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Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

More fun, more often, for more people and other living things.

Did I mention Word Play? It's an annotated collection of links to sites that play with, uh, words.

For example, there's The Famous Country Western Song Machine, which produces songs such as:

I met her in a gay bar with Merv Griffin;
I can still recall that plastic nose she wore;
She was slurpin' up linguini by the off-ramp,
and I knew I'd have to scrape her off the floor;
The painters knew I'd stay a dwarf forever;
She said to me our love would never die;
But who'd have thought she'd freak out on a surfboard;
You'd think at least that she'd have said goodbye.

Or the Dialectizer that translates websites into a variety of dialects, such as "Elmer Fudd"

Today's weawization:

I’m especiawwy intewested in the innocent, intimate, safe, funny, pwofound kind of fun that we can achieve as aduwts. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit! Unwike the innocence of chiwdhood, this innocent, aduwt fun is based not on ignowance, but on infowmed openness. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit! It’s an intimacy that goes beyond sexuawity to cweate moments of physicaw, emotionaw and spiwituaw union that make us wawgew than wife. De kind of intimacy buiwt on twust, wespect, on ouw abiwities to keep each othew safe, to make each othew waugh, to howd each othew cwose, to touch each othew deepwy.

And, of course, Pig Latin:

Oday'stay ealizationray:

Iyay’may especiallyyay interestedyay inyay ethay innocentyay, intimateyay, afesay, unnyfay, ofoundpray indkay ofyay unfay atthay eway ancay achieveyay asyay adultsyay. Unlikeyay ethay innocenceyay ofyay ildhoodchay, isthay innocentyay, adultyay unfay isyay asedbay otnay onyay ignoranceyay, utbay onyay informedyay opennessyay. Ityay’say anyay intimacyyay atthay oesgay eyondbay exualitysay otay eatecray omentsmay ofyay ysicalphay, emotionalyay andyay iritualspay unionyay atthay akemay usyay argerlay anthay ifelay. Ethay indkay ofyay intimacyyay uiltbay onyay usttray, espectray, onyay ouryay abilitiesyay otay eepkay eachyay otheryay afesay, otay akemay eachyay otheryay aughlay, otay oldhay eachyay otheryay oseclay, otay ouchtay eachyay otheryay eeplyday.

Innocent intimacy

Today's realization:

I’m especially interested in the innocent, intimate, safe, funny, profound kind of fun that we can achieve as adults. Unlike the innocence of childhood, this innocent, adult fun is based not on ignorance, but on informed openness. It’s an intimacy that goes beyond sexuality to create moments of physical, emotional and spiritual union that make us larger than life. The kind of intimacy built on trust, respect, on our abilities to keep each other safe, to make each other laugh, to hold each other close, to touch each other deeply.

I am finding my self tickled untowardly by this Poke the Penguin and this Soccer game. (Be sure to have your sound turned on when you play it.)

Why, you ask, would I, Bernie DeKoven, be so untowardly tickled by games that are so blatantly stupid and patently pointless.

Precisely.

Thank you 3Bruces.

Online Karaoke, at last.
(thanks for the pointer Irish Kid and Bored.cc ).

Funny Fun

There's been a discussion on the DeepFUN group about the relationships between Fun and Funny. A response from Stefani Marchese draws the distinction with some very clear lines.

It helped me find other words for the kinds of games I like to play, the games I call "Pointless." They're funny. They make people laugh. Some of them, like A What, are funny even though (or especially because) they make people so confused. Some, like People Pass, are funny even though (or especially because) they seem so risky or risqué. They're all challenging in a way. And in that way, they meet Csikszentmihalyi's criteria for a fun/flow experience. But they wouldn't be as fun if they weren't so darn funny.
ô¿ô

Zippo Tricks
A remarkably extensive collection (here, for example, are the "easy" tricks) of flammable fun.
By way of PenTix

Streetplay presents invaluably concrete evidence for those of us who wonder if kids still play. (The site is very slow today - Internet problems - but well worth the wait.)

