Games, Magic, Half-Belief

It's a Funcast already at last! From my keynote address at the Atlanta NASAGA conference. FYI. Thinking about games and magic, I came up with Half-Belief. And said something like:

Like magicians with their tricks, we, with our games transform reality – changing a group of business executives into a Polynesian choral society, or to a group of egg-safety engineers, trapped in a burning spaghetti factory with thirty minutes to get two dozen eggs safely out the third storey window.

Masters of illusion, you ride the line that separates the two halves, the believing from the doubting. We get people to half-believe in the truth of what they’re playing. While helping them separate the magic from the miracle, play from for real, contest from context.

We are artificers of shared illusions, architects of half-belief. Masters of jocular inscrutability.



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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The Fun Community, Part Two

This week's FunCast is the second and final part of my reading from a chapter in the Well-Played Game called "The Fun Community."

The reading begins with:
"We can find new ways to have fun. We can make it our goal to have nothing else but fun. Only fun. Just fun. We can abandon even the agreement to find a game we can all play together. The trust we have established with each other is so profound that we need no longer to aim at anything.

"And so we continue, pursuing this convention of having fun together, until any attempt to decide ahead of time what game we're going to play or not, even an attempt to decide what rules we are going to have fun by, becomes too much of a hassle - unnecessary, in fact contrary to our purpose, in fact impossible."







from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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The Fun Community

This week's FunCast is the first part a chapter in the Well-Played Game called "The Fun Community." It has become an increasingly central part of everything I teach, and, for some, has become very useful in understanding how to design games for mass, multiplayer, online communities.

Here's a bit:
"...The only real assurance we have about the "fun" we can have together is the one we give each other.

The need for community holds true whether we are players or spectators. As a spectator, I want to be able to scream for my team. If the spectator sitting next to me wants to scream for her team, and if she insists that I also scream for her team, the likelihood is that we will wind up screaming at each other. We have to spend more of our time resisting each other than enjoying the game. I want the game to be important. She wants the game to be important. But we both lose our opportunity to relish this importance when the game becomes more important to us than we are to each other."



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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The Opposite of Play

(image found in Lee Stranahan's weblog) Today's FunCast is inspired by a quote from Dr. Brian Sutton-Smith, my friend for over 30 years now, and, as all of my friends, my personal mentor. A play-advocate who has brought more understanding, compassion, scholarship and original thinking to the study of play than Piaget or Huizinga, professor emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, and author of, among other things, The Ambiguity of Play. The quote: "The opposite of play isn't work, it's depression."

You have to be just a little bit of a rebel if you really want to have fun. You have to be doing something you're really not supposed to be doing. Nothing really bad or hurtful or even really dangerous. Something slightly naughty. A little bad maybe. A tiny bit illegal.

Like playing where you're not supposed to be playing, when you're not supposed to be playing, with people and things you're not supposed to play with. Or playing in a way you're not supposed to. With maybe not exactly the "real" rules.

For some reason, no matter how old you are, if fun is something you really want to be having, you generally have to be doing something you shouldn't be doing, really. That's how you get to the liminal spaces, at the edges of acceptability, predictability, respectability.

So when people talk about bringing fun into the workplace or places of learning, it's always just a little bit threatening, a little bit disturbing of the status of the quo.

And in places where such play becomes so threatening that it is rigidly, thoroughly disallowed, where this minor expression of playful illegality is systematically suppressed, you get depression. Deep, thorough, mind- and brain- and soul-numbing depression. In those places, work places, learning places, living places, you get the opposite of play.



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Dying with Laughter

This week's FunCast is called "Dying with Laughter." It's a potentially depressing, yet hopefully uplifting contemplation of how we might embrace both death and life, simultaneously.

Most of the text for this FunCast can be found here

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Human Spring

This week's FunCast is about a game that some kids and I created together when I was working at the Intensive Learning Center (actually), in Philadelphia, on my way towards compiling an actual curriculum in children's games. It's called "Human Spring." It is what one might call the apotheosis of cooperative games. Or what another might call "vertical push-ups."

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Cooperation and Competition

Spurred by a conversation with Janine Fron of Ludica, I found myself writing an article about the connections between competition and cooperation, in games and everything else. My perhaps most quotable and easily misunderstood quote: "Cooperative games nurture diversity. Competitive games, uniformity."

Hence, today's FunCast

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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On Being Busy

I hope you have time to listen to today's FunCast. I know how busy you are, and I hate to intrude. But if you can find the time, you might find yourself amused, if not bemused, to hear me say things like:
Busyness is one of those primal problems ground into our very adult and grown-up identities by the way we used to play house and school and now get to do for real.

Remember when you were a kid playing you were not a kid? Remember when you first learned to look busy, and then learned again, and then over and over, since you were a kid growing up, in playground, classroom, office?

Remember how utterly convincingly busy you became?

