L Vaughn Spencer – Very Funny

November 21, 2008

A good friend of mine, Neil Mullarkey (yes, that’s his real name), is one of the funniest people I know.  He, Mike Myers, and a couple of other guys founded the Comedy Store Players (an improv comedy group) in London.  I have seen Neil perform dozens of times.  Always fantastic!  I even spent a day training with him.  Now I am funny(er).  His latest comedic character is the “gansta motivator,” L Vaughn Spencer, also known as L Vo.  He also has a new book based on this character (I am eagerly waiting for mine to arrive from Amazon).  I know many motivational speakers.  After a while, it is hard to take some of them seriously.  That’s why L Vo is so much fun.  The Sunday Telegraph in the UK said, “(L Vo is) the perfect antidote to the endless bogus management consultants and coaches who ply the corporate circuit.”  Hopefully they aren’t referring to me!

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The Origin of Spam

November 18, 2008

You may wonder how spam got its name.  No, I am not referring to the annoying emails we get.  I am referring to the canned pork product that pre-dated the internet.

In a classic Straight Dope article from 10 years ago, Cecil writes that the name is short for “spiced ham.”

Supposedly there was a “name-the-product party, in which you had to contribute a possible name in order to get a drink.”

Clever idea.  Maybe this is a way of developing a new name or concept for your business.  Just make sure you check your corporate insurance policy first.

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Goal-Free Fun

October 17, 2007

In a previous blog entry, I describe how games can turn work into play.  The key is to choose a game that resonates with you. Here’s a bit from the Simpsons that shows that not all games are fun.

Bart forgot his permission slip, so he was unable to visit the chocolate factory.  Instead, he was stuck with Principal Skinner who had other plans for him.

Principal: Here’s a whole box of unsealed envelopes for the PTA!
Bart: You’re making me lick envelopes?
Principal: Oh, licking envelopes can be fun! All you have to do is make a game of it.
Bart: What kind of game?
Principal: Well, for example, you could see how many you could lick in an hour, then try to break that record.
Bart: Sounds like a pretty crappy game to me.
Principal: Yes, well, get started.

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A Little Goal-Free Humor

August 12, 2007

Well, actually it is “goal-less” humor. In the movie “Dodgeball,” there is a funny conversation between Kate Veatch (played by Christine Taylor) and Peter La Fleur (played by Vince Vaughn):

Kate: I’m curious, is it strictly apathy? Or do you really not have a goal in life?

Peter: I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta to tell you, it feel phenomenal.

Kate: Well, I guess that makes sense…in a really sad way.

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A Simple Test

June 7, 2007

I put together a simple test that takes less than 2 minutes to complete.

It tests your ability to perform a seemingly straight-forward activity.

Want to give it a try?

Click here to launch the video (WMV format – 7Meg)

There is audio associated with the video, but the test can easily be done without any sound. Viewing in “full screen” mode (Alt-Enter in Windows Media Player) makes it easier to see.

Thanks to Jordan L. LeBel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Food and Beverage Management & Marketing at Cornell University. He is an expert in chocolate and provided the delicious picture included in this video.

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Are You an M&M or Chocolate Covered Peanut?

February 28, 2007

I lived in London for 4 years. I found the British to be a bit more proper and reserved than the typical outgoing American. In an effort to explain the differences between these two cultures, I sometimes use my favorite dessert metaphor: chocolate.

The British are like M&Ms. Their tough outer coating (“stiff upper lip”) hides a richness and depth. Although it may take a little longer to get to know a Brit, once you do, you get to know them profoundly. That’s why many remain close friends even after many years and great distance.

Americans are more like chocolate covered peanuts. Although we are known for being friendly, sometimes getting through our tough inner core – and getting deeply connected – may be a bit more difficult.

Of course these are generalizations. Everyone is an individual. But it can be interesting (and fun) to consider which chocolate treat best represents YOUR personality.

Are you an M&M with a protective layer that covers a lust for intimacy? If so, you probably make a great friend. However, you might find that letting your guard down from time to time will enable you to connect better with others on first impression. A key to living goal-free is becoming a people magnet. If you are perceived as standoffish or protective, attracting others into your life may be a challenge.

Are you a chocolate covered peanut, showing the world your outermost social layers, only to hide your inner-most feelings? If so, you are probably a good people magnet. You might even be the life of the party. But you may also find deep relationships more difficult. This may serve you fine in the short term. But you may find that over the long run, you feel something (or someone) is missing from you life.

