Past meetings 2006 – 2011

The December 15, 2011 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 Christmas Party and Installation of Officers was a festive affair with Christmas music filling the meeting room and the joyful decorations that put a skip in the step and a smile on the face of all who entered. The traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” from the acting Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL set the tone for the Holiday merriment and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave a holiday message of hope, goodwill and generosity towards others as the invocation. For the last time as Club #28’s President Ryan Dick welcomed our guests Nat Bailey and Debra Cornell and explained that this would not be a “typical meeting”. With the garlands, stockings, Christmas trees and even an iPad -generated fire that crackled and popped; I am sure that Debra and Nat figured out that this evening was special. What was special was the Master of Ceremonies, Ken Walley ATMG, CL a man who has filled this role almost every Christmas for the past decade. Ken announced that just because we did not have a Table Topics Master this evening, that it did not mean that we would not be having some Table Topics questions asked. Throughout the evening asked “What makes this season special for you?” or “What is the best gift you ever received?” or “what would bring joy to you during this holiday?” to Diane Hart, Bihn Nguyen, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, visiting Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 President Joy Inaitari CC, CL and Demitri Ganoff. All of them brought a little holiday cheer with their answers. Also bringing good spirits to the room were our two featured speakers. Mike King, giving his third speech from the Basic Manual gave a “financial themed” speech titled “Sound Money” which highlighted the inconsistent history of American currency and gave reasons for a return to a “gold standard” except being in the private sector for investment, and not under strict government regulation. The speech was very well researched, interesting and made some excellent points. Speaking second was Jennifer Hensley who gave a perfect speech for a Toastmaster meeting, especially with guests present. Her speech titled “A Toastmasters Life For Me!” told about the many benefits there is to joining Toastmasters and how being in Toastmasters, even for a short time, had made a difference in her life. She used personal stories to bring to life the rewards of this great organization. Jennifer’s speech was uplifting and inspiring. It would not surprise anyone if one of our guests joined the club because of her speech. The speeches were evaluated by two of Club #28’s best evaluators: Natalie Mencia and Rodney Higgins ATMB. Both of them left many presents of great advice, praise and wisdom for our speakers. The second part of the meeting, in which the new officers are to be inducted into office started with a “President’s Farewell Speech” by outgoing President Ryan Dick. Ryan speech will be remembered as one of the most inspirational and meaningful President’s messages ever delivered. In the speech Ryan spoke of the “small changes” we make in our lives and the differences that they can bring about for good. He said that he had made a pledge to say “thank you” to others at least five times a day. He thanked those who helped him through the past term and made the observation that if you “took only one photo a day, or spent time painting every day, you would achieve your dreams of becoming a photographer or an artist, you become it by doing it.” His encouragement for self-improvement was clear. Ken Walley ATMG, CL invited Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL to induct the new officers with the traditional “Passing of the gavel” ceremony. Gov. Blake expertly inducted the incoming officers: Sergeant at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Treasurer Janet Madden, Secretary Jennifer Hensley, Vice President of Public Relations Ryan Dick, Vice President of Membership Adam Heltemes and President Malita Clarke CC (The Vice President of Education, Laval Brown was unable to attend but was still confirmed as an officer.) After the ceremony, to loud applause and cheers, new Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 President Mailta Clarke CC approached the lectern and gave her Inaugural Address. Malita acknowledged the past presidents that have been in office since she joined noting that each had something they wanted to accomplish. “Wilner Luders [ACB, CL] wanted to motivate, inspire and have a safe place to improve; Steve Wood wanted a place to learn how to communicate intellectually, to find a way to focus and Ryan Dick encouraged us to escape our verbal crèches, give 100% and be “all in”… I want you to ask, ‘Why am I here?’ We have resources in this room to achieve your goals. I want to use our resources to achieve those goals that first brought us here, whatever those goals might be!” said Malita. Her speech promised a new vision for the club, a focus on individual achievement and a very bright future for it’s members. All of our guests gave outstanding reviews of the time that they had spent with us. Ken brought this magical evening to a close with a wish for our members and their families, past members and our guests a very happy holiday season.         

The December 8, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting should have been a destination  for the rest of the world with the theme of “Tourist Attractions!” and Toastmaster Ryan Dick truly made the evening’s get-together more entertaining than most of the tourist traps anywhere. Diane Hart presided over the Invocation and Pledge before giving way to Ryan who told us about some of the oddest tourists attractions on Earth. These included The “noodle soup baths” in Japan, the “Roach Hall of Fame” (where roaches are dressed up as celebrities!) and a house built completely out of newspaper, among some other very strange places to visit. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL brought some questions for the club members to see where they have been lately as well. Ken asked Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL “If you could afford it, where would you go for a two week vacation?” She said the country of Ecuador is where you would find her learning about the local peoples and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Guest Bihn Nguyen was asked what tourist attraction would he recommend  that everyone visit. Bihn spoke highly of a visit to Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Malita Clarke CC was asked what it was like to visit Disney World. She told a story from when she was a little girls and was frightened by the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion, later in life she was able to go back stage and see how the effects were created. Steve Wood was asked what his absolutely best, and his worst traveling experience would be. He said a trip into space would fulfill both of those descriptions. Having to deal with being weightless and the bad food still would not cancel out the spectacular views from outer space! Diane Hart told of what she liked best and what she liked worst about traveling. The thing she liked best about traveling was being able to discover new things and places. Adam Heltemes was asked about a tourist attraction that he had not visited but wanted to go to. Lastly, Patti Stuart was asked what she would pack for a trip to New York City. She said that she would leave space for souvenirs to bring back! These were some really great questions and Club #28, in a way, took a trip around the world with the answers This evening featured three brilliant speeches starting with Demetri Ganoff‘s informative speech “Web Design is Shaping the Future!” Demetri told us what the roles were of a Web Designer in the form of Builders, Engineers and Architects. He also gave examples of well designed webs like the “beautiful simplicity” of  Google and poorly thought out sites like that of My Space. He made a wonderful case for web design as being the brightest future of the internet. Speaking second was Natalie Menica with a speech  titled “Confessions of a Foreclosure Attorney“. Noting that Foreclosure Attorneys are not the most popular people in the current financial climate, she said that she wanted to help others avoid the foreclosure fate with some simple advice. She told us how to not get into bad situations in the first place and what to do if you are in foreclosure circumstances already. Her advice was helpful and timely. Speaking last, and on a much more happy subject was Janet Madden who told us about taking an ocean trip in a speech titled “Cruising: A Fantastic Way to Travel!” She told how she convinced her husband to go on a cruise and, along the way convinced her audience to want to take a cruise as well! From the fun, food and relaxing on deck, Janet took us on a verbal voyage! The only thing were were missing was a suntan when she finished. Ken Blake ACG, CL was the General Evaluator and was given three of the best of Club #28’s evaluators to help him through his part of the meeting. As expected, Laval Brown, Alan Brents ACG, CL and Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL really put on a show as well as giving great advice along the way. The Hoot & Holler Committee (H&HC) came up with some wonderful reports thanks to Timer Jennifer Hensley, Movie Star Maker Steve Wood, AH Counter Frank Adams CC, Vote Counter Patti Stuart and Grammarian Malita Clarke CC. All of whom did superb work Our returning guest Bihn Nguyen was more impressed this week than even last week with his visit and our other guest, Naemi Chaoui, a visiting student from UCF also had some very positive remarks about the evening. With meetings like this, it is a wonder that Club #28 is not another one of the most visited places in Central Florida, move over Disney World!  .

The December 1, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting started out the month with a wonderful gathering. Acting Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting with the Nominations and Confirmation of the new officers for the next Toastmaster’s term. Malita Clarke was voted in as the club’s next president. Congratulations to all of the new officers!. Diane Hart gave the Invocation and led us in the Pledge to the Flag. Everyone was thankful that Walk Jones ACS, CL was our Toastmaster as he led us through the topic of “Being Thankful!” Noting that many of us simply passed over the chance of remembering what is truly important to us with the excitement of the Christmas holidays approaching, Walk gave us many things to contemplate that we might not have been able to do during the hectic Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Walk actually made this holiday season more significant and meaningful with his terrific performance as Toastmaster! The same can be said for some interesting and enlightening inquiries asked by Table Topics Master Ryan Dick who asked questions with the help of a list of the “10 things that Americans are most thankful for”. Noting that Americans were thankful for their technology, Ryan asked Ken Blake ACG, CL what he thought was the technology that he was most thankful for. Ken, an auto mechanic, was grateful for the diagnostic scanners for automobiles although he noted they seem to become obsolete every year when the new cars come out. Diane Hart answered the question of “What was your most patriotic moment?” as Ryan noted that Americans are thankful for their country. Diane remembered a time that she had to defend America while visiting another country. Visiting Toastmaster from Massachusetts Mike Finn DTM of the Speakeasy Toastmasters Club,  was asked “What are you thankful for about your health?” Mike noted that he was thankful that he and his wife are able enjoy the health that they have thanks to diet and exercise. Ryan stated that Americans were thankful for their friends. Returning and re-joining Toastmaster Alan Brents ACG, CL was asked what his best friend’s Ice Breaker speech would be like. Alan proudly told us a little about a best friend of his named Stephanie who was from England. American culture is held in high esteem by Americans, so Mike King was asked what his favorite movie was. Mike seemed torn between two classics: “Star Wars” and “Apocalypse Now“. Mike noted that the critics were thankful for both of them as well. The last question went to another guest Jerven Carter, who was asked if there was a job that he was thankful that he had ever done. Jerven remembered his employment directing a daycare center at the YMCA. It was a job that brought him a lot of joy. It was apparent that our two speakers were thankful for the sport of long distance running! Janet Madden spoke about the need to prepare for the upcoming year in a speech titled “Charting Your Course for 2012!” She encouraged us to get ready for the New Year as if we were getting ready to run in a half marathon. Janet found out that with the right training, she could reach her future goals. Patti Stuart gave an inspirational and motivating speech about what it takes to be a runner titled “Born to Run”. Using her vast experience as a long-distance runner, she said we should approach life with “Perseverance, Endurance and Determination!” Both speeches were rousing and stirring! Our Master Evaluator Frank Adams CC gave a glowing meeting evaluation of the Table Topics, Speeches and the two brilliant evaluations by Laval Brown and Jennifer Hensley. Laval and Jennifer’s evaluations gave helpful advice, were entertaining  and gave everyone fits figuring out how to vote for “Best Evaluator”.  The Santa’s Elves List-makers Union (SELU) was made up of Grammarian Alan Brents ACG, CL, Timer Adam Heletmes,  AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Ken Blake ACG, CL. They all did a magical job of helping to make this a special evening. All of those present, including our four guests, Mike Finn, DTM; Bihn Nguyen, Jerven Carter and Arzu Mustafayeva were extremely thankful that they had attended this uplifting and empowering meeting!

The November 17, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Secrets that Nurses Will Not Tell You!”  theme meeting was a meeting that could have cured any ills. The meeting started off with an Invocation given by real-life nurse Patti Stuart based on the words of another nurse, the co-founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton. Leading the meeting, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL excelled as Toastmaster. She gave an eye-opening view of the hidden world of nurses and some of the things we might not be aware of when seeking medical care. Barbara did a wonderful job!! Another highlight was Janet Madden as our Table Topics Master who gave a superb effort of bringing to life the fun that is Table Topics on her first time at the role! Janet’s first question was given to Adam Heltemes:  “What would you worry about during a hospital experience?” Adam said he worries about having a hospital experience, explaining that his mother was an Emergency Room nurse, and from her experiences, he has no interest in ever going to a hospital! Mike King was asked about comfort food to eat when you arte down and out. Mike told about how he had been brought up to eat healthy foods but he found a soft spot for cheesecake. Jennifer Hensley was ask to tell one secret she knew behind the scenes at the hospital. She said that the medical staff seemed to be more concerned about the health of her husband than her while she was in the maternity ward! Our guest Matthew Perez was asked to tell us about a positive experience that he has had with the medical profession. He told about how his mother had been treated while in the hospital that led to her recovery. The last question was directed towards Demetri Ganoff who was asked what could be done to make hospitals safer and more efficient. Demetri though that better communication between staff and better organization would make a big difference. These questions really made everyone think about how important a part that the medical community plays in our lives. Both the questions and the answers were very attention-grabbing as well as edifying. Our three speeches were all little masterpieces. They were interesting, educational, fun and great experiences to remember. Ryan Dick’s speech titled “A Garage Sale of the Mind” told how to start and succeed at an e-business. Using only $500 dollars and 20 hours he told how to create a business on the Internet that could make an impressive profit. It was a useful and timely speech for today’s economy.  Laval Brown gave us a lot to think about as we go into the Thanksgiving holidays. Laval’s speech titled “A Need to be Thankful” looked at America being still “the land of opportunity”. Thankful for the values of hard work and persistence that he learned from his parents, Laval ended his speech with a powerful poem that asked the question of “how bad do you want success?”  Rodney Higgins ATMB told us about a remarkable part of Florida’s history in a speech titled “Motel Art!” It was a speech that brought to life the brilliance of African-American artists during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s as they mass-produced art for the masses that often ended up in motels and is now often worth a small fortune. He also told of working for the Florida Historical Museum in Orlando and how that enriched his life. All three speeches were really awesome! Diane Hart also impressed us as our General Evaluator and she had the honor of welcoming back to the lectern Frank Adams CC, Malita Clarke CC and Natalie Mencia who was giving her first evaluation. Every evaluation was worthy of the excellence of the speeches. It should be noted that the work of the Language Rules & Stage Credentials Agency (LR&SCA) was perfect throughout the meeting. They were composed of Grammarian Alan Brents ACG, CL; AH Counter Jason Price, Cameraman Steve Wood, Timer Jennifer Hensley and Vote Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL At the end of the meeting our guests Chris Chung, Matthew Perez, Albert Mitterson and Michael Robinson all gave positive and enthusiastic feedback about the meeting, pledging to return. It was of course a very happy surprise to see the return of Alan Brents ACG, CL. who had been away from the club for some time. 24 guests and members attended the meeting! Present this evening were Ryan Dick, Diane Hart, Demetri Ganoff, Natalie Mencia, Frank Adams CC, Malita Clarke CC, Patti Stuart, James Waters ACB, Jason Price, Steve Wood, Jennifer Hensley, Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Mike King, Adam Heltemes, Michael Whisenat, Laval Brown, Rodney Higgins ACB, Barbara Cusack, ACB, CL; EJ Jones,  Area 32 Gov. Ken Blake ACG, CL Returning member Alan Brents ACG, CL and Guests Chris Chung, Albert Mitterson, Matthew Perez and Michael Robinson. What an excellent turnout! This was a blast of a meeting! It was sure lot better than a trip to the emergency room to find out about those secrets that the nurses don’t want tell you!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 10, 2011 “Favorite Cartoon Characters!” theme meeting had Adam Heltemes come to the rescue, like Underdog, as our Toastmaster leading a super-charged meeting. Adam reminisced about watching his most beloved ‘toons and reminded us that a multi-billion dollar corporation named the “Walt Disney World Company; was started by an animated drawing!” He also assigned cartoon names to match the functionaries! It was a wild, funny and wacky toastmasters evening! Diane Hart, of course, played her part with some fabulous questions as our Table Topics Master! Her first question was a good example asked of Barbara Cusack ACB, CL: “What was the the grossest cartoon that you ever saw?” Barbara remembered an Australian film she saw that was completely offensive. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked about “cartoons with a message.” Ken told the story of how his parents would only let him watch ‘The Flintstones.” He said that cars they paddled with their feet inspired him to become a mechanic and that he still sees some “Flintstonemobiles” with their bottoms rusted out in his shop! Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL answered a question about political cartoons. he said he loved political cartoons because they often get to the heart of an issues with few words. he remembered one at the time of the death of Elvis Presley while he was living in Memphis, Tenn. which showed the large boots left by Elvis that could never be filled. Te last question was asked of Malita Clarke CC. She was asked what her favorite cartoon was. She answered that it was “The Smurfs” because she could always relate to being a “smurfette” as she grew up in a family surrounded by brothers.  We had two brilliant speeches, starting with Stokely Gittens CC who gave a speech titled “Start Your Business Now!”  Stokely made the point that the time to make your own ideas a reality is now and not at some time in the future! “Why make somebody else’s dreams come true when you have plans of your own?” said Stokely. It was a especially inspiring presentation. Speaking second, was Laval Brown who gave a “hip pocket” speech when called upon to cover a sudden speech opening. He delivered a heartfelt tribute to his girlfriend Jenna who encourages him to be “the best motivational speaker in the world!” Said Laval, “Olympic Athletes do not train for decades to win a bronze medal! To be a great motivational speaker, you have to be committed and put in the time but it helps to have a place to go where there is devoted support!”  Speaking of encouragement, Laval Brown also served as the General Evaluator and introduced two evaluators who gave out generous praise and confidence-building advice to our speakers. Ken Blake ATMG, CL and Frank Adams gave superb efforts as the evaluators!  Adding to the mirth of the night was our “ACME Specialist Table” (ACME ST) comprising of, and along with, their cartoon names bequeathed to them by Adam:  Grammarian Mike “Snagglepuss” King, AH Counter Rev. Walk “Foghorn Leghorn” Jones ACS, CL; Timer Barbara “Papa Smurf” Cusack ACB,  CL; Film Editor Steve “Dexter” Wood and first time Vote Counter Jason “Captain America” Price. James Waters ACB was also on hand to start the meeting with the Invocation and Pledge. Club #28 President Ryan Dick also had the pleasure of welcoming three visitors, Victor Walters and Chris Chung who also brought his mother Mayling Chung. At the end of the meeting, our guests were excited about returning to future meetings. We look forward to seeing them again! Ken Walley ATMG, CL told our guests that this meeting was typical of our weekly gatherings and that “next week’s meeting will even be better!” This was a first- rate meeting that impressed members and visitors alike, I could go on forever but, as Porky the Pig said… “Tttthat’s Alllll Folks!”

