Monday, December 14, 2009

Kickstarter- website that raises $$$ for projects in the idea phase.

The 9th Annual Year in Ideas
Thanks to Rebecca Tippens of Roundhouse Culture, Gill MA for this NY Times article, December 14th 2009

Subscription Artists

This summer, Allison Weiss, a 22-year-old singer who writes melodic songs about "hopeless hope," wanted to produce a 1,000-CD run of a new album she was recording, but she wasn't sure how to get the money to do it. Then she heard about Kickstarter, a Web site unveiled in April. At Kickstarter, creative types post a description of a project they want to do, how much money they need for it and a deadline. If enough people pledge money that the artists reach (or surpass) their financial goals, then everyone is billed, paying in advance as you would for a magazine subscription. For goals that aren't reached, nobody is charged.

In essence, Kickstarter offers a form of market research for artists. For perhaps the first time, an artist can quickly answer a nagging question: Does anyone actually want my art badly enough to pay for it? If the goal is reached, the artist now has a list of subscribers to her vision. And if the goal isn't reached? "It's painful, but it's better to find out early," rather than spend precious time and money on a project nobody wants, says Yancey Strickler, who helped found Kickstarter. More than 1,000 projects have been started on Kickstarter since April, raising money for projects as diverse as a solo sailboat trip around the world ($8,142 raised) and a book by Scott Thomas documenting how he developed the graphic design for Barack Obama's presidential campaign ($84,614 raised).


Weiss picked a goal of $2,000, and like many Kickstarter users, offered a clever set of tiered benefits for fans: $40 got someone a signed copy of the album (17 fans paid for that), and for $500, the donor could pick any subject and Weiss would write a song on it. (Two people bit.) Weiss raised the $2,000 in less than 10 hours, and eventually amassed $7,711 from 195 backers, which meant she could pay for more mixing. Perhaps even more important was the validation of her fan base. Weiss says, "I was surprised to find I had a more dedicated Internet following than I thought." CLIVE THOMPSON

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Chanukah everybody...

Happy Chanukah everybody. I know it is a bit late. Below are two of my fave stories are from Isaac Bashevis Singer's collection "Zlateh the Goat" . Although I am just a crazy shiksa* from NYC, I am often mistaken for a nice Jewish girl ( well, people do think I am Jewish) Sometimes people are insistent thinking I am, fearing anti-semetism, denying my heritage. Some try to encourage me to be brave enough to admit that I am in fact, Jewish. This is deliciously ironic because, after spending our teenage years in Brookline, both my sister and I are Jewish "wannabes. " As Irish -Italians from NY, we knew being Jewish was a major cultural upgrade. We'd love to claim Jewish heritage but the mystery of fate made it, forever, unattainable.

What is not mysterious is that both my sister and I know and use lots of Yiddish. Our mother was a with-it New Yorker. She and all intelligent and/or expressive and/or comedic New Yorkers spoke a bit of Yiddish back in the day. When I was 13 we moved to Brookline. I remember arguing with a new friend that oy vey iz mir ( spelled out in my head as " oi vei issa mia") was Italian. After all, my first generation Italian-American mother said it a dozen times a day. Gee -give ashiksa a break, already. Well, that was a long digression...Now for the Hannukah stories.

Two of my fave Channukah-esque stories are from Isaac Bashevis Singer's collection "Zlateh the Goat" summaries below and link to book here:

The Devil's Trick

A fierce snowstorm has been raging for three days, and the devil and his wife are roaming the countryside. Three days ago, David's father had left for the village to gather supplies. When he did not return, David's mother went looking for him. David's mother has not returned and tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. David decides he must go in search of his parents, so he puts his infant sibling to sleep wrapped in warm blankets, lights the first Hanukkah candle, and goes out into the blizzard.
The storm intensifies and David quickly becomes disoriented and then completely lost. He realizes his parents must have also become lost in the fierce weather. David is unable to see the sky or any landmarks and fears he will perish, when he sees the single Hanukkah candle flame in the distance. David runs toward the candle and quickly finds his house, but he is pursued by the devil and the devil's witch wife. David runs into the cabin and slams the door behind him, keeping the devil and his wife out, but trapping the devil's tail in the door.
The devil tells David to free his tail, but David says unless the devil will return David's parents, David will cut the devil's tail off. The devil sends his wife to fetch David's parents, who have been imprisoned not far distant. The devil's witch wife soon returns with David's parents, who rush into the cabin. David takes the Hanukkah candle and uses it to single the devil's tail then he opens the door and releases the devil's tail. The devil and his wife flee into the snowstorm.

Zlateh the Goat
It is almost Hanukkah, and the winter has been a very dry season. The village farmers realize that the dry winter will lead to poor harvests and difficult financial times. Reuven the furrier has also had a bad season, and he reluctantly decides to sell Zlateh, the family goat. Reuven plans to use the money to purchase Hanukkah supplies and treats for his family.

When Reuven tells his twelve-year-old son, Aaron, to take Zlateh to the butcher, Aaron's mother, Leah, and his sisters, Anna and Miriam, cry. Aaron takes a small amount of food and puts a rope around Zlateh's neck to lead the goat to the butcher. Aaron will spend the night at the butcher's house in town and then return with the money the following day. When Aaron reaches the road, Zlateh acts confused, as she has never been led this way before.
Although the sun is shining, when Aaron leaves the village the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse and a vast cold wind blows in, bringing heavy hail with it. Soon, the hail turned to thick snow. Aaron has never seen such a storm and he becomes lost. He soon realizes he is no longer even on the road and fears that he and Zlateh will perish in the freezing snow. Aaron prays to God for deliverance. Suddenly, he makes out a shape, which he recognizes as a haystack. He runs to the snow-covered haystack and quickly scoops out armfuls of hay to make a large hollow cave. Aaron and Zlateh enter the hay cave where they quickly become warm and Zlateh begins to eat the hay.
For three days and nights, Aaron and Zlateh remain in the hay cave while the snowstorm rages. Aaron is careful to keep the snow cleared from the mouth of the cave, so the air can circulate. Zlateh eats the hay and is quite content. Aaron first eats the food he brought and then subsists by drinking milk from Zlateh. During the three days of storm, Aaron is comforted by Zlateh's presence and imagines that the goat's simple and repetitive bleats are answers to his questions. Aaron also realizes that one must be thankful for the things that God sends, regardless of the nature of the gifts. Aaron begins to feel that he has no father, no mother, and no family, and that he is a child of the snow. When he sleeps, he dreams of summer and green hills.
On the fourth day, the storm abates and Aaron hears the distant ringing of sleigh bells. He leaves the haystack and makes his way to the road where a passing sleigh directs him homeward. Instead of continuing on to the butcher's shop, Aaron takes Zlateh and returns home. When Aaron returns home, he is greeted by his ecstatic family, who believed he had perished in the storm. They feed Aaron and Zlateh a special supper while Aaron relates the story of his survival. No one in the family again thought of selling Zlateh to the butcher.
As winter cold sets in, the townspeople need the services of Reuven the furrier, and the family's economic situation quickly improves. Hanukkah arrives and is a joyous and prosperous occasion, and the children play dreidel, while Zlateh the goat watches.

