News and Notes: Laughing at Adversity

Apr 1, 2014 | 0 comments

Allen Klein, Jollytologist®

Allen Klein, Jollytologist®

Humor is therapeutic. When we can laugh at our troubles, we can lighten up adverse situations and better deal with stress and sorrow.

Allen Klein, author of 15 books including The Healing Power of Humor and Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying: Embracing Life After Loss, has walked that road himself. He calls himself the world’s only Jollytologist®, spreading good news about the life-changing benefits of humor.

Allen Klein is my guest on A Good Goodbye Radio this Wednesday, April 2 (right after April Fool’s Day) on TogiNet Talk Radio to discuss the many facets of humor when facing life’s challenges – including death and funeral planning (more information).

If you are up for a silly video, check out this short speech I did at Toastmasters this past weekend. Titled “You Gotta Have a Gimmick,” it provides a few tips for writing conference proposals that stand out from the crowd. And yes, I do the big finish singing the song from the musical Gypsy (yikes!).

YouTube player

There’s also a new video online of my recent talk titled “Funeral Planning by the Numbers,” presenting consumer information (the numbers go from one to six). The full talk is about 50 minutes long.

Looking forward to attending next week’s convention and expo for the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Las Vegas, Nevada! I’ll be reporting on interesting new developments and presenting a breakout session titled Jewish Funeral Traditions on Film on Friday morning (click for more info). Check The Family Plot Blog for fresh stories.

Top Tips From Last Week’s Show

Tom Antram, CEO of FRENCH Funerals-Cremations

Tom Antram, President and CEO of FRENCH Funerals-Cremations

On last week’s A Good Goodbye Radio show, my guest was Tom Antram, President and CEO of FRENCH Funerals-Cremations. “Death never happens at a time we can plan for,” he said. Hence, it is important to plan ahead. These are some of the trends we discussed on how the funeral industry has changed over the last 20 years:

  • Cremation rates continue to grow due to lower cost, timing flexibility for families to gather, relaxed religious attitudes and our mobile society.
  • Reception centers are becoming much more prevalent. Some families prefer the reception center over the funeral home’s chapel. Reception centers give families a much less formal way to celebrate their loved one on their own terms.
  • Currently, 10% and growing of the families FRENCH serves don’t want a service, they want a party with a sharing of stories.
  • FRENCH’s aftercare services, providing free grief counseling and estate follow-up classes, are not yet widely embraced practices in the funeral business. Yet, these aftercare programs have been enormously helpful to the families they serve and generates word-of-mouth referrals.

Download the podcast!

Upcoming Talks, Interviews and A Funny Quote

Click on the date for more information about each event.

Soul Sitter's Handbook cov

April 9: A Good Goodbye Radio interview with Stacey Canfield and Candace Conradi, authors of The Soul Sitter’s Handbook: What to do when your loved one is dying.

April 16: A Good Goodbye Radio interview with Amy Browne and Jeremy Kaplan, co-directors of the award-winning film A Will for the Woods, depicting one man’s quest for a green burial.

April 23-26: Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) 36th annual conference, Baltimore, Maryland. Gail Rubin is speaking April 26 at 2:45 p.m. on “Facing Death and Transformation in the Film Departures.

April 23: A Good Goodbye Radio with host Gail Rubin discussing funny funeral films and the lessons we can learn by watching movies like Death at a Funeral, Undertaking Betty, The Big Lebowski and Bernie.

April 30: A Good Goodbye Radio interview with Father Conan Gill of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church, to answer questions about the rituals and rites involved in a traditional Greek Orthodox funeral.

May 3: The next Albuquerque Death Cafe at Sheila’s Sweets, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“Immortality is a long shot, I admit. But somebody has to be first.” — Bill Cosby

A Good Goodbye