The sky was the limit for the November 3, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting last week with the theme “The Sky and Things That Fall From It!” The meeting started with an invocation by Demetri Ganoff  with a quote from the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. It was Demetri’s first time leading the club in the invocation and Pledge to the flag. He got the meeting off to a good start. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster and told about how the sky effects our world and told some personal memories involving falling objects… including a story about golf balls that flew into his Pizza Delivery truck when he was working his way through college. Patti Stuart had some fantastic questions for Table Topics and did a wonderful job in her first time in the Table Topics Master role! Janet Madden was their first to be asked a question: “How would you get rid of falling ‘space junk’?” Janet said that she always seems to be ducking stuff falling from the sky! Noting that “rains” of frogs, fishes and even spiders have been reported, Patti asked Jennifer Hensley “What strange or weird types of rain have you experienced?” Jennifer said that she had no “odd rain stories” but instead told a story of how she was loaned an umbrella to get to her car but got soaked returning it. Diane Hart was asked what she would do to divert an asteroid from hitting the earth, if it was coming to close. Diane said that she did not have a clue and we were pretty much doomed if left to her. Steve Wood was given the question “Is there really a dark side of the moon” Steve explained that the moon’s surface, not facing the Earth is the “dark side” but because the moon rotates, one side is not always hidden from the Earth’s view. Our guest Elisabeth Douberley, answered the question of what would she do if money fell from the sky. She gave a number of wonderful ideas for putting “money from heaven” to good use. There were some very interesting answers during this excellent Table Topics session! We also had three awesome speeches including Jason Price’s impressive Ice Breaker speech titled “The Journey of Jason Price“! Jason told about a life in which he was always trying to escape boredom. After playing the cello, becoming a percussionist, mastering tennis and construction work, among many other things… he developed a lifetime obsession with self-improvement. What an amazing first speech! Congratulations Jason!! Adam Heltemes’s speech titled “Planning for an Emergency” told us how to survive a future invasion of Zombies. His speech was full of great ideas on how to make the best of “living among the living dead.” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was at her best with a wonderfully delightful speech titled “What Goes Around Comes Around” in which “payback time” came 20 years later to a “bragging boyfriend” from her High School years. It was another super-performance by Barbara. It was hard voting for “Best Speaker” because all of the speeches were simply exquisite. Natalie Mencia was another 1st time success as our General Evaluator. She introduced three remarkable evaluations by Ryan Dick, James Waters ACB and Jennifer Hensley. Each evaluator had their own style of giving advice but everyone was encouraging and upbeat about the speeches while giving practical suggestions. The Speech Direction and Accountability Wizards (SDAW) was constituted of Grammarian Laval Brown, AH Counter Mike King, Timer Michael Whisenant, Video Production Director Steve Wood and Vote Counter Demetri Ganoff  Because of them, the meeting ran smoothly and on time. Club #28 was blessed with two visitors, Rahul “Sidd” Kamath and Elisabeth Douberley. Both of our guests were extremely generous in their praise when asked to comment at the end of the meeting. It is rare when a meeting this good just seems to just “fall out of the sky.”

The scariest thing about the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 26, 2011 annual “Halloween” theme meeting was just how good it was. Steve Wood was a scream as our Toastmaster! He provided us with some of the best Halloween history and spooky trivia ever! Steve did a monster of a job leading the meeting!  Because we had four speeches that were to die for, Steve re-adjusted the agenda order so that we did not have to “fear” getting the speeches and evaluations accomplished in time. Starting with the prepared speeches, Steve introduced a very special presentation by Belinda Brown who was giving her Ice Breaker. She gave a wonderful speech titled “The Only Constant in My life is Change” in which she told about a life of travel, adventure and learning. Belinda said the thing that seemed to worry her the most was not being able to adapt to new situations and grow. It was a memorable 1st speech that left everyone looking forward to more from Belinda.  Speaking second was Natalie Mencia who gave another wonderful performance (Her third in less than two months!) with a speech titled “The College Fairy Doesn’t Exist”  about the true value of a college education. Natalie made a brilliant argument that a college degree was undervalued while life-experience is not given enough value. Laval Brown gave a clinic on how to use word pictures and vocal inflection while producing dynamic speeches in his presentation titled “If I Understand You Correctly.” Speaking fourth in the order was one of Club #28’s most remarkable speakers, Rodney Higgins ATMB. Rodney put together a speech on the spur of the moment that truly reflected Rodney’s excellence in storytelling. His speech, titled “Master Storyteller” was a tribute about a real master storyteller: the late, great Ray Hicks. Four awesome speeches, every one had the audience mesmerized! The same could be said for the four polished evaluations from four of Club #28’s most seasoned speakers: James Waters ACB,  Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Barbara Cusack ACB, CL;  and Ken Blake ACG, CL! General Evaluator Ryan Dick noted that it was a unique occasion that a Toastmasters club could be able to showcase so many accomplished teachers to give such sage advice at the same meeting. Table Topics Master James Waters ACB even had time to ask a few Table Topics questions at the end of the meeting. His first question was about “treats” directed towards our returning guest Marie Loeffler: “What’s is the biggest cooking experience that you have had concerning Halloween?” Marie answered that she did not cook much but has wonderful memories of eating herself sick on Halloween candy!” James second question was for Demetri Ganoff who was asked to answer if he had had any experiences with Zombies or cannibalism? Demetri could not think of any experiences and was very glad of that . The third Table Topics question was directed towards Janet Madden who was asked if “Souls of the dead are scheduled to pay you a visit?” She said that  “You never know when the dead will visit, but none are scheduled to do so.”  The last question was asked of Steve Wood “What were you dressed as during your first Halloween?” Steve could not remember the exact costume but remember that he was very good in collecting candy! All of the answers to the Table Topics question were simply other worldly in their skill. Of course without the help of the “Ghosts of Wayward Time and Syntax” (GWT&S) we never would have finished the meeting. Those who deserve the credit were: Grammarian Janet Madden, Timer Demetri Ganoff, AH Counter Marie Leoffler and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACB. Steve Wood managed to be both the Cameraman as well as doing his duties as the Toastmaster! Everyone did a sensational job. This meeting went beyond the usual Club #28 meeting excellence. This Halloween meeting treat from Club #28, will be haunting all those poor souls who missed it! Happy Halloween!

The Wednesday, October 19, 2011 meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had the fun of exploring the incredible topic of FUN!! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave us plenty of ideas on what to do for fun including:  “Make snow angels with soap flakes, roast marshmallows, test drive a BMW, adopt a dog, go Skeet Shooting, zipline, take dancing lessons, build an ant farm…” and many, MANY, MANY other ideas! It really was one of most fun meetings that Club #28 has ever had! Another fun highlight was Demetri Ganoff as the Table Topics Master for his first time. His well thought out questions were perfect for the meeting. Demetri’s first questions was “What do you find fun that some other people might not find as fun?” Club President Ryan Dick was tapped to answer and said that he enjoyed tailgating parties at Florida Gator games. Ryan noted that Florida State Seminoles fans might not find that as much fun. The second question, “What is something you did as a child that you still like to do now for fun?” went to Steve Wood. Steve noted that he enjoyed reading even as a child and that studying outer space still has an irresistible pull on him now. Our guest, Marie Loeffler, was asked “Who do you have the most fun with?” She spoke about a good friend with whom she liked to really silly things. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked  “What does fun look like?” Ken described fun more as a feeling than as something that you would “see” and described surfing as a teenager. The last question was aimed at Belinda Brown. She was asked what she would do if she won the lottery and how would that would enhance her idea fun. She said she would find fun in helping bring people together to help others. Demetri did a wonderful job of bringing to life the fun that is Table Topics!  Our two speeches were both really interesting, educational and…really fun as well! Jamie Waters ACB told us about the “King of Computer Hackers”: the infamous Max Butler in a speech titled “The History of Computer Hacking“.  It was a speech that was full of daring and astounding illeagal exploits. Justice, however prevailed in the end.  Janet Madden, not to be outdone, gave an sensational speech about the bye-gone Space Shuttle program titled “The Space Shuttle: An American Treasure!” Janet’s speech featured some poignant memories from her time when she worked in the program! Both speeches were very impressive! Malita Clarke CC also impressed us as our General Evaluator and she had the honor of welcoming back to the lectern a very busy Ken Walley ACG, CL as well as Ryan Dick to give two dynamic and helpful evaluations. Also lending the same top-shelf quality to the meeting were the members of the Reflection & Direction Council (A&DC) which embodied Grammarian Natalie Mencia, Timer Michael Whisenant, AH Counter and Club #28 Photo-Documentarian Steve Wood and 1st time Vote Counter Belinda Brown. They created yet another example of the classic teamwork that crafts a great meeting experience. We had a guest visiting from the Trailblazers Toastmasters Club, Marie Loeffler who stated that she was awed and amazed  by the high quality of the meeting. She also won the white ribbon for Best Table Topics answer!  This was a blast of a meeting! It was more fun than blowing soap bubbles or tossing horseshoes or playing lawn darts, writing a poem or playing Frisbee golf or Sightseeing Orlando… you get the idea… It was a lot of fun!

The October 13, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was another incredible meeting chocked full of wonderful “Milestones and Accomplishments”, which by the way, was the theme of the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting Diane Hart led us in a moving start with an invocation about “being inspired about all that you do.” Club President Ryan Dick noted that Club #28 was even celebrating a milestone on this night. He called Immediate Past Presidents Wilner Luders CC, CL and Steve Wood to the lectern and they presented the club with it’s 10th President’s Distinguished Award ribbon to put on the club #28 banner! Next,  Malita Clarke CC took control of the meeting and did yet another awesome job as our Toastmaster. Malita used famous and personal examples to spotlight the differences between “Milestones” and “Accomplishments” which are often two completely different concepts. She also did a remarkably brilliant job of filling in as the Table Topics Master! On the spur of the moment she asked some impact questions that got all kinds of interesting answers!  Her first question was “What is a Milestone from someone that you admire?” She called upon Mike King who responded with a tribute to Ron Paul the GOP 2012 presidential candidate. He sited Paul’s courage to challenge the power of the federal reserve. Diane Hart was asked to remember a milestone of one of her children. She said that she was pleased when her child had accomplished potty training! Natalie Mencia was asked about an accomplishment of her parents that she was proud of. She said it was hard to choose from so many, but her father’s service to our country was one at the top of her list. Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked about an accomplishment of one of his family in school. Ken told about how his son earned a second PhD! Ken’s son is a medical doctor. EJ Jones was asked about an accomplishment of someone that she had mentored. EJ gave a moving answer about the advice she had given to a young person: “Run your race and be true to your self!” EJ said. Michael Whisnant  (pronounced: WHIZ-nit) answered the question of who had the most impact on his life. He said it was his 13 year old son, especially by watching him gain self-confidence. Malita did a truly great job as the Table Topics master as well as leading the meeting. Congratulations Malita! We had speeches from two of Club #28’s most respected speakers starting with Jennifer Hensley who presented a speech titled  “The Signs Showed the Way” about a very interesting topic, Baby Sign Language. The speech told the story of her struggle to communicate with her infant son. Demetri Ganoff who gave his second speech, titled “Who Killed Pluto?” about a completely different subject:: what happened to the planet Pluto. It seems scientists discovered that Pluto was just one of many similar sized objects in the Keepler Asteroid Belt. At first, Demetri had us wondering if something had happened to Mickey’s dog.   For his first time as the General Evaluator, one of our newest members, Stokely Gittens performed as if he had been the General Evaluator a thousand times before and got two worthy evaluations from Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Wilner Luders CC, CL. The Clocking, Syntax, Video and Voting Task Force (CSV&VTF) which was made up of Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, Timer Michael Whisenant, Movie Maker Steve Wood, AH Counter Laval Brown and Vote Counter Janet Madden. All of them, as usual did extremely proficient work. At the end of the meeting two members who had not had a chance to speak, Rodney Higgins ATMB and Jason Price spoke very highly of the meeting and as did our two visiting Toastmasters,  Diana Estremera ACG, CL and Delona Ashby. That this meeting ran so well and had so many great highlights simply was an amazing accomplishment. With the “Oldest Club East of the Rockies”, I guess every meeting holds some milestones and some great accomplishments.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Wednesday, October 5th 2011 meeting was another amazing gathering with a lot of Not-so-Unintended Consequences such as great learning, entertainment, fun and friendship. Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting by filling in as the Sgt. at Arms, giving the Invocation, leading the club in the Pledge to the Flag and covering as the acting President. Ken also introduced the Toastmaster for this evening,  Wilner Luders, CC, CL who created a motivational EVENT using the meeting theme of “Unintended Consequences: Connecting the Dots!” Wilner pointed out that our world is connected in ways that we hardly notice, but our actions, even our thoughts affect everything. “Things might not make sense now,” said Wilner “but often looking back, you can see how the dots were connected.” Laval Brown in his first time as a Table Topics Master… did a masterful job in one of the liveliest sessions Club #28 has ever hosted. His first question was “What came into your mind when you heard of tonight’s theme ‘Unintended Consequences?'” Steve Wood got the question and spoke about the population explosion and the need for stronger planned parenthood efforts. Janet Madden spoke about an unintended consequence that had happened to her. Janet remembered a time that she almost left a job but decided to stay with it. Because she did, things worked out better for her in the end. Laval next asked Ken Blake ACG, CL a tough question: “Had he ever impacted someone else’s life and found out about it later?” Ken told of the time his wife committed an embarrassing faux pas that eventually led to a better understanding of two different cultures. EJ Jones arrived to the meeting a bit late and walked in on her own Table Topics question! She answered the question of “is it fate or consequence when the unexpected happens to you?” EJ told a story of why she was late to the meeting and how a chance encounter that she had, might lead to a job opportunity! The last question was directed at Demetri Ganoff. He was asked how important planning in advance was in his life. Demetri admitted that he sometimes over-plans things and there is something to be said for being spontaneous as well. Everyone brought some unique and surprising answers to the session. The entire club really got into Table Topics tonight! Our two speeches were also extremely memorable as well. Adam Heltemes gave a speech titled “Congressional Dysfunction” with a plea to our lawmakers to overcome legislative deadlock because of political ideology. His speech was especially timely due to recent failures to keep the government relevant during a financial crisis that Congress was challenged with recently. Adam’s speech was extremely well done and a perfect speech for the times!  Natalie Mencia, giving just her 2nd speech titled “The Principle of Self-Possession” also electrified the room with a political speech that elucidated upon the “philosophy” and flaws of the Libertarian Party. Her speech was a wonderful example of a fair and balanced journalistic view of a controversial political faction. Both presentations were truly excellent, thought-provoking and important speeches! Ken Walley ATMG, CL returned to the lectern once more to led the Evaluation section of the meeting. His job was made easy by the evaluations of Malita Clarke CC and Ken Blake ACG, CL. Both Evaluators lived up to the high caliber of the speeches that they were reviewing. The Expression Appraisal & Clock Measurement Benefactors (EA&CMB) were formed with Rodney Higgins ATMB as Grammarian, Janet Madden as the AH Counter, Steve Wood as the Spectroscopic Commander and Demetri Ganoff as the Timer. As usual, they kept the meeting running smoothly and efficiently. We even had a new member join our club! Welcome Belinda Brown to Club #28! The main “unintended consequence” of this meeting is that you can’t wait for the next meeting to get here!

If you believed that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was going to produce an amazing meeting on September 29, 2011, you would be right! Club President Ryan Dick inspired the club with an upbeat and optimistic start to the meeting introducing the theme of “The Magic of Believing” as well as introducing the evening’s Toastmaster James Waters ACB, CL. James brought some magic as well  with him and gave us all a reason to believe that we were in for a remarkable night. James spoke about how believing was more than just hopeful wishing but in reality it is a state of mind in which anything is possible. Jennifer Hensley led one of the best Table Topics sessions in recent memory. She brought out some fantastic answers from our guests and members on the theme of “believing” that got everyone thinking about what, and whom, that we could believe in. Her first question was directed at Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who was asked how she defined the terms “belief” and “hope”. Barbara said that she “hoped” that her favorite football team, the Tampa Bay Bucs would win and that she “believed in” her Four Tia’s Black Bean & Corn Salsa was the best on the market! Diane Hart was asked about something that she believed in strongly. She said she had great joy in being a citizen on the USA, especially when she was overseas. Steve Wood answered the question of his favorite song about hope or belief with a statement about “magic mushrooms” and their ability to make other people “more creative.” Ken Blake ACG, CL was given the question of if he believed in a sport team. he mention how he loved to watch Little League Baseball on a wide-screen High-def TV and root against Taiwan. Visiting Toastmaster Stokley Gittins was asked where he might go to find the most magical place on Earth for him. His answer was “church.” as it was a “place of peace and hope.” Mike King was given the question of what short or long term goals he has set for himself. He believed his short term goals were accomplished and his long term goals were to help create world peace and make more money. Demetri Ganoff and Natalie Mencia blessed us with two truly excellent Ice Breaker Speeches. Demetri’s speech titled “A Day in the Life of Demetri” told us about a “typical” day in his life in which we got to know some of the surprising facets of his very interesting world. Natalie’s Ice Breaker titled “Ordinary to the Extraordinary” made an exceptional impression both with her impressive speaking skills as well as her already remarkable accomplishments at such a young age. Both performances gave Club #28 a reason to look forward to some wonderful speeches in the future. Wilner Luders CC, CL returned to the lectern as the General Evaluator and presided over two worthy evaluations by Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Laval Brown. The evaluations gave both speakers some things to work on and tons of praise and encouragement. The “Protectors of Conspicuous Morphology and Structure” (PCM&S) was composed of Grammarian Janet Madden, Timer Adam Heltemes, Film Curator Steve Wood, AH Counter Malita Clarke CC and first time Vote Counter Mike King. They all helped in creating the special enchantment of this evening’s gathering. We had two guests visiting Club #28 and they both joined the club! Welcome to Club #28 Jason Price and Stokely Gitten!! The magic of believing that Club #28 could produce a remarkable and meaningful meeting came true.

