Monday, May 31, 2010

Liver Songs

Did you know that if you look on the Web for liver songs, the search turns up more than a million sites! You can find hits, such as:  Take Me to the Liver or The Liver Song Some of these links have nothing to do with the anatomical liver, such as the website of shock rock sensation Liver Sucks. However, they do claim 30 liver songs. They also have Liver Twitter, a label I wish I had thought of first.
There is even a cod liver oil song. Who knew?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I have talked about the expression "lily-livered" before, but when it was featured this week by Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day, I thought it worth mentioning again. Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about lily-livered:

"lily-livered  \LILL-ee-LIV-erd\  adjective
: lacking courage : cowardly

Example sentence:
"I regret not hurling myself into university life because I was too...lily-livered to live a little." (Laura Barton, The Guardian [London], August 16, 2001)

Did you know?
The basis of the word "lily-livered" lies in an old belief. Years ago, people thought that health and temperament were the products of a balance or imbalance of four bodily fluids, or humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. It was believed that a deficiency of yellow bile, or choler, the humor that governed anger, spirit, and courage, would leave a person's liver colorless or white. Someone with this deficiency, and so white-livered, would be spiritless and a coward. "Lily-livered" and "white-livered" have been used synonymously since the 16th century, but "lily-livered" is now the more common expression, probably because of its alliteration.

What's so funny about this? Bile is a bodily humor. (I can hear the groans already.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Laughter as an Act of Communion

The average child laughs around 400 times every day. Contrast this with the average adult who laughs approximately 25 times a day. This fact makes me want to either cry, read Dave Barry or watch Carol Burnett reruns.  For me, laughter is the backbone of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Humor is the thread that keeps me from unraveling. I find ways to inject appropriate humor into nearly everything.

I think that humor helps me cope with all of life’s challenges, particularly hepatitis C (HCV). HCV was not a laughing matter when I was first diagnosed, but over time, it has provided some amusing moments. This is particularly true when I am in an HCV group with others who live with this virus. Laughing with others is a communal act. It is like sharing an intimate moment or a fine meal. Laughter lifts the spirits and for a brief time suspends the hard edge of reality. It reminds us that we are all in the same boat.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Laughter Yoga

For those of you who appreciate laughter, you may be delighted to learn that there is a practice called Laughter Yoga. Originating in India, Laughter Yoga is the practice of laughing as a discipline rather than merely for pleasure. Dr. Madan and Madhuri Kataria developed Laughter Yoga about ten years ago and now there are laughter clubs worldwide. Training is available for anyone interested in becoming a certified Laughter Yoga instructor.

The Laughter Yoga website takes laughter very seriously. So much so, that the following warning is given: “Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. You cannot laugh too little, but you can laugh too much and put your body into destress (sic).” I assume that this is a typo or translation error and the author meant distress rather than destress. Heck, to de-stress is the main reason why I laugh. Also, I have a hard time believing the statement that one can laugh too much.

The Laughter Yoga caution goes on to say that, too much laughter can actually be dangerous, especially for older people (geezers like me). Well, this may seem closed-minded, but I cannot imagine getting through the geezer years without laughing a lot. Between the loss of eyesight, hearing, brain, keys, stamina, waistline, and sex, I am hanging onto laughter as if it is a life preserver. Besides, death by laughter sounds like a great way to go.

Laughter Yoga International