Good Old New Games



Always delicious to discover that there are people out there keeping New Games alive. Let's Play is my latest find. There's a small collection of old New Games on the site. Here's a good one I almost forgot:

Psychic Hand Shake

"This activity requires a more meditative frame of mind. Everyone in the group picks a number in their head--one, two, or three--that feels right for them at the moment. Without breaking the mood, we mingle and start shaking hands with one another. If my number is one, I shake your hand just once; if it's two, I shake twice; and I shake your hands three times if it's three. If we have different numbers, there is an unmistakable moment of tension as one of us tries to stop the shake while the other continues. But if we have the same number, we stop at the same time and we know we're in the same group. Those of us with the same number stick together and continue our search. Amazingly, more often than not, we will divide ourselves up into three equal groups!"

You know about Dale LeFevre, of course, one the most intrepid and enduring of the New Games standard-carriers.

And diabolo-master, devil-sticking, dice-stacker Todd Strong's book of Parachute Games.

You can also find the games and philosphy sprinkled about cyberspace. Here's a couple of good old games being used to good purpose courtesy of good old New Gamer Charlie Steffans.

Today's additions to the Lexifunnicon:

Funnite: funnite - a night different from all other nights, generally devoted to the development of sensifunnity

Fununity:having and/or being fun together

Funday: like funnite, except: 1) often devoted to the development of fununity, 2) longer, 3) occuring during the day
.

Taprats is an applet and application for playing with Islamic star patterns. Could lead to deep fun.

My wonderful sister's wonderful friend Manny sent me a link to an article called "Play Your Way to a Better Life!" It is what I can only call a wonderful article. Who knew? Who'd think to look to the eDiets website for anything about fun? And who'd imagine that there would be an article of this depth and clarity? The author, Hara Marano, is to be congratulated (I'd do it myself if I could find his/her email address), especially for interviewing play scholar Gary Chick.

For example:

"...there is...evidence that play does much more. It may in fact be the highest expression of our humanity. Play appears to allow our brain to exercise its flexibility, to maintain and perhaps renew the multiplicity of nerve connections that embody our human potential to adapt to meet the challenges life throws at us.

"Play is an activity distinguished by having no goals at all. But the irony is that play has the power to re-energize our life and motivate us afresh to meet whatever goals we set. We are made for play. And we are most human when we play.

"Like art, play is that experience that is almost impossible to define because it encompasses infinite variability. But we all recognize play when we see or experience it."

And:

"How we play is related in many ways to our core sense of self. Play is an exercise in self-definition; it reveals what we choose to do, not what we have to do. We play the way we are. And the ways we could be. Play is our best connection to pure possibility."

Great stuff!
.

After a long phone call with my Charles, his closing words: "enjoy it all."

I'd like to make that wish public. You, too, dear reader, may you enjoy every little bit of it.
.

Wanna see if you can laugh with your tongue in your cheek? Take a look at this "sign language" (courtesy of Bored.cc).

My body has me up later than my mind wants to be.

Added a bunch of new quotes to the collection - these on humor. Since I've been contemplating the functions of fun as a survival mechanism, the following quotes seemed especially apt:

"Total absence of humor renders life impossible."
Colette

"If I had no sense of humor, I should long ago have committed suicide."
Mahatma Gandhi

"Were it not for my little jokes, I could not bear the burdens of this office."
Abraham Lincoln

"Any man who has the job I've had and didn't have a sense of humor wouldn't still be here."
Harry S. Truman

"Humor is just another defense against the universe."
Mel Brooks

"Optimism and humor are the grease and glue of life. Without both of them we would have never survived our captivity."
Philip Butler, Vietnam POW
.

Under the "New Sites Added to Bernie's Blog Roll" category, be sure to check out Pentix - a site devoted to the completely useless, but profoundly refined art of pen-flipping (where I also learned about the equally useless and refined art of pencil manipulations), which came to my attention courtesy of Scrubbles, which has earned that site a coveted spot on my Blog Roll as well.

Times like these, I love the web!

While waiting for the actual to actualize, I frequently find myself contemplating how I might actualize a potential or two.

For example, yesterday I started thinking about private DeepFUN Retreats. And I realized that, wow, this could very well turn out to be a BIG PIECE of the DeepFUN work - DeepFUN Community Retreats - where I could help build more positive, supportive, healthier communities for cancer survivers and copywriters, actors and twelve-steppers, dentists and firefighters, families and neighbors...and how it would complement so perfectly the DeepFUN open retreats , which, of course, haven't even opened yet!

A bit of wisdom from a local surfer dude: I go out on the water to have fun, not to say "I survived it."

