Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
June 21, 2010
Issue #376

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I have recently had a surge in orders over the internet.  I know that many of them were the result of recommendations from my newsletter subscribers.  Thank you for spreading the word.  Your comments are more creditable than anything that I can say in an advertisement.  I appreciate that.
One of the consistent comments that I have gotten recenlty from owners of my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy is that they are reading the books more than once.  You can also do that with issues of this newsletter.  A subscriber to this newsletter commented that when it arrives he reads it immediately and then realizes that he has to wait another week for the next issue.  (Sometimes it is more than a week between issues.)  However, you don't have to wait until the next issue arrives to have one to read.  You can use the archive to read previous issues.  I have gotten many new subscribers during the past year who can go back to read those issues that were published before you signed up.  I am grateful to many loyal subscribers who have been with me for ten years.  They can reread some of the issues from a year ago which might seem fresh now.  I reread previous issues once in a while myself and find much that I had forgotten about.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
History Trivia Quiz
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

June 21, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." - Confucius


In an interview of Bill Cosby by Tom Keogh that was published in the Seattle Times newspaper on Father's Day (June 20, 2010), Cosby said, "The problems with kids having short attention spans is driven by entertainment... Everything is 'cut to the chase, cut to the chase.'  Whereas when you read and take your time, things build in a story, you delay the crescendo."


Carole and I like to walk through a nearby neighborhood that we also frequently drive through.  She says, "When you walk you notice more."  She is right.  I see much more because I am moving slower and taking more time to observe things around me.  The same thing happens when I read.  I learn more because I have time to comprehend the material.  I have probably been on the HauntedMansion ride at Disneyland close to 100 times.  I learned something new when I read a description of the ride that I had never noticed while in person.  In the famous ball room scene a birthday party is in progress.  I knew that the guests would vanish and reappear.  What I had never realized is that the guests disappear when the ghost of honor blows out the candles on his birthday cake.  When he inhales, the candles relight themselves and the guests reappear.  Once that was pointed out to me in a book, it was easy to observe when I recently went on the ride.  If I had not taken time to read the book, I probably still would not have noticed that detail which makes being on the ride more enjoyable.


I recently read a report that people who get most of their information off the internet read things less in depth than those who read books.  Internet articles tend to be short and copied from other internet articles.  I did an internet search for information on a female court jester named Mathurine.  I was surprised by how little information was available.  Two facts were included in most internet articles: she often dressed as an Amazon warrior, and she once risked her life to protect the king from an assassin.  It wasn't until I started to read a book titled Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World, by Beatrice K. Otto, that I learned Mathurine was a pygmy.  Her diminutive size makes her costume funnier and her act of bravery more courageous.


According to Beatrice Otto, court jesters were more prevalent in Asia than in Europe over a longer period of time.  She said that in China most people are ignorant of the existence of jesters in their country's history because they don't read the ancient records that were written during the lifetime of the jesters.  (Reading history was particularly discouraged during China's Cultural Revolution.)  When I was in Singapore six years ago with a group of Clown Camp instructors, I went to the South East Asia Museum and saw masks of clown characters and a video that included two clown characters participating in a religious ceremony.  Now that I am reading Otto's Fools Are Everywhere I will be able to understand the history of clowning in South East Asia if I see something related to it during my trip next month.


Reading about the impact Court Jesters had upon their cultures makes me proud to be a clown.  It also demonstrates the power of humor as a persuasive tool which helps me understand the modern use of humor in education. 


Also, some people consider Clown Ministry a recent fad of questionable value.  I have learned from Otto's book that there is a firm foundation for clown ministry.  Several of the Popes had jesters on their staff and valued their contributions to a spiritual life.  Both the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches have canonized "holy fools."  St. Francis believed that priests should be God's Jesters.  Saint Philip Neri (1551-1595) was a church jester who believed that gloominess would harm the soul.  Reading the long history of clown ministry and its impact convinces me that it should be taken more seriously today.


How can you make time to read?  What do you feel ignorant about?  What can you read to fill in that gap in your knowledge?  How will taking your time to read increase your understanding?

History Trivia

Click on the link that you think is the correct answer.  These links will reamin active until July 1.  After that date use the history trivia link in the right column of this newsletter to check your answers. 
In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the title character holds up the skull of a deceased court jester, and says, "a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."  According to tradition, this is Shakespeare's tribute to


Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.
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I hope to see you down the road.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
September 8-12, 2010
South East Clown Association Convention
Jacksonville, Florida
 Introduction to Juggling, Creativity Techniques, Trick Cartoons, Banquet Show, and Dealer Table
I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to do what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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