(Photo from Sportingchef.com)

                                                          LAFF EVRY DAY!

                                     Laff, laff for your brain and your heart.

                                     Laffing makes you strong.

                                     Laffing makes you smart.

                                     Laffter is good for us in evry way.

                                     Laff evry nite and laff evry day!

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”—Lord Byron

“He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”—Proverbs 15:15

Laughter is quite literally good for the brain and the heart. Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) reports that “heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes” and “having a good sense of humor is an excellent way to reliver stress and anxiety, potentially preventing those adverse outcomes.”

Dr. Miller’s research shows laughter seems to cause vascular endothelial cells to release nitric oxide which can promote smooth muscle relaxation (i.e., vessel dilation) and reduce blood pressure as well as decrease inflammation. Dr. Miller prescribes his patients this Rx–“One good belly laugh a day.”

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”—William Makepeace Thackeray

“Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”—Reinhold Niebuhr

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”—Victor Borge

UNITING, making a deep and lasting connection with someone is definitely aided by laughter and a good sense of humor. Laughter produces the brain chemical, oxytocin, which research scientists call “nature’s bonding agent.”

The website, GREAT-MARRIAGES.org, rosters these ways laughter benefits healthy relationships:

–Reducing stress and tension

–Stimulating the immune system

–Increasing natural “pain killers” in the blood

–Decreasing inflammation

–Lowering blood pressure

–Lifting spirits

–Bringing couples closer together and keeping bonds fresh

“Laughter is God’s hand on the shoulder of a troubled world.”—Bettenell Huntznicker

“Laughter has no foreign accent.”—Paul Lowney

“I never could have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable.”—Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor

Last month in “The New York Times,” cultural critic Jason Zinoman wrote about how a shared sense of humor is integral to Jewish identity, especially during times of more intense anti-Semitism. One of Zinoman’s readers, Elayne Robinson Grossman, replied to comments with this positive affirmation:

“One of the things I love most about being Jewish is our ability to find humor in anything. It’s in our DNA. It is part of our humanity. Let us remember that humor is even found in the Book of Exodus: The Israelites complain to Moses that they are thirsty and miss eating their melons, etc. They ask Moses, in Exodus 14:11 (and I am paraphrasing) ‘Were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out of slavery to die here in the wilderness?’ So, we question everything and everyone and we laugh at many things. This is who we are and how we have survived from generation to generation. May we continue going forward in our compassion, kindness and humor.”

“If you become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God laughing, you will hear the whole of existence laughing—trees and stones and stars with you.”—Osho

“No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.”—Red Skelton

SPELLBOUND with uncontrollable laugher is generally a fantastic feeling of being “lost in the moment.” Dr. Robert Provine states in his research paper, Laughter: A Scientific Investigation: “All laughter is unconscious. You do not choose to laugh the way you choose to speak.”

Many of us have had a “laughing jag” happen in an inappropriate setting. Remember the famous “Mary Tyler Moore Show” television episode where Mary bursts with intermittent laughs and sobs at the funeral for “Chuckles, The Clown?”

My grandfather died when I was in college. During a solemn service, perhaps overly solemn considering my rambunctious Pappaw, my dignified-looking brother leaned over to me and whispered a hilarious observation. (He started it, mother). I got so tickled, I had to leave the chapel. Preesh, bro. (And, NO, not for any amount of money can I be bribed to share his quip. Yes, I’m joking. What’s your offer?)

Dr. Provine relates an amazing-but-true incident of SPELLBOUND laughter that happened with some giggling, African schoolgirls in 1962. A small group started laughing, their laughter became contagious through their entire school and classes had to be dismissed. This epidemic of uncontrollable laughter went on for six months.

Most laughter is not the result of a joke, Dr. Provine reports. Laughter is a form of social communication which is embedded in our brains. When chimps wrestle, they laugh. Those “Tom and Jerry” cartoons were based in scientific fact–when mice are tickled, they laugh.

“The S.U.N.S. Joyful Aging System” concludes this about the joy of laughter: SMILE-MAKING laughter is good medicine for our physical and mental health. Laughter supports UNITING with another in a meaningful way as a “bonding agent.” NEIGHBORING, others-centeredness, is strengthened when we laugh together through good times and especially appreciated during hard times. Lastly, being SPELLBOUND in a “laughing zone” is one of the most joyful experiences at every stage of life from beginning to the end.


March 12—James Taylor

March 13—Al Jaffee, “Mad Magazine” cartoonist

March 14—Billy Crystal

March 15—Sly Stone

March 16—Jerry Lewis

March 17—Mia Hamm, soccer star

March 18—Queen Latifah

JOKES ABOUT THE JOY OF LAUGHTER for ST. PADDY’S DAY (I have a wee drop of Irish in me all year, but on March 17, I have a whole pitcher.)

“I went drinking last St. Patrick’s Day, so I took a bus home…That may not be a big deal to you, but I’d never driven a bus.”

“Why did God invent Irish whiskey? So, the Irish would never rule the world.”

“What’s the difference in my family’s Irish weddings and Irish funerals? One less drunk.”

“I actually saw a leprechaun once. After enough green beer, you see all kinds of stuff.”

“It’s okay to pretend you’re Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. We pretend we’re good on Christmas, don’t we?”

“How can you tell if an Irishman gets a joke? He’s Dublin over with laughter.”

“Knock, knock. Who’s there? Irish! Irish who? I-rish you a Happy St. Paddy’s Day!”

                                           LAFFY DAFFY CONNECTICUT DUCK and OYSTER SKEWERS

                                                                     (Source: sportingchef.com)

Each week, Joy & Gerontology shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. The delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. USA Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many research gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.


4 duck breast fillets (skin removed)

1 can smoked oysters

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic salt

12-15 thin slices prosciutto



  1. Cut each duck breast into 3-4 pieces. Lightly pound each piece until about ¼-inch thick.
  2. Add duck pieces to a small bowl with oysters and liquid, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Toss and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Lay prosciutto slices out flat on a work surface. Place one oyster and one piece of duck on one end of each prosciutto slice.
  4. Roll up snugly and secure with skewer.
  5. Grill, pan-sear or broil until prosciutto is browned. Serve with favorite dipping sauce.


228. Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky), Jewish-American laff-maker.

229. Frank Fleming’s playful, anthropomorphic sculptures.

230. “Love Shack” by the B-52s.

231. Haint blue porch ceilings.

232. Andrae’ Crouch, gospel joy-maker.

233. Cowbells. Also, “More cowbell!”

234. May Day bouquets at your front door.

235. Saturday lunch at the bowling center.

236. Matching bowling ball, bag and shoes.

237. The Chagall ceiling at the Paris Opera.

238. Fresh sawdust.

239. Not being a wine snob but being a gravy snob.

240. My childhood mittens.

241. ViewMaster.

242. That British twit who said my co-cola was “Chilled, sir, to the correct temperature.”

243. “Good to the last drop.”

244. Pillow talk.

245. Whack-a-Mole.

246. “O Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

247. John Deere green.

248. British Invasion music.

249. Duck and grits.

250. Margaret Cho, Asian-American laff-maker.



Ben South