Countered by another bit of wisdom from another LSD (local surfer dude): Every time I come back from riding a good wave, I get on my knee in thanks that I am alive to remember it.

Here are two new entries for the Lexifunnicon:

Sensifunnity: the ability to sense fun.
Funnitivity: the potential to be fun.

Unfortunately, sensifunnity is easy confused with funnitivity, and yet, clearly, they are profoundly different. Though, in all likelihood, if one has a high degree of one, one is most likely to have a similarly high degree of the other, and vice versa.

The beach, for example, could be said to have a high funnitivity rating. Because of which, one needs only a moderate degree of sensifunnity to appreciate said same.

The experience of Deep Time is definitely a component of the DeepFUN experience. It's also a component of Csikszentmihalyi's description of Flow. It's also true that the experience of Deep Time can have nothing at all to do with fun. Like when you're in a traffic accident or when you forget your lines or when someone tells you that your zipper is open.

Today I learned that I am a sandwalker.

As I was walking to the beach for my daily low-tide glory, some neighbors (when the weather is as welcoming as this, you get to see a lot of your neighbors - and, since the weather in Southern California is so often welcoming, you get to experience community on an almost daily basis) I was asked which way I was heading - along the walk towards the pier, or the sand, towards Rat Beach (yes, it's called "Rat Beach" - and it's usually quiet and always beautiful). "Rat Beach," says I. "O," says my neighbor, "you're a sandwalker."

I am, in deed, that.

I love walking along the verge of the merge between land and sea. It's where I get to see the varieties of genuinely deep fun playing themselves out: Little kids throwing sand. Older kids on their boogie boards trying to skim a quick ride on the hard wet sand. Kids and parents building sand forts, digging pools for the tide to come into. Young adults body surfing and board surfing and sail surfing. Waders. Swimmers. Divers. Families lying on each other. Buddhas on the beach.

From Dr. Brian Sutton-Smith (friend and mentor) on "Reframing the Variabilities of Play" - an informative and delightful catalogue of the varieties of adult play and players:

"...anyone who becomes a professional player such as a comedian, explorer, actor, narrator, athlete, collector, hostess, model, or artist of any kind, inevitably plays with these mental and behavioural play frames at earlier ages, and probably maintains playful accompaniments during their artistic involvement even at the adult stage."

"...a pantheon of play personnae: ranging from the pleasures of nonsense and being funny, to the excitements of real action and discovery, the thrills of mastery and victory, the exaltations of artistic performances, the consummatory pleasures of great stories, the joy of cynosural postures, and the pleasures of multiple peak experiences."

My conceptual shores have been awash in a minor flood of playful pith:

This from Pat Armitstead,
"New Zealand's Only Joyologist"

The Surgeon General warns this correspondence contains powerful anti-depressants ….use only as directed and see your doctor if you are not amused !


And more:

"Silly is you in a natural state, and Serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again" - Mike Meyers, in his interview on Inside the Actors Studio (Bravo). Click here to read my personal further explorations of this particular dichotomy.

Another relationship that I've been playing hard with is that between fun and happiness. To date, the most boldworthy is:

You can't choose to be happy, but you can choose to have fun.

I think this is coming close to the core - explaining, for me, at least, why my focus has shifted from happiness to play to games to fun. Something about the apparent triviality of the word "fun" makes it so much more approachable, accessible, achievable...

And here's a passel from my friend Charles:

"Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness." - Mary Satton

"Take time every day to do something silly." - Philips Walker

"The most thoroughly wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed" - Nicolas de Chamfort

"Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which he has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss." - Anon

"He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day...needs to reorganize his life" - George Matthew Adams

One of the ongoing themes of DeepFUN is that fun is where you find it. Even in the workplace. You may have to look harder, but it's there, and well worth the search. I wrote an article about this for Executive Update called "Discover the Fun of Work" All of which is prologue to a message I received this morning from a wise friend of mine who illustrates another dimension of the work/fun balance:

"My learnings have been both professional and personal. Professional wise,
it's just new techniques and stuff. Personal wise, I've been trying to be
more, uh, I don't know the word is, cool, I guess, or Zen. Trying to enjoy
the simple and fun pleasures in life rather than worrying about where I'm
going next. I tend to get to caught up in advancing myself professionally
and then not taking the time to play guitar, or cook myself a nice meal, or
sit on a dock, etc, etc. I'm trying to correct that. And the funny thing is,
the more time I spend enjoying myself, the more productive I am during the
time I am working... which is an interesting but helpful consequence."

