Tools for play and humor

One of the articles in Play & Humor (IC#13)
Originally published in Spring 1986 on page 54
Copyright (c)1986, 1997 by Context Institute

Before we leave this topic, we’d like to share some of the additional play and humor resources we have come across that embody the spirit of this issue.

The Windstar Foundation
P.O. Box 178
Snowmass, CO 81654
303/923-2145 or 927-477

The purpose of Windstar’s Global Games project is to create a vehicle for teaching global issues, geography, and geopolitical interconnections. The project emphasizes learning through discovery and experience. Global Games addresses a real and growing need for relevant global education, and is designed in a format that is accessible to a wide range of ages and backgrounds.

Some of the ideas for the Global Games Project grew out of Buckminster Fuller’s involvement with Windstar. The Global Games incorporates the Aiki Approach to conflict resolution, and uses other Windstar projects and programs as source materials. Material is also drawn from the Hunger Project, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Cousteau Society, the GAIA Society, SIPRI and other organizations.

Some of the games are The International Relations and Negotiation Game, The State of the Planet, the Resources / Synergy Game, and the DisEase Game. Each of the games supports the others, and most can also be played on their own. Several other games are in the development phase.

A group of junior high school-aged children who participated in Global Games had these comments:

"I learned that all the people of the world have to love each other; if they don’t there won’t be anyone to love!"

"We have more than enough food in the world to go around."

"I learned how much more things (food, energy, etc.) we have than we need."

"China is self-sufficient in growing food."

"Mexico City is the biggest city in the world almost."

"People are people."

"Leave my world in peace – not pieces."

University City Science Center
3508 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The World Game is a new way of looking at the world. It recognizes the global and interrelated nature of humanity’s problems, the almost catastrophic, balancing-on-the-edge-of-oblivion situation the world is currently in, as well as the vast wealth and know-how that exists on Planet Earth.

The Earth is the gameboard. All the world’s resources, technology and problem-solving know- how are the pieces used to play the World Game. Any person concerned with life on Earth and interested in developing new alternatives and opportunities for humanity can play. The World Game is not associated with any political ideology or system.

The purpose of the game is to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.

Resources available include the Global Data Manager (World Game computer software), HoPing: Food For Everyone, Food Data Sheet, Energy Data Sheet, State of the World Data Sheet, Membership / Newsletter, and workshops and seminars.

Ashleigh Brilliant
Post Office Box 209
Santa Barbara, CA 93102

Ashleigh Brilliant (yes, that is his real name) is the creator of witty and warm epigrams, a few of which are scattered on these pages, and many more of which are scattered all over the world. He describes the requirements of his personal art form as follows:

"A Brilliant Thought® is not as simple as it may appear to be. Before it can meet your mind, it has to pass through mine, where many stern tests are imposed. One of these, I admit, is that it should appear to be simple. Others include:

1. Is it brief enough? Seventeen words is the maximum I allow myself.

2. Is it completely original, and is it sufficiently different from everything I have said before?

3. Is what it says really worth saying, and is it said in the best possible way?

4. Is it capable of being easily translated into other languages, and of being generally understood and enjoyed by the widest possible range of people?

5. Can the words be appreciated on their own, even without any illustration?"

Dr. Brilliant has succeeded in creating literally thousands of these epigrams. They are available primarily on postcards (send $2 for a catalogue to the above address), and in books, of which he has so far published eight: I May Not Be Totally Perfect, but Parts of Me Are Excellent; I Have Abandoned My Search for Truth, and Am Now Looking for a Good Fantasy; Appreciate Me Now, and Avoid the Rush; I Feel Much Better Now That I’ve Given Up Hope; I Try To Take One Day at a Time, but Sometimes Several Days Attack Me at Once; We’ve Been Through So Much Together, and Most of It Was Your Fault; I Want To Reach Your Mind – Where Is It Currently Located?; I’m Just Moving Clouds Today – Tomorrow I’ll Try Mountains. and the one from which our illustrations are taken (with permission), All I Want Is A Warm Bed And A Kind Word And Unlimited Power. They are all available for $9.95 each from Woodbridge Press, Post Office Box 209, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, phone 800/237-6053. [Ordering info updated 4 Jun 2000]

