Monday, November 14, 2011

Tools for laughing and good feelings

We went to a Roads Scholar (a.k.a. elderhostel) program on humor.  We met with two elderly sisters, Carolyn Gray Thornton and Ellen Gray Massey, who specialize in humor, the Ozark traditions, games both adults and children used to play and can still play now.  We worked with Sylvia Duncan, a librarian and writer who mentioned funny writers from Mark Twain to Garrison Keillor.  We listened to Rick Key, musician and instrument maker, sing and discuss music.

The Gray sisters' books of memories, former times and Ozark humor and culture are available from them and in a few cases,

Duncan ran through many writers, emphasizing Twain, Keillor, Bill Bryson and others.  She loves Erma Bombeck and mentioned her books and columns.  Bombeck is one of the few humorists who made the best-seller lists in many different years. One of the things I admired about Duncan's approach was the mixture of books, movies and tv shows that are quite good humor.  She reminded us of the humor of M.A.S.H.  I mentioned "Dharma and Greg" and "Cheers"

Many of the movies I most like are funny.  I admire the wit and the writing of "The Russians Are Coming!  The Russians Are Coming!", "Cold Comfort Farm", "In the Spirit", "Ruthless People", "Johnny Dangerously", "My Cousin Vinny", "Love Potion No.9" and "In and Out".    Several of those are written by Dale Launer.

Duncan did something I admire. She recommends checking who wrote the scripts of movies and tv shows you like.  Look up info on them and seek out their works.  

When I think of books that make me laugh, I think of Big Trouble by Dave Barry.  If you haven't read it, give it a try.

Rick Key gave us a feeling for the work involved in making a violin or guitar.  He sang "Angels Flying Too Close to the Ground" and "Out Behind the Barn".  He held a karaoke session and many of us sang.  Lynn sang "Jambalaya." 

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