A little food for thought, and hope.

That Recreating the American Way article has been explaining a lot to me - like why my DeepFUN Retreats wound up being 5 and 6 days long, and why they'll probably be other, even longer retreats.

Ever since I designed the New Games Trainings I have, despite their immense success, felt that they weren't as successful as I needed them to be. Yes, they were fun and poweful and people definitely developed competencies in leading New Games. But the part about inventing your own games, about creating your own fun, that part never really worked. New Games became a collection of really wonderful games, and people who learned how to lead them became a bunch of really wonderful leaders, but, if you happen to attend a New Games training (still offered by the stalwart few), you'll discover that it's almost identical with the trainings we gave 25 years ago. Yes, to the people who are new to New Games, the games are still, well, new. But they are packaged. They may be different, but they've been already invented.

And it's that part - the creating-your-own-fun part, the part during which you discover that you and a community of peers can not only invent really fun games, but can have far deeper fun playing games that are truly new and truly yours - that has been for me the gift, the core teaching, the big empowerment that we can give each other.

Looking back, I realize that the time wasn't really right for that message, certainly not as right as it is now. Even though New Games was born during the Viet Nam war, war was still too far away from us, our institutions changing, yes, but not that much, and not under such a penetrating threat. New Games fit well within an emerging infrastructure. The games and the event could become another product.

But today, our very ability to produce is under attack. And I'm thinking that we can no longer afford to be consumers or even producers of fun. That we all have to become inventors. We can't rely on prepackaged toys and games. We can't rely on organized sports. We have to rediscover our collective powers to reinvent fun in family and community. We have to learn how to create fun where there isn't any.

Here's the current version of Recreating the American Way - that "compelling reason" I was talking about.




Let's start with the depressing part:

When the Twin Towers collapsed, so did the American Way. Suddenly, we became another Israel. Suddenly, it became all too vividly apparent that no amount of material success could shelter us from fear. Real fear. Not anxiety. Not the kind of fear that a therapist can help us with or a big house can protect us from. Or our constitution, or bylaws.

Our very infrastructure has been attacked by terror. Not just the infrastructure of our cities or our transportation system or industries or sports. But the infrastructure of the American soul. Suddenly, the absolutely fundamental guarantees for our pursuit of life, liberty and especially for the pursuit of happiness all became voided. The happy things that we created before 9/11, the toys, games, entertainments, the SUVs and home entertainment centers, money, posessions, status, achievement - of all the vehicles that we had invented for the pursuit of happiness - none of them was designed to take us past fear.

So, enough with the depression already. There's another side to this very heavy coin. I call it "fun."

Coincidentally, I happen to be an expert in fun. I've spent the last 35 years helping people invent new ways to bring fun into their lives. And I do it all without toys or special equipment or anything that you have to own, without trophies or scorekeepers or anything that you'd have to win. What I do is help people find ways to make fun accessible to them, anywhere, with anyone.

First thing to note: it works. It can be done. We can create new vehicles for the pursuit of happiness, vehicles that don't require highways or oil or good credit.

Next thing: it helps. Even when we have every reason to be afraid, these new vehicles can bring us together, to places where we can celebrate our freedom and love and trust in each other, despite the fear.

OK. The way I do it takes more than an hour or a day. So it takes a week before I can help people get a firm enough fix on their own personal sense of fun to keep it going. But it's fun. From the very beginning. For the whole week. Learning new ways to have fun is fun. Teaching each other new ways to have fun is fun. Inventing new ways to have fun is fun. And you can't get much more American than that.

For many reasons, I'm finding myself hard at work creating a "compelling reason" for people to come to a DeepFUN Retreat. Today's latest effort is a continuation of a theme I've been playing with in this article from the purported Oaqui, and this article on "Fun and War", and this conversation with a couple correspondents.

As universal as the search for fun may be, I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's also uniquely American, and perhaps more uniquely appropriate than any of us wanted it to be.

That Arkfarm weblog (recently added to my coveted Weblog Roll of Honor) is making me update my Fun Things page almost hourly. This morning's addition: Clickmazes - a cornycopia of mazish applets for your further adventures in downtime.