It was no lie that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had a completely awesome meeting on September 22, 2011. Entertaining everyone from the start to the finish was Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who had a lot to say about the theme of “Lair, Lair!”… All of it true! Barbara touched on the very good and the very bad that can happen when you don’t tell the truth as well as reminding us of some memorable untruths in recent history that were “misspoken” by some famous people. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Table Topics Master who could not tell a fib when he revealed that his questions were sent to him by Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL who could not make it to the meeting at the last moment. The first question Ken asked was to one of our newest members, Natalie Mencia asking her how she can detect when someone is lying to her? She said that looking someone in the eyes and noting nervous reactions is not always accurate. Demetri Gandoff was asked to lie to us by pretending to make an excuse for being late on his first day on the job. Janet Madden told of a time when she had to lie and what the consequences were. Ken asked Frank Adams CC if he would lie if it meant that a great deal of money would go to a worthy charity and that there was a 73% chance of him not being caught. It was a tough question for the future minister to answer. Our guest, Deborah Cornell answered another tough question: “What is the perfect punishment for a child if you catch him or her in a lie. She said have the kid come up with a punishment to fit the “crime”. Wilner Luders CC, CL was asked “When is it ok to lie or is ever Ok to lie?” Wilner noted that there have been times when lives are at stake, or when the consequences could be beyond any reason of saying the truth. “The line between right and wrong becomes blurred.” said Wilner. Nothing was blurred about the excellence of the speeches during this evening. We had three excellent speeches starting with what many said was Club #28’s President Ryan Dick‘s best speech (so far) and his most controversial, titled “Two Words.” Ryan made a compelling argument for removing the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. He also put forth a super-professional effort that had everyone spellbound. Marrietta Bolatete also had her audience transfixed with a speech about the “ying and the yang” in the attunement of the masculine and feminine essences. She explained in her speech titled “The Balance of the Masculine and Feminine Energies” that individuals and even groups, like Club #28, as well as  have a masculine and feminine side! Mike King did not disappoint with a wonderful speech titled and about “Neuro-Linquistic Programming”  or NLP. Mike explained the power of voice modulation, mental exercises, inner-visualization and much more. At the last moment, tight before the start of the meeting, Adam Heltemes volunteered to serve as the General Evaluator. This was even more brave as it was his first time trying to serve in that meeting task Adam did very well but he had  help with a good evaluation staff. We had three exciting evaluations by Laval Brown, Diana Estremera ACG, CL and James Waters ACB, CL. Our Language & Duration Guardians (L&DG) was made up mostly of Toastmaster rookies including Timer Demetri Ganoff, AH Counter Natalie Mencia, Grammarian Janet Madden as well as Club #28 veterans Camera Master Steve Wood and Vote Counter Heather Russell. It was also a wonderful night for “firsts” with Laval Brown as an Evaluator, Adam Heltemes as the General Evaluator, Demetri Ganoff as the Timer, Janet Madden as Grammarian and Natalie Mencia as the AH Counter all serving for the 1st time in those roles. Everyone did fabulous! Our only guest tonight Deborah Cornell also swore she was telling the truth when she told the club how much she enjoyed the evening. Congratulations to Natalie as well as it was announced that she had passed the Florida Bar Exam!  This was a truly wonderful meeting and that is no lie!

On September 15, 2011, Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 showed it’s patriotic side with a tremendous meeting with the theme of “Freedom Isn’t free!”  led by Laval Brown in his first time as the meeting Toastmaster. Laval reminded us of the millions of men and women who have given their time, effort, skills, courage and for many, their lives to keep our country free. It was great to have such a packed room to hear such an inspirational message. The evening was even more blessed with so many guests and returning members. Packing the room were Toastmasters Laval Brown, Adam Heltemes, Frank Adams CC,  Michael Whisenant, Diane Hart, Patti Stuart, Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Janet Madden, Jennifer Hensley, Steve Wood, Heather Russell, Mike King, Marietta Bolatete, Jamie Waters ACB, Ryan Dick and Ken Blake ACG, CL. We had returning members Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and Jim Stitt as well as two new members Demetri Ganoff and Natalie Mencia! We had a visiting Toastmaster Stokely Gittens from the Altamonte Springs Toastmasters Club and three guests: Michael David, Maria Rasmy and Jason Price! It is one of the best turn-outs of the year so far. Many of them had the courage to take part in an impressive Table Topics session, which was directed by Adam Heltemes who was also serving for the first time in that position. Adam had some challenging questions but our members and guests were up to the task starting with visiting Toastmaster Stokely Gittens. Stokely was asked “What is your favorite constitutional right from the Bill of Rights? Stokely, being a Toastmaster, of course answered “the Freedom of Speech.” Returning Toastmaster, Jim Stitt was asked to speak on what divides us as a nation. Jim spoke about lessons we could learn from the Civil War and how we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes that led us to such a division. Another returning member, Brian Wheeler ATMB was asked what we were fighting for in Afghanistan and Iraq? Some of the major reasons said Brian was that countries should be free of political enslavement and have the right to self-government and freedom for their people. Natalie Mencia was asked what freedom meant to her. She took a philosophical  view quoting the famous philosopher Emmanuel Kant that people should be free to define their own definition of freedom and do the things that they believe are right. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what was the best thing about living in America. He said that freedom was a very precious thing to other countries and something we often take for granted here in America. He said that we should appreciate as well as enjoy our freedoms. This night featured two speakers at different places in their Toastmaster journeys: the first speaker giving his first speech and another speaker who is working his way through the advanced manuals. Michael Whisenant impressed everyone with superb Ice Breaker speech titled “Hobbies!” Part of his speech had us deep-water diving, without breathing tanks into abandoned underwater caves! Frank Adams CC totally amazed his audience with a motivating speech about commemorating and remembering the events in our lives that transform us. Frank put on a production wnich was completely entertaining. Thanks to Frank’s speech (titled “Commemorate and Remember!“) no one left the room without inspiration … and some invaluable ideas. Marietta Bolatete was a flawless hostess as the General Evaluator for the educational segment of the meeting. Ryan Dick and Jamie Waters ACB  gave awesome evaluations. Both of them are appearing in Area Evaluation Contests next week and both were winners on this night. Intense credit should be paid to the “Expressionwerks Group” (EWG) which consisted of Timer Jennifer Hensley, AH Counter Heather Russell, Vote Counter Patti Stuart and another who was working for the 1st time at his meeting role, Mike King as the Grammarian. We had wonderful comments from all of our guests, Stokely Gittens, Michael David, Jason Price and Maria Rasmy. Stokely said that he was considering joining Club #28 as a second club! Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL reminded everyone of the upcoming Area 32 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests. Representing Club #28 in the Humorous Speech Contest will be Rodney Higgins ACB. The club evaluation contestant and Club #28 President will be Ryan Dick. Ryan also announced that the club has two new members, Natalie Mencia and Demetri Ganoff who joined Club #28 at the end of the meeting! Welcome Natalie and Demetri! This was a meaningful, entertaining, inspiring, fun and just plain fabulous meeting! I am glad that so many were on hand to enjoy it.

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had the right attitude for a super meeting on September 8, 2011 as Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster…and motivator for the theme “Attitude is Everything!” Ken covered many subjects taken from the Table of contests of Jeff Keller‘s book “Attitude is Everything” including “Picture Your Way to Success”, “Turn Your Problems Into Opportunities” and “Confront Your Fears and Grow!” Marietta Bolatete‘s excellent Table Topics session featured no less than four guests! Everyone gave remarkably skilled answers including our own Diane Hart. Diane answered the first question “Do you have a limiting belief that might hurt your personal progress or success?” She told a story of how she once “talked herself” into being able to conceive a child. Guest Dan Koehler answered the second question “Do you see the glass half empty or half full?” Dan considered himself a optimist but also sometimes, a realist. Guest Destin Arcencaux was asked if you “Attitude was a hazard to your health?” Dan believed that your attitude could indeed cause harm to your health. Spencer Leak was our next guest to answer a table topics question. He got the query: “Are we a product of our circumstances or a creator of our own circumstances?” Spencer used his bother, Mathew Leak as an example of someone who inspired him to create his own destiny.  The last question went to our returning guest Demetri Ganoff who was asked if he knew any “grumpy people”? He said he knew a few and some of them like his grandmother, who were gruff, but in a “good way”. His grandmother’s rough demeanor had really endeared her to his family. Tables Topics was uplifting and even inspiring thanks to Diane and our brave visitors! This evening featured speakers Laval Brown and Patti Stuart who both gave standout speeches that supercharged the meeting with two brilliant performances! Laval Brown told us about the importance of finding a mentor in a speech titled “Why Mentors?” He covered both sides of the subject, about finding a mentor as well as being a mentor to others. His speech was interesting, informative and very useful. Patti Stuart, also giving her 3rd speech from the Basic Manual, gave a powerful speech with an important message about surviving Meningitis. In the speech titled “Voices of Meningitis” She painted a picture of the horrific effects of this deadly infection and told a riveting story of how she overcame it. The message was to get those that you love vaccinated by their early teens. These two exceptional speeches deserved two exceptional evaluations and that is what each speaker received. General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACB, CL introduced two wonderful evaluators: Jennifer Hensley and Ryan Dick. Both evaluations were of Evaluation Contest caliber, worthy of winning the upcoming Area 32 competition. The meeting also had some of best support ever from an exemplary cast of technicians. The High Quality Communication Cheer Team (HQCCT) was composed of Grammarian James Waters ACB, AH Counter Rodney Higgins ATMB, Timer Adam Heltemes and yet another guest taking the initiative to play a part in our meeting, Natlie Mencia! Each and every guest testified to being impressed with the meeting during the guest comments section of the evening. Many of them pledged to join Club #28! Our guests tonight were: Dustin Arcencaux, Dan Koehler, Spencer Leak, Demetri Ganoff and Natalie Mencia. We hope that you ALL join the Club #28 family! You were great! This was a meeting that really made it worth coming out to the library on a Thursday night, it was a meeting with attitude!

It was a remarkable evening of fun, entertainment and talent on display as Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 held it’s Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests at the beautiful Spiritualist Church of Awareness in Orlando on September 1, 2011. The Sanctuary was filled with members, guests and visiting dignitaries making for a great turn out! Among the visitors were some of the elite Central Florida Toastmasters leaders and speakers, including TM celebrities such as current Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL; Past Division C Governor Helen Joseph DTM and Past Area Governors Demetrice Vassar DTM and Diana Estremera ACG, CL. A number of local Toastmasters Club Presidents were present to enjoy the competition including Uptown Club #6304 President Jason Howell CC; Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 President Joy Inzitari ACS; Orange County Toastmasters Club #129 President Mike Masur ACB and Club #129’s Vice President of Education Corrina Hoggard. A few guests also joined Club #28 as well as a strong showing of members for this unique event. Club #28 Sgt. at Arms Heather Russell, who deserves our deepest thanks for arranging the contest location at the Church, opened the meeting with delightfully appropriate humorous invocation as well as leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. She introduced the Contest Master for the evening, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Barbara made this evening truly special. She kept the contests running smoothly but even more so she kept everyone entertained throughout the festivities. He bubbly personality and clever wit added to the evening immeasurably. It was worth going to the contests just to watch Barbara. She made sure that everyone had a great time. The first contest was the Evaluation Contest. The contest featured a remarkable “test” speech by Jason Howell, CC; the President of Club #28’s sister club, the Uptown Toastmasters Club #6304. Using brilliant word pictures and exquisite personal examples, Jason told us about how to overcome embarrassing situations like the time his father played the guitar for him and his classmates as they got off of the school bus one day. The speech titled “Overcoming Embarrassment” was very well presented. The speech was entertaining and even enlightening. The contestants were truly challenged to evaluate Jason’s speech. Frank Adams CC, Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Jennifer Hensley and Ryan Dick all gave invaluable advice and well-deserved encouragement. Frank, Jennifer and Ryan were all competing in their first evaluation contest and Jennifer was giving her first ever evaluation! Everyone did extremely well and Ryan took home the first place trophy while Ken came in second place. After a brief intermission, Heather gaveled the meeting back to order and introduced Contest Master Barbara Cusack ACB, CL to start the Humorous Speech Contest. Marvelous humorous speeches were given by all of the contestants. It is a rare contest when all of the speakers reach the high quality that the four speakers achieved during this evening, at any level of Toastmasters competition including at the Area, Division or District contests. The speakers kept everyone laughing while amazing the audience with their impressive speaking skills. Jamie Waters ACB speaking first, turned the subjects of “romance and unemployment” into some very funny material. He made it even funnier with his professional dead-pan delivery and sharp sense of irony. His speech, titled “Better Days Ahead” set the humor-bar very high. Next, Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL gave a brilliant performance with his speech titled “Fish Stories” how a fisherman should “think like a fish”. Walk’s storytelling abilities were at there peak and he had the crowd completely entranced with a terrific performance. This “fish story” was a great catch for Club #28’s Humorous Speech contest!  A “performance” is the perfect description of Rodney Higgins‘s (ATMB) speech titled “I Don’t Think There’s a Cure” as he channeled “Stone Cold” Steve Austin into a beat-down of a speech about the woes of a Pro Wrestling addiction. The speech even featured a “fake” power-slam of contest timer Laval Brown. Rodney’s speech was simply hilarious. Adam Heltemes also scored tons of comedy points with his speech titled “Why Golf?” Adam entertained everyone with a well played tribute to that game’s main ingredient: Frustration. All of the speeches were exceptional. Rodney Higgins ATMB will represent Club #28 at the Area 32 contest later this month. Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL came in second place. Congratulations to all of our speakers! Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL was on hand to help award the trophies to our winners. He took the opportunity to announce the upcoming Area 32 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests, which will be held along with the Area 33 Contests at the Legends Sports Bar on South Orange Ave., across from the ORMC hospital. The date has been set for Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 4:00 PM. I hope we can have a large following of Club #28 members there to cheer on our winners! It should also be noted that the Chief Judge for our contests Demetrice Vassar, DTM did a superb job of organizing, briefing and directing the Timers, Vote Counters and Judges. Because of her  “behind the scenes” efforts both contests ran smoothly. Everyone who attended the Club #28 meeting was treated to a sensational evening of wonderful presentations and laughter! Much thanks go out to all who made this evening one of the best in our long and fabled history. Here is a list of those who made Club #28’s 2011 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests possible with a sincere “thank you” for all of your hard work and dedication:  CONTEST MASTER: Barbara Cusack  ACB  SGT. AT ARMS & INVOCATION AND PLEDGE LEADER: Heather Russell, AREA #32 GOVERNOR: Kenneth M. Blake ACG, CL   EVALUATION CONTEST SGT. AT ARMS: Heather Russell, CHIEF JUDGE: Demtrice Vassar DTM  TIMER: Michael Whisenant    TIMER: Laval Brown  VOTE COUNTER: Patti Stuart, VOTE COUNTER: E. J. Jones    VOTE COUNTER: Janet Madden   EVALUATION TEST SPEAKER Jason Howell CC, EVALUATION CONTESTANT: Ryan Dick  EVALUATION CONTESTANT: Frank Adams CC, EVALUATION CONTESTANT: Jennifer Hensley EVALUATION CONTESTANT: Kenneth H. Walley ATMG, CL, HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTESTANT: Adam Heltemes HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTESTANT: Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL, HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTESTANT: James Waters ACB  HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTESTANT:  Rodney Higgins ATMB, and  ALL OF THE JUDGES.