Well that's the problem. Not time. Not deadlines. It's that we've all become too good at it.
Read the entire article here.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Oaqui Pong

Today's sending, apparently from the Oaqui (him, her or them)selves(f) - ostensibly about a game of Oaqui Pong, which, according to the Oaqui, is the progenitor of all games pongish, contains a curious comment. And I quote:
"Then, when we arrive at the idea of the Serve, well, Table Tennis, bound as it to its OneBalledness, begins as a game in which one player has to Serve to the other, trying, can you imagine, not only to get the ball over the net and hit the other side of the table, but to make the other player MISS! It's beyond odd, when you think about it, that a game would arise in which one player, in the name of SERVING, would try to make the other player lose! These are the consequences of UniBallistic thinking: SERVING each other by trying to make each other LOSE!

Which, of course, leads inevitably to the way they keep score. Here, Table Tennis, merely because of its MonoSpherical premise, makes the oddest of all leaps. Where as you, being sensitized to the Oaay of the Oaqui, would think BOTH players would LOSE a point every time the ball goes out of play, well, need I/we say more?"
I need, apparently, to say it again in today's FunCast, fortuitously titled: "Oaqui Pong."







from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Meaningful fun, Major fun, and Deep Fun, too.

I was reading an article called "Happiness 101." So I found myself thinking about doing "meaningful" things. Things like being engaged in meaningful work and doing meaningful deeds and having meaningful relationships and making meaningful nises such as those contained in today's FunCast.

Thinking about all this meaning because the article described a connection between meaningfulness and happiness. And, after significant intro- and extrospection, I came to a natural conclusion: meaningful stuff is fun. Saying, doing, thinking, acting, working, learning almost anything actually meaningful, is always fun. Really fun. Deep fun.

Almost anything meaningful is fun. Even if you're cutting potatoes in a food kitchen for the poor, it's fun. It's a feel-good fun that comes not from what you're doing but who you're doing it with and for.

But when the thing you're doing is itself fun, like, for example, batting a balloon around, and you're having fun batting the balloon with the people you're batting around with, and they're having fun, with you, with each other, and they are people who need to have this kind of fun almost desperately - children, the hospitalized, the institutionalized, the people of countries at war, the less-abled, less-skilled, less-lucky - well, that's a unique kind of fun, a life-fulfilling fun that really needs it's own name.

For the time being, I'm suggesting calling this specific kind of fun, and equally specific kind of meaningfulness, "Major fun."

"But," you everso rightfully exclaim, "Major Fun is a whole nother thing - an award, see, given to, if I'm not mistaken, 'games that make people laugh.'," you right-as-rainedly observe.

"Precisely," I respond, quoting myself, "When a game makes you laugh, whether you're playing alone and laughing or playing with others and laughing with them, it's not just a game, it's an event. And at the moment of the event, the fun you're having is as meaningful as breathing. Deep Fun. Meaningful fun. Major fun. If you know what I mean."



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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On Being Wrong

I have a thought. One, it seems, in retrospect, given the Newness of it all, yearwise, somehow appropriate. I begin like this:
"Having done something stupid and embarrassing again – and I’ll tell you it was so stupid and so embarrassing that I really don’t want to talk about it, at all, ever – I found myself really punishing myself for having done what I did. And after about half hour of surprisingly brutal internal rhetoric, it became obvious to me that what I needed more than anything else was some kind of recess. I just had to take myself away from all this. It was something we all needed."
And I somehow manage to conclude like this:
"So Wrong, just when he was supposed to offer the strongest opposition, simply let the rope go. And Silly was yanked so hard by the combined strength of Serious and Right that he landed on top of them both, causing all of them to fall into a pile. And just as Serious and Right were about to express the equivalent of moral indignation, Wrong completely doubled over in laughter. Doubled over so completely that there were, for a brief moment, two Wrongs, which, with an unseen flash, made another Right. And suddenly, there were no Wrongs at all. Just two Rights, either of whom, by all rights, could have felt deeply wronged by all this silliness, but didn’t. In stead, both Rights also doubled over in laughter. Which turned out to be exactly the right thing to do, because neither Silly nor Serious could be found. And everything was all right again. For everyone. For, especially, me, alright, all right."
I call it "Meditation on Being Wrong." And, if I am right, it is the subject of today's FunCast.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Funny Together

It seemed to me curiously appropriate, yearly-speaking, end-wise, for a moment of appreciation. For you, first of all. And second, for that very sweet thing that sometimes happens when we get together - when we get funny together.

Which, beyond reminds me beyond serendipitously of an article I just published on the Deep Fun site. I called it "Funny Together." So enamored have I apparently become of this particular article that today I find it literally incumbent upon myself to read it to you for our little FunCast, and to invite you to read along, if you so desire, by clicking, obviously, here.