And then there's another great find from yet another Blog Roll of Honor winner, Apathy - We Made Out in a Tree and This Old Guy Sat and Watched Us.com, which turns out to be a "site dedicated to odd quotes, strange statements, bad writing and other oddities of the English language," like, for example, this Disclaimer on some Spam Email: "The certainly big help is will become firm belief like this to send the mail to the minutes when, our services use the transactions the at the electron it gives. To the minutes when it refuses the mail reception the toil which stands it is but it will grow a reception refusal, when lik it does, it will eliminate you mail from our data immediately and it will give."

And Fifty Fun Things to Do on an Elevator cited on Blog Honor Roller Bored.cc.

SeeThruWeb, once included amongst the few on the DeepFUN Blog Roll, is, alas, as of April's end, apparently defunct. I sigh collectively for the loss. Do visit them, though. See, for example, their collection of animal games and "weird web products."

A moment of shameless self-back-patting: I was looking for a game for someone - a game that I had not invented or re-invented (as I am so wont to do) and rediscovered the wealth of links I had compiled. Go ye there and reopen the virtual portals to yer fun-seeking soul!

A funworthy reader writes: I'm wondering if the Frog of Enlightenupment thing can fix Carpal Tunnel so you don't need Frog Splints anymore :)

Ah, the sheer profunditty of it all.

Downtime

Then there's this article, "Doing Nothing is Something," from Anna Quindlan, Newsweek editorialist. It's been haunting me since I was led to it by a correspondent from the International Association for the Child's Right to Play. The key idea is that we, our kids, ourselves, simply don't have enough time for fun. Because there's a certain kind of fun that can only be found in unstructured, unprogrammed, downtime.

Then there's this association called "Family Life 1st" with a page of genuinely scientifical research documenting the increase in scheduled time and decrease in downtime.

And there's this old (1997) article about "The Value of School Recess and Outdoor Play" that says pretty much the same thing.

All of which makes me feel a little smugger (more smuggishly?) about the design DeepFUN Retreats. Programming hour after hour of fun experiences isn't enough. There has to be time and space for the free-form, unstructured, unplanned for. A lot of time and space. I think that's why the five-day format, why having the retreats in natural, contemplative settings, has become so central to my vision for the DeepFUN Retreats.

Downtime.

Jest laugh!

I dunno. Laughing without meaning it. It's wacky. Laughing just because it's good for you. Seems kinda broken. Like laughter should come from the heart, not the head. On the other hand, when I read articles like "Laughter Does a Body Good" it makes me wonder. It's fun. Or when I listen to sounds of laughter from the Laughter Lab, it's kinda funny. Kinda makes me laugh. And kinda doesn't. And now that I'm a WorldLaughterTour Website Award Winner, it makes me think that DeepFUN's somehow a part of all this. But, frankly, still, I dunno. Except I do know this: any connection that we can make that brings lightness to people's lives, keeps the darkness a little further away.

OK. OK. This is going to sound like a commercial message for my webmistress Julie Wolpers, and, well, it is. But at the same time, it's an acknowledgment of how much actual fun it can be to work with someone like Julie - someone knowledgable, skilled, interested, imaginative, sensitive, gifted.

Julie just worked her virtual magic on this weblog, giving form to this often questionable substance. And it was fun for her. Fun to learn about the technology. Fun to make something more beautiful and more functional. Fun for her to learn about the ins and outs of designing with Blogger so she had one more tool for her clients. Fun for her to help me so I had one more avenue open for the fun-seeking few. Fun for us to discuss the design and how we could make it more fun.

I've never met Julie. She lives in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and I live in Redondo Beach, CA. Our entire working relationship of several years has been conducted through email and telephone. And we've managed to keep it productive and fun and somehow grown closer than you'd think possible.

All of which demonstrates how, given the right people, the fun/work dichotomy isn't.

In response to that email from the grieving father, I suggested a few games, one of which was the Frog of Enlightenupment. He writes back:

Thanks for the quick reply and the links. I already searched on your site and found an article http://www.deepfun.com/grief.html that I enjoyed reading.