* The word shiksa is etymologically partly derived from the Hebrew term sheketz, which means "abomination", "impure," or "object of loathing", depending on the translator.[1]
Despite its etymology, the term shiksa is widely used and accepted in the United States, where it is often used in a humorous way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Two views on social media and getting the word out

While it is true that nearly all commerce has some presence or does some of their marketing online, this tiny article touches on something very true and something so incomplete as to be false... The article from Business Week [ below it ] tells different story. Yet, I do think the call for accountability in the BW is interesting.

"Online" marketing = "Color" TV 2009-12-08 © Derek Sivers

You can't help but smile when you pass an old motel that still has the sign advertising “Color TV!”

In 1960, it was important to mention that you weren't talking about ordinary
black and white TV. No, this is the new special color TV! Oooh! But now that all TVs are color,
it's funny to hear someone (even a sign) refer to it as “color” TV. It really dates them.

Now I can't help but smile when I hear people talk about “online marketing.”
In 1995, it was important to mention that you weren't talking about ordinary print-paper marketing.

No, this is the new special online marketing! Oooh!

But now that all marketing is online, it's funny to hear someone
(especially a business person) refer to it as “online” marketing.
It really dates them.

Excerpt from DEC 3 Business Week:

Beware Social Media Snake Oil

"...Over the past five years, an entire industry of consultants has arisen to help companies navigate the world of social networks, blogs, and wikis. The self-proclaimed experts range from legions of wannabes, many of them refugees from the real estate bust, to industry superstars such as Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk. They produce best-selling books and dole out advice or lead workshops at companies for thousands of dollars a day. The consultants evangelize the transformative power of social media and often cast themselves as triumphant case studies of successful networking and self-branding.

The problem, according to a growing chorus of critics, is that many would-be guides are leading clients astray. Consultants often use buzz as their dominant currency, and success is defined more often by numbers of Twitter followers, blog mentions, or YouTube (GOOG) hits than by traditional measures, such as return on investment. This approach could sour companies on social media and the rich opportunities it represents. "It's a bit of a Wild West scenario," blogs David Armano, a consultant with the Dachis Group of Austin, Tex. Without naming names, he compares some consultants to "snake oil salesmen."...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tinkering, work and learning

Tonight I am watching (listening really) toTED talks and came upon this fellow - Gever Tulley and his Tinkering School. His TED biography said this about Gever: "A software engineer, Gever Tulley is the co-founder of the Tinkering School, a weeklong camp where lucky kids get to play with their very own power tools. He's interested in helping kids learn how to build, solve problems, use new materials and hack old ones for new purposes."

I loved playing with every kind of building and fashioning implement when I was young. My grandfather was a cabinet maker and had a garage, our garage to be exact, full of tools, neatly set out at a 10 foot long work bench. How I coveted those magical instruments. But I was a girl and Nonno was from the old country ( Napoli) and I was not allowed. Instead, I borrowed tools from my father's tool kit and made do. My older brother had friends I worshiped because they let me "help" one time when they took their Boy Scout axes and hatchets to our next door neighbor's trees and started building a log cabin. They 'let me' dig out the cellar hole. Not the role I wanted but was so much more interesting than playing with dolls. We got in a lot of trouble for cutting down the 15 - 20 foot tall trees. The neighbor was the grandmother of these guys so the entire experience had a very favorable punishment to pleasure ratio.

We spent our days making bows and arrows, worked on our bikes and attempted to make things from whatever we could find, beg, borrow and borrow on "advanced setting" ( aka: stealing). For me, it was fun on steroids. No one supervised us or warned us of any dangers. We experimented and failed and tried again.

I gave each of our daughters a Swiss Army knife when the reached the age of 8 years. Our two oldest daughters and I made tool boxes out of wood when they were even younger. And we filled them with the right sized tools too. The pocket knife was a right of passage of our own invention that I guess was meant to make up for the tool deficit I had experienced. You could say I had "tool envy" but not the Freudian kind. I just wanted the freedom and means to make things, do things, and create things.

Gever Tulley recognizes this drive in children and has created a program and a whole schtick on what was once a natural part of growing up - back in the day. And probably still is in many parts of the world. You can read more about him at his site and in this excerpt from an npr interview below:

August 4, 2008 MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Okay, parents. You're taking your kid to summer camp, you pack the sunscreen, the swimsuit, you arrive at camp, and you have to fill out the forms.

Mr. GEVER TULLEY (Director, The Tinkering School): We have what many parents have described as the single scariest document they've ever signed around their child. They actually have to print out. I understand that my child may be injured or killed at this camp.

BLOCK: That's the paperwork for a camp called The Tinkering School outside San Francisco. It is unaccredited with astronomically high insurance. Their children are encouraged to play with real tools, build real things and take real risks. We sent reporter Chana Joffe-Walt of member station KPLU to check it out.

CHANA JOFFE-WALT: Gever Tulley wants his campers to make sure to play with fire and knives while at camp, maybe throw a spear, too, drive a car. Tulley's the director of the Tinkering School, and he's got this list of dangerous things he thinks kids should do. The whole thing started - this minor obsession with kids taking risks - at a breakfast. Tulley was just sitting with his friend in her kitchen.

Mr. TULLEY: And we were in the middle of talking, and she just jumped up and run to the door and opened the door and said, Dave, what are you playing with? And her child is out there and says, I'm playing with a stick. And she said, what's our rule about sticks? And he wasn't allowed to play with a stick, and I think he was six or seven.

JOFFE-WALT: Who can resist a stick, Tulley thought. What's going on here? Don't touch this, don't stand on that, don't throw that, don't go near that? Tulley says he felt worried that the boundaries of kid safety zones are growing too wide, that play was only happening in the safe, structured programs, like soccer camp or forest camp. He wanted to try unstructured kids' time so they could learn things on their own. He wanted to see kids build stuff. He wanted to see them fall down. He wanted to bring out his power tools....Listen or read more here.

Music and Speech - It's not just the words you say, but how you say them.

In a paper appearing in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA), Purves says that sad or happy speech can be categorized in major and minor intervals, just as music can.

“Our appreciation of music is a happy byproduct of the biological advantages of speech and our need to understand its emotional content,” Purves says.