An important subject was covered at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Future of Energy!” theme meeting on August 25, 2011. In the wake of Hurricane Irene as it made her way up the East Coast, Adam Heltemes, started the agenda with an inspiring invocation and leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. Adam was filling that meeting role for his first time and he did a stirring job. The meeting soon turned to the issues of Energy. Our unofficial “resident scientist” Steve Wood  serving  as our host and Toastmaster, covered a number of conventional and alternate energy sources that need to be explored if planet Earth is going to meet the requirements of diminishing reserves and an expanding population. Among the subjects Steve examined were Fossil Fuels, Wind, Wave or Tidal Power, Hydroelectric, Solar, Agricultural Biomass, Geothermal, Chemical and even “manpower produced” energy. About the last one, Steve commented that “It would take 100 people, 24 hours a day, turning cranks just to produce the power to run an average house for just a few hours!”  Also adding to the discussion of reaching our energy needs was Table Topics Master Mike King who came prepared with some brilliant questions in search of brilliant ideas. His first question was to Steve Wood and it dealt with if it was really possible to research new energy sources if it meant that profit was main the driving factor. Steve thought that it was important to explore new areas of energy no matter what the motivation was, and realistically that is the way that things work. “How can we provide energy to a growing population without increasing pollution?” was asked of returning member Sean Dunn. Mr. Dunn spoke from first hand experience on how solar and wind power had help produce the energy to run a large ranch that he once owned saving him money as well as producing extra power. The question of money was approached when Mike asked Laval Brown if we would be fighting in the Middle East if “oil was not the main export there, but instead if it was Broccoli?”  Laval did not believe that we probably would be there but he noted that were are fighting in the Middle East for more than just oil. Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked what would be a major alternate energy breakthrough. Ken said that if we could come up with a powerful enough battery it would make gasoline virtually obsolete. Malita Clarke CC was asked about new alternate energy sources that she would you like to see used. She mentioned that ones that would provide a safeguard for the environment would be important. There was no energy crisis with our speakers on this evening! Our two speakers gave astounding presentations that will “walk out the door” with every member who heard them. Our first speaker was Janet Madden who was giving her Ice Breaker speech titled “The Event That Changed the Course of my Family“. Not since the Ice Breaker of Richard Hendrix has there been a more powerful and moving 1st speech given at Club #28. Janet told the story of her childhood family being devastated when her father was involved in horrible accident forcing her mother to support her and her siblings while her father, overcoming horrendous injuries; helped out in the house. They kept the marriage together and the family intact and still created an atmosphere of love and support. Even though the challenges were immense, Janet said “I still remember a wonderful childhood and family.” It was a powerful, moving testament of the ability to recover from tragedy and protect what is precious. Congratulations Janet!  Having the unenviable task of following Janet’s speech was Club #28 President Ryan Dick who produced an inspiring speech of his own. In his speech titled “Thoughts are Things” Ryan told the story of Edwin C. Barnes a man who having no money of his own, was intent upon approaching Thomas A. Edison, already a famous inventor and insisting that he become his partner, an equal in his company! Because of his determination to succeed in this and his courage, or some would call it audacity; to confront Edison, he was given the chance. It ended up a successful partnership that would last for decades. Ryan’s speech gave plenty to think about besides his usual excellence behind the lectern. Ken Blake ACG, CL served as our General Evaluator and was the presenter to two of Club #28 best evaluators. As Janet’s speech will be memorable so will the evaluation of her speech by Malita Clarke CC. Incredibly, Malita told the story of how she had spent the last week with HER father helping him recover from a stroke in the hospital and how he had overcome serious challenges on the road to stability. Many in the room could be seen wiping their eyes as Malita ended her excellent evaluation with “Everyone had different beliefs, but I know that that speech was meant for me.”  Diane Hart giving her second evaluation in two weeks and delivered an even better review than her celebrated evaluation from last week for Ryan’s speech. Ken Blake ACG, CL in his meeting review, noted that this was a meeting that touched the hearts and the minds of those who were lucky enough to attend. The meeting was also supported by an productive group of technicians that we shall call the “Functionteers!” They were Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Timer: Laval Brown, AH Counter Frank Adams CC, Time-lapse Image Acquisitior (and Toastmaster!) Steve Wood and the final member of the Functionteers was Vote Counter Jennifer Hensley! At the end of the meeting Mariette Bolatete was called upon to speak and noted that this was a remarkable event and gave a note of appreciation to Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL for his efforts to make these meeting possible. Ken greatly appreciated the comment. We also heard from returning member E. J. Jones that she was happy to be back. Having been hospitalized, E.J. promised to be a more dependable presence at Club #28 in the future. Welcome Back E.J. and also Sean Dunn!  If we could have bottled up all of the energy at his meeting, the world would have had a source to last it the next million years.

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had a meeting that was “out of this world” on August 18, 2011 with the theme of “Unidentified Flying Objects and Extraterrestrials!” Our intergalactic guide for the evening was Mike King who made quite a few of us wonder just what might be out there in that great vastness of space and who just might be visiting us. Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Table Topics Master also shared some questions with our guests and members about UFOs and ETs. He started by asking Adam Heltemes to describe his “alien abduction!” Adam told us a really fantastic tale. It was like a scene out of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind“. Ken’s second question was for Steve Wood which was “What’s the Upside and the Downside to an alien invasion?” Steve mentioned that visiting aliens might just have a “people spray” as part of the downside. Michael Whisenant was asked “If you were visiting on Earth what would you most be interested in?” Mike would take the aliens on a tour of some of mankind’s greatest achievements. Ken next asked one of our visitors, Natalie Mencia what her “favorite alien”  from TV or the Movies. Natalie had an affection for the TV character Alf. Good choice, Natalie, much better than say, the Borg. Jamie Waters ACB was asked what “Special abilities he would like to have that humans do not?” Jamie went with the ability to fly. “Would you believe someone if they told you that they had seen a flying saucer?” was asked of another guest, Joseph Muzyk. Joe said he might believe someone, depending on who it was and what the circumstances were. Guest Davis Tadeny was given the question of how he would make a space alien “feel at home?” Davis fortunately had some very good ideas to keep us all from being eradicated. The last question went to Ken Blake ACG, CL who was asked to describe the insides of space ship. He said he had a friend who re-created his dentist office to look like one! So, Ken had already been there!  We did not have any visits from the “Men in Black” but we had two truly wonderful speakers beam in. Laval Brown and Jennifer Hensley both gave exceptional presentations. Laval’s speech was on a perfect subject for Toastmasters, titled “The Art and Science of Being a Competent Communicator”   For someone giving his second speech from the Basic Manual, we all learned a lot from Laval! Jennifer’s Speech titled “You Get What You Get and it isn’t What You Expect!” related the stories of how she met her husband, her adjustment to life with her 1st child and her determination to conquer weight loss. Jennifer’s lesson for her audience was about finding the ability within to adjust to life’s little “surprises.” Both speeches were absolutely brilliant! Bravely covering the role of General Evaluator for her first time was Janet Madden. She did an exemplary job, especially with and empowering and encouraging “meeting review.” We also had two excellent evaluations by Diane Hart and Marietta Bolatete. Marietta’s skillful evaluation of Laval’s speech was her first time giving an evaluation. It is inspiring to see Toastmasters like Marietta and Janet step outside of their comfort zones and try new meeting roles. The “beating heart” of the meeting, like all of Club #28 meetings; were the Origination and Performance Boosters (OPB). They were ably composed of Grammarian Adam Heltemes, first time Timer Heather Russell, AH Counter Michael Whisenant, DVD Curator Steve Wood and Vote Counter James Waters ACB. To the delight of everyone we had a large number of visitors: Wayne C. Williams, Davis Tadeny, Joseph Muzyk, Natalie Mencia and Demetri Ganoff. Our guests were unanimous in their praise for this evening’s meeting! Why not, this was a superb meeting and a whole lot of fun! It made you want to, in the words of ET “phone home” and tell everyone!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: There was no meeting for August 11, 2010 as the meeting room at the Herndon Branch Library was booked for both the Wednesday and Thursday nights on that week. Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 took a brief “Toastmasters Summer Vacation”. -KHW]

Ken Walley [ATMG, CL] says every week that this weeks’ meeting was the ‘best meeting ever!’  Well I have to admit that this meeting really might live up to that!” – General Evaluator Mike King (about the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 8, 2011 “Words of Wisdom: Great Quotations” theme meeting) during his meeting evaluation    Ken Walley ATMG, CL used quotes from many famous speakers, writers, entertainers and celebrities including Walt Disney who Ken quoted as saying: “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” Other inspiring words of wisdom came from  Albert Einstein, Thomas A. Edison, Orison S. Marden, Sir Francis Bacon, Robert Browning, among many others and Malcolm Forbes who said “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.” Many more deep thoughts came from the Table Topics Master Ryan Dick  He used quotes to set up his questions starting with one from Woodrow Wilson about how much time it takes to prepare a speech. Noting that Wilson was a PhD, the question he asked of Jennifer Hensley was what area she would like to pursue for a PhD? Jennifer said she would like to teach teenagers on how to manage their money. Ryan next quoted Mark Twain and asked Adam Heltemes that if he had a time machine and he kidnapped Mr. Twain; where would he take him? Adam said he would take him to EPCOT at Disney World to visit the American Adventure pavilion and ask him to comment on his audio-animatronics double! Ryan next quoted  Franklin D. Roosevelt as saying “Be sincere, be brief and be seated!” Ryan then had  Mike King respond to the question: “Do politicians have a right to their privacy?” Mike mused that those who choose that field do so knowing that they will be “under the microscope.” Steve Wood was given a quote from Robert Poole about “virtual organization”. He asked Steve which of these three items, the Photo-copier, the ballpoint pen or freeze-dried coffee was most important to society? Steve however took the time to endorse a bicycle shop he had visited that had been honest and fair to him. Using a quote from the children’s author Beatrice Potter, Ryan gave Janet Madden a similar choice between Air Conditioning, Airplanes and the Polygraph machine. She choose the airplane noting that it had made the “world a smaller place.”  The  last question was based on the quotation “I hate quotations, tell me what you know.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. When asked “What do you know?” Rodney Higgins ATMB answered that he was “Still finding that out. Life is a great adventure and the quest for a purpose is part of that.” All those who spoke on this night brought many wise words of wisdom. Speaking of inspiring, the three speeches that were given showcased some remarkable talent at Club #28. Laval Brown is to be congratulated on an awesome Ice Breaker speech Titled “Who Made Me” he gave credit to the people that made him who he was today, giving thanks to God, his parents and a little bit to himself. Laval showed an impressive amount of natural talent. Congratulations Laval! Marietta Bolatete really showed how much that she had improved as a speaker with a riveting speech titled “Flow” about being “In the Zone!” Everyone agreed that she was “in the zone” for her speech, giving her best speech yet! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL also brought her best to the lectern with a speech titled “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!” Using a “folk tale” she managed to motivate everyone in the room to not give up on their hopes and dreams. Barbara’s hard work paid off as she earned her Advanced Communicator Bronze Award! Congratulations Barbara! All three speeches were extraordinarily entertaining! The evaluations were impressive as well thanks to the work of Malita Clarke CC (for Laval’s speech), James Waters ACB (for Marietta) and Ken Blake ACG, CL (for Barbara). Each imparted volumes of knowledge for our speakers to use in the future. Leading this team was Mike King who did a brilliant job serving as the Master Evaluator for his first time. Speaking of service, the members of Vocal & Visual Works Inc.(V&VWI) should be highly praised for their expert support of the meeting. They were Grammarian Janet Madden, Timer Rodney Higgins ATMB, Pictureplay-box Illuminator Steve Wood AH Counter Heather Russell and Vote Counter Adam Heltemes.. In particular Janet Madden served well as the Grammarian as it was her first time in that role. It had been a long while that Club #28 did not have any visitors and this night there were no new faces in the room. This was a shame because this meeting was greatly enjoyed by everyone who saw it. To quote Winston Churchill; “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” We are building some great empires at Club #28!

There was a Conscious Awakening at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 28, 2011 “Conscious Awakening” theme meeting. It was the realization that this was a super meeting, another one, in a long series of prime get-togethers. Janet Madden started the evening with an Invocation and Pledge that inspired her audience and got the meeting off to a stimulating start.. Janet was  most impressive as this was her first time in that role. Mike King led the meeting as our Toastmaster and it soon became apparent that the night would be something really special. Mike gave us a vast amount of things to think about. He told us of ways that we could better ourselves, improve the the world around us and enrich the lives of those that me might encounter. Mike made the meeting interesting, enlightening and it could also be said that he even transcended our Toastmaster’s mission into a “blissful evening of great learning and joy!” We had wonderful Table Topics questions and answers thanks to the combined efforts of Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Table Topics Master  Frank Adams CC. Frank, who travels a long distance from his job at Disney World arrived after the Table Topics session had already started with Ken filling in. Everyone was glad to see Frank because Ken’s questions seemingly came from off the top of his head in a “conscious awakening moment”. Ken’s first question was to Diane Hart who was asked “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it fall, does it make a sound?” Of course, the only correct answer to that question would be “I don’t know.” which Diane answered correctly. Ken asked Patti Stuart “How do you find your inner strength?” Patti said she finds it in prayer and meditation as well as by surrounding herself with family and friends that she loves and who love her back. Ken’s last question was for Laval Brown: “Name something you found out about yourself that surprised you?” Our newest member Laval,  found out that he was able to control anger and redirect it towards accomplishing positive things. Thankfully at this point, Frank Adams CC was introduced and continued the questions with one for Malita Clarke CC “How is your happiness and your mental health?” A little shocked at the question, Malita said that she was a lot happier now that she had settled into her new job. And her mental health has improved as well! Steve Wood was asked if he had an “AH HA! moment”. Steve said that many of his “Ah ha! moments” were often answers to Table Topics questions that came to him while driving home from the meeting! He also said that the moment he realized that “learning was fun,” it was a great awakening for him. Janet Madden was asked to explain a time when she experienced “Deja vu”. She remembered a strange feeling that she could not shake while driving past a church in North Carolina. She knew that she had been there before, of course she never had. Michael Whisenant was asked if he died what would be his life’s impact on the world. Michael said that his being a father to his son would probably be the most important legacy of his life. The last question was asked of our guest Tony Salvaggio “What would you do if you could do something over again?” Tony admitted that he had made mistakes he would like to undo but those often brought him to better places that he had not envisioned. He said to change one thing might put everything else in jeopardy. It was something he did not want to risk. Like the table Topics answers, Club #28’s speeches were also truly brilliant! Walk Jones ACS, CL completely entertained the room with a wonderful story, a project from the Advanced “Humorously Speaking manual, titled “Fish Stories“. He told a tale of the day that his fishing lure “caught the fisherman” and the fisherman put up quite a struggle! It was folksy, funny and a whole lot of fun! Adam Heltemes giving only his second speech, also kept everyone laughing with a speech titled “Why Golf?” as he tried to answer that age-old question with both wise, and hilarious results. We might hear both of the speeches again at the Club #28 Humorous Speech Contest in September! Ken Walley ATMG, CL returned to the lectern as the General Evaluator and said he was blessed to be able to introduce two of Club #28’s most capable evaluators Ken Blake ACG, CL (for Walk) and Ryan Dick (for Adam). Both of them did not disappoint in giving exquisite evaluations of the speeches. Top-notch meetings like this one do not happen by accident, only with the wise guidance from the Growth, Praise and Timing Department (GP&TD) would a gathering like this even be possible. Those who worked hard to make this night a success were: Grammarian James Waters ACB, Timer Michael Whisenant, AH Counter Malita Clarke CC, Camera Artisan Steve Wood and Vote Counter Laval Brown. Our only guest for the evening, Tony Salvaggio, gave robust praise for the meeting and vowed to come back and join the club in the future! I am sure that after finding out what an exceptional club that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was and seeing how much that its members enjoy learning and growing here; Tony had a conscious awakening about what a good thing that Toastmasters really is!

The July 21, 2011 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Dumbocracy: Dumb Lawsuits, Criminals, Tweets & Celebrities” was truly special. In one of the most remarkable meetings in memory, Barbara Cusack CC, CL was completely awesome as the Toastmaster while celebrating the unbelievably stupid, ok, and FUNNY things some people in high profile situations do. Barbara had everyone amazed and laughing at the hijinx of some of the world’s “dimmer lights.” Barbara’s gift as a storyteller and as a natural comedienne, made this meeting a joy to attend.  Steve Wood was also on top of his game as the Table Topics Master with some excellent questions and some memorable responses. His first question was to Marietta Bolatete. He asked her what she would do with her time if money was not a problem. Marietta, who pointed out that she was a favorite target of Table Topics Masters, vowed to help improve the lives of others less fortunate than her, and do some traveling. Malita Clarke CC was asked how she felt about the abundance of video cameras everywhere that almost capture your every moment. Malita did not like being watched all of the time but did admit it was a way to keep the public “honest.” Returning guest, Gary Poole was given the query “Are there any changes in the law that you would like to see?” Mentioning the recent and infamous Casey Anthony trial in Orlando, he said that there is always room for improvement in any legal or political system as long as it does not take basic rights and freedoms away from the people. The last question was also asked of another returning guest, Tuan Nguyen “What was something embarrassing you did and did not get caught doing. Tuan remembered calling his boss by the wrong name until he realized his mistake but he was able to smooth things over. Indeed it was an ingenious, truly fun and interesting Table Topics session. The same could be said for all three of our speeches. Club #28 President Ryan Dick told us about the assassination of President of William McKinley; then Jennifer Hensley told us of life lessons that she had learned while being a parent (so far) and Diane Hart gave a speech about men that simply defies description. Ryan’s speech titled “The Assassination of President McKinley” was filled with such detail and description, it felt as if you were actually there at that historic moment. Jennifer’s speech was titled “Life Lessons I’ve Learned brought to you by Parenthood“. That to her two young children, she has learned: to 1.) Be prepared for anything 2.) to expect the unexpected and 3. to enjoy the moment because those childhood experiences are precious. Diane Hart gave a speech that will take it’s place in Club #28’s most legendary moments. Titled “Men!” it told of her observations on the differences between men and women. Using word references that a top negotiator would be proud of, she gave a, well, how can I put this?; “Generalized portrait” of men by using the “two brain theory” of how men think It yet was another memorable performance by Diane! Malita Clarke CC was the General Evaluator and presided over a richly successful session.  Three brilliant evaluations by Rodney Higgins ATMB,  Ken Blake ACG, CL and visiting Toastmaster Jean Jeune ACS turned this meeting into one to remember for some time to come. Supporting the meeting were the Methodological  Proficiency Action Cast (MPAC) which was comprised of Grammarian Frank Adams CC, Timer Mike King, AH Counter and guest Diana Estremera ACG, CL, Photo-play Engineer Marietta Bolatete and Vote Counter Jamie Waters ACB. As usual their expected sensational results were exceeded during the course of the evening. The room was packed with a lot of different guests including a number of Toastmasters such as visiting Tallahassee toastmaster Jean Jeune ACS who switched places with Walk Jones ACS, CL to give an evaluation and Diana Estremera ACG CL who also served as our AH Counter. We had returning guests Gary Pool and Tuan Nguyen  as well as first time guests Rob Johnson, Chris LeBlanc, Brian and Tamara Wavra. At the end of the meeting Rodney Higgins ATMB and  Michael Whisenant both joined the club. Welcome Rodney and Michael! During the closing comments, VP of Education,  Ken Walley ACG, CL noted that this meeting was a “Toastmasters perfect storm”  because of the excellent Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations sections as well as the skillful work of the Toastmaster herself, Barbara Cusack CC, CL! “Dumocracy” might have been the theme to this meeting but it was one of the smartest meetings we have had in Club #28’s history.