I begin, should you still so wonder, with the following:
Sometimes, we are funny together. All of us. At more or less the same time. Singing a silly song, maybe, playing a funny game. Walking a funny walk, talking in funny voices, in foreign accents, in slow motion.

For me, being funny together with my wife, my kids, my grandkids, is almost always the funniest, the deepest, the most deeply funny.

We’re not being silly. No way. We’re being funny together. Magically funny. Even when we are doing silly things, it’s not at all about being silly, it’s all about the funniness that we’re creating together. The magic of it. All about the laughter we are sharing.

I think those times when we are funny together, those amateurish, funny together times, we are funnier than comedians and clowns. Funny beyond clever. So funny, we are taken by surprise by how funny.


From Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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20 Questions - Two Answers

It's interesting to note that according to the written rules of Twenty Questions, you can play the whole game and still need only two answers. Yes, No.

Many years ago, my friend David Thornburg invited me to play 20 questions with a computer.

Is it Animal? I typed. No, it answered. Vegetable? Yes. Edible? Yes. Is it Yellow? No. Corn? No. Is it Green? No. Red? No. White? Yes. (Aha, a white, edible vegetable!) A Cauliflower? No. A Turnip? No. A Jicima? Yes.

I was relatively impressed with the way the computer played. It certainly picked a difficult enough challenge. Jicima!

Listen to today's 20 Questions FunCast and read it here.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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FunCast - Getting Paid to Play

While you're listening to this week's Funcast here, think about the fact that it was written by someone who makes something like a living designing games, teaching people how to have more fun, and stuff like that. It will make it perhaps a bit more useful to know that it was such a person who observed, perhaps a bit bitterly:
Here we are, play/creating along with the fortunate few who have also managed to be paid to play, making brilliance in the depths of conference rooms and kiosks, and it's not fun! We may be involved, heart, soul and might, in the depths of play and the heights of creativity, we may even have exceeded our wildest dreams, but, any attempts to share our ecstasy with our benevolent result in our being further patronized. The fact is, we are being paid to play by the very people who are being paid not to. We must bless our patrons as they bless us, for they derive their joy elsewhere. Though we delightedly sweat buckets of brilliance into the daily pale of commerce, our patrons are off playing a truly different game where fun is measured profit and the promise of a plenitude of plenty. (You can read the whole article here).



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Another Numbers Game

As I write in my article Meeting by the Numbers: "When you're trying to help people get something together, the first thing you have to do is get them together. And energized. And nothing does this faster and more wholesomely than a game. Especially if the game is presented in such a way that it is: easy to understand, easy to play, and clearly non-threatening. When a meeting reconvenes, especially after a long break, the best kind of game is one that can easily accommodate stragglers." Listen to this. See also this.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Of Fun, Laughter and Happiness

This Friday's FunCast is about Fun, Laughter, and Happiness. As is often the case, you can read along by clicking here, while, for even more fun, laughter and happiness, you can download the Funcast here.

The article begins thuslyish:

The difference between FUN and laughter? You can have FUN without laughing. Some people, sadly, can even laugh without having FUN.

To my knowledge, there are vast collections of studies about the healing powers of laughter and humor (see for example Lee Berk's research, or look at a site called "Laughing Out Loud," or particpate in the Laugh Lab's study about what's funny, or read a study that shows how laughter can even cure hives!). But I still haven't found anyone researching the physiological, psychological or sociological benefits of fun.

My guesses:

* FUN is too hard to measure
* it's too hard to get funding to study FUN
* If you have to prove that FUN is worthwhile, we're all beyond help

Is FUN more important than laughter? I think so. Because you can spend more time having FUN than you can laughing. On the other hand, the kind of FUN I most enjoy having is the FUN that makes me laugh.


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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FunCast - Fun and Games on the Virtual Playground

For a more multi-modal experience of "More Fun and Games on the Virtual Playground" you can read today's Funcast while you simultaneously listen to the aformentioned FunCast, originally written in the 90s, a sample whereof follows:

The virtual community: The uncensored, voluntary and potentially anonymous exchange of ideas and images available through this very electronic medium, and all the related media, promotes the formation of virtual play communities. Again, the normal rules of communication and social standing are suspended. But in the virtual community, we also suspend the rules of space and time and body.

Virtual playgrounds: Like of course the World Wide Web. And even e-mail. And bulletin board systems. And of course newsgroups. Each a playground for virtual play communities. A playground of playgrounds.

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Executive Playgrounds

In this clip, Rob Fulup, Michael Schrage and I describe the kind of collaboration I was able to facilitate when I developed my Technography method.

What Technography is to meetings, Junkyard Sports is to professional sports. It's the same central vision, informed by the ideal of mutual empowerment, of what I call "Coliberation." Just like Junkyard Sports, Technography approaches meetings as open systems, designed to serve the community that uses them: where the players are more important than the game, where success is measured in terms of participation, involvement, mutual accomplishment.

