November 26, 1990
The man was almost embarrassed out of his job.Joe DiNucci had just been named new sales manager of Digital Equipment Corporation and was the guest of honor at a dinner with Digital's senior research staff. During the dinner, one staff member said Digital would produce the world's best computer workstations in three years.Unimpressed, Mr. DiNucci said, "If we don't do it in two years, it will be too late."The staff member, who didn't like being upstaged by a newcomer, replied, "You know, you're really full of s - - -."
October 5, 2007
Bowie Community Theatre president Janice Coffey says this season is "all about laughter," and the troupe drew plenty of it last weekend with Larry Shue's The Nerd. Shue died in 1985 at age 39 in a commuter plane crash in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. His sitcom-style play opened on Broadway two years later, mixing a fun plot filled with colorful characters and physical and verbal comedy. As a bonus, it has a surprise ending. Bob Kauffman, former Anne Arundel Community College theater department chairman, recalled meeting Shue while taking students on a 1985 New York theater tour, which included seeing Shue's off-Broadway hit The Foreigner.
October 9, 2007
The Baltimore Opera Company's opening performance of Verdi's darkly beautiful La forza del destino was nearly ruined for me by a sound not typically associated with this work - laughter. No, I'm not talking about the mild comic relief Verdi intended, a la Shakespeare, in a couple of scenes involving an out-of-sorts friar. The giggles and guffaws came instead in the midst of deadly serious business. No doubt, the primary culprit was the supertitles, those now de rigueur translations of an opera's libretto projected above the stage.
December 19, 1995
It's an ancient instinct. Dictators and schoolteachers have tried to control it, fearing its contagious power to undermine authority. When it erupts at the wrong moment, it can signal severe illness.Still, most people can't talk about it without cracking a smile.It's laughter. And for Professor Robert E. Provine, who has spent the past six years studying chortles, titters, brays, giggles and guffaws, it's a very serious subject."We spend a lot of time looking at the vocalization of other animals, such as bird sounds and animal calls," says Dr. Provine, 52, a psychologist at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
October 21, 2001
NEW YORK -- In the backroom of a chi-chi sushi restaurant situated near ground zero, surrounded by police blockades and groups of tired firefighters walking the streets, a panel of high-profile Gen-X jokesters genuinely discussed the state of funny in a country that's forever changed. "No Laughing Matter: Comedy Writing in Unfunny Times" was dreamed up by journalism job and community Web site mediabistro.com. And as the evening of audacious questions, answers and the occasional anthrax joke unfolded last Tuesday, there was no question that laughter is still the best medicine -- with a few exceptions.
April 1, 2005
CHICAGO - Tickling rats to make them chirp with joy may seem frivolous as a scientific pursuit, yet understanding laughter in animals may lead to revolutionary treatments for emotional illness, researchers suggest. Joy and laughter, they say, are proving not to be uniquely human traits. Roughhousing chimpanzees emit characteristic pants of excitement, their version of "ha-ha-ha" limited only by their anatomy and lack of breath control, researchers contend. Dogs have their specific sound that spurs other dogs to play, and recordings of the sound can drastically reduce stress levels in shelters and kennels, according to the scientist who discovered it. Even laboratory rats have been shown to chirp delightedly above the range of human hearing when wrestling with each other or being tickled by a keeper - the same vocalizations they make before receiving morphine or having sex. Studying such sounds of joy may help us understand the evolution of human emotions and the brain chemistry underlying such emotional problems as autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, said Jaak Panksepp, a pioneering neuroscientist who discovered rat laughter.