The only place to be on July 14, 2011 was at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “My Hometown” theme meeting! It had the feeling of visiting with old friends in a familiar and friendly place with a lot of great memories, like going back to your hometown. Heather Russell started off the meeting as both the Sgt. at Arms as well as giving the Invocation and Pledge. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster, called into duty only recently but Ken did a supreme job telling about his hometown of Winter Park, Florida and explaining the “bitter-sweetness” of re-visiting his hometown and seeing the many changes but remembering the joys of the past. “It’s not the town, but the history that you are seeking when you go back there.” said Ken. Also putting the spotlight on his hometown of Melbourne, Fl. was Ryan Dick as the Table Topics Master. Pointing out that Melbourne is next to the Kennedy Space Center he asked Marietta Bolatete if the US should have a manned spaceflight program in the future. Marietta was very much in favor, giving a number of good reasons including that America needs to “continue being the leaders of the world!”. Noting that his hometown was near untouched natural habitats, Ryan asked Adam Heltemes  what was his worst encounter with nature was. Adam remembered getting a little too close to an alligator! Ryan, mentioned that his hometown had to deal with state laws and other restrictions but was still free to make it’s own decisions. He then asked Heather Russell if she controlled her own destiny. Heather believed that she did and was proud of having a sense of freedom in her life. Reminding us that there is also a Melbourne, Australia overseas, Ryan asked Janet Madden if she wanted to travel abroad. Janet, who’s hometown is in New Jersey, said that she would love to see other countries, hopeful of a visit to the sunny vacation escapes of Mexico or the historic sites in Europe. Remarking that the famous lead signer from the rock band The Doors, Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne Ryan asked Diane Hart if she had ever encountered a celebrity. Diane recalled meeting the famous novelist Steven King. Unlike Diane herself, Mr. King was unimpressive. The last question was for our guest Lavale Brown who was asked about the most interesting thing about his hometown. Lavale spoke fondly of some of his childhood memories. The second part of the Toastmaster meeting, the prepared speeches just added to the excellence of the Table Topics session. The first speaker was Mike King who titled his speech “Life Is An Amazing Journey!Amazing would be the correct word for the many varied interests, causes and plans that Mike addressed in his speech. Among them were an enthusiasm for Classical and Jazz Music, Martial Arts, Near Death Experiences, ESP studies, Ghosts sightings, exploring new places, politics and much, much more! He even spoke on his “past lives” so in a way, we got a few bonus Ice Breakers! Due to his excellent humor, personality and delivery, Mike’s 1st speech was a truly awesome success. Congratulations Mike! Speaking second was Ken Blake, ACG, CL who gave a speech about an inexpensive, portable, easy-to-use Induction Stove, which will save you both time and money!! The speech titled “Faster Is Better!” had Ken giving a sales presentation, as if in an Infomercial. Ken B. “unraveled the mystery of the most amazing thing on the planet” and and told how it would “cut your electric bill down to almost nothing!!!” Ken could sell “Ice to the Eskimos” or even “hot air to Congress”; he is a brilliant salesman. Our third speaker Jamie Waters ACB, revised his classic, contest-winning speech “Golfatorium” which is about combining golf courses and cemeteries. A number of our newer members, and our guests as well, were able to hear it for the first time. It was wonderful to hear again even for those of us who had heard it many, many times before. As always the speech had everyone applauding and laughing. The Master Evaluator for this evening, Frank Adams CC had to wear more than one hat, also appearing as the evaluator for Mike’s Ice Breaker speech. Frank ended up doing two remarkably good evaluations, one for Mike’s speech and another when he gave the evaluation for the meeting. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was also on target with an excellent review of Ken B.’s speech. We also had a treat as Rodney Higgins ATMB, a guest Toastmaster from the Let’s Talk Club #4413 did an amusing and helpful evaluation for Jamie’s speech. The Vocal Appreciation Unit (VAU) featured Grammarian Diane Hart, Timer Adam Heltemes, AH Counter Janet Madden, Screen Magician Steve Wood and Vote Counter Heather Russell, all of whom gave simply  transcendent support to the meeting. As did our guests Tuan Nguyen, Gary Poole, Fariba Movassaghi, David Berman and returning guests Michael Whisenant and Lavale Brown. All of our guests had wonderful things to say about our meeting and after the meeting, Laval Brown became the newest member of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28! Welcome Laval! Thomas Wolfe in his masterpiece “Look Homeward Angel”  said that “You can never go home again.” Well, the old hometown might have changed, but you can always go to your “home Club #28″ again; every Thursday at the Herndon Library at 7:00 in the evening….

The July 7, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was an important and meaningful assemblage largely because of the evening’s topic: “USA Citizenship: Our Traditions and Celebrations!” Malita Clarke CC, the night’s Toastmaster reminded us of how fortunate we are to be Americans as she examined the theme of Citizenship. The meeting was brought to order by new Sgt. at Arms Heather Russell who also appropriately led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance to The Flag of the United States of America. New President Ryan Dick introduced the theme with a story of how his family once helped others attain Citizenship.  Malita gave us a history of how the Pledge to the Flag evolved over the years into the standard that we say before each meeting. Malita also quizzed the club with some questions found on the US Naturalization test and explained just what it means to be a citizen in the USA. Keeping in with the Citizenship theme was Table Topics Master Diane Hart. Noting the recent July 4th Celebrations as a time that people bond together, Diane asked Walk Jones ACS, CL to give some examples of how 10 year old boys might bond. Walk said that building model airplanes and using glue might cause them to bond together. He also mentioned movies, fireworks and camping. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked how 15 year old girls might bond. She mentioned texting, sleepovers, gossiping and acne. Our guest Felicia Sharon was asked what she could do to feel comfortable in a foreign land. Felica suggested talking with the local natives and exploring the area. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked what tradition he had observed in his past was most ‘unique’. Ken told how his father had Thanksgiving dinner on the 15th fairway of a local golf course every year until the golf course management finally ran his family off one year. Ken had everyone laughing! We had two remarkable speakers scheduled and both of the speeches this evening were worthy of fireworks. Starting with Adam Heltemes who was giving his Ice Breaker speech titled “My Piece of the American Pie” Adam remembered an event from his youth: a 4H Club flag retirement ceremony that captured a time and a place that would help together shape and inspire his future. It was an awesome Ice Breaker! Congratulations Adam! Frank Adams CC gave another informative and intriguing speech about mastering sales techniques. Titled “Taking Baby Steps“. He told the secret to “four steps to sales success” and even gave us an example by talking Marietta Bolatete into a “sale”! Although I believe that Frank could sell make up to Lady Gaga. General Evaluator Barbara Cusack CC, CL. was blessed with two experienced evaluators in Ken Blake ACG, CL and Walk Jones ACS, CL so the evaluation section was really something special on this night. Both Ken and walk gave excellent evaluations of the speeches but Barbara’s excellent evaluation of the entire meeting was eloquent, witty and very perceptive. The Bureau of  Performance Adjustment was credited with a collection of master technicians: Grammarian Marietta Bolatete, AH Counter Mike King, Film producer Steve Wood, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL and first time Vote Counter Janet Madden. All of them did brilliant work. During the concluding remarks club Vice President of Education Ken Walley ACG, CL welcomed back Patti Stuart who had been missing due to surgery for the past month. It was very good to see her at a meeting again! We had a number of guest attending as well. Something that is becoming a tradition at Club #28 is the positive and glowing feedback that we get from the guests at every meeting. This night was no different our guests Rodney Higgins, ATMB visiting us from the Let’s Talk Club #4413 who arrived with Jamie Waters ACB. Rodney said that he was “in the market” for “second club” to join and Club #28 just might fill the bill! Other wonderful comments were made by Felicia Sharon, Dan Koehler, returning guest Michael Whisenant. Another truly delightful surprise for this evening was when Walk Jones ACS, CL brought his son Candon Jones who also was very gracious in his comments. It is not hard to see why Toastmaster meetings themselves are becoming an American tradition to celebrate!

The annual special Summer Celebration and Installation of Officers Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting held on June 30th 2011meeting was a giant success! Staring off the meeting was Diane Hart serving as Sgt. at Arms for her last time, who also read the Invocation and Pledge. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Master of Ceremonies, obviously enjoying his role in front of a packed room, introducing amazing featured speakers, esteemed dignitaries and even popping a few Table Topics questions during the evening. He made the announcement that Club #28 was pleased to welcome two new members, Janet Madden and Adam Heltemes and that we now were 30 official members strong… and still growing!  Noting that the theme was “Summer” Ken asked his first table topics question to Jennifer Hensley “How do you survive Summer in Florida?”  Jennifer mentioned some great ideas such as reading a thick novel and staying inside, cool drinks and going out at night. We had two featured speakers on the program, starting first with Wilner Luders CC, CL who gave a speech that was just perfect for the evening. It was titled “The Secret to Maximizing the Yield of Your Toastmaster Experience: Volunteering!” He mentioned the many rewards of volunteerism and aiding improvement in the lives of those in our local communities and made note that Toastmasters is perfect preparation for the “art of helping others.” Diane Hart who keeps astounding Club #28 audiences with brilliant speeches, spoke second; giving one of her best speeches yet. She spoke on the subject of the “meaning of home” in a speech that was titled “What is Home?” In her speech she told of finding herself in strange and far-away places and taken in by others who made her feel “at home.” Diane said that “Home is where you are. Home is a concept of head and heart.” After our featured speakers, Ken introduced two excellent evaluators Barbara Cusack CC, CL and Malita Clarke CC who offered some solid reason and guidance for Wilner and Diane, as well as everyone else in the room. Ken took a moment to ask another Table Topics question to our newest member Janet Madden. “What do you do for Fun in the Summer?” Janet mentioned the pool and the beach  as well as a lot of other cool ideas to take advantage of the #1 Summer get-away destination in the world: Florida! The second part of the meeting was dedicated the “Changing of the Guard” as we start a new page in Club #28 history. We said “goodbye” to the past Toastmasters term as outgoing Club #28 President Steve Wood gave his “Farewell Speech“. Looking back on a number of stellar accomplishments, including our 9th President’s Distinguished Award, Steve also remembered some endearing personal observations about being a Club #28 President. Steve also mentioned that this was “not REALLY a ‘farewell’ … I’ll be back next week!” We also heard from our incoming Division C Governor, who also just happens to be our outgoing Area 32 Governor, Elon Horsham ACG, CL. Before inducing our new officers, Elon had a number of extremely positive remarks about Club #28’s many successes and thanked the outgoing officers for performing their duties with grace and excellence. Gov. Horsham then presided over the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony and installed the July-December 2011 term Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 officers: Sergeant at Arms Heather Russell, Treasurer Frank Adams, CC; Secretary Mike King, Vice President of Public Relations Patti Stuart, Vice president of Membership Jennifer Hensley, Vice President of Education Ken Walley ACG, CL and President Ryan Dick. The highlight of the evening was the “Inaugural Address” by our new President Ryan Dick. Ryan got us fired up to try to take things to the “next level”. Even said President Dick  “If you are only serving as the Grammarian, the Vote Counter or the AH Counter!” He implored us to be “all in!” for the club. Ryan stated “I want to be clear that I’m ‘all-in’ when I accepted this role and, I ask you, to be ‘all-in’ with me!” By the reaction to the speech and  the loud, rousing cheering of the audience, it looks like our new president can count on some strong support. Speaking after Ryan, was our new incoming Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ATMG, CL. Club #28 is Ken’s home club and he stated that he was looking forward to being our Area Governor and that he was going to “do everything in my power as Area Governor to help Club #28 continue it’s success!”  Ken Walley ATMG, CL noted that the meeting still had enough time to ask our guests what they thought of our Summer Celebration, even though it was not a “normal meeting.” Visiting Toastmaster Diana Estremera ACG, CL from the  “Let’s Talk” #4413 Club was generous in her praise of not only the meeting , but of the club as well. She called the evening “inspiring!” Similar comments were provided by returning guest Ryan Popovic and new guest Taina Andino who both pledged to return. This was an evening to remember and a magnificent reminder that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, it’s members and friends, have a tremendous amount of achievements to celebrate but it is the future which should bring us the most joy.

The June 23, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club 328 “Mars” theme meeting was simply “out of this world!” Our commander on this “Mission to Mars” was Wilner Luders CC, CL who packed tons of trivia and facts about the “Red Planet” into the meeting. Malita Clarke CC started off the meeting with a short Invocation, simply reminding all of us to “breathe!” which Wilner pointed out would be very hard to do in Mars’s atmosphere made up of 95% Carbon Dioxide. We also learned that the surface on Mars was covered in rust and that it was a very, very cold place to be. Adding to the questions that we have about Mars was our Table Topics Master for the evening Ryan Dick who started with a query for Mike King asking him if he would like to be aboard for the first trip to Mars. Mike said that he would jump at the opportunity! Steve Wood was asked if there was intelligent life on unknown planets in space. Steve said that it was possible that life in space may not be as rare as we think given the number of planets we are finding but intelligent life might be very rare. Intelligent life, Steve said, seems to “kill itself out.” Ryan noting that scientists had one thought there were cities and rivers on Mars,  asked Malita Clarke CC if she had ever been tricked or duped. Malita said yes, remembering some blind dates she had been set up with in her past! Noting that the odds were slim of being conquered by aliens, our newest Club #28 member, Adam Heltemes, was asked if he thought that it was possible that a Company could take over the world? Adam said he believed that one might have already: Microsoft! Pointing out the extreme temperatures on Mars, Ryan asked one our many guests, Rich Woodman, where was the coldest place that he had ever been. Rich said that the coldest place that he had ever  visited was Norway during the dead of winter. As Mars is red and the Earth is blue, etc. another one of our guests, Janet Madden spoke on her “favorite color.” It turned out to be Pink which is “not the color of any planet, but it’s a great favorite color to have.”  Our two speeches were both exceptional as well. The two speakers that were scheduled both cancelled out and two other speakers stepped in to cover starting with Barbara Cusack CC, CL who gave a truly “hip pocket” speech titled “Keep Coming Back!” She told why it was important for new Toastmaster to return, no matter what to toastmaster meetings and to keep working the program. She gave dramatic examples of how it had improved her speaking abilities over the years and the many, many benefits that Toastmasters had presented to her. Her speech was enlightening, inspiring and perfect for an evening when we had so many guests! Ken Walley ATMG, CL spoke second and performed a reading of “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” by the poet Robert Service as a project from the Advanced Manual “Interpretive Reading“. Ken’s reading bought to life the rough times of the Yukon gold rush and a bar-room brawl over a gal named Lou. It was also exciting and enthusiastic fun! Taking on the role of General Evaluator for the first time was Marietta Bolatete but she was aided by two of Club #28 most able evaluators Diane Hart and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Diane did a superb job of giving helpful advice as well as a great amount of praise for ken’s speech. Ken, doing double duty tonight, was also upbeat and magnanimous about Barbara’s speech. Marietta in her meeting evaluation noted that while the meeting got off to a rocky start, it turned out to be a really good meeting. One of those reasons was the excellent job she did on her first time as General Evaluator. Another reason that this turned out to be a worthy meeting was the work of the Adaptive Skills & Judgment Assembly (ASJA) which was made up of Timer Ken Blake ACG, CL, Grammarian Malita Clarke CC, AH Counter Adam Heltemes, Photomodulator Mike King and Vote Counter Steve Wood. We had six guests attending our meeting, many of them giving high praise at the end of the evening. Club #28’s guests tonight were Rich Woodman and his wife Kathleen Woodman, Edvens Rislin, Ryan Popovic, Janet Madden and Michael Whisenant. Many of them asked about joining Club #28′ we hope they all do! Before the meeting, Adam Heltemes joined the club! Welcome Adam! This was a meeting that had a lot of atmosphere, unlike Mars, and should rocket us into the great Toastmaster future ahead! What a fabulous night!

