Posts Tagged ‘Humour’

Is anybody there?

Friday,15 August, 2008

As well as being wonderful, every now and again our dog looks a bit ‘vacant’.

Our dog looking a bit ‘vacant’.

Sometimes we’ve got into conversation about this and, rather than using ‘vacant’, a variety of expressions have arisen – such as the usual:

• “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer”;
and
• “One sandwich short of a picnic”.

But we’ve also had suggested to us:

• “The lights on, but nobody’s in”;
and
• “The wheel’s still turning, but the hamster’s long since gone”!

Have you got any other creative, fun suggestions?

Do share them with us . . . . . . . .

And in the meantime, how about this picture of an owner looking like his dog (or should it be a picture of a dog looking like his owner)?

Advertisements

Let’s CHANGE ‘Management Speak’!

Friday,11 July, 2008

Who invents ‘Management Speak’?

You know, the sort of thing – phrases that get trotted out and, after a while, can become irritating clichés!

How about “Touching base” or “User-centred” or “Interpersonal”?

Some examples really grate, perhaps because they seem to divide the speaker from the audience by using the language in an entirely different way.

Other expressions seem to use English in a normal way, with the intention of conjuring up an image without which it would take a lot of effort to explain – a bit like “one picture being worth a thousand words” – even if the picture is imaginary.

But even these can get irritating if over-used!

Frankly, I don’t fancy your chances of getting these ducks in a row . . . .

Perhaps the only answer is to keep inventing new descriptions?

People used to talk of others “Moving the goal posts” to explain a changing work environment. This was inadequate to describe the rate of change imposed by our regulator, for whom I would talk of “Having goal posts on castors”. Then it got worse, and I referred to them “Having goal posts on motorised castors”.

I found that this got the listeners’ attention much better than if I had explained the mounting and changing bureaucracy in a more literal manner.

When explaining the degree of difficulty in getting things done, people often speak of “Trying to herd cats”.

A colleague used to talk of “Trying to catch fog in a bucket”.

I’ve often spoken of “Trying to run up a down escalator covered in treacle” and, more recently “Trying to juggle with jelly”. (I quite like this last one, because it’s impossible, gets messy, plus it’s alliterative!)

So why don’t we invent some new expressions (to replace the ones we don’t like, or the ones we have become tired of), and see how quickly they spread?

If you post your ideas here, we can share them and even begin using them.

We might just brighten up the world of work, communicate better, and have some fun?

And having fun can unlock creativity and make us more productive. I could call this a “Win-win situation”, but I’d better not . . . . . . . . . I wonder what we could call it in stead. Any ideas?

Humour – where DOES it come from?

Friday,27 June, 2008

In deep sleep I dreamt up a joke: the joke made me laugh out loud – so loud, that I woke myself up!

In the morning the joke still seemed quite good, so I shared it with work colleagues. They all laughed out loud as well!

Then I forgot the joke . . . . . . . . . .

Later on I could recall that I’d dreamt up a joke but, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t recall the joke itself.

Then one day in the bathroom I was listening to a radio programme in which someone was saying that Sigmund Freud reckoned that laughter was our way of dealing with stuff we didn’t really want to deal with, or unpleasant stuff – and that reminded me of the joke!

(The picture is of a scary lead mask, decorating the roof of a Japanese temple.)

So here is the dreamt up joke – with apologies in advance, as it does have a high ‘groan’ factor:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Did you hear the one about the bloke who couldn’t say “toilet”?

He could only say “toilette”! (ie with a French accent.)

It turned out that the reason he could only say “toilette”, was because he suffered from Irritable Vowel Syndrome . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Recently we have celebrated the life of Humphrey Littleton, whose chairing of the Radio 4 programme “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” was shear magic.

A recent radio clip recorded Humph’ speaking of meeting a man who described himself as “an orthinologist”. Apparently Humph’s great disappointment was that he did not realise until the next day that he should have replied “So you’re a ‘Word Botcher’ then.”

This is an astonishing feat of creativity, as “Word Botcher” is both:
• an accurate description of what the man had done in creating the term “orthinologist”; and
• a phonetic spoonerism of “Bird Watcher” (having a meaning in parallel with the intended term “ornithologist”.)

It’s interesting that this complex idea didn’t come to Humph’ until the next day – after a night’s sleep.

Perhaps humour, our sub-conscious, and creativity, are all connected?

What do you think?

Statistics, Evidence, and Creativity

Friday,23 May, 2008

Statistics can be dangerous, creating traps for the unwary.

For instance, even if I have my feet in the ‘fridge and my head in the oven, my average temperature might still be ok. But shouldn’t I be worried?

Representing these Russian dolls by their average height, would really miss the point.

And then there’s the matter of evidence, which is increasingly used to support the development of strategies, aims and policies. But surely, proper evidence is essential if we are to move organisations, businesses and society in the right direction, isn’t it? Well, yes and no!

After all, we should build our future on proper evidence wherever possible, but working with ‘evidence’ to determine strategic aims can also carry dangers. ‘Evidence’ needs to be intensely rational – so working with it will make use of the left, rational side of our brains. But it is likely that the best strategic aims will be developed when we access the right, creative side of our brains.

So having considered the evidence, we should engage in discussion and other visioning activity, so as to unleash our creative faculties. An excellent example of this approach, is the Derby Primary Care NHS Trust’s aim to save 2,000 lives in the next 10 years. Devised to meet the challenges thrown up by evidence, the strategic thought processes went well beyond just focusing on the (rational) ‘evidence’. The Trust’s aim is not only an example of creative thinking, but the resulting aim is also empowering – and therefore much more likely to achieve success! Using both sides of our brains really does make practical sense – the evidence clearly shows it . . . . . . . . . .

Surprises can be good!

Tuesday,29 April, 2008

Looking at things from a different angle can be interesting.

And it can be fun as well!

Can Adults be Adults?

Sunday,27 April, 2008

In a supermarket in Hull I found a clear plastic sticky label stuck to the inside of a shoe.

The label read, in several languages, “Do not eat”.

There was nothing to say whether the exhortation “Do not eat” applied to the label, or to the shoe, or to everything in general including food.

Is it not reasonable to assume that, if we can understand what was meant by the label, we would not need it?

How much of the earth’s scarce resources are we now consuming because we are treating adults as if they were children?

In Ireland, vacant buildings carry a sign to say that they are dangerous, and that anyone entering does so without any legal redress against the owner. Reference is made to an Act of Parliament under which such a Notice can be displayed – presumably not in contravention of EU Laws.

Should we not be able to expect adults to behave as adults, taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions and inactions?