“There is a strong biological basis to the aesthetics of sound,” says Dale Purves, a professor of neurobiology at Duke University. “Humans prefer tone combinations that are similar to those found in speech.”

I love it when science confirms what we know, intuitively, as spoken word performers. "Umm-hmmmmm. What he said. " read the entire article here:

Friday, December 4, 2009

the work of the, work and stories

The upcoming story slam on DEC 14th has me thinking about jobs. I started a list of the jobs I have had, in not very careful chronological order...starting with my first jobs at 16 years old... ice cream scooper at Brigham's where I gained about 15 pounds in 2 months. babysitter for family of three - they broke my toe while slamming the door of their room in my face AM counter waitress - Schraft's in the Prudential Center. the morning manager was a lech with wandering hands. When I complained to his supervisor she told me he was too way too " good a worker " for his egregious misconduct to be actionable. I grew up in the stone ages.
(picture above - teenager home from a demo circa 1973 )

Jobs as an art student and starving visual artist:

waitress at "as You Like It " in Harvard Square - should have been called " If We Have It" one night they didn't even have forks!
microfiche and plate maker - Lincoln Hall publishing
box office sales person - Cheri theater complex across from the Hynes Auditorium - I was robbed at gunpoint while on duty.
clerk at dry cleaners - hateful - I lasted a week
cab driver - my brilliant career spanned three companies, Checker Cab, Town Taxi and Boston Cab
xerox operator - near Northeastern and New England Conservatory
breakfast cook at MacDonald's - for about a month - horrifying insight into corporate food and practice.
switchboard operator - at the Hotel Lenox - they still had the cords that you plugged into the jack for a specific room.
florist shop assistant- I worked for Fred Gamer my favorite boss of all time, at Symphony in Flowers,- what a guy.
newspaper paste-up - at the Bay State Banner in Roxbury. I sucked at this - they let me go right quick!
burglar alarm 'operator' - Sonitrol in Cambridge, where I listened to audio alarm systems on the midnight to 8 shift and where I met my husband, the intaller - have some great stories from this job.
graphics arts assistant and xerox operator - Copy Quik in Harvard Square.
mapping and stats - Parsons Brinkerhoff Quade and Douglas hired a mess of people to work on the studies for NYC's West Side Highway redesign.
pretzel cart- almost died selling pretzel's - actually just getting the bicycle cart to and from garage on Huntington Ave.
Production Manager - Addison Getchel, a friend got me into this - from lowly graphics person to PM to fired in 6 months.
dishwasher and pot womper- at L'Espalier,
arts administrator - I wrote the grant and had the job for the first year, working as a dishwasher to support the job.
copy shop manager - in Copley Square Boston
bicycle courier - one of the first in 1981 - worked in Cambridge for Choice Courier - it rained every day from MON - FRI the first month.

well, there is more but that takes me up to 1980's....when my main gig became parenthood - started in 1983 to present.
(pictured below - two tired parents of 2 daughters under 3 year old, circa 1987 and slide show of family pics 1981 on)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A fave story - but where did I find the orginal???

Any one know where this tale comes from?
MAY '06 Money or Wealth?
retold by Norah Dooley © 2006

An old widow woman lived by herself on the side of a mountain. She collected and sold herbs and plants for healing of body and soul. Often she traveled far from her home, collecting rare flowers and roots. Sometimes she was lost but never for too long.

One day, while she was traveling deep in the forest below the mountain she stopped to rest and she dangled her tired toes in a small stream. She saw in the water a bright and surely precious stone. She plunged her hand into the cold water and pulled the stone to her. She held it in the light and enjoyed it’s color and brilliance. She looked at it for quite a while, and then put it in her food bag where she forgot about it completely.

The next day, as she traveled deeper into the forest, the old woman met a traveler. He was young, lost and more than a little hungry. They spoke of their ventures and then the old woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone. He said in a harsh voice-- “Leave off the food woman, will you not give me the stone?”.

The woman looked up in surprise but immediately handed the stone to the man.
“Gladly I will, “ she said, “It is no more mine than yours and I have enjoyed its beauty already.” The man grasped it and turned to leave,
“Would not like some tea or to eat?” she called after him.

The traveler did not answer, just waved the woman off but he was smiling and marveling at his good fortune. He thought the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. Inside his head he heard a small far away voice question taking such wealth from such a shabby old woman. This voice he waved away also. With his stone clutched in his hand he headed straight away for the capital.

After a few bitterly disappointing days in the city where he was almost swindled, was in fact arrested for the theft of his own stone and then released and nearly killed by robbers, he found himself retracing his steps. At last he found the cottage of the old woman.

Her home was very small and had one or at most two of everything -- cups, plates, chairs. Though neat and clean, all was worn and threadbare save for the abundant flowers and plants that grew inside and out.
“ That seals it!” he said out loud but as if to himself.
“Ah, you have come back for some tea?” said the old woman and she stopped sorting dried flower heads and ladled water from an earthen ware jar.

The man reached inside his shirt and took a bag from round his neck.
"I've been thinking," he said to the woman,
"I know now exactly how valuable that stone is.”
“Really?” said the woman putting the kettle on the hearth for tea.
“Really. “ And he told of his misadventures in the city while she clucked and nodded appreciatively.

“I'll give this gem back to you in the hope that you can give me something even more precious.” he looked hopeful as he finally sat down as he had been asked.
“Dear me,” said the woman , sitting across from him in a rickety straight backed chair. “ That stone and I, we were but a happenstance. You see -- here, all my worldly goods in one glance -- ah, do take me in also, my cloak and dress and shoes. What you see is all that there is”
“Yes,” said the man. “I can clearly see that. But I also see your wealth. That is what I want .”
“Really?” she said , looking puzzled.
“If I give you this stone, can you give me what you have that allowed you to give me the stone."
“Oh!, “ she exclaimed. This made her laugh out loud - a loud and throaty laugh.
“Oh, do sit down.” she ordered. Seeing her mirth caused the man distress she stopped laughing at once. “Sit and have some tea and we will talk.”
The traveler pulled the stone from the bag.
“Oh no," said the woman. " Do not give me that troublesome pebble! I have everything I need, all the joys and all the sorrows.” said the woman.

The man still looked puzzled.

“I gave it to you.” said the widow, in a matter of fact tone. “When you are finished --pass it along. Then you will have everything you need. Really, it is that simple.”


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who do we think we are?