The room was full of dedicated toastmasters for the June 16, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Dedication” theme meeting hosted by Ken Blake ACG, CL. The meeting started with an excellent invocation by Diane Hart that stressed the importance of devotion to duty. Toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL. paid tribute to doctors and medical personnel who work long hours to save lives, the men and women in the armed services and anyone who attempts to better themselves through hard work and desire. He then gave us examples of determined visionaries such as Ralph Smedley DTM, the founder of Toastmasters. Also showing a passionate zeal towards his assignment was Table Topics Master Steve Wood. Steve had some brilliant questions ready for our toastmasters and guests starting with one for Wilner Luders CC, CL: “Who would you dedicate your book to?” Wilner said he was actually thinking about writing a book about “Cyber-bullying” and he said the might dedicate it to someone who has given him great inspiration, his son. Malita Clarke CC, was asked about the Casey Anthony trial going on in Orlando since many people seemed so devoted towards bringing the public “complete coverage.” Malita said she has followed it “only a little” but admitted that it was hard to escape from the insistent media coverage. Our guest, and soon to be Club #28 member, Adam Heltemes was given the question “if you could clone 100 people from one person, who would it be?” After some thought, Adam decided to clone himself ! That way he could get all of the things he needed to get done finished! Frank Adams CC was given the question of would he watch a league of exceptional athletes aided by banned drugs or an inferior league of players who were drug-free. Frank said he would prefer watching a game with a “level playing field” and that illegal drugs, like steroids, were dangerous and even deadly to the players. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if we should send robots to Mars or should we send live human beings. Ken admitted that robots could probably collect data better at much less risk but it would be worth the sense of pride and accomplishment to send a real human to Mars. Dedication was also evident in the prepared speeches that were given on this evening. Marietta Bolatete and Walk Jones ACS, CL also treated us to amazing speeches. Marietta in her speech titled “My High School Teacher”  told us about one her heroes, her high school teacher  Mrs. Vale. She was both a survivor of polio and World War II, overcoming a life of danger and peril to bring wisdom to her students. Marietta’s speech was filled with harrowing stories of bravery and inspiring dedication! Walk Jones ACS, CL gave us a speech titled “A Humorous Attempt to Get to the Point: The History of Humor” which was both enlightening and very funny. Walk covered humor from the beginnings of communication to biblical times through the Middle Ages and up to modern times and kept us laughing all the way!  Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Master Evaluator and had the pleasure to introduce two of Club #28’s best evaluators, Ryan Dick and Wilner Luders CC, CL. They excelled with sage advice and keen insight. Also bringing some great examples of  patience, hard work and devotion to this meeting were the members of the Artistic & Technical Guild (ATG). They comprised of the following: Grammarian Heather Russell, Timer Malita Clarke CC, AH Counter Frank Adams CC and Vote Counter Jennifer Hensley. All were encouraging in their efforts. Our two guests both gave enthusiastic acclaim for the meeting. Faye Chandler said that she looked forward to returning and Adam Heltemes said that he plans to join next week! With fantastic meetings like this, it is little wonder why Club #28 members are so dedicated!

The entire Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 went completely bananas at the June 9, 2011 “Bananas and other Fruits” theme meeting thanks to ingenious, even inspired work by the Toastmaster Ryan Dick. Ryan, who is the club’s president-elect, covered all things bananas, including banana spiders, banana boats, banana splits, banana republics and much more about bananas. Diane Hart added some flavor to the Table Topics session with some interesting questions about fruit. She received some very tasteful answers as well. She started by asking Marietta Bolatete to give an example of a “complementary way to use fruit”. Marietta said that most all fruit is “complementary” as it is healthy and just about her favorite type of food. Our guest, Justine Isernhinke was asked to give an example of when a fruit is “not complementary” to which she was ready with the answer: “A bad apple” and pointed out that it was Adam and Eve’s “bane of existence.” Steve Wood was asked to come up with a better recipe than “fruit on a pizza” Steve admitted that he could not but he could attest that pineapple was meant to be baked. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked to name a fruit that was poison. Ken remembered a friend of his that bit into a pear and… “how do you say it when you find only half of a worm?” The table topic session was full of  laughter and engaging fun! What was not poison were the two brilliant speeches that followed the Table Topics session. Ruble Nedumkunnel ACB, CL started with an animated speech that moved everyone in the room. The speech, titled “My Super Hero” centered on the teachings of love and forgiveness from Jesus of Nazareth. It was an engrossing and uplifting speech. With this amazing speech, Ruble earned his Advanced Communicator Bronze Award! Congratulations Ruble! Having the tough assignment of following Ruble’s speech was Jennifer Hensley who more than held her own. Giving her second speech from the Basic manual, Jennifer told of her struggles with time management in a speech titled “Just Isn’t Enough of It To Go Around!” Jennifer’s speech was packed with personal humorous stories that brought out the importance of organizing your life. These two speeches deserved some well crafted evaluations. In charge of the evaluation section of the meeting was veteran Toastmaster Wilner Luders CC, CL. Wilner explained that evaluations were the very keys to success of the Toastmaster program because it is the “part of the meeting where we learn from each other.” Wilner had the help of two of Club #28 most esteemed evaluators, Malita Clarke CC (for Jennifer’s speech) and Ken Blake ACG, CL (for Ruble’s speech). Both of them gave balanced, helpful and noteworthy reviews of the speeches. As always, the production crew of the Rhetorical Debriefing Squad (RDS) were perfect throughout the evening. Those skillful players were: Timer Marietta Bolatete who also served as the Prime Cinematographer; Ken Walley ATMG, CL who also covered two offices, being both the AH Counter and the Grammarian along with first time Vote Counter, and guest, Toby Wall. Both of our guests Justine Isernhinke and Toby Wall at the end of the evening gave very high marks to the meeting and expressed a desire to join Club #28, pledging to return! Even with a theme as amusing as “Bananas” there were no slip ups and the entire meeting had a great “a- peel”.

The June 2, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Mobsters!” theme meeting was an “offer you couldn’t refuse.” Ken Walley ATMG, CL introduced the Club to some of the most dangerous crime bosses and gangsters including Al “Scarface” Capone, Salvatore “Lucky” Luciano, Carlos Gambino and Frank Costello.  Table Topics Master Steve Wood brought the mobsters “to the movies” with some questions about our favorite crime films. Mark Musgrave was asked what his favorite gangster movie was. Mark stuck with the classic “Godfather” trilogy. Mike King was asked about things that bothered him in films. Next, using the movie “Pulp Fiction” as an example, Steve questioned Barbara Cusack CC, CL on if there were any “dark comedies” that she liked. Barbara said that “life was like a dark comedy sometimes.” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked “What would a true-life bad guy think if he was watching a movie and the bad guy in the movie ‘gets it’ in the end?” Ken thought that bad guys would not be moved to stop being bad guys simply by watching a film. Our guest, Adam Heltemes was asked “If prohibition was so great a failure, should it not be a lesson for the legalization of some of the illegal drugs of today?” Adam thought that it would be a good idea in some cases, but not in others. This turned out to be a truly interesting and sharp-witted Table Topics session. Everyone had really good answers!  The three speeches that were presented on this night were worth far more than any mobster’s bootlegging take! Starting with Malita Clarke CC who gave a speech titled “Toastmasters = Success” which was about how Toastmasters helped her to succeed at her new job. She thanked a number of fellow Club #28 members for guiding her in her Toastmaster’s journey including Wilner, Alan, Patti, Frank, Diane, Barbara, Steve, Heather and the two Kens. The speech was inspiring and uplifting, but the real success story was Malita herself! Congratulations on earning your CC Malita! Our second speaker was Ryan Dick who’s speech “How to Write a Junk Fax” was brilliant, informative and funny. His speech, using the Power-point projector, used clever slides to teach us how to create a masterful Junk Fax, in this case, for Toastmasters. It was a very well done presentation. Alan Brents ACG, CL who has been very busy at Club #28 lately giving speeches, gave one of his best. Keeping with the theme of the meeting his speech, titled “Killing and the Law” explained the differences between 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree murder and manslaughter. Alan, a retired lawyer, gave excellent explanations of the crimes, even using some of our own club members in his examples! All three speeches were absolutely fantastic! So were the evaluations. Ken Blake ACG, CL our scheduled General Evaluator had to leave the meeting early so Ken W. took over his role and introduced evaluators Diane Hart, Walk Jones ACS, CL and Barbara Cusack CC, CL. As would be expected with that kind of talent, the evaluations were superlative. When it came to giving the evaluation of the meeting itself, Ken W. called upon visiting Toastmaster Diana Estramera ACG, CL to lend her thoughts about the evening. Diana was highly positive about the meeting praising all of the speakers and the way that the club covered the meeting roles. Of course, that could not have happened without a very flexible Measurement and  Description Syndicate (M&DS) which was made up of Timer Mike King, Grammarian Barbara Cusack CC, CL; AH Counter Mark Musgrave and Vote Counter, as well as Motion Picture Supervisor Steve Wood. Excellent teamwork created an exceptional meeting. Both of our guests Adam Heltemes and Laval Brown also entered high praise for the meeting, and both expressed interest in joining the club! While crime might never pay, this “mobster meeting” however was a “hit!”

The May 26, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting went on-line with the theme of “The Internet: It’s Impact on Individual and Global Life!” Hosted by the evening’s “Toast-Web Master”  Wilner Luders CC, CL who did a fantastic job of bringing the incredible scope of this cyber-universe into focus. Wilner explained the amazing power of social networks, defined “digital” and warned us of Internet fraud! Wilner did a dramatic job of encapsulating a very big subject and making it meaningful and understandable. Also connecting to the world-wide-web was Marietta Bolatete who was very impressive in her debut as the Table Topics Master. Her first question to Diane Hart was: “How has the Internet impacted how we communicate?” Diane remembered sending letters and having to go to land-line phones to get in touch with someone. “Now it is all so instantaneous. We get a barrage of information!” She noted that we carry massive communication systems around with us and think nothing of it. Mike King was asked if the Internet had simplified his life. He said the Internet had the power to make something simple and other things more complex. Ryan Dick was asked to design his own avatar. I believe we heard him say that he did it once by using a photo of a “guy with a guitar on his back.”  Frank Adams CC was asked if he was to follow someone via twitter who would it be. Noting that the Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals, he said Lebron James. The last question was asked of Ken Blake ACG, CL. Marietta asked him if the Internet had made us “smarter or less brainy?”  Ken noted that Club #28 probably wouldn’t exist if it were not for the Internet and told a story about how he kept his house from being sold without his knowledge while seeing a chance article on the web. The second part of the meeting, the prepared speeches, matched the excellence of the first part of the evening. A truly interesting and somewhat scary, speech  titled “The Elephant in The Room” was presented by Club #28 President Steve Wood and covered the subject of overpopulation. It was a brilliant speech that had a good measure of humor even though it showed just how looming the problem of overpopulation is becoming. Steve used a Power-point presentation to enlighten us and somehow managed to delight and frighten us at the same time! Alan Brents ACG, CL joined in with a wonderfully relaxing speech titled “The Bliss of the ‘Just Be’ State“. Alan told about how important it was to get away from the noise and clamor of the world and to find your “Just Be” state of mind. The speech itself was almost Zen-like. The third speaker was Heather Russell who titled her speech “I’m a Problem Finding Homewrecker!” The speech was not what you might think based on the title, it was about how she became a home renovator mostly because other people’s houses seem to collaspe around her! All three speeches were entertaining, informative and enlivening! Taking on the dual roles of Master Evaluator and evaluating Heather’s speech was Ryan Dick. As always, Ryan performed both duties to near perfection. Joining him in near perfection were Malita Clarke who gave Alan’s evaluation and Ken Blake ACG, CL who reported on Steve’s speech. The Word Balance Project (WBP) was undertaken with impressive success by Timer Jennifer Hensley, AH Counter Frank Adams CC, Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Motion Picture Composer Marietta Bolatete and Vote Counter Elizabeth Isbell. Elizabeth was also our only guest and gave another round of positive feedback at the end of the meeting. This meeting was better than staying at home and surfing the web but after such a great meeting can anyone be blamed for going home and looking up this meeting on the “past meetings” page in the Club #28 website?

On May 19, 2011 We fell in love with Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 all over again as they presented a “Love in Words and Song” theme meeting. The meeting started off with a sentiment about love presented by Wilner Luders CC, CL from the words of Dr. Elizabeth Kuber-Ross for the Invocation. Alan Brents ACG, CL was the Toastmaster for the evening and he made sure that “love was in the air” throughout the evening with famous quotes from both literature and song! Alan even sang for us but only once however. We on the other hand, wanted more singing! Invoking great rock, pop, soul and R&B groups of the past like The Temptations, The Beatles and Eric Clapton; Table Topics Master Ryan Dick asked some interesting questions based on love songs that received some “lovely” answers. Starting with Wilner Luders CC, CL and quoting the song “Love is Like a Circus” He asked if Wilner “What act would you be from a circus?” Wilner could not really pick a specific act. Question #2 was asked of Edward Hutchinson about what he loved from his hometown. His hometown happened to be Kingston, Jamaica and he loved the fact that he met his wife there. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked if he had owned Eric Clapton‘s wealth, what would he spend it on? Ken noted that Barbara Cusack CC, CL wanted to answer that question, so he “handed it off” to her! Barbara said that she would help to fund HIV programs, supplying research and medications to those most in need. Mike King was asked “What is something that you have done to advance your career?” Mike said that he read a lot of books and tried to stay informed as to what was changing in his field. Somehow the song “My Girl” from the Temptations, turned into a question about why someone would move to a city with a higher crime rate. Jennifer Hensley came up with a good answer. She said that “It might be worth it if the arts and cultural scene would be an important influence on my family.” She cited cities like New York and LA with great libraries, museums, concerts and universities. The next question was aimed at Heather Russell who was asked “what have you accomplished in record time?” Among a number of different replies was “tear off a roof.” The last question was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken, a self-confessed Beatle fanatic, was asked what Beatle he liked best. Ken said that it was the blend of all of the Beatle’s  personalities that made the group truly great. Everyone did a super job, this club has really excelled in Table Topics lately! Again, Club #28 featured three speakers, all of whom came prepared with memorable efforts. Starting first, with a very special speech was Monica Walley CC, CL who gave her 10th speech, earning her Competent Communicator Award! Monica’s inspirational speech titled “At 21”  was a look forward towards her future stating that she had what “everyone wanted and what money cannot buy… youth.” She stated that building self confidence is like charging a flashlight for the “dark forest paths of life ahead.” Her speech was very well received. Congratulations Monica! Speaking 2nd was Malita Clarke who is also on the doorstep of her CC award, giving her “second” 9th speech, as she wanted to do a speech project twice from the basic manual. Malita gave a very interesting speech titled “Perspective and Reality“. Using a whiteboard, Malita showed how an artist should “see what is and not see with emotion” of the subject that they are drawing. She said that drawing what “you know and not what you see”, throws off perspective. This was a wonderful art lesson, and speech! I also noticed that a lot more people were doodling after her speech. Marietta Bolatete was the third speaker giving an excellent informational speech about what to expect and how to prepare for a paramedical exam. The speech titled “What is A Paramedical Examination?” and gave a unique nurse’s overview of the subject. After such a successful evening of speeches, no one expected the evaluations to rival such a high quality of work, but the evaluation team led by Master Evaluator Frank Adams CC, did just that! All three evaluations given by Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Diane Hart and Walk Jones ACS, CL were simply superb. Even Frank’s well crafted “meeting evaluation” was noteworthy. Also bringing pride and craftsmanship to their duties was the  League of Listeners and Timers (LLT) which flaunted such talent as Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Grammarian Patti Stuart, AH Counter Heather Russell and Vote Counter Jennifer Hensley. This meeting was completely indebted to their intense dedication. This meeting was blessed with one guest, a friend of Heather’s who has visited Club #28 before, Elizabeth Isbell. Elizabeth said that she “very much enjoyed” herself and looked forward to coming back again! This meeting had a little bit of everything: great speeches, table topics and evaluations. It was inspiring and fun. It had a great theme, and speaking of that, the only question that could be asked would be: what’s there not to love?

The craziest thing about the May 12, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Mass Hysteria” theme meeting was just how good it was! Starting from the Invocation and Pledge presented by Marietta Bolatete to the closing gavel from President Steve Wood; this meeting was oddly, and compellingly, bewitching. Ken Walley ATMG, CL acting as the meeting Toastmaster and host, led us into the strange-but-true world were whole cities, towns and even countries completely lose their minds! He told of laughing attacks, dancing fits, soap opera induced sickness; strange sightings of weird creatures and, much more falling under the spell of a world gone mad! Joining in the fun was Table Topics Master Walk Jones ACS, CL who triggered a rash of brilliant answers from our members. Citing that people sometimes follow to extremes what they might see on TV and in the movies, he asked Marietta Bolatete what her favorite movie scene was. Marietta said it was an incredible fight scene from the movie “Fists of Fury“. True, that would not be a good scene to try to reproduce in a public place! Richard Hendrix was asked what imaginary animal he would like to hunt.  Richard came up with the “Cock-a-deer” a part deer and part crocodile that would be “perfect for making a great smoked jerkey!” Our guest, Brice Aikens was given the question “Have you ever seen strange lights in the sky or a UFO?” Brice said that yes, indeed he had and that led to a scary story. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked by Walk if all women are “completely crazy.” She said she could only speak for herself, and her two aunts; and the answer was “yes!”  Jamie Waters ACB, CL was asked to tell us about the animal yet-to-be-found, known as the “Swamp Cabbage Monster.” Jamie warned us that just because we have not seen them, Swamp Cabbage Monsters are out there! These were some wonderful answers to some unique questions that they may never be asked again! Three exceptional speeches were given on this evening. Each speech, although different from the others, excelled far beyond their manual objectives. Starting with Patti Stuart‘s 2nd speech in three weeks titled “Nurses: Trusted to Care!” she gave a great tribute to nurses everywhere. Using Florence Nightingale as a role model, Patti related the invaluable rewards of nursing and gave us some wonderful personal insights into the profession. It was an uplifting and inspiring recognition of some real- life heroes. Speaking second was Alan Brents ACG, CL who put to use the Power-point projector to pay a tribute to another type of hero. In a speech titled “Admiral Hoskins: ‘The Peg-Leg’ Admiral” Alan told us of the exploits of Admiral John M. “Peg Leg” Hoskins, a colorful Navy Commander who earned many awards and this country’s deepest respect. This almost-forgotten fearless leader, lost his foot in battle while climbing through the ranks from graduating at the bottom of his class at the US Naval Academy to commanding some of America’s most prestigious aircraft carriers and even having a movie made based on his life as well as an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show! What a great story. The last speaker was Richard Hendrix who made his long awaited return to the lectern. It was worth the wait as Richard did not disappoint with a speech titled “My Most Memorable Moment.”  He explained to our newer members that he had been away from the club over the past four months while receiving a new heart after undergoing heart transplant surgery. He recalled the day that a donor heart had been located and the mad rush to get to the hospital in Tampa for the procedure. But this was not his most memorable moment. All he could think about on the way to the hospital was not the operation that waited ahead; but the fact that his wife had told him the day before that he was going to be a new father! That was his most memorable moment! Richard’s surprise ending caught everyone off guard. These three brilliant speeches received equally brilliant evaluations! Wilner Luders CC acted as both the General Evaluator and the evaluator for Patti Stuart. Two other notable Toastmasters: Frank Adams CC and Jamie Waters ACB, CL gave the evaluations for Alan and Richard. It was not only the speakers who benefited from their wisdom but everyone else in the meeting room also. Everyone, especially the Toastmaster, benefited from the work of the Clocking and Description Combine (C&DC) which was manned by Timer Barbara Cusack CC, CL; Vote Counter Steve Wood, Film Director Marietta Bolatete, AH Counter Ryan Dick and Grammarian Diane Hart. All did amazing work. The only guest of the evening, Brice Aikens also gave a very positive review of the meeting and promised to return again. The closing thought of the meeting was given by Malita Clarke who had not spoken during the evening. She was asked by Ken Walley ATMG, CL to comment on Unicorns. She remembered those fanciful animals fondly from her youth but said she has not given them much thought lately. At least she was not out chasing after them. While this meeting was not something to get hysterical about, it was however “crazy good!”

