At last! Spring is well under way and we can get outdoors for a nice walk! Here’s one wry take on this much-welcomed season:
Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."
– Doug Larson
With Labor Day fast approaching, we hope you will enjoy the following thoughts on working, resting and making the most of your holiday weekend:
"Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow."
– Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give You
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."
"The man who doesn’t relax and hoot a few hoots voluntarily, now and then, is in great danger of hooting hoots and standing on his head for the edification of the pathologist and trained nurse, a little later on."
– Elbert Hubbard
"The end of labor is to gain leisure."
"If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend."
– Doug Larson
These authors have entertaining thoughts to share — some serious, some humorus — on the topic of eating and on certain "superfoods" in particular:
"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."
"There is a lot more juice in grapefruit than meets the eye."
— Author Unknown
"It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."
— Lewis Grizzard
"The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry."
— Dr. SunWolf, www.professorsunwolf.com
"Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?"
— Attributed to Stephen Colbert
"Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food."
— Michael Pollan
"A friend of the couple who founded Home Instead Senior Care, Mary Maxwell was asked to give the invocation at the company’s 2009 convention. Initially it seemed like a normal prayer, but it soon took a very funny turn. Her deadpan delivery and lines like ‘…This is the first time I’ve ever been old… and it just sort of crept up on me…’ soon had the franchise owners rolling in the aisles. With the timing of a professional comedian, Mary shines a very funny light on the foibles of aging, to the delight of this audience of senior-care experts."
To view, click here.
Enjoy some memorable mental stimulation by checking out SFA’s September 17 entries on “In the News” (which accompanies this newsletter). The two entries of note concern memory fitness. One is a short report on an interesting scientific study, and the other is just for fun as singer-songwriter Tom Rush performs a tune sure to spark your humor neurons!
Please enjoy your LOL moment of the day — while also being entertained and informed by these three short video clips. Each is only a few minutes long, sheds light on the remarkable workings of the brain, and is sure to bring a smile.
The first is a World Science Festival presentation called "Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale." Simply by hopping about on stage, McFerrin leads a large unrehearsed audience to sing tunes together quite beautifully. He relies on their long-time familiarity with — that is, learning of — their culture’s predominant pentatonic scale (one that includes five notes an octave). It is believed they can so easily follow McFerrin’s unvoiced cues because their brains have learned to anticipate that particular musical pattern. To view, click on All Together Now.
On another musical note, meet Snowball the dancing cockatoo! If you’ve already seen him on YouTube, look again with this new insight in mind: At first, neuroscientists thought that surely Snowball must only be trained to boogie. But when he aced controlled testing that kept the tempo changing, they found that he was really listening and following the rhythm. This undermines an earlier view that only human beings possess the neural connections needed to dance in sync with music. For a fun overview of this subject regarding the animal kingdom at large, click on Creatures Great and Small. Get down with Snowball’s full dance routine to a Backstreet Boys hit by clicking Do It, Snowball!
Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, recently interviewed scientists whose research goals include establishing a better understanding of laughter and its potential benefits. His resulting article notes that laughter is fundamentally a primal, social behavior often performed involuntarily. Not only do human beings laugh — so do apes, chimpanzees, dogs and even rats who, current research has disclosed, take delight in being tickled and will laugh during the pleasurable experience!
Laughter has been linked to the production of a chemical that acts as an anxiety-reducer and antidepressant. Although researchers quoted in the piece did not assert that laughter alone has been proven to provide direct health benefits, it was pointed out that this may be because it is scientifically difficult to isolate laughter from distraction and mood improvement, two variables which have been found beneficial to patients. Interviewed for the article, Baltimore neuroscientist and laughter researcher Dr. Robert Provine observed: "Isn’t the fact that laughter feels good when you do it, isn’t that enough?"
To read Borenstein’s complete article, click here.