I posted this at the storyteller's listserv - a question From Slash Coleman's blog:

"Oftentimes, others can pinpoint the theme of your work much easier than you can. This week, I suggest you interview others to begin to narrow your brand. What are you trying to say with your artwork? You may not know. So, this week, bite the bullet and ask 3-5 friends what they think the underlying theme is in your art form. You may be surprised at their feedback. "

A few responses below:

"Ten or fifteen years ago I was informed by different trusted friends on several different occasions that the basic theme of the stories I wrote & told was “dealing with loss.” Hearing this was a disappointment to me. “Loss” is not a particularly funny topic and I had designed my stories to be funny. They made people laugh. Therefore, I had assumed that I was a humorist. These stories were more complicated in their construction than, say, a long joke. I knew that they’d bomb at a comedy club (in fact I’m pretty sure they did once.) But given the right listening venues, people laughed in recognition of seeing themselves in my stories, so how was it possible that at the center of my material was the sad little core of loss?

Time passed. Things changed. I grew older and gained more life experience. I now understand that the basic theme of my stories is . . . loss. Yep, some things may change with time, but not the core of my stories. Perhaps I should gather 3–5 unbiased friends to ask again what THEY think is my main theme. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear something other than “dealing with loss.” I doubt that my friends will come up with something different. But I might as well ask. Hey, what have I got to lose?" from Pat Spaulding

And then this reply:
"The thing about our art is that it is not art unless we come from a specific vantage point/know why we we are sharing a story. This knowledge, though it helps us to shape a coherent piece often means zip to the listener, as you have no idea what is going on in their life, where they will attach to the tale, and what meaning they will draw from it. It's glorious. We must own it, then give it away." from Judith Black

And another from Marni Gillard:
Pat, your post made me smile. I too VERY often tell tales of loss. I had one huge loss and a whole lot of disappointment in my young childhood and without realizing it at first, I became a teller who both tells and elicits from others tales of loss. People carry such tales unconsciously (or consciously) and resonate with such tales when they hear them. Mine, at moments are also full of humor and with luck and some surrender on my part, I do bring us all home to a place of safety when I conclude them. Loss is big part of everyone’s life. Yet, we tend to AVOID it as a subject, so I feel that my stories (and my work helping others free their hidden tales) are helping the world go to that place where they want to go but also resist.

Having said that, I know that stories are heard and told on MANY levels. While being about loss my tales are also about courage, foolishness, stuborness, joy, yearning, and often about the error of inattention. Stories ultimately – in my thinking - are always about knowing ourselves and loving ourselves (whether foolish, jealous, greedy, inattentive or deeply sorrowful).

Good for you for gathering buddies or unbiased friends (is there such a thing?) to listen to your tales with the ears and eyes to reflect what they hear. For years I’ve gathered new and experienced tellers at my home to share tales. We support each other in awakening to what our stories are REALLY about and how to relax into those themes. I say BRAVO if you dare to tell tales of loss. The world needs them.

My repsonse:
Yes, and...very true and I think what you said is also true of paintings and plays and novels and poems - well, art itself, no? Another question is, on a more base and very practical level - How do we present what we each of us do as storytellers? When we speak of ourselves to prospective clients? Are we representing what we ACTUALLY seem to be doing most ( a la - Pat Spaulding? tx Pat )- or Are we representing best hopes and our intentions? Do we say in answer to the question, What is your "brand" a litany? I am your Italian- Irish-NYC born-American, tragi-comical personal tale teller,picture book writing, early 18th century female pirate, various historical character presenting, storyteller ?

Or will we,nay, should we say:

" I am an "artiste" dammit - what I do is, tell stories. Every kind, length, shape and size of story known to human kind. Deal, all you branders and marketers out there - I do not do 'niche'. Do not look for an exact 'fit', story fits everywhere" Both are typical responses from me to that Q. What does it matter? I can think of time when it will matter very much and other situations where a rat's behind is approx value I place on "who thinks what "

Interesting twist on this idea that Slash Coleman had was for us to ask other people what THEY think we are doing?

So, I am curious - what do people tell you? What would people tell me? tell me if you find this idea interesting or just annoying ?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

videos from story slam NOV 23

Thanks to Bill Thompson and the amazing Doria Hughes we have a whole set of videos at massmouth or

She wrote: "Between contestants at massmouth's second Story Slam, Norah Dooley - ably assisted by co-host Jess Sutich - slipped in this rather shocking short story of one d-eel-icious meel that she sadly missed out on."

Find more videos like this on MASSMOUTH The Power of Story

From Rick F. a long time friend and the man with all the good stories. The story above was his. I hope he will come one night and tell one. He delivers all the exquisite details and has a fine appreciation of irony and theater of the absurd.

"Ah yes, I remember it well. So glad that it struck you and will now provide amusement for others. You may want to include the unpleasant moments that followed: each horrible "Oscar Mayer eel slice" was drizzled with a piquant sauce before being placed in front
of each diner. Then the hosts eagerly watched each of our faces, expecting smiles and sounds of lip-smacking relish.

Instead, they saw each of us turn green, gray, etc. as we shuddered, apologized, bowed, begging their understanding that we. just. couldn't. eat. it.

We then watched as their faces reddened and scowls appeared. They began to resemble the angry, demonic temple guardian statues we had seen everywhere. They grunted, hissed, exchanged knowing scowls at each other. "These thankless gaijin just didn't appreciate the honor of being served such a delicacy!"

This just in: Also from my dear friend Rick:
Did I tell you the other Japanese dining horror?

The restaurant where they set a heated, flat stone in front of you, along with a platter of sheep's ovaries and other assorted guts?

"You drop them on the hot stone, they sizzle, inflate and burst, then you dip the wretched things in shoyu and chow down (or in our group's case, DON'T chow down) and yes, followed by glaring demon faces and grunts from the Japanese hosts who belabor how expensive, how delicious the goodies you are leaving on your plate are. "

Mr. Sensei's eating habits are looking more and more conservative.

Enforced Day of Silence

I takes a lot to shut me up. But laryngitis hits me about once a year and it is usually severe enough to make silence a done deal. In fact, this is the exact year to date from the last time. I remember "talking" with the director of the school where I was incarcerat--- working last year,on the WED before T-Day. I was asking about room use and sounding, even to myself, quite outta-me-mind. I "explained" that I was just trying to vocalize thru the frozen chords but I bet this made me even scarier. *sigh* I did not get the room for which I was advocating and pleading. But that is a longer story.

Doctors say that complete aphonia—loss of the ability to speak—is extremely rare. When it does happen, it often is the result of emotional or psychological stress.
I am feeling pretty unstressed and in a weird way, thinking not speaking for a day will be restful and good for me. Especially if I can get all the voices in my head to take the day off too.

So, I am thinking of all things I am thankful for and, as I am sure my family would echo, if I spoke it, being thankful for this silence too.

A vow of silence

Key to bliss may be as simple as turning off your car radio

In a stressed-out world filled with 24/7 bad news, author Anne D. LeClaire has discovered the key to calm and bliss.