You can read more about the Technography method in a collection of my articles called "Meetings and Fun." Of those articles, the last, Executive Playgrounds, is the subject of today's FunCast, (which you can listen to here) and perhaps the most relevant to this historical perspective - making the connection between meeting rooms and playgrounds - explaining why, despite the success of Technography, I found myself looking for more fundamental and universal solutions.

The video clip is from a video called "The Not So-Obvious Art of Collaboration" (which failed to be published due to the no so obvious art of marketing). The tape was made in the 90s, shortly after the publication of Connected Executives.

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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On Overeating

Today's FunCast is about overeating - the game and joys thereof. You can download the audio here, whilst, should you be so reclined, reading it here.

Bon appetite!




from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Learning by Dying

I've been participating in an online forum, called "Pathways to Gaming," sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation. We've been talking about the kind of learning that takes place when kids play online, and attempting to identify some of the "triggers" that bring them into gaming.

The dialogue reminded me of an article I wrote more than a decade ago - Learning by Dying. Which, in turn, inspired today's Funcast.

To listen, click here.



from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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FunCast - The Second Concatenation

The Second Concatenation, received, oddly enough, before the First Concatenation, begins with the following conundrum-like observation:
"Just the other day I was playing war on my inner playground and I happened to notice how for the mere sake of the game I willingly and eagerly agree to become my own worst enemy."


For a perhaps even more poignant contemplation of the oddness of all this, you may, after you click here, close your eyes and imagine along with me.




from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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The Royal We

Today's most amusingly profound FunCast is called
The First Concatenation. It is one of the so-called Sendings of the Oaqui. It reflects the fundamental significance of the observation "that you live with yourself, talk to yourself, laugh at yourself, surprise yourself, promise yourself, hurt yourself, fool yourself, trick yourself, reward yourself, support yourself, forget yourself, enjoy yourself - that you can be good and bad to yourself, that you can love and hate yourself, that you can blame and forgive yourself, listen to yourself and try to ignore yourself - that you can exercise self restraint, engage in self denial, self abuse, self pity, self aggrandization - that you can have self, esteem, loathing, pity, regard - that you can feel yourself - that you can feel not yourself - that you can be self assured, self motivated, self cleaning."

You can listen the abovementioned FunCast here.


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Checker lessons

This week's FunCast is taken from an article I wrote called "Ex Checkers." It's about a class I taught to prisoners, and the lessons thereof. It concludes:

Class after class, variation after variation, the convicts, the people in my checkers class, and I, played, and learned together. We even created new variations borrowing rules from one and fitting them into another.

As the classes progressed, I began realizing what my checkers classes must have meant to people who have lost their freedom:

* there’s more than one way to play checkers
* the more ways you know, the more you have to play with – more things to think about, more people to think with, more opportunities to keep the mind alive
* the only variation worth playing is the one that’s fun for both players
* because there’s more than one way to play, every game has to start with negotiation
* all the rules of a game are negotiable, the only rules that aren’t negotiable are the rules that keep you playing together.


You can listen to this week's FunCast here.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Serious Games

As I slowly reach the conclusion of my NASAGA keynote, I begin to describe a simulation game, or what we are currently calling a "serious game." Today's funcast is about that simulation and those games, and can be heard by clicking here.

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Deeply Played Games

Today's Funcast is about the idea of Deeply Played Games. Here's a taste:

"...there’s chess, on the one culture, and the Japanese game Go on the other – a game of piece-capture vs a game of territory-capture, hierarchy vs. the horde, army vs. terrorist. While chess is the game of kingdoms and military might, the game of Go, according to the author of The Protracted Game, is a remarkably useful paradigm for understanding Maoist Revolutionary Strategy. For example.

"Deeply played games are a kind of cultural theater with massive audience participation, capable of expressing as well as developing identity, communicating as well as transforming the acknowledged values of a culture."

You can read more about Deeply Played Games and all that is implied thereby in the keynote address for the North American Simulation and Games Association I'll be giving October 12.

Play on!



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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FunCast - What is Golf

Today's FunCast asks the question: "What is Golf?"

"For what," it and I begin, "is golf? A game, some say. A game played on a golf course, using golf clubs to hit golf balls into a golf hole. A game? A course, a club, a ball, a hole? Is that really all?

As you would expect, it's not.

It is, however, a valuable source of silliness and a genuine invitation to invention for the fortunate few who get to organize a Junkyard Sports® Golf Event


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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9-11

By the time I could get myself to write 9-11, it was 9-14 already. Five years later, and it's 9-11 again. And I'm finally on time.

It is with near-uncanny timing I offer to you, the world, today's FunCast.