An Adult Guide To Reclaiming Imagination and Spontaneity
By Adam and Ali Blatner

This book provides useful, experience-based material on the general infusion of playful techniques and ideas into everyday life and the use of play for therapeutic purposes. It is available for $10 from Adam Blatner, c/o San Marcos Treatment Center, PO Box 768, San Marcos, Texas 78667.

P.O. Box 23334
Washington, D.C. 20026

The Workshop Library on World Humor was established in 1975 as a nonprofit organization to explore the use of humor from the earliest societies to the present – humor in drawing and painting, sculpture, literature, mime, dance, music, the physical and behavioral sciences, and the art/science of communication. Its members include academics from various fields, doctors, psychologists, performers, and others with an interest in and appreciation of humor.

Activities of the WLWH and those of its affiliates and other cooperating organizations in the United States and abroad are designed to contribute significantly to efforts to enrich life, increase genuine creativity, and achieve world peace. WLWH acts as a clearinghouse for research into the uses of humor in many fields, and as a forum for sharing through its quarterly newsletter for members, entitled "Humor Events & Possibilities." It carries announcements of upcoming exhibits, seminars, conferences, workshops, and other activities that demonstrate the use of humor in the enrichment of life.

WLWH co-sponsored the Third, Fourth, and Fifth International Conferences on Humor, held in Washington, D.C. in 1982, Tel Aviv University in Israel in 1984, and at University College in Cork, Ireland in 1985.

"The higher the sense of humor, the more sensitivity you have, the more you enjoy life and the less you want to destroy it." – Herb Cummings, founder of WLWH.

Annette Goodheart, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 40297
Santa Barbara, CA 93140-0297

"Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life." Dr. Annette Goodheart, a marriage, family, and child counselor, teaches people to laugh in therapy sessions, classes, workshops, and on cassette tapes. Her adult education class "Laughter for Living" is always filled to capacity, and students learn to laugh at situations in their lives that are usually taken very seriously. Illness, depression, crisis, grief – all can be dealt with using laughter.

Dr. Goodheart can be contacted to present workshops or lecture seminars, or to order tapes such as Loss, Laughter, & Tears; Laugh Your Way to Health; Laughter & Relationships: A Very Serious Business; or Sex – Tee-Hee.

Leo Rutherford
58 Westbere Rd.
London NW2 3RU
tel: 01- 435-8174

Workshops, playshops and happenings that include the influence of New Games, dance, drama, Native American spirituality, and therapy. Workshop titles include The Healing Power of Humor, Liberate the Playful Spirit, Theater Games and Improv, Fly Like an Eagle, Dancing and Chanting, The Way of the Warrior, and others.

Patty Wooten RN, BSN
1762 Hamilton Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125

Patty Wooten (also known as Nancy Nurse) began combining her nursing and clowning careers after she was invited to perform in her clown suit at a convalescent home where she worked as a nurse. "I noticed an amazing change in the patients’ behavior – those who were usually quiet, withdrawn and apparently depressed would reach out to interact with the silly clown. They seemed more alive, childlike, and joyful. I realized then that the playful antics of a clown had a kind of power to lift someone’s spirits and energy by creating laughter."

"Jest for the Health of it!" is a workshop for nurses. Students explore the possibilities of using humor and laughter to gain perspective on oppressive situations, release hostile or anxious feelings, enhance communication, and assist with conflict resolution. They learn about the physiological effects of humor and laughter, the role of humor in healing, the theoretical base of humor and health, the adaptive and coping functions of wit and humor, the integrating, healing, and equalizing power of shared laughter, techniques for adopting a more playful lifestyle, and therapies for use of humor in professional practice.