On the first and third Mondays of each month, she practices silence. No talking to her husband, her publisher or her two grown children, no chatting with the occasional houseguest, the repairman or neighbors. No one.

“On silent days, I try to have nothing on the calendar,” LeClaire explains from her home in Cape Cod, Mass. “Sometimes I’ll be traveling for a book tour, but the silence is still with me. I can’t be complaining and grumbling if a flight’s delayed, I don’t get involved in all the hassle.”

The result: “The days are peaceful, and I release all my stress.”

LeClaire began her silent Mondays 16 years ago after walking on the beach to contemplate her sadness about a friend’s mother dying. The former reporter and radio broadcaster wasn’t particularly religious and wasn’t the quiet type. But she heard the words, “Sit in silence” in her head. The decidedly unflaky LeClaire announced to her husband she’d spend the next day not talking.

Since then, she has eliminated e-mail, radio and television from her silent days, though she’ll sit at the computer and work on novels.

“My single determination when I began was to not speak,” says LeClaire, whose ninth book, “Listening Below the Noise” (Harper, $19.99), documents her experience with quiet. “But the more comfortable I became with silence, the more I thirsted for it, and the sounds I’d accepted unquestionably became noise.” Full article, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating up the stories...NOV 23 slam

Last night at Kennedy's Midtown we had +50 people + 10 fabulous judged stories on dining disasters + 2 mini features by the judges Judith Black and Kevin Brooks + some improv games - "Two Truths and A Lie " and 1 minute stories on random food haiku. Jess Sutich was a great co-host, funny, great timing and she remembered all the details I forgot - which was, sadly, all the details. 

This month the stories were deliciously good! Easily, many prize winning stories in the set. Thanks to all who came out, supported, organized and made the magic happen.

Thanks to the Judges who had a really hard job - so many good stories. In random order? Well, they did it! We thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Our judges for NOV 23rd were: Bambi Good ( who organized and trained the 3 teams)and is volunteering as Chief Justice of the Slam Court - 
Judith Black(feature )
Kevin Brooks (feature), 
Jo Radner 
Bruce Marcus (OCT slam 2nd place)
, Paul Hlebovitsch (OCT slam 1st place), 
Alicia Quintano, 
D. Adriane Spunt
, and Bonnie Greenburg

We thank all the brave souls who threw their names and stories into the hat.NOV 23rd tellers:
 Sally Rae Rodgers, Michael Anderson, James McCoy, Maggie Birch, Danielle Shulman, Libby Franck, Susan Lenoe, and Doria Hughes

And our two winners: Lani Peterson 1st place and Nicolette Heavy 2nd place. Both won with stories of holiday meals gone wrong. See you all next month...DEC 14th - "it's my job"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Acting - completely different or, is it?

Acting - completely different from storytelling - or, is it? Storytellers have no fourth wall. We do not create illusion, we create images together WITH the aduience, not FOR the audience. we can connect directly with audience as ourselves and can go in and out of character - if we have the skill - without ruining the performance. With this as my background I was excited to take an acting course. I fell into storytelling nearly 20 years ago, when the acting course I wanted was closed and the only course available as a possible elective, was Storytelling. I was in my mid thirties and wanted to study acting - I had been way too shy when I was in high school to do anything like perform in front of people. Art school (where I completed undergraduate work as a painter ) had no acting except for the extensive posturing of "artistes" but that is another story...

So Robert and I took an amazing acting course this fall - It was called - Fun With Shakespeare. It was many things but "fun"? Seems so trite. It was challenging, provocative, stimulating and supportive. It was also fun, but that was secondary. First of all we each learned two monologues and one scene. The language was dense and we had only 8 weeks - 2.5 hours a week of class time to do all this work. Luckily we had an amazing class - every student was serious and committed yet, none were annoyingly dour or critical. We all worked really hard.

Our instructor, director D.Adriane Spunt, was a fearless leader. She kept standards high while keeping anxiety low - this is a masterful skill for a director. Some of us had acted, some had just a wee bit of experience and long ago and others had never done anything like acting, ever. Adriane made us all at home in our experience and we worked together very well. My experience as a story teller probably helped me some, but I am very new to acting classes. When telling a story, I usually imagine myself to be the person of every voice I speak - BUT memorizing other people's words? Eeeek. I eventually got the hang of Portia's speech and decided I really liked having someone to talk to while I ranted and raved. And the beauty of the words was a treat.

The scene from Richard the III was challenging. I could not make head nor tails of Lady Anne at first. It made perfect sense that she would attack, even if it seemed suicidal, the creep who killed her husband. In her belief system, she could not escape her situation through direct suicide, so perhaps she was provoking Richard III to kill her? Yet, a few pages later, she takes his ring and we learn that she marries him. The story was really getting in my way of saying the words as written.

Having eyes outside of me and someone direct me and another actor to work with on all this was extremely enjoyable. As a storyteller, I tend to go into a story trance and allow the story to come through me.I do not think about or analyze much of what I do. Instead I perform by speaking the voices in my head and then checking in with the same voices about what I am doing. Kinda lonely. Kinda too mentally ill.

While acting, I felt more conscious and aware of the process and actually made choices about how I moved or spoke. It is a different process but one that would help me with my work. A story buddy ? *sigh* I have long hoped for one.

BTW - Here is Robert in Henry V...

Wonderful class !

Sunday, November 15, 2009

True or False, what's the dif ?

Why do people like reality TV, memoirs and personal narrative? My thought? Because they are real. And people yearn for real connection through story. Why do people feel ripped off by fiction or fictionalization in this area? Because it is lying. And when we discover that the connection we developed with the teller while listening is based on a false pretext, we feel violated in some way. Yet, good stories need some added imagination to become stories, don't they? Hellz yah!

Find more music like this on MASSMOUTH The Power of Story

We listen to "living" stories with awe and wonder because the person telling it also lived it. Or so we think. When what we hear and see in the performance does not add up we are confused. When the equation does not balance, we ponder and wonder. We will adjust our understanding of human possibility based on what we hear. So if what we are told is a lie, we feel cheated. Even angry.

Look at the the flap caused a few years ago by James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces,: Jocelyn Noveck Associated Press wrote: "Does the author of a memoir have an unspoken contract with readers to be true to the facts? Even if those facts are intensely personal? Many have been asking that question since James Frey was accused this week of embellishing important parts of his best-selling (and Oprah-endorsed) memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," a searing account of his battle with substance abuse." Others, Mark Hvidsten, took this stance "His [Frey's] greater truth can't be measured by facts."

Frey's bio from wikipedia has this take on the story:

"The Minneapolis Star Tribune had questioned Frey's claims as early as 2003. Frey responded by saying, "I've never denied I've altered small details." In a May 2003 interview, Frey claimed that his publisher had fact-checked his first book. He stated, "The only things I changed were aspects of people that might reveal their identity. Otherwise, it's all true."