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Toy Therapy for Creative Business Meetings

Given the air of renewedness that accompanies the commencement of the school year, many of us in the business world find ourselves engaged in lengthy creative and problem-solving meetings. Which brings me to this week's FunCast, the text of which and more may be found here.

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FunCast - Human Cards

If I devoted every FunCast to a different game, today's special Labor Day FunCast would be about the clearly different game of Human Cards. And in particular, to the game of War:

"Equipment: a deck or two of playing cards. Depending on the number of people. A pinochle deck for smaller groups...invite people to pick a card, any card. Continue until you're satisfied that everyone has a card.

"Now, ask everyone to shuffle (mill around), then cut into two equal packs (groups) and then arrange themselves into neat piles (lines) so that the head of one line faces the head of the second..."

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FunCast: The Kinds of Fun

The text for today's FunCast can be found here. It beginneth:
"According to the Oaqui, originally, before it all got started, before the big banged, everything was, in its total entirety, dimensionlessly and unadjectivably fun. Hence, any attempt to distinguish one form or dimension of fun from another invariably leads to excessive silliness, like the following.

"But, that's neither here nor there.

"In answer to your question, yes. The Oaqui currently distinguish/es between 613 different kinds of fun, Interestingly enough, Partial fun is considered a kind of fun (#417), even though it can never be as Total or Complete or Entire as Whole fun (#423), synonymously speaking."

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FunCast: Passing Humanity - A Walking Game

In today's FunCast, we find myself talking about a game I play when I go walking. I call the game "Passing Humanity." For some reason, when I first introduced the game, in writing, only, I got some very deep, fun, and publish-worthy responses, all of which you can find here.

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Prui?

We dedicate today's FunCast to the game of Prui?

As partially described here and below:

Clear the dance floor (living room, kitchen, back yard). Get more or less everyone together. (For any game to be fun, participation has to be optional). When the mass is about as critical as it will get, everyone closes their eyes and starts milling around. When people bump into each other, they shake hands, while saying prui. If the person they encounter is not prui, they each go off to find someone else. On the other hand (as it were) when someone bumps into the actual, pre-appointed prui, shakes hands and says prui, the prui shakes hands, doesn't say anything, and doesn't let go. Now both people are prui, remaining prui until the end of the game. If either of them is encountered by anyone else, more people are added to the prui. The game continues until more or less everyone has become prui. Then they can open their eyes. There are some exceptionally fun moments as more and more people feel their way towards pruiness. It gets quieter and quieter. The plaintive sounds of the unpruied few mingling with the invisibly giggling many.

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FunCast - Toy Guns

Today's FunCast is about toy guns and the politics of fun.

Read this for more.

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King of the Mountain and Corporate America

Today's FunCast draws a surprisingly informative connection between the children's game of King of the Mountain and the bizarre nature of corporate America, one might say.

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FunCast: Of Love and Play

Today's FunCast is about love and play and my amazement that we can do either, let alone both, at all. It begins thus:
"The only time we can truly play together is when we play together as equals. What especially interests me is that we can do this even though we are not equal at all. When the old are playing with the young, the abled with the disabled, the expert with the novice, the human with the animal - as long as we share the same rules, as long as we can somehow agree that we will treat each other fairly, that, despite any "real" differences, we will not overpower each other, not allow the inequalities to surface; we can play as if there were nothing dividing us, nothing separating, nothing differentiating."

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A FunCast about Ordinary Fun

Today's FunCast is about at least two kinds of fun - extreme fun, and ordinary fun. It turns out that ordinary fun has: a) little or no commercial appeal, and 2) the power to sustain life. You can read more here, if more is what you need to read.

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Food Games - the FunCast

Today's long-awaited FunCast is about playing with your food. Two, as a matter of fact, food games, for your merry munching.

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The Elevator Metaphor

What's the difference between a team and a group, and how is being a team or a group like being in an elevator, and when? Today's FunCast answers all.

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FunCast: CoLiberation

Hello again, boys and girls. This week's FunCast is about CoLiberation, which is a word I made up for having fun together. You maybe want to read it, too, here.

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Sober Doesn't Mean Somber

And for today's FunCast, we hear an introduction to flow and fun and the psychology thereof, and especially to the difference between being sober, and being somber. The article: "Sober Doesn't Mean Somber."

May it prove to be an invitation to a life of fun.

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A Million Ways to Play Marbles, at Least

Today's FunCast is a reading of "A Million Ways to Play Marbles, at Least" - originally included in the appendix of The Well-Played Game. In it's own silly way, it reflects pretty much everything I know about the nature of games. Personally, I think every kid between the ages of 8-12 needs to hear this at least once, and every adult over 30, several many times, at least.

Because, see, it's not really about marbles.

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Roll-Over: The Game

Roll-Over is a variation of a number of Numbers games, like Big Booty, The Prince of Wales and Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar

It is one of those deceptively simple games that is as fun to modify as it is to play, and, by sheer happenstance, happens to be the topic of today's FunCast.

If you are so moved, you can also watch us play this game on Google Video.

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FunCast: Samurai Thumbs

Today's FunCast is one more attempt to share The Way of Thumb and Thumb Helmet with the myraids.

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FunCast: A, B, Twinkle, Have You Any Wool

The text for today's completely new and discretely personal FunCast can be found here. It is about three songs. One melody. And a game.

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FunCast: The Lexifunnicon

Today's FunCast features ten new words for fun, from almost 200 currently catalogued in the Lexifunnicon.

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FunCast: Why we age

In today's FunCast, the Oaqui explain/s why there is such a thing as aging and why we do it.

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Evil or Stupid?

This week's FunCast makes the rash conjecture that there is no such thing or being as "evil," whilst both acknowledging and affirming the existence of the clearly related phenomenon of "stupidity." The text for this all this stupidity can still be found here.

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Of Koosh Balls and Silly Putty

Continuing on the kids' games as metaphors for understanding life and stuff, today's FunCast is a brief look at toys and meaning and similar stuff.

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FunCast: On Being IT

Today's FunCast is from a meditation about games and kids and culture. The article is called "On Being IT."

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FunCast: Bernie Played a Game

Today's FunCast describes a certain clearly pointless game known as "Bernie Played a Game."

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Primal Glee

If you like the whole psychology thing, there's an article I write that seemed to me particularly timely, once again. It's called: The Therapeutics of Primal Glee, and it's the text of today's FunCast.

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Why We Laugh

The text for today's FunCast can be found here.

What can't be found either place follows:

Marie Martin. That's the wonderful person who gave me the Gumleaf album. An amazing spirt, that Marie. Playful. Caring. Passionate.

Herb Patton's CD and booklet "How to Play the Gumleaf" can be found here.

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FunCast: Fun, Work, and the ImagineCam™

Today's Funcast: Fun, Work, and the ImagineCam™, is beyond a light-hearted romp into the powers of the imagination. Not much beyond. But beyond enough to make one think that one could build whole new enterprises with little more than an ImagineCam™ and assorted Imaginary Multimedia™

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FunCast: My Business Card

Bernie's Business CardToday's FunCast is, in fact, as advertised, about my business card. Honestly.

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Intergenerational Kickball

Funscout Kris Bordessa sent me this link from today's West Hawaii Today. If you're not already a member, you have to join (name, email address). I'm not really much of a joiner, but if Kris, author of Team Challenges (you can listen to my interview here), tells me to look at something, it's gotta be worth the price of membership. So I click. And I look. And look! It's about Intergenerational Kickball!

And I read more. And I'm so moved. And so encouraged. Almost to the level of thinking "my job here on your planet is done," if you know what I mean. Not to prejudice you. Here. Read this. And you tell me.
"'You can tell we don't have any rules here,' joked mother and game coordinator Lani Bowman. 'We had one of the dad's come who's a baseball coach and he couldn't handle it.'

"Actually, there were quite a few rules that were announced as the game went on. First, and most important for the mature players in the game, was no beaning anyone over 40. But feel free to wallop anyone else with the ball as they run wildly past.

"Everyone gets to kick twice before the sides switch and you can start running when the pitcher releases the ball. Plus, someone has to run for 85-year-old Auntie Rose after she kicks.

"These are the types of things childhood memories are made of -- cool and clear Sunday afternoons with kids and "grown-up" kids screaming, running, laughing and getting dirty with little structure attached. For the group of 10 participating in this intergenerational kickball game at Kamehameha Park in Kohala this Sunday afternoon, the only thing they needed to worry about was the occasional rock in their shoe....

"'I love to mingle with the children,' said Rose Ramos, who at 85 was the veteran player of the group. 'The children are having fun so to be a part of it is fun.'"
Intergenerational Kickball. Organized for the fun of it. And because people were looking for "a way for the keiki [kids] in the area to interact with their elders and each other to build a stronger sense of community in an area that struggles with poverty, broken homes and drugs."

And they sure found a good one!

(see also my collection of Intergenerational Games.)

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The Sound and the Fury

Today's FunCast is about a "New Game" game called "The Sound and the Fury"

[For future reference, if you want to download all or any of my FunCasts, you can use My Odeo Channel.]

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FunCast: of Fun and War

Today's FunCast is an exhortation. I exhort in virtual print here. I quote:

"A Frisbee, in the hands of people in business dress in a public park, is a weapon against fear. A basketball dribbled along a downtown sidewalk, is a guided missile aimed at the heart of war. Playing with a yo-yo, a top, a kite, a loop of yarn in a game of cats’ cradle, all and each a victory against intimidation. Playing openly, in places of business, in places where we gather to eat or travel or wait, is a gift of hope, an invitation to sanity in a time when we are on the brink of global madness."