Words cannot describe the fantastic “What is it About Words?” theme meeting of May 5, 2011 presented by the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. I will try to put it into words but there are so many reasons why the words will be so hard to find. First of all, Sensational Reason #1: the room was packed with Toastmasters & Guests! Among the surprises was the return of Richard Hendrix who has been away from Club #28 since the start of this year receiving a heart transplant! So many of us were extremely happy and thankful for his return! Richard got a chance to meet many of the new members who have joined since he left for the hospital. Here is a list of all those attending: Ryan Dick, Steve Wood, Wilner Luders CC, CL; Ruble Nedumkunnel CC, Ken Blake ACG, CL; Heather Russell, Walk Jones CC, CL; Jennifer Hensley, Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Richard Hendrex, Marietta Bolatete, Ed Carmona ACB, CL; Carolyn Stapleton, Bill Fitzgerald, Patti Stuart, Diane Hart, Mark Musgrave, Alan Brents ACG, CL ; Frank Adams CC; Mike King and returning guests Debra Myers and Edward Hutchinson! Wow! Brilliant Reason #2 that this meeting was too good for words: Diane Hart gave an inspirational Invocation and Pledge and did an amazing job of opening the meeting and introducing the president. Exceptional Reason #3: President Steve Wood inspired our newer members to think about becoming Club #28 officers for the upcoming term! Remarkable Reason #4: Mike King‘s first-rate performance in his first time ever as the meeting Toastmaster! Mike “knocked the ball out of the park”! He gave us a lot to think about as to how words shape our world and our relationships. He kept everyone entertained throughout the meeting. Mike led the meeting as if he had been doing it for years, never missing a beat and keeping the meeting on track! Great job, Mike! Awesome Reason #5: Wilner Luders‘s (CC) Table Topics session. Wilner had some remarkable questions on the subject of Words starting with the question asked of Ed Carmona ACB, CL: “What gives words their meaning?” Ed answered was that  it was “Life that gives words their meaning.” Brilliant! Guest Ed Hutchinson was asked about the phrase “Actions speaks louder than words.” He said it was the “small things” that often meant the most to his wife, like washing the dishes and doing house cleaning. “The things that lighten her load,” he said,  “Often proves much more than just words.” The third question was asked of Carolyn Stapleton “To what extent do words hurt or heal a relationship?” Carolyn explained that sometimes even small slights can hurt, but it is the ability to measure our words to avoid hurt and sometimes heal verbal wounds that we should strive to master. Heather Russell was asked that if she only had one word that she could save from her vocabulary what would it be? Heather said it would be the word “Love”. It is a word that we should strive to define by our lives. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was given the question of how do words influence a speech. Ken saw words as very powerful things. “Words can be like weapons, you must be very careful how you use them.” This Table Topics session will long be remembered for the deep meanings and the poignant insights of the words that were spoken. Incredible Reason #6 of why words cannot describe how good this meeting was: The two excellent speeches that were given on this evening! The two speeches tonight were both from the Advanced Manual speeches including the first speech by Ruble Nedumkunnel CC from the Persuasive Speaking manual. Ruble gave everyone a superb lesson  on the subject of how to be a great salesperson titled “I Have Those Goals Too!” Using personal stories, folklore, humor and down to earth steps on how to succeed in sales, Ruble told how to approach the sale, add value, handle objections, close the sale and follow-up. His advice was educational but his speech was fascinating! Ken Blake ACG, CL also delighted as well being informative with a speech titled  “What Goes Up Must Come Down!” Ken was talking about his electric bill! Ken gave a number of helpful, easy and thrift-worthy ways of saving money from using energy-efficient light bulbs, to changing A/C filters and knowing which side of the house to  grow shade trees! Ken showed us his electric bill saying he was upset that it was far so high this month…  it was all of $50.00!  Spectacular Reason #7:  Walk Jones CC, CL led a very impressive Evaluation section of the meeting as the General Evaluator. He had help from two of Club #28’s best evaluators; Frank Adams CC (for Ruble) and Alan Brents ACG, CL. (for Ken B.) Both were right on target with thoughtful and meaningful ideas and support in their evaluations. Walk’s evaluation of the entire meeting was first-class itself with a lot of high praise for every part of the meeting. Magnificent Reason #8: The technical support of the meeting was almost as impressive as the speeches, Table Topics and Evaluations! Superior effort was made by the Scribes of Intervals and Idiom (SOII) who’s company consisted of Grammarian & Camera Master Marietta Bolatete, AH Counter Patti Stuart, Vote Counter Heather Russell and first time Timer Bill Fitzgerald. Because of them, the meeting ran seamlessly. Transcendent Reason #8: Carolyn Stapleton announced that she would be leaving our Club as she is going on an extended voyage and this led a a great outpouring of love and well-wishing her the very best. You will be extremely missed Carolyn!. Supreme Reason #9:Our guests Debra Myers and Ed Hutchinson both had wonderfully positive things to say about this meeting! Ed even joined the club after the meeting to become our newest member! Welcome Ed! I really wish that I could tell you just how fabulous this evening with Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 truly was, but I just cannot find the words.

The April 28, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Get Hired, Not Fired!” theme meeting was a wonderful experience that had something for everyone who was in, or out, of the workforce. Patti Stuart started the meeting with another inspiring Invocation and Pledge to the flag and President Steve Wood introduced a number of guests which included for the third meeting in a row past Club #28 President Ed Carmona ACB, CL as well as another toastmaster visiting Club #28 from North Carolina, Robert Fisher, CC. Also attending were two other visitors, Rett Frazier and Ed Hutchinson. All were warmly welcomed. Steve introduced Barbara Cusack CC, CL who was at her very best as the Toastmaster. She kept the meeting upbeat and lively but most of all relevant and meaningful with a subject that was perfect for today’s tough employment market. Barbara gave some brilliant ideas on getting an keeping a job. She gave tips on how to prepare for an interview and how to make an impact with you resume as well as a number of pitfalls to avoid such as as outlandish e-mail  addresses on your resume, chewing gum or not knowing who you are talking to. Also helping to bring out some great ideas on the subject was Table Topics Master Diane Hart. Diane started out the session with a challenging question to our newest member Mike King about wallowing after he had lost a job or not being hired. Mike said that in the past he has done his share of “wallowing” but that it is a waste of energy and will not help you land a job. Jim Stitt was asked about “missed opportunities” to which he admitted that he had missed a few but no one knows what would have happened had he took advantage of them. He might even be worse off than he is now. Jennifer Hensley was asked to give a “laundry list” of things to do to get a great job. “Preparing ahead of time and knowing what you want to get” were on her list. Frank Adams CC was asked “If he ever had a job where he felt like a slave?” Frank gave us the feeling that there were some job in his past which truly made him appreciate the job that he has now. The last question went to Heather Russell who was asked what would “kill it” for a teenager interviewing for a job with her. She came up with quite few things. This was a really good table topics session that actually would have helped anyone who was looking for a job! Two excellent speakers tonight gave very different speeches starting with Brian Wheeler ATMB who gave a speech titled “A Man Just Can’t Sit Around!” about a man who found himself sitting in a lawn chair, strapped to weather balloons floating 15,000 feet up in the air… getting in the way of airplane traffic!  This speech was completely entertaining! Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech from the The Successful Club Series titled “How To be A Distinguished Club!” Ken gave a “hip pocket” speech about Club #28’s progress towards earning it’s 9th President’s Distinguished award in the last 11 year and it’s 3rd in a row. Ken noted there were only 3 goals left to accomplish this task and that the club should be able to complete them all. Acting as the General Evaluator for the evening was Alan Brents ACG, CL who presented two able evaluators starting with a visiting toastmaster from North Carolina, Robert Fisher, CC who had courageously volunteered to give the evaluation of Brian’s speech. Robert impressed us with a very enlightening and enjoyable review of his speech. Monica Walley CL had the honor of giving an evaluation of her Father’s speech which also included some advice for those who had given Table Topics answers earlier. Alan meeting evaluation was also noteworthy as being helpful towards making future meetings better as well as it’s highly positive remarks about the meeting at hand. Some of those remarks were bestowed upon the Resonance Apprehension and Standardization Organization (RASO) which were composed of the Timer Mark Musgrave, Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, CL; Video Historian Marietta Bolatete, AH Counter Heather Russell and Vote Counter Jim Stitt. Also giving high marks to the meeting were the guests Robert Fisher, CC who was impressed with the club’s ability to adapt to a changing agenda (two speakers cancelled at the last moment) as well as Ed Carmona ACB, CL who announced that he might be able to come to more meetings now that a conflict that he had with Thursday nights might have been remedied! Also there were wonderful comments fro guests Ed Hutchinson and Rett Frazier who both said that they would like to see more of Club #28. Ken Walley ATMG, CL had noted that Marietta had not had a chance to speak during the meeting so he called upon her to explain her role as the club’s “photojournalist”. She said she that enjoyed filming the speeches and had become quite creative given her time with the camera.We think so as well! If this meeting had been a job interview for a first-class Toastmasters club, the answer would have been a resounding “You’re Hired!”

The Wednesday April 20, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Great Outdoors” theme meeting had all of the thrill of exploring untouched forestland and the peace of enjoying a mountain stream. Thanks to efforts of this evening’s guide through the wilderness, Walk Jones ACS, CL,  we learned of the joys and challenges of experiencing the great outdoors. Walk told of us a few places that he has been and some of the great things to do to get in touch with your “wild side” and enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, swimming and other activities that gives you a great appreciation of unblemished nature. Also adding to the feeling of being one with the great outdoors was our Table Topics Master Sean Dunn. Sean asked Mark Musgrave if he had ever come across an animal that had “reeked havoc” by being it’s natural self. Mark remembered an armadillo that was at first mistaken for a bear because it had made such a commotion. Ryan Dick was asked if he had ever gone on an excursion that did not go as planned? Ryan remembered a trip to a Wal-Mart that completely got out of control and then told about a camping trip with similar results. Bringing up the memory of president and naturalist Theodore Roosevelt, Sean asked Alan Brents ACG, CL if he had ever gone on an impromptu expedition on the spur of the moment. Alan remembered going on an un-planned ocean cruise to “get away from everything” at a particularly stressful time in his life. Sean did an excellent job of being the Table Topics Master for his first time and he brought forth some wonderful responses to his questions!  The speeches also brought forth some enthusiastic responses. We had two super speeches starting with the Ice Breaker of Patti Stuart, which was Club #28’s 7th  Ice Breaker speech in the last six weeks! Patti’s 1st speech was yet another memorable story that transcended her abbreviated experience behind the lectern. Titled “Why Can’t You Just Play?”  her speech told the story of her her life using childhood toys as props and described a fascinating journey to becoming a professional nurse. This was an impressive speech that really left everyone in the room looking forward to her next project. Congratulations Patti! The second speaker was Barbara Cusack CC, CL who was giving an advanced speech working towards her Advanced Communicator Bronze award. She gave a speech to inform and choose the topic of the homeless. Her speech, simply titled “Homelessness” exposed a number of myths concerning their plight. Barbara’s speech had important information towards creating a more compassionate community while becoming more effective  in helping a growing homeless population. It was a wonderful speech. Taking control of the third part of the meeting, the evaluation section, was General Evaluator Wilner Luders CC, CL  who was blessed with introducing two powerful evaluators. Starting with Carolyn Stapleton for Patti’s Ice Breaker speech and then the most venerated Ken Blake ACG, CL who gave the review for Barbara’s speech. Both of which gave exciting acclaim to the speakers along with some wise expertise to guide their public speaking futures. Behind the scenes, the Recounting and Debriefing Tribunal (RDT) performed with remarkable excellence. They were Grammarian, Diane Hart, AH Counter Alan Brents ACG, CL; Photojournalist Marietta Bolatete, Vote Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and 1st time Timer Mark Musgrave. Diane’s Grammarian Report was especially entertaining and well prepared. Our only guest this evening was returning Club #28 past president Ed Carmona ACB, CL who had wonderful things to say about the meeting. Indeed this meeting brought the “Great Outdoors”, indoors!

The April 14, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28  “Monuments” themed meeting proved to be almost as impressive as Mt. Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty. Patty Stuart started the meeting with another meaningful and interesting Invocation. This evening’s Toastmaster and host, Wilner Luders CC, CL gave us a tour of Monuments both large and small. He commented that often monuments are a sort of “marking place” for a civilization’s or a culture’s progress. He gave examples of monuments that ranged from the breath taking to the ridiculous. Ryan Dick serving for the first time as the Table Topics Master came up with some monumental questions that had everyone thinking about the Boll-Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama and some other astounding masterpieces as well. His first question was asked of Jim Stitt inquiring what would be the first things that he would like to see on a trip to China. Jim said he would like most to visit with the people and see the temples and landmarks that were the most important to the culture of China. Asking Mark Musgrave how he would invest money if he went back in time to Enterprise, Alabama to the year 1919 with a (then) fortune of $18,000.00,  Mark told Ryan that he would probably invest in the Ford Motor Company. Smart choice, Mark! Diane Hart was asked who would she build a monument in honor of if given a chance. Diane did not know who she would build it for but she said that it would be heroes like the Astronauts who are remembered at the dramatic Astronauts Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was reminded by Ryan of an United States Attorney General who had the bare breasts of the statue “Lady Justice” covered up when he had to make a speech in front of the monument. She was asked how she would feel giving a speech in front of a “bare breasted monument”? Barbara said that she would have no problem with that at all and that the idea of covering up a statue is rather silly. Debra Myers who was one of our guests, was asked to what animal she might build a monument. Debra admitted that she was an animal lover and that it was hard to pick just one to honor. She went with “an obvious choice” the Dog, citing the creature’s loyalty and faithfulness. These were excellent questions followed with sharp answers from all of the participants. At this meeting we heard three more truly awe-inspiring speeches given by Jennifer Hensley, Frank Adams CC and Alan Brents ACG, CL. Jennifer’s first speech titled “The Longest Night” was another brilliant Ice Breaker which centered on her becoming a mother and parent. She told of April 6, 2003 the night when she first gave birth to her son Jacob and the wild and wonderful evening that it turned out to be. She had the audience completely captivated! Congratulations Jennifer! Speaking next was Frank Adams CC who also excelled with an entertaining and stirring performance titled “Strange Instructions” that captured the imagination of everyone in the room. It was about a man who was called by God to preach to no one in an empty field in the middle of the night! As it turned out there was only one man, in a tree… who needed to hear his message. Alan Brents ACG, CL gave an electric speech titled “My Electrifying Moment” about being shocked by an electric fence and realizing that “it wasn’t his time to die!” The speech was a well woven story with tons of humor, word pictures and entertainment. Leading the team that would have the awesome task of evaluating these three superior speeches was Master Evaluator Barbara Cusack CC, CL. She was supported by one of the strongest evaluation groups ever assembled for a Club #28 meeting: Brian Wheeler, ATMB, Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Malita Clarke. All three of the speakers were given the best in advice, encouragement and insight during this remarkable evaluation session. Barbara’s meeting evaluation was also worth noting because of her positive and glowing comments! The Articulation Recovery Commando (ARC) was comprised of Timer Jim Stitt, Photo-Documenter Steve Wood, AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, CL and Vote Counter Mark Musgrave. As usual, they performed flawlessly, including first timers Patty and Mark.  The meeting was blessed with a number of guests: Nancy Dye, Jennifer Marinas, Mike King,  Michle Merritt, Debra Myers and returning member and past Club #28 President Ed Carmona ACB, CL. All were very delighted at their experience at Club #28 on this evening. Mike King and Mark Musgrave even joined the club! Indeed, this was a monument to what a fantastic Toastmasters meeting should be!