I was a little startled at the first link "The Frog". My oldest daughter started collecting frogs a year ago, stuffed animals, jewelry, statues, etc. (no live frogs yet). I can't wait to show her that link. Also, in the first days after the accident a large frog suddenly appeared on our deck pond. We usually get little tree frogs but this one is very unusual. It is usually there in the mornings and evenings, and somehow has been a source of comfort to us. There were also some strange coincidences regarding the frog as well as other animals with close friends of my wife. Not only that I just noticed that the song I'm listening to is "2 Frogs" by Five For Fighting. Can you hear the Twilight Zone theme start playing? :)

Speaking of great connections, the DeepFUN website was just given the



Very cool to be connected to these people and to my fellow award-winners.

Engaged Play

I found this article on "Engaged Play" that might shed some more light on the experience of DeepFUN. The author says:

"All play is fun, of course, but engaged play can help create pathways to greater understanding: in fact, engaged play is essential to the development of all mammals, especially humans. That said, engaged play is any activity during which imagination and ideas flow, and where, in the spirit of exploration, the need to reach a particular goal is over-ridden by the sheer desire to remain spontaneous. Soccer can be play. Scrabble can be play. Sex can be play. Work can be play. It’s more about attitude than anything else. There are rules, there is process, there are goals, but the attitude of play is generally to become immersed in the process while manipulating the rules and goals."



Deep Time (cont'd)



Yesterday, we held a "Welcoming Ceremony" for Lily. Daughter Shael introduced a new ritual. Everyone had a turn to hold the baby (all swaddled up like a gift to the world) and personally, quietly, welcome Lily to the world. Watching people's faces as they held the baby and concentrated on their wishes, I could see them enter Deep Time, each person beautiful in the reflected light of the newborn.

In case I ever forget, even for a minute, why I'm putting all this effort into my website and this weblog and the DeepFUN retreats, here's an email I got today, to remind me:


Hi,

I just found your website and I am really interested in your concepts. Over the past year or so, especially after the 9/11 tragedies, I have been trying to improve my outlook by trying to enjoy life more and focus on the Fun/pretty/interesting things in life. From what I've ready so far about DeepFUN it is a very similar concept to what I had been doing on my own.

I had started to try and get my older daughter to take part in some of my little games. One thing I was working on in particular was trying to get her to focus on 'optimistic' things. Listening to music that had an uplifting happy theme and the like.

On April 4th my wife of 21 years was driving my daughters to Ice Skating practice when someone ran through a red light and broad sided the car. My wife was killed, but my daughters survived.

I am struggling with how to get back to a happier existence. I look forward to a day when I can have fun again.

I know that my current state of mind is not conducive to the DeepFUN philosophy, but I was wondering if you may have any suggestions/resources that may help me and my girls get closer to that point again.



Deep Time

This weekend in Austin I've experienced two different examples of "Deep Time" - time that seems deeper than time:

The first was lighting the Shabbos candles with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. It was my five-day-old granddaughter's first Shabbos. We had set up the candles and suddenly, just before lighting, daughter Shael realized that from now on she'd be lighting a third candle. We quickly found a candleholder. Shael and Tom took their two lit candles, joined them so there was one flame, and lit the new candle for Lily. This was such a beautiful, spontaneous, poetic embodiment of this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Time beyond time.

The next was a different kind of deep. We went to see the bats fly out from under the bridge in Austin. Millions of bats. Hundreds of people hanging out, waiting to share a natural spectacular. Familes. Friends. All of us standing in awe as the bats in their millions made mad patterns in the growing dusk. On the way back, the parking lot guard stopped us to point out a nutria lumbering across the driveway. That moment of contact with him and his sense of wonder put me right back into Deep Time.

I don't really know why I like this picture of my DeepFUN hat so much



I guess because it's so absurd seeing it on a womannequin - especially one wearing sunglasses.

This particular womannequin lives in our much-abbreviated backyard. Her companion faces her, about 8 feet away, in full, glorious, emaciated, plaster nudity. My sacred Rocky (wife for more than 35 years) and delicious friend Robin and I found these icons of modern beauty in an alley on the way home from a beach walk. They've lived with us for a couple months, and continue to grace our environs with a hint of silliness and cryptic social commentary. Two of my favorite things.