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The Daily Game

I was recently revisiting the idea of "The Daily Game" and, musing amongst several significant implications thereof, realized I had written a poem again. And that it needed to be heard, like all poems do. And so, with this week's FunCast, I get to read it to you.

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FunCast: Phantasy Photoshop

I wrote about "Phantasy Photoshop" last May. And now that I'm FunCasting, I realize that I could explain this game even more vividly simply by reading it to my voice recorder. So, that, apparently, is what I did, and what you have here, in today's FunCast.

If you really like the game, it came from another one I invented, of similar creative pointlessness, called "Polaroid" where an image slowly "develops" as people work together to see it.

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FunCast: Interview with Kris Bordessa, author, Team Challenges

Today's FunCast is an all too brief telephone (hence the poor sound quality) interview with Kris Bordessa, author of Team Challenges.

Kris impressed me a great deal during our short telephone encounter, and even more as I read her book. People who acknowledge the importance of helping kids develop social skills are all too rare. Even more rare, are people who, like Kris, are able to acknowledge the value of making team building fun.

Team Challenges is a rare gift - for children, youth groups, homeschoolers, families, and even for the few people in public schools who are able to rationalize the relevance of social skills to the development of academic skills. On behalf of the whole, Ms. Bordessa, I thank you.

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FunCast: Computers and Toy Horses

Today's FunCast called "Computers and Toy Horses," is a kind of meditation on what I played with and how I played 55 years ago, and what I am playing with now, and how.

You can read it here.

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FunCast: Becoming Gifted

Today's semi-poetic moment of appreciation called "Becoming Gifted" is my personal gift to you, just for clicking this.

And/or, if you actually want to read it, given the poetic density of it all, click here.

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FunCast: Watching TV as a Flow-Producing Experience

Today's FunCast is about the kinds of Flow experiences that Csikszentmihalyi doesn't consider, the Lesser Flow kinds of experiences as found in the oft-dissed delights of TV-watching.

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FunCast: Loving Fun and CoLiberation

Since this is the first posting of the year, I thought I'd make it a FunCast, and devote it to the two things I'd most wish for all of us: Loving Fun and Coliberation.

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FunCast: Intimate Fun and the Tickled We

Today's FunCast is called: "Intimate Fun and the Tickled We." It's about, well, if you don't want to listen to it first, you can read it online, here. It may be of some assistance should you find this holiday season leading you to entwinining with one or several of your various lovers and family members.

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FunCast: The Out-Blessing Game

The text for today's FunCast can be found here. It begins:

"Trying to out-bless people is much more fun than trying to outguess them. For this reason, I give you: The Out Blessing Game."

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FunCast: A Meditation on the Children's Game of Hot Bread and Butter

Today's FunCast seems to be "Meditation on the Children's Game of Hot Bread and Butter." It is not so loosely based on my article: "Play, Learning and Empowerment."

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FunCast: The Fun Intelligence

Today's FunCast is from an article I wrote about what I decided to call The Fun Intelligence. It starts like this:
You know how they talk about all these "intelligences" - like the "creative intelligence" and the "emotional intelligence" and the "mathematical..."?

Well, today I've been wondering if maybe "fun" is one of those "intelligences." Maybe our whole ability to perceive fun and create fun, the whole complex of rational and emotional and physical processes is part of an Intelligence.

You know how you sense something is possibly fun or you sense the fun possibilities...you know how we talk about the spirit of fun or the feeling of fun...

So I'm thinking maybe there is this Fun Intelligence, and that those of us in particular who are particularly gifted with this Intelligence have in fact found it to be central to our survival: socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, spatially, mathematically...

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Finger Food Roulette

It's not so much because of the turkey or the Pilgrims, this holiday. It's because of each other, this Thanksgiving getting together. Hence, the appropriateness of this FunCast being devoted to one of my favorite family food games



Finger Food Roulette


1) Select a variety of finger foods: celery sticks, carrot sticks, pistachios, peanuts, etc. Place each in a separate serving dish. In each dish, place enough of the selected finger food to feed one-third to one-half of the extended family.

1.1) If there are more people than finger foods (as is often the case), prepare two or perhaps even three dishes from each.

1.2) Thus making certain that each finger food is equally represented, and each participant equally finger fed.

1.2.1) For example, were there only three snacks and some 12 people, there would be 4 portions of each finger food.

2) At the appropriate time, distribute the finger food platters randomly, placing one in front of each food fingerer (sic).

2.1) Instruct all participants to take a handful of the snack in front of them, and then to

2.2) pass their platter to the clockwisenly (also sic) adjacent person.

2.3) Continue in like manner: finger-feeding, passing, finger-feeding, passing.

3) The last finger-food left loses.

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FunCast: Minor Fun

Today's FunCast is about Minor Fun - the kind of fun that generally goes unnoticed, and yet turns out to be, well, fundamental, as it were, to our very sanity.