(The Association for the Anthropological Study of Play)
Address for membership and publication inquiries:
Garry Chick, Institute of Child Behavior and Development
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820

TAASP is a worldwide, multidisciplinary organization whose purpose is to promote the study of play, to support and cooperate with local, national, and international organizations having similar purposes, and to organize meetings and publications that facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information related to the study of play.

TAASP’s broad focus includes many disciplines and scholarly interests: anthropology, physical education, psychology, recreation, history, pediatrics, folklore, dance, the arts, competitive athletics, ritual, kinesiology, learning research and development, film, political action, urbanization, archaeology, human kinetics, games, dramaturgy, fantasy, humor, and symbolic play.

Don and Alleen Nilsen
English Dept.
Arizona State
Tempe AZ 85287

"American Humor" was the theme of the 1986 WHIM Conference in conjunction with TAASP. Humor authors speaking at the conference included Mahadev L. Apte, Steve Benson, Kendall Blanchard, Ashleigh Brilliant, Rich H. Cracroft, Arthur Power Dudden, Gary Alan Fine, Janet C. Harris, Melvin Helitzer, Wilson Bryan Key, Paul Krassner, Gershon Legman, Frank E. Manning, Harvey Mindess, John Morreal, Alleen Pace Nilsen, Don Nilsen, William Pepicello, Gene Perret, Laurence J. Peter, Robert Peters, Barry Louis Polisar, Jim Sample, Stephen L. Tanner, Mike Thaler, and Larry Wilde.


Virginia O. Tooper (The Laugh Professor)
P.O. Box 1495
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Virginia Tooper teaches classes in humor and laughter at several San Francisco Bay Area colleges and presides at the head of the Laugh Lovers, an organization devoted to the positive application of humor and laughter in everyday life. Members receive bimonthly copies of the Laugh Lover’s News; subscriptions are also available to nonmembers. Some articles in past issues have been Humor in Business, Ashleigh Brilliant’s Pot Shots, Practice laughing exercises/cartoons, Stand-Up Comics of United Air Lines, What Bugs You? The Humor in it, Tales of the Ancient Humorist Nasrudin, and Comedy in the Park.

1034 Page St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

Allen Klein publishes this catalog "jest for fun," and it’s the place to look for such items as birthday nosecards, Yuck-A-Day joke capsules, canned laughter, Get Happy! (a book offering 40 ways to beat the blues), an inflatable birthday cake, the Encyclopedia Placematica, and silly stamps, stickers, and books.

P.O. Box 160
Syracuse, N.Y. 13215

Laugh Makers is a "serious magazine for lighthearted entertainers." Experienced performers from balloonologists to chalk talkers share their knowledge and expertise with readers.

Cathy and Bob Gibbons, creators of Laugh Makers and Fun Technicians, Inc. have expanded their puppetry and juggling, storytelling, magic, comedy, and clowning into full-time work. As clowns, they spend time with children and adults in institutions; they try to achieve a balance between their paid performances and volunteer work. "Both clowning and puppetry cut through communications barriers very quickly, allowing us to act more boldly on intuitive sensitivity to peoples’ needs. The clown and the puppet serve as bridges. We aren’t heroes that can magically take away people’s physical and emotional hurts, but the tools we use help us say ‘If you let us in we can rest here with you and be with you in your struggle; we care’."

Bob is a member of the Society of American Magicians, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Clowns of America, and Clowns, Canada. Cathy is a member of the Puppeteers of America, the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling, Clowns of America, and the International Jugglers Association. The information they receive from all these groups helps with their own shows and with developing contacts for Laugh Makers.

May 31 – June 6, 1986, and
June 8 – 13, 1986
Richard Snowberg, Camp Director
University of Wisconsin LaCrosse
1725 State St.
LaCrosse, WI 54601