More Lilly

A few more entries in preparation for the Lexifunnicon:

Joyagra: a stimulant that allows you to have the kind of fun that you had when you werre younger

Phun-Phen: dietetic fun with potentially dangerous side-effects including the reduction of belly-laughs

fungenuity: the ability to invent fun

There's been an active discussion on the DeepFUN group about the game of Frisbee Golf. The version I liked the best we eventually wound-up calling "Free-Form Frisbee Golf." You use one disc for a group of players. You start anywhere. One of you suggests a target (a tree, trash can, fire hydrant...). Another suggests par (how many throws it will take). The first player tees off (throws). Someone else from the group picks up the disc and throws from there. Rotating through the group until someone finally hits the target. Then you decide on the next "hole." It's a great walking game through any kind of terrain. A great equalizer. Good, gentle fun.

One more reaction I nad to that article about "What is Play For?"...the author covers everything in depth except the possibility that play might be for fun. That the more we play, the better we get at having, creating, being fun.

I wonder if we could teach a computer to have fun, how it would impact its overall growth as a thinking machine.

I was also thinking about what would happen to a person who was born without the ability to experience fun. How long would it survive? And why would it want to?

Yup. Every bit as deliciously fun as you could possibly imagine, this new granddaughter of mine, this incredibly small, finely detailed, completely packaged Lily DeKoven Weidenbach.

On my way to Austin I sought solace in the dense pages of "Theory in Context and Out" the third volume of a collection of play and culture studies, edited by Stuart Reifer. In the first article, "What is Play For?" by Garry Chick, I gleaned these especially delicious tidbits.

"The behaviors exhibited in animal play seem to be taken from the survival related contexts known affectionately as the"four Fs": that is, fighting, fleeing, feeding and mating"

and this...."Ghiselin suggested that little boys playing soldiers are not practicing to slaugher their fellow men, but futhering peaceful life within the own society. The way to make a killer out of a child is to put him into a genuinely competitive situation - such as Little League Baseball."


It's a girl! Lily DeKoven Weidenbach. 7 lbs. 13 oz. Fun-wise, deep-wise, this is as both as it gets!


Maybe it's because I'm finally get to think about fun almost all the time. But I'm getting gleanings from the world at large that fun might be on the verge of becoming newsworthy.

For example, there's Oprah, or at least the editors of her magazine, who devoted an entire issue, more or less, to Fun.

For an even better example, there's Anna Quindlan's remarkably intelligent Newsweek article "Doing Nothing is Something" in which she writes:

"It is not simply that it is pathetic to consider the lives of children who don’t have a moment between piano and dance and homework to talk about their day or just search for split ends, an enormously satisfying leisure-time activity of my youth. There is also ample psychological research suggesting that what we might call “doing nothing” is when human beings actually do their best thinking, and when creativity comes to call. Perhaps we are creating an entire generation of people whose ability to think outside the box, as the current parlance of business has it, is being systematically stunted by scheduling."

And then there's this article I wrote for the August issue of the humanistic psychology magazine AHP Perspective - an article about the Fun Intelligence - where I play with the idea that maybe our abilities to have fun and create fun are critical to our very survival. And, typical of me when I start playing around with things, I'm starting to take this whole thing seriously. I don't know if it's an intelligence or an ability or an attribute, but, with a little help from the media, I'm beginning to allow myself to believe that it's critical, vital to the evolution of our species and the growth of our very persons.




OK. So speaking of fun and the depth thereof, my daughter's proverbial water actually broke. Third grandchild is currently boarding the gondola of joy for its ride down the birth canal of being. We are somewhere between agony and ecstacy. Looking for company, I found The Labor of Love. Bless the web for its virtual nourishment.


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Why this BLOG



Basically, I can't stand it.


My daughter-in-law Julie was complimenting me on how wonderful the dialogue has been on the DeepFUN discussion group . And she said that it seemed to her that no way would the conversation be as wonderful without my active participation. Not as wonderful, asked I to myself? Surely by now there are so many deliciously playful people who have taken an active role in the group that they could sustain as delightfully inspiring of a dialogue with or without me. So, I decided to experiment. I sent a message to the group explaining my experimental absence, for the entire very merry month of May. And it's working. People are doing it without me. They're talking about fun. They're talking about how they can help each other bring fun things to the world. Completely and totally without me! Just as I thought they would.


Except now that I've taken my vow of silence, I find myself, like I said, basically not being able to stand it. Gotta write. Gotta keep sharing those fun thoughts with someone in some place virtually public. Just gotta do it.


And that's why, this blog.

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