On January 11, 2006, Frey appeared with his mother on Larry King Live on CNN. He defended his work while claiming that all memoirs alter minor details for literary effect. Frey consistently referred to the reality of his addiction, which he said was the principal point of his work. Oprah Winfrey called in at the end of the show defending the essence of Frey's book and the inspiration it provided to her viewers, but said she relied on the publisher to assess the book's authenticity. Winfrey removed the references to Frey's work on the main page of her website, but left references in the Oprah's Book Club section earlier in the week.

On January 13, 2006, it was reported that all subsequent printings of A Million Little Pieces would include an author's note addressing concerns about the content.

Live confrontation with Oprah

As more accusations against the book continued to surface, Winfrey invited Frey on her show. She wanted to hear from him directly whether he had lied to her (and viewers) or "simply" embellished minor details, as he had told Larry King. Frey admitted to several of the allegations against him. He acknowledged that The Smoking Gun had been accurate when the website reported that Frey had only spent a few hours in jail rather than the 87 days Frey claimed in his memoirs.

Winfrey then brought out Frey's publisher Nan Talese to defend her decision to classify the book as a memoir. Talese admitted that she had done nothing to check the book's veracity, despite the fact that her representatives had assured Winfrey's staff that the book was indeed non-fiction and described it as "brutally honest" in a press release.

The media feasted over the televised showdown....Maureen Dowd wrote, "It was a huge relief, see the Empress of Empathy icily hold someone accountable for lying," and the Washington Post's Richard Cohen was so impressed by the confrontation that he crowned Winfrey "Mensch of the Year."

On January 27, 2006, Random House issued a statement regarding the controversy. It noted that future editions of the book would contain notes from both the publisher and Frey on the text, as well as prominent notations on the cover and on their website about the additions. It also noted that future printings of the book would be delayed until these changes were made, and these additions were also being sent out promptly to booksellers for inclusion in previously shipped copies of the book."

from the May 9, 2008 edition of the Christian Science Monitor:
Memoirs: whose truth – and does it matter?
Two years after the James Frey scandal, a still-roiled genre thrives.
By Matthew Shaer and Teresa Méndez | Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

"When it hits bookshelves early next month, author David Sedaris's new book, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" will carry a short preface, labeling the contents "real-ish."

Buoyed by the success of a few flagship titles – including "Eat, Pray, Love," by Elizabeth Gilbert, and "Beautiful Boy," by David Sheff – the memoir category continues to be a source of strength for a publishing industry that has watched sales of literary fiction slip in recent years.

Mr. Sheff's book, a tale of his son's addiction to methamphetamines, hit the top slot on The New York Times bestseller list two weeks ago, and a movie deal is reportedly in the works. (It has since dropped to No. 4, behind a memoir by Julie Andrews.) "Eat, Pray, Love" is listed as No. 2 on the paperback list; the quasimystical account of self-discovery became a favorite of Oprah Winfrey, who endorsed the book exuberantly.

But memoir has also suffered a string of high-profile scandals, beginning in 2006 when the website The Smoking Gun found "wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details" in James Frey's memoir, "A Million Little Pieces." This year, author Misha Defonseca admitted that her widely read "Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years," was a fake: Ms. Defonseca lived in Brussels during World War II, is not Jewish, and was not raised by wolves. Then in March, Margaret Seltzer said she had manufactured "Love and Consequences," a crit­ically acclaimed tale of gang life in South Central Los Angeles.

"Fiction has lost its allure because of this primitive belief that memoir is more worthy, more authentic," says Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University, and author of the memoir "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage." At the same time, he says, "The bubble of a wholly reliable reminiscence has burst."


"I thought, OK, that's a good word. It's 'real-ish,' " Mr. Sedaris explains. "I guess I've always thought that if 97 percent of the story is true, then that's an acceptable formula. Put it on a scale. Is it 97 percent pure?"

'GBH cancels Folk and Blues music?

Forwarded to my email [thanks Marcia!] -

I wanted to forward to you a recent email sent by Richard Walton, the 'face' and host of Stone Soup coffeehouse for 25 years. His email is in response to WGBH cancelling their folk radio show as of December.
Hi, I urge every member of the Stone Soup board to write to 'GBH protesting the ending of folk music. Folk music venues all over New England have depended on that program which has, for years, been the pre-eminent folk show on radio in all of New England. Its departure will hurt folk music in New England and thus in the entire U.S. because N.E. is the very heart of American folk music and no radio station in the region nourished folk music the way 'GBH did for decades. You can go to and go to Contact Us at the bottom of the home page. I've already done that and I hope many others will do the same. Thank you. Peace. Richard.

This is from WGBH:
WGBH is devoted to bringing you new experiences, taking you to new worlds, and giving you the very best in educational content. We’re here for you — and it all happens thanks to your interest and generous support!"
contact them here.

As many of you know, WGBH will cancel its Saturday afternoon program, "Folk On WGBH" on December 1. This ends a historic commitment to American folk music on WGBH, that goes back to to the early 1970s. I want to urge you to contact WGBH, spread the word at your venues about this decision, and urge your audiences to contact them, too. WGBH needs to hear how much non-profit venues like yours depend on Folk on WGBH; how important folk radio is to the cultural life of this area; and how much it has meant that WGBH has always supported folk music. People can contact Audience Services/ WGBH/ One Guest Street/ Boston, MA 02135, or e-mail WGBH through its website, This is a time to make our voices heard. Scott Alarik

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on Cooking up a Story...


We spend a lot of time helping students find rich details to add to their writing. Over and over we emphasize how the five sense can be used to draw the reader in to the world and experience of the writer or storyteller. Rarely does it happen that a young elementary student has too much detail. But it does occur in upper grades and in the story world too. In these cases an exercise that sought to encourage richness is embarrassed by gluttony. The "riches" of an overly detailed sensory experience can crush a plot and settings or characters too larded over in detail can cause the story to be lost.

When this happens I realize I need to mention that brainstorming and free writing in our journals are like shopping is to cooking. Not everything we bring home from the market or in from the garden will go into a meal. While the poisonous green leaves of a tomato are necessary to create a red luscious fruit, we will not add in any of the green plant of the tomato to our finished dish.

So it is with stories. There are many supporting details that connect and are essential to the best details for your story. As essential as these supporting details are, they must be left out for the story to be edible or listenable.

Somedays I fervently wish fellow storytellers would pay attention to this. Brevity is the soul of wit. And it takes time and attention. Or, as Blaise Pascal once said, "I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
French mathematician, Blaise Pascal, "Lettres provinciales", 1657

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Norah Dooley and Sonnet 77

A fun project, like massmouth, Adam Tessier, is doing Shakespeare in the street. His project is called Adam caught me after telling as Mary Read, pirate this Sunday, and I still have a bit of my makeup - a spot of soul patch "beard" on my chin. Husband, Robert listens in background. On this lovely Sunday afternoon we sat outside Toscanini's in Central Square, Cambridge.