Are you a peanut M&M, hard on the outside and hard on the inside, with only a small layer where you let people in? This is not an ideal personality style for every day living, unless you truly prefer solitude – or should I say being alone. However, everyone goes through a peanut M&M mood from time to time. I get grumpy and want to be left alone. This is fine. But if you are like this all of time, you won’t be just goal-free, you’ll also be friend-free.

Are you a chocolate covered raisin; a total mush-ball through and through. This can be a great personality style. You attract AND retain relationships. You can be both a great friend and the life of the party. But remember, there is a time and place for exposing your soft inner core and vulnerabilities. If you are too open, you may sometimes scare people away.

Of course this is not a scientific study of personalities; it is primarily intended to be fun. However, this may shed light on why your relationship are the way they are.

Regardless, a recent study found that chocolate contains more than 300 chemicals that can both induce relaxation and elevate your mood. So go ahead and enjoy some chocolate. Doing so will have you care more about the candy in your mouth than the candy that matches your personality.

P.S. If you want to determine your personality style, be sure to check out Personality Poker.

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Ziggy and Goals

January 18, 2007

Ziggy and Goals

If you like this, you can view other Ziggy comics by clicking here.

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Lateral Brain Teasers

September 18, 2006

Creativity is often about solving problems with non-linear thinking. One of my favorite techniques for warming up the brain is the use of “lateral” brain teasers. These are questions that can not be solved via traditional logic. Rather they require you to surface and challenge assumptions. Here are ten lateral brain teasers to get you started. After you have answered all ten, click the link at the bottom to get to the answers. No cheating! Have fun and don’t take it too seriously.

1. A sun dial is the time piece with the fewest moving parts. What is the time piece with the most moving parts?

2. A man walks into a hardware store to make a purchase. He can buy 6 for $6, 12 for $12, and 24 for $12. What is the man buying?

3. How could a baby fall out of a 20 story building and live?

4. In a town in ancient Greece, there was a law stating that all men must be clean-shaven and that no man might shave himself. The only person allowed to shave these people was the licensed town barber. Since the barber was bound by the same law. Who shaved the barber?

5. Back in old England, the rich poured the tea into the coffee cups first, followed by the milk. The poor did it the other way around, pouring the milk in the coffee cup first, followed by the tea. Why?

6. Train A and train B are crossing the country, from coast to coast, over 3,000 miles of railroad track. Train A is going from east to west at 80 miles per hour, and Train B is going from west to east at 90 miles per hour. Which train will be closer to the west coast when they meet?

7. Take two apples from five apples. How many do you have?

8. Do they have Fourth of July in England?

9. What was the biggest ocean in the world before Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean?

10. A dog is tied to a 15 foot leash. How can the dog reach a bone 20 feet away?

Ready for the answers? Click here.

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Good Advice from Kids

May 24, 2006

I, and others, like to “share” our advice with the world. But maybe the best advice comes from children. Here are some insightful and hilarious thoughts from kids. These were provided to me by Eolake Stobblehouse who translated them from Danish.

Making your bed is a waste of time.

Don’t ask your three-year-old brother to hold a tomato.

Don’t wear polka-dotted underpants under white shorts.

Don’t drink anything when you’re upside down.

Don’t tease your sister when she is holding a baseball bat.

A puppy has bad breath, even after a mint.

Don’t tell your mother her diet isn’t working.

Wear a hat when feeding seagulls.

Don’t eat prunes.

If you want to draw on the wall, do it behind the sofa.

If you want a cat, start by asking for a horse.

Listen to your brain; it has a lot of information.

You need to put your hand up, otherwise adults don’t listen to you.

Don’t sneeze when somebody is cutting your hair.

When your dad is angry and asks “do you think I’m stupid?” then don’t tell him what you think.

When mom is upset with Dad, don’t let her comb your hair.

Don’t let a dog stand guard over your food.

Keep asking “why” until you understand it.

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Goal-Free Fun

May 2, 2006

Here are two commercials for Kit Kat (a chocolate bar) that ran a few years ago in England. The first is the story about the life of a salmon. The second is based on the fisherman story I posted last year.

Click here to enjoy the salmon Kit Kat video (For those of you who do not speak British English, “knackerd” mean tired/exhausted)

Click here to enjoy the fisherman Kit Kat video (Clearly they are poking a little fun at Americans too)

NOTE: These videos require Quicktime to play. You can download a free copy here

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