Tribute to a Friend I Never Met – Tom Magliozzi

 Culture, Entertainment, Featured, Humor, Media, NPR, Radio  Comments Off on Tribute to a Friend I Never Met – Tom Magliozzi
Nov 042014
Tom MG

Tom Magliozzi in his famous MG (courtesy of NPR)

One of the hosts of perhaps the funniest show on any medium, Tom Magliozzi, of Car Talk on National Public Radio (NPR) died earlier this week from complications associate with Alzheimer’s Disease. I was fortunate to come across National Public Radio very many years ago, somewhere around the early ’80s. Tom and his brother Ray had done a car repair call in show on the Boston NPR station for about 10 years, and then I first them as they started doing a brief regular segment on NPR’s Weekend Edition each week. The show went on NPR nationally in 1987 and was on Saturday mornings.

I tried to never miss the show, despite never having much interest in car repair. The two of them together were just plan hilarious, made fun mostly at the expense of each other, and Tom was the kind of guy who make himself laugh so hard he couldn’t catch his breath. He had one of those huge personalities with a genuine laugh that was so intense it sometimes turned into a snort. When me and Lay started dating, he had to listen (since I always did), and learned to love them too, and often said if he could get a “sense of humor” transplant, he would want Tom’s. I completely agree. Continue reading »

Can One Literally Die From Laughter?

 Fun Stuff, General, Humor  Comments Off on Can One Literally Die From Laughter?
Nov 172005

It’s certainly possible to die while laughing — probably by choking on something. But I was unable to find any documented evidence of someone literally “laughing to death.”

In fact, recent research suggests laughing is actually very good for you. According to the Indiana University School of Medicine, laughing helps relax tense muscles, lowers blood pressure, and even burns calories. Humor and laughter is also becoming increasingly popular as a form of psychiatric therapy. Look out, Carrot Top.

Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that people with heart disease are 40% less likely to laugh in a given situation than people without heart disease. The key here seems to be stress reduction; stress impairs the production of endothelial cells, which form a protective lining in our blood vessels. A weak endothelium can lead to hardened arteries and, quite literally, a hardened heart.

What exactly is laughter? As HowStuffWorks explains, laughter is a physiological response that’s triggered by the limbic system, or the part of the brain that governs motivation and emotional behaviors. During laughter, the epiglottis constricts the larynx, restricting our ability to breathe. That’s why a really good joke can sometimes seem pretty dangerous — but thankfully the breathing instinct always wins in the end.