Monday, October 26, 2009

yes! First Boston story slam sells out room !

story slam kicked butt. Nice job everyone!
The room was packed, non-storytellers were there and told, the house was rocking!
Congratulations to massmouth and everyone who attended!
Laura P

What a night! Let's keep the momentum - onward to NOV 23rd ! Sleep beckons. More later!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

3 conferences NOV 7+8

There are 3 conferences on connecting creators and performers to audience and each other on the weekend of NOV 7+8

in Boston: Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress 2009 – November 7-8

Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress 2009 Welcoming Artists of All Disciplines to a Discussion of Our Creative Future November 7 & 8 at the Boston Public Library, Boston, MA Save the Dates Nov. 7 & 8 for “Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress 2009″ in Boston, MA Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress 2009 is presented by the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) and the Kirstein Business Branch of the Boston Public Library. This event is free and open to all Massachusetts artists of all disciplines. To receive more information about the event, please join the’s free listserv at, and look for updates here on the MALC blog:

in Worcester: the C3 Project
The C3 Project Conversation, Creativity, and Community:
A World Café to redefine our community Saturday, November 7, 2009 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
You are warmly invited to gather and explore the themes of Conversation, Creativity and Community. We will be working together to uncover new insights and possibilities for action in building a stronger creative community for everyone.
The Questions:
= Why don’t we know our neighbors any more?
= How do we engage people to want a better community?
= How can art and the creative experience be used to bring people together?
= How can a community empower itself to support the health, well being and interests of the diverse individuals who belong to it?
Come meet some new neighbors to explore what makes up an engaged, creative community of the future that finds value in all of its members. The Participants:
Artists, self-advocates, educators, activists, community builders and people from all walks of life and abilities interested in exploring these themes. This event will be a collaboration and catalyst for more dialogues and activities around common interests and needs in your home community.

in NYC:
AUDIENCE "If you want something from an audience, you give blood to their fantasies. It's the ultimate hustle." -Marlon Brando Audience.

NOV 6th in NYC 500 people Audience is a conference aimed at those who recognise the need to reach engage and influence audiences of all kinds, an investigation into how this is changing, and a look at how technology has in the past and is now, through new media tools and the social web, changing audience participation and interaction.

The speakers range from large traditional media organisations with Dan Farber of CBS, though the recording industry with Warner Bros. Music CTO Ethan Kaplan, advertising with Crayon's Joe Jaffe, HR and internal audiences with Frank Roche of iFractal and new media players like Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, not to mention Musicians like Adam & Mia and Writers like the inimitable Andrew Keen of "Cult of the Amateur" fame with more being added all the time.

Engaging on November 6th in the Hudson Theatre, one of New York's oldest playhouses.
If you're interested in meeting with a diverse and knowledgable crowd and have a goal of understanding how the methods used to reach engage and influence audiences have changed and are changing. If you want to know the real business value of new tools and old tools in the battle to reach your audience, users or customers, then Audience conference is for you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

WFEE: Storytellers grips Muraco imaginations - Winchester, MA - The Winchester Star

Me from backstage. A fun pic in somewhat
disturbing demagogue-ish kinda way...
WFEE: Storyteller grips Muraco imaginations - Winchester, MA - The Winchester Star

Posted using ShareThis

AUDIENCE a conference in NY.NY on NOV 7TH

"If you want something from an audience, you give blood to their fantasies. It's the ultimate hustle." -Marlon Brando

I KNOW I will read bout it later but ooooh to be a fly on the wall at the conference called Audience.

NOV 6th in NYC 500 people

Audience is a conference aimed at those who recognise the need to reach engage and influence audiences of all kinds, an investigation into how this is changing, and a look at how technology has in the past and is now, through new media tools and the social web, changing audience participation and interaction.

The speakers range from large traditional media organisations with Dan Farber of CBS, though the recording industry with Warner Bros. Music CTO Ethan Kaplan, advertising with Crayon's Joe Jaffe, HR and internal audiences with Frank Roche of iFractal and new media players like Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, not to mention Musicians like Adam & Mia and Writers like the inimitable Andrew Keen of "Cult of the Amateur" fame with more being added all the time.

Engaging on November 6th in the Hudson Theatre, one of New York's oldest playhouses with a capacity of only 500, this will be an intimate gathering of fine minds in Manhattan. We felt it was appropriate to hold a conference that was about Audience in a place that was specifically designed for an audience.

If you're interested in meeting with a diverse and knowledgable crowd and have a goal of understanding how the methods used to reach engage and influence audiences have changed and are changing. If you want to know the real business value of new tools and old tools in the battle to reach your audience, users or customers, then Audience conference is for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

“storyteller who writes...”

RIC hosted me a few weeks ago and I had a wonderful time. Shout out to Antoinette Gomes who arranged and guided me through the day. What a wonderful time.
Article below from RIC online:

MEd in TESL cooperating teachers
meet with award-winning author, storyteller Norah Dooley

By Liz Garofalo, Coordinator of Special Projects
Feinstein School of Education and Human Development

On Oct. 9, four MEd in TESL (teaching English as a second language) cooperating teachers attended a private book signing and discussion with Norah Dooley, famed New England author of “Everybody Bakes Bread” and “Everybody Cooks Rice.” The four were from the Pawtucket School District.

Karen Hammarstram, ESL coach, Leslie Pettingell of Potter-Burns School, Jackie Sisun of Henry J. Winters School, and Carol Hoppe of Elizabeth Baldwin School engaged in a lively dialogue with Dooley about their use of her stories in class as well as the incorporation of the books in their social studies content area and their connection to language and content objectives.

Dooley, a self proclaimed “storyteller who writes,” also told of the sources of inspiration for her work, her struggles and triumphs in writing and publishing, and the challenges she experienced as a teacher in a charter school.

The reception concluded with a book signing of the candidates’ favorite Dooley titles for their personal and school collections.

The book signing and discussion followed an all-morning Diversity Week event at the Henry Barnard School coordinated by the Unity Center, HBS Diversity Committee and the Feinstein School Office of Special Projects. Students in K-6 along with the cooperating teachers listened to Dooley’s energetic and informative talk about the writing process, participated in a read aloud, engaged in questions and answers and then selected homemade and donated breads from HBS parents and LaSalle and Colonial Bakeries.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Personal Narrative as performance - storytelling and slams

"The story was the San people’s (Bushman of the Kalahari) most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own." —Laurens Van der Post

This is why we are working hard to make a story slam work in Boston. We ( the organizers at massmouth ) want everyone to be alive to the possibilities in the narrative of their own lives. And we love the art that is created when those possibilities are explored in live storytelling. The slam aspect seems to bring more serious attention to the performance - and this is a good thing. When you perform, your intention is to communicate but your attention must be on the audience - what are you giving them? Do you know why you care about the story you are telling? Then we have a chance to care about your story too.

