jump. It was no big deal.

When you spend too much time looking at a problem, it can seem bigger and more difficult than it actually is. Being careful is good, but overdoing it can keep us from moving forward.

Do fears sometimes hold you back? How can you recognize when sensible fear crosses the line to being irrational?

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Fat Free Jokes

The punchline is the funny part of the joke. First you have the setup, then comes the punchline. It’s the destination. The setup normally exists for one reason - to lead the way to the punchline. (There are talented people who get laughs out of their setups, but that’s fairly unusual.)
Most people have probably heard someone tell a joke and include all sorts of details in the setup that really weren’t necessary. There’ve been many times when I‘ve heard someone setting up a joke and I’ve muttered inwardly, “Would you please get to the punchline?”
Something happens to an audience when there’s a long setup for a joke. The longer the setup is, the more people anticipate the punchline. In my opinion, the punchline should be a surprise, something people don’t see coming. Also, as a rule of thumb, the longer the setup is, the stronger the punchline should be.  
Many of my setups were questions that were a little off the wall to get people scratching their heads a bit. For example, Have you noticed that whenever a whale lands on the beach, people assume it got there by mistake? Or, Have you ever wondered why people ignore the limits at the express checkout counter?
When I wrote those bits, which were two of my better ones, the setups were different from what I just wrote. I started out with more and then cut the setups down to exactly what was needed to get to the punchline. No more, no less. Nobody needed to know what species of whale I was talking about. Nobody needed to know which chain of grocery stores I was talking about. Those details could only have slowed down the joke.
If a detail doesn’t contribute to the effectiveness of the joke, it simply has to go – no ifs, ands, or buttocks. You must be mindful of the fact that people have short attention spans. You don’t want members of the audience to be wishing they had a remote so they could hit the fast forward.