If you'd like to read this piece, see this.

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FunCast: Relaxed Playfulness and the Inner Tire Swing

The text for today's FunCast can be found here.

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FunCast: A Mirror Game for Serious and Silly

I'm calling today's FunCast "A Mirror Game for Serious and Silly." You could also call it "Silly and Serious at play in the Inner Sandbox," but then you'd be leaving out the mirror part. It comes from a recent "Recess for the Soul" performance. You can read most of the text here.

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Funcast: On Being Silly

Storyteller Joe Paris notified me that he had mentioned me in a blog post titled "Sillymorphing." And in deed, he had. He wrote:
"...my Uncle Mose (short for Mozart)...claimed there was something in the crisp air and chaotic scramble of activity at a fall festival that inspired some folks to become 'sillymorphs,' and he was all for that, inasmuch as he was one of that ilk.

"He believed evolving into a 'sillymorph' - the word is from the Latin silliomorphus, 'to undergo a change from the overly-serious nincompoop you usually are to the lighthearted, child-like, fun-loving nincompoop you should aspire to be' - greatly increases the chances that you will laugh more, love more, and live a more interesting, if not happier or longer, life."
Though my photo and my fun logo are writ large in his post, I, myself, as well me, personally, are not actually the topic of the post, but rather as a valdating reference, as that of another authority on the nature of silliness.

Which is, in its own way, peculiarly delicious. Fulfilling, as it were, my purpose in retrospect. Insofar as I curently find myself and almost everything I do in near total agreement with Mr. Paris and Uncle Mose.

For more silliness, listen to today's FunCast: "The Secrets of Silly and Serious."

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FunCast: A Conversation with Streetplay.com

Today's FunCast is from a phone conversation I had with Mickey Greene, founder of Streetplay.com and Hugh McNally, programming wizard behind the website. These guys are registered "Heroes of Playfulness." Our discussion about "professional stick ball bats" led to some deep insights, and much laughter. Enjoy.

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FunCast: A Little Mind/Body Game

Today's FunCast originated at a Recess for the Soul performance - a Little Mind/Body Game we played in preparation for a game of Tag or Hide and Seek with Serious and Silly.

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FunCast: The Origin of Laughter according to the Oaqui

In today's FunCast, the Oaqui explain/s the true and actual origins of laughter, according to the Oaqui, much like the Oaqui did here.

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Funcast: The Origins of Volleyball According to the Oaqui

Today's FunCast, brought to you courtesy of the Oaqui, wends the winding ways of history for evidence of the origins of Volleyball.

See also this.

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FunCast: Introducing the Oaqui

Today's FunCast introduces the mystical incantations of the mysterious Oaqui. The mysterious Oaqui communicate only by email. Is the Oaqui a male or female, a child or old person? Is there only one Oaqui? These are things we shall perhaps never know.

In this transmission, the Oaqui shares a short, exemplary myth, called "Two Players."

The rest, no matter how hard you try to eff, must remain ineffable, at least until the next FunCast.

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FunCast: Bomb and Shield

Here's a game I've been playing a lot lately. It's called Bomb and Shield, from a fellow named Augusto Boal in his book Games for Actors and Non-Actors. I'm not sure why people have been liking this game so much lately. It might have something to do with the political ramifications of playing with human bombs. On the other hand, it probably has more to do with it being a lot of fun for a lot of people - even kids. You can read more about it here.

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Funcast: Dum Dum Da Da - revisited

There's an old "New Game" called "Dum Dum Da Da." In today's FunCast, we get to hear a new version of the game, and another personal apotheosis for your favorite person-of-fun and mine.

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Today's FunCast: Linkity

It's today's FunCast and it's all about the latest game to earn the coveted Major Fun Award - Linkity and the Games Tasting we had with the Major, Rick, Celia Pearce, Ricky H, and Tamara.

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Fridays with Bernie - Duck Duck Goose

It's Friday with Bernie once again. Today's Podcast is about how a game called "Duck-Duck-Goose" changed my life. It's from a presentation I made last Sunday to the South Bay Unitarian Fellowship. I gave a few readings from "Recess for the Soul," and then basically shmoozed. It was a small, but wonderfully responsive gathering, and it was really fortuitous that I just happened to bring my new (stand by for pure geekery) Olympus WS-200s digital voice recorder with an ME-50s microphone.

The whole recording is a little over an hour. (One of the great things about a digital voice recorder with 128 megs of memory is that it can record, in stereo, for up to 4.5 hours using one AAA battery - without having to change tapes or anything!) It captured the experience I had with a wonderfully responsive and deep-thinking audience, with faithful fidelity, in stereo. If you want a copy, let me know. A $6 donation for burning and shipping will cover it nicely.





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Fridays with Bernie

Herrrrrre's Bernie: August 12, 2005

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