I like to tell my storytelling students ( grades K- 12 ) that their story has to answer the 5 Ws - Who, What, When, Where and.... I draw out the " Why" and separate it from the rest of the Qs. We show the answers to the 4 Ws with details and experience. AND The whole story should answer the question "why?" without being explicit. I tell my young students that if the audience does not know why they just listened and why they should care? Your story is not "cooked" yet. And you need to go back to the kitchen of imagination and adjust. Maybe it is seasoning that is missing? Maybe it is a key ingredient? AND you may realize that you must to start all over from scratch when you see that your story idea is a hors d'œuvre and you thought to serve it as a main course? Or maybe you thought your story was a delectable confection, suitable for dessert and really? It is a main course and more savory than not. These are just some things we discover when we tell our story over and over. BUT we must have some idea, at least one intention before we ask others to listen in performance. We will continue to discover meaning and deepen our understanding and the meaning constantly evolves with the telling. - but if we are serving the story? It must feed our audience. Cook before serving!

Friday, October 16, 2009

what I am up to...story slam on OCT 26th 2009

We knew we had to bring the mouthoffs inside and that Toscis was kind to let us take over on the odd MON but we couldn't really grow and be fair to their clientele. So, we were looking for a place for October when we got, well, ambitious? And some surprisingly good things evolved...this just in, The next slam dates are set --NOV 23rd and DEC 14th same place and same time.

"...because you have a mouth, you have a story..."

massmouth challenges all comers to bring their stories to their first story slam on October 26th at 7pm. "...because you have a mouth, you have a story..." and you can be a part of a new story scene right in the center of Boston at "Kennedy's Midtown at 42 Province Street, upstairs.

What is a story slam ? Based on a poetry slam format and simila r to American Idol, a story slam is a contest of words by known and undiscovered talent. Like the Moth, who will visit this month at the Tsai center, massmouth posts a theme on it's website ( and story slammers will sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute short story on the evening's theme. Ten lucky tellers will be picked at random and other audience members may be drawn to can join in on a judging team. Like the famous Moth story slams in NYC, there will be 3 teams of 3 judges. Unlike the Moth, each set of 5 stories will begin with a short-short feature by one of the judges. Listeners will be engaged in story improv games and other interactive entertainments between each 5 minute feature.

Each of the featured 5 minute stories is judged on how well it is told, how well it is constructed and how well it honors the time limit and relates to the theme. The 3 highest-scoring tellers are awarded prizes and an opportunity to perform at the "the big mouthoff" venue and date TBA. Prizes will be awarded at each slam. There is a $5.00 cover and a one drink minimum. This month's story slam theme is "scared to death ". Plan on a night of live story and tales of fear, terror and dread, which may be supernatural or real as mud.
For details, rules and future slam dates: Norah Dooley c. 617-460-3544 add in your cell ? for who ever wants calls...

The 23rd Psalm according to Goldman Sachs

The 23rd Psalm
according to Goldman Sachs from

The FED is my shepherd; I shall not

It maketh me to lie down in green
shootsdom: it leadeth me beside the
still Lehman.

It restoreth my credit: it leadeth me
down the paths of leverage for its
name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of debt, I will fear no

For thou art with me; thy TARP and thy
TALF they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of politicians.

Thou anointest my balance sheet with
digits; my bonuses runneth over.

Surely profits and influence shall
follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell in the house of the
FED for ever.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ig Nobel Prizes 2009

Gas mask bra traps Ig Nobel prize

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

The bra converts into a mask for the wearer and one for a needy bystander

Designers of a bra that turns into gas masks and a team who found that named cows produce more milk were among the winners of the 2009 Ig Nobel prizes.

The aim of the awards is to honour achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think".

The peace prize went to a Swiss research team who determined whether it is better to be hit over the head with a full or empty bottle of beer.

The ceremony was organised by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson from the agriculture, food and rural development department of Newcastle University were the only UK recipients.

Catherine Douglas was "thrilled" with her award

Dr Douglas, who was unable to attend the ceremony held at Harvard University in Cambridge, US, told BBC News that she was "thrilled" to have been selected and was a "big fan of the Ig Nobel awards".

She said that discovering cows with names were more prolific milk-producers emerged during research into improving dairy cow welfare.

The overall aim of the study was to reduce stress and fear by improving "the human-animal relationship".

"[This research] showed that the majority of UK dairy farmers are caring individuals who respect and love their herd," she said.

Dr Douglas dedicated the award to Purslane, Wendy and Tina - "the nicest cows I have ever known".

Risky celebrations

The Ig Nobel Prizes were presented to the winners by genuine Nobel laureates.

Dr Elena Bodnar won the public health prize for the bra that, in an emergency, can be converted into two gas masks.

She demonstrated her invention and gave one to each of the Nobel laureates as a gift.

Professor Martin Chalfie, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2008, was this year's prize in the "win a date with a Nobel laureate" contest.

Past winners also returned to take part in the celebrations. They included Kees Moeliker, the discoverer of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, and Dr Francis Fesmire, who devised the digital rectal massage as cure for intractable hiccups.

The prize for mathematics went to the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank

Each new winner was permitted a maximum of 60 seconds to deliver an acceptance speech. The time limit was enforced by an intractable eight-year-old girl.

The evening also featured numerous tributes to the evening's theme of "Risk".

A 15-minute risk cabaret concert by the Penny-Wise Guys preceded the ceremony, during which the band paid special tribute to fraudster Bernie Madoff.

Appropriately, the prize for economics went to the executives of four Icelandic banks.

The governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank received the prize for mathematics for printing bank notes with such a wide range of denominations.

The full list of winners:

Veterinary medicine: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK, for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

Peace: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

Biology: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas.

Medicine: Donald L Unger of Thousand Oaks, California, US, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand but not his right hand every day for more than 60 years.

Economics: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa (and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy).

Physics: Katherine K Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, Daniel E Lieberman of Harvard University and Liza J Shapiro of the University of Texas, all in the US, for analytically determining why pregnant women do not tip over.

Chemistry: Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M Castano of Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, for creating diamonds from tequila.

Literature: Ireland's police service for writing and presenting more than 50 traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country - Prawo Jazdy - whose name in Polish means "Driving Licence".

Public Health: Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, US, for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks - one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander.

Mathematics: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers by having his bank print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.