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“What are you selling?” “Personality”

Posted by Anne on January 3rd, 2013

Comedian Salesman Kenny Brooks: “I’ve got a disease called enthusiasm”. Catching! Goes into suburbia with his cleaning liquid, deals with bad attitudes, and lays his word wit on his potential customers, playing to their social anxieties (“Don’t laugh too hard cause the neighbors gonna see this black kid scrubbing your windows”). My favorite one-liners: My […]

John Cleese on Humor and Creativity

Posted by Anne on October 11th, 2012

Back in 1991, John Cleese gave this brilliant lecture, a compact course in enabling creativity. (It was posted on YouTube in April 2012 and subsequently widely blogged.) As he explains, “creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating”. He contrasts “closed” versus “open mode” thinking and explains (from 4:45) that creativity is […]

John Prine: Dear Abby

Posted by Anne on October 11th, 2011

The wonderful singer-songwriter John Prine turned 65 yesterday (thanks Eamonn). “Dear Abby” was an advice column founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips under the pen name of Abigail Van Buren, and was syndicated in the Washington Post. Or was it in the evening paper, the Evening Star (later the Washington Star)? We got both. I […]

Sound wave: Owa Tana Siam

Posted by Anne on June 21st, 2011

This brilliant sketch by the late Ronnie Barker is an eye-opener – or an ear-opener! – to how we preempt meaning when we listen. I found it on Abiloon’s lovely blog – full transcript there. I would use this video to raise student awareness for the way we anticipate what the speaker will say next. […]

Proverbs by first-graders

Posted by Anne on February 8th, 2011

First-graders were asked to complete well-known proverbs. This is what they came up with. (Thank you, Joan, for the giggles.) Don’t change horses… until they stop running. Strike while the… bug is close. It’s always darkest before… Daylight Saving Time. Never underestimate the power of… termites. You can lead a horse to water but… how? […]

The Onion Radio: Rules Grammar Change

Posted by Anne on March 2nd, 2010

Nonsense rules!

Pigeon: Impossible

Posted by Anne on February 22nd, 2010

Pigeon Impossible, the silent animated film by Lucas Martell released on 9 November that took 4 years to make, passed the 1 million views mark on YouTube after less than 2 weeks online. The film is set in the neighborhood of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., where two of my nieces and I […]