Who could have known? The April 7, 2011 “Into the Future” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was the exact opposite of the week before! Last week only 10 people were present… this week… Club #28 boasted an attendance of over 30 members and guests! We simply packed the meeting room of the Herndon Branch Library! This was a good thing too, because everyone got to enjoy a truly fantastic meeting. Walk Jones ACB, CL started off the meeting with an excellent Invocation and Pledge, which was both inspiring and professionally done. This was Walk’s 1st time giving the Invocation and it was impressive, even for a man of the cloth. This evening’s host, Ken Blake ACG, CL took us “into the future” by starting with a look back at the history of Club #28 and saying that “the future is the past.” Ken asked us to envision a “perfect future” and said that almost anything is possible if the will is there to create it. The Table Topics Master Diane Hart created a memorable Table Topics session! Her first question was asked of returning, and a very missed, club member Marietta Bolatete who was asked what she would do in a situation where she was “completely lost, without any direction.” Marietta said it was important to maintain a presence of mind and to work from what you can find out.” Diane asked one of our many guests Leslie Chaillou if she had ever put great faith in anything only to see it “go up in smoke?” Leslie was able to recall quite a few experiences like that. Walk Jones ACS, CL was given the question “What do you do when the unexpected happens?” Walk said that he was “not expecting to get called for Table Topics” and seemed to be the favorite person to “say a blessing”  for almost any occasion. Patty Stuart was asked what to do when “plans go awry?” She said that she tried to “plan to plan if her plans did not go as planned.” by having a backup, or escape route. Due to time restraints we only had four questions but every one of those questions had the whole room pondering the answers. The future seems hopeful for upcoming Table Topics contests! Club #28’s future also arrived with the first speech of the evening, an Ice Breaker by Heather Russell titled “How to Know Heather Russell!” This 1st speech was like no other starting speech ever delivered at Club #28. Using Styrofoam cups with labels on them, passed out to most of those in the meeting room, Heather built a “Tower of Heather” that described herself. We found out that Heather depicts herself as “a sister”, “daughter”, “tile setter”, “stroke survivor”, “heart attack victim” and as “funny”, “hardworking”, “creative” … and many, many many other phases and labels that portrayed who she saw herself as. A final cup, saved until the last; revealed a major piece of the “Heather puzzle”. It read: “One who loves to love and be loved.”  We really loved this speech! It was unique, fun, interesting and even had a “mystery ending!” What a great start to Heather’s Toastmaster journey. The second speech was Club #28’s President Steve Wood giving his 7th speech (if you do not count his “Inaugural Address“) on a subject that was very interesting and thought-provoking, i.e. How our own brains can trick us. Citing optical illusions, speed adaptation and muscle reflex; Steve pointed out that sometimes our brains will even “lie to itself”. The speech was even titled “The Hazards of Thinking.”  It was another Steve Wood speech that others will not only be talking about, but thinking about for some time to come. Our last offering was a visiting speaker fresh from his Area 32 International Speech contest victory, Robert Donnenfeld DTM who performed his award winning speech titled “Look Ma! Look Ma! Look at Me! Ma!” his speech was about the challenges he was confronted with as his mother faced the trials of Alzheimer’s disease. It ended with a plea to let your loved ones know how you feel about them before it becomes to late. His speech was an extremely powerful presentation. Ken Walley ACG, CL filled the role of the Master Evaluator and was blessed with the support of three exceptional evaluators. Alan Brents ACG, CL gave a glowing review of Heather’s Ice Breaker and Frank Adams CC also excelled with a brilliant evaluation of Steve’s speech. Ken W. introduced the third evaluator for Robert’s speech as “someone he had handpicked” even though he was giving his first evaluation, because of his “obvious knowledge” of the public speaking craft. Ryan Dick did not disappoint! He gave a helpful and compelling evaluation of Robert’s contest speech. Even though time was running out, Ken gave a very upbeat and positive “meeting evaluation”. Also giving notable reports were the Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton and the AH Counter Jim Stitt. The rest of the Phonemics Adjudication Troupe (PAT) consisted of Vote Counter Barbara Cusack CC, CL, Photoplay Designer Sean Dunn and rookie Timer Jennifer Hensley. All of them did terrific work. The meeting ended with some of our guests giving very positive statements about the night’s gathering and a number of our guests pledging to return. Bill Fitzgerald became the newest member, joining Club #28 after the meeting! Welcome Bill! Here is a list of the members that were present: Frank Adams CC, Ken Blake ACG, CL; Marietta Bolatete, Alan Brents ACG, CL; Barbara Cusack CC, CL; Ryan Dick, Sean Dunn, Diane Hart, Jennifer Hensley, Walk Jones ACS, CL; Wilner Luders CC, Heather Russell, Carolyn Stapleton, Jim Stitt, Patti Stuart, Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and Steve Wood. They were joined by two visiting Toastmasters, both Distinguished Toastmasters: Diana Estermera ACG,CL and  Robert Donnenfeld DTM and guests Jim Fitzgerald, Leslie Chaillou, Marsha Hall, Elizabeth Isbell, Mark Musgrave, Dottie Curtis, Lolly Burden, Mike King, Toby Hall and two UCF students named Guide ____ and Jodi _____, plus maybe a few guests that I might not have caught their names…. What a wonderful evening this was and what a bright future for Club #28!

The Thursday March 31, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “All You Need is Love” themed meeting took place on an evening marked by extreme storms with heavy rain, lightening, thunder and hail. But all this meeting needed to be a success was some brave Toastmasters and some love… and of course, this evening’s Master of Ceremonies Frank Adams CC. Frank gave some brilliant advice on how to keep long term relationships, such as marriages, strong and meaningful. Frank made it completely worth the drive to the library with a number of insightful and even inspirational messages on how to survive the “rough spots” in a relationship and how to make the good times even better. Anyone who came to this meeting left with a number of more effective ways for creating stronger relationships! Making our members and guests examine their own feelings on the subject and turning a few of them into “instant philosophers” was Table Topics Master Carolyn Stapleton. Her first question was “What are the ingredients in making a long-term relationship work.” which was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken mentioned he had been married for 22 years and that it was important to “see things through the other person’s eyes” if possible and making the most of the “virtue of patience.” Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked if he could give an example of “giving a little bit extra” in a relationship to make it more successful. Ken B. said that by empowering your partner and supporting their interests and individuality makes for a happier and more fulfilling bond. “If your wife or husband asks you if she or he could try a new hobby or pursuit, ‘Just say ‘Go!'” said Ken. Club #28’s newest member, Jennifer Hensley answered the question “What is a way that you show someone you don’t know all that well that you love them?” Diane Hart was asked to put into two minutes what she had “learned during her life from Love and relationships.” She said she learned a lot about love from the unconditional love shown to her by her pet dogs.  Steve Wood was given the rhetorical question: “If God is Love, then what would one call Love if one did not believe in God?”  Our returning guest, Franklin Santos was asked to recount something “silly that he had done for love.” The last question which was also asked of a guest, Leslie Chaillou “what has she done in the way of love without requiring that she take any kind of credit.” Leslie told that she liked to help those less fortunate than herself through acts of kindness and charity. The answers of this table topics session were both encouraging and revealing of a “great heart” that existed this night  among Club #28’s members and visitors. The evening was full of surprises as well. Not one, but two of our speakers were surprised that they were giving speeches. At the last moment, both of the scheduled speakers were (understandably) unable to attend. Giving the first hip-pocket speech of the evening was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who called upon the Club #28 Vice President of Membership Frank Adams CC to help him with a New Member Induction Ceremony! Ken in his speech titled  “Welcome to Toastmasters!” told about the benefits and the responsibilities of being a Toastmaster before having our newest members Jennifer Hensley and Heather Russell officially voted into the club as well as having Frank administer the “Toastmaster pledge”. Of course, both members were warmly welcomed! Speaking second “off of the cuff” was Ken Blake ATMG, CL who told a tale of  a great cup of coffee in a speech simply titled “Coffee“. Ken told about how he loved coffee but could never make it right until one day when he made the “perfect pot of coffee”. Everyone simply raved about how unbelievably fantastic his coffee was! Later, when cleaning out the coffee brewer… he found a “secret ingredient” he did not know about that had CRAWLED into the filter!!! Ewwww.  The evaluators were very much like the speakers as they were simply the speakers giving each other their evaluations. Ken Blake ACG, CL who was also the Master Evaluator (as well as a Speaker and Table Topics orator) gave Ken W.’s evaluation finding a number of helpful ideas from his speech, including “if you have to give a hip pocket speech, just call up Frank Adams CC during your speech to give it for you!” Ken Walley ACG, CL got his chance next with an evaluation of Ken B.’s speech which was also packed with great ideas, and some helpful hints, such as “Don’t ask the timer how much time you have left in your speech!” It was interesting to see the speakers perspective as evaluators of each other’s hip-pocket speeches. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  likewise  “wore many hats” throughout evening serving as a featured speaker, Invocation and Pledge leader and a Table Topics expoundee. Others jumped into serve in the Auditory Perception and Actuate Gauging Society: (APAGS) they were Grammarian Diane Hart, Timer Steve Wood, AH Counter Monica Walley CL, Cinematographer Heather Russell and first time Vote Counter Jennifer Hensley. All performed with excellence. Our guest comments showed that even on a “dark and stormy night” we had nothing to fear as the observations from Marsha Hall, Leslie Chaillou, Franklin Santos and Dwain and Mami Smith were all laudatory and full of great praise for the meeting. It’s easy. All you need is love, love and a bunch of wonderful Toastmasters!

.  The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 24, 25011 “Toastmasters: Beyond the Club!” theme meeting was not only a great lesson as to how the Toastmasters program offers many paths to improvement which encompass a wide variety of activities but it was also a huge success within the meeting room itself! Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart brought the meeting to order and made a number of changes on the agenda and then had to revised them as people kept entering the room, but eventually all of the roles were covered.  Toastmaster Alan Brents ACG, CL hosted the meeting and told of the many rewards for participating in Toastmasters events such as the upcoming District 84 Conference, the Officer Training programs like the Toastmasters Leadership Institute held in February or the recent and ongoing Area, Division and District International Speech and Table Topics Contests. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL expanded on the theme in the Table Topics session with some very thought-provoking questions. His first question was asked of Chris August as to what brought him to Toastmasters in the first place. He was seeking ways to improve himself and become better in his work and personal life. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked how Toastmasters had helped her in her life, outside of the program in the so called “real world”. Barbara mentioned that it gave her “an edge” as she started a new career developing a new salsa product and it helped both socially and professionally. Alan Brents ACG, CL was asked what it was like to go to a District Conference. He told us that not only were there great seminars and workshops and that you gained knowledge from Toastmasters from all over the State of Florida but that you could visit a great cocktail lounge as well! Malita Clarke was asked if she would ever consider becoming a Toastmasters International Director. She said yes, she might even become a International Director someday but not at this time in her life due to her work schedule.  Frank Adams CC was asked what the thought of attending Officer Training last month. He said he enjoyed it very much, learned a lot and was proud to be a part of Orlando Club #28 while he was there! The last question went to one of our guests, Greg Fries. He was asked “What would you like to get out of Toastmasters?” Greg mentioned self-confidence and the ability to communicate better as a way to improve many different parts of his life. The answers were all very impressive in this Table Topics session and it would have even made for a great Toastmasters recruitment film. Again this week we had two sensational speeches! Starting with an Ice Breaker speech by our newest member David Worsham, who gave a jaw-dropping performance titled “Achievement Unpacked: How Video Games Made Me Who I Am” in which he described his life through the eyes of a video game junkie! David’s speech was beautifully written, extremely unique and completely entertaining! Congratulations David! Ryan Dick returned to the lectern for the 2nd week in a row to give a speech that completely amazed his audience. Using humor, wit and impressive speaking skills his speech titled “The World’s Most Monumental Invention” made an excellent argument for … Beer! Ryan has shown over the last two weeks that the future of speaking distinction is safe at Orlando Toastmasters Club #28! Barbara Cusack CC, CL was one of the many Toastmasters who covered a meeting position at the last moment. Deftly administering the role of General Evaluator, she had the help of the Walleys, Ken and Monica Walley (ATMG, CL and CL respectively) to give the evaluations for David and Ryan (also respectively.) Both gave helpful, if searching to find areas to improve,  reviews of the speeches. Both held up high praise for each speaker. Barbara’s “General Meeting Evaluation” was also highly praiseworthy of the meeting itself including the Table Topics, Speeches, Evaluations and the Toastmaster who had to navigate through a number of different personal changes on the agenda. He could have not made it through the meeting without the help of his Syntactic Estimation and Retrieval Directorate (SERD) which consisted of Grammarian Frank Adams CC, Timer Steve Wood, 1st time AH Counter Patty Stuart and Vote Counter Chris August. All of them did exceedingly brilliant work. Also present for this upbeat and entertaining meeting were four guests: Greg Fries, Jennifer Hensley, Ashley Witherington and Heather Russell all of who gave strong positive feedback about the meeting. One guest joined after the meeting and another pledged to join the club and even signed up for an Ice Breaker Speech! Welcome to Toastmasters and Club #28 Heather Russell and Jennifer Hensley! This was a great meeting both inside of our Toastmaster Club #28 as well as something to take with us “Beyond the club!”

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28’s March 17th 2011 “Languages” theme meeting took place on St. Patty’s Day with a terrific turnout. Several of our regular members were missing…Humm… perhaps they were bending their elbows in celebration at the local? In any event, the meeting was most auspicious; with five new visitors! Joining us this night were  Jermaine Jordan, Tony Crouthamel, David Worsham, Chris Kirby and Dale Herndon, ACB, ALB who is a District 53, Area D4 Governor! We also had a returning visitor, Bill Fitzgerald. Bill and Dale both courageously covered meeting tasks for this evening. Indeed, we had a remarkable roster of functionaries and three excellent speeches which included 2 Ice breakers and one International Speech contest oration! Our newest member, Patty Stuart led us in a beautiful and self-composed inspirational invocation on “True Greatness.” Celebrating his birthday by being at the helm as our Toastmaster was Wilner Luders CC who introduced the theme of “Languages.” Wilner covered many different aspects of this subject which is important to all Toastmasters. Wilner gave us a unique perspective, having the ability himself of speaking three languages fluently. Malita Clarke likewise expounded upon the topic with marvelous Table Topics that were aptly answered by our guests and club members. Malita first asked Diane Hart if she spoke a different language and if she did, how did she learn it. Diane mentioned that she spoke a little Spanish which she had picked throughout her travels in Spain and South America. Our guest, Tony Crouthamel was asked “In your mind, what does ‘Language’ mean to you?” Tony talked about language as being the building-blocks of culture and heritage. Monica Walley CL was asked how one might overcome a language barrier. Monica explained how she often is faced with this at her job as a server in a restaurant. She explained that using “adaptive sign language” and by “pointing a lot” at the menu usually gets the job done. Another guest, Chris Kirby was asked what tools are needed to learn a new language. Chris stressed interaction with others and using the language consistently. Which is very good advice. Wilner Luders CC was asked to compare the different languages that he knew. He noted that they were more similar than one might think being based in Latin. He expounded on the differences of French, English, Spanish and Creole all within two minutes! Our visitor, Chris Kirby who, undaunted by speaking for the first time, took the white “Best Table Topics” ribbon! Our three speakers showed us “how it’s done” and we had our socks blown off by two incredible “Ice Breaker” speeches starting with Ryan Dick with a speech titled “The Three Life Lessons I Learned Playing Flag Football!” Masterfully delivered, Ryan told how he learned that 1. Fighting is not worth it; 2. Think Positive as we can only “beat ourselves” and 3. learn how to delegate and trust while trying to win a “championship T-shirt.”  These were all excellent flag football lessons but it was the sheer professionalism of Ryan’s 1st speech that left those present happily amazed. Not to be outdone our second speaker Walk Jones ACS was giving a “2nd Ice Breaker” to introduce himself to the club even though he is currently working on his Advance Communicator Gold award. Walk’s self titled speech “Walk Jones” gave us an impressive portrait of a man who lived life to the fullest by golfing, fishing, scuba diving as well as a love of politics, having worked a one time for former Vice President Al Gore while becoming a Presbyterian minister! It was another fascinating and moving speech! Speaking third was Ken Blake ACG, CL who was giving a “warm up” speech for the Area 32 International Speech four days away. Ken’s speech “Where is Shelia?” was given with some added twists and new material, hopefully to make it stronger contender for the March 21st contest. Ken showed that almost any speech given by Ken B. has a chance to win any contest! These three “super speeches” were given excellent evaluations by visiting Area D4 Governor Dale Herndon ACB, ALB; Diane Hart and Alan Brents ACG, CL. It is hoped that Dale will be able to return to give more brilliant reviews as his was very insightful. Diane Hart gave her usual skilled and intelligent evaluation of Walk’s speech with her usual flair. Alan Brents ACG, CL also gave an exceptional and insightful evaluation of Ken Blake ATMG, CL  which will surely help him to lead us to victory again in this upcoming contest. Monica Walley CL served beyond the superlative as the General Evaluator when she was given only about eight minutes to complete the evaluation section of the meeting and almost pulled it off. She gave the club a chance to finish the meeting before the library closed! The Word & Duration Band of Guardians (W&DBG) on this evening consisted of Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton, AH Counter Monica Walley CL, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL and guest Vote Counter Bill Fitzgerald. A hurried, but still given with grand perspicacity, was Carolyn Stapleton‘s Grammarian Report as was Monica’s AH Counter report.  Even though we rushed to end the meeting, every second was worth it. At the end of the meeting,  guest David Worsham pledged to join the club and even signed up to do his Ice breaker Speech next week! Welcome David! A good, hangover free, time was had by all with much laughter, insight, entertainment  and success!                                                                   (cS/kW)

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 10th 2011 “State Flowers! … and other Horticultural Tidbits!” theme meeting grew into a beautiful flower of its own thanks to the gardening of it’s toastmaster Malita Clarke. Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart brought the meeting to order with her usual flair and introduced Frank Adams CC who started the meeting  with an interesting Invocation and Pledge that featured flowers and a rodent. Club #28 President Steve Wood happily called upon Ken Walley ATMG, CL for a “Richard Hendrix report” in which he announced that Richard was back in Orlando “walking 2-3 miles every morning” and planning on returning to the club by end of the month. Malita Clarke came prepared with colorful charts of all of the State flowers and a ton of interesting “tidbits” from foliage all over the country. Her bubbly personality and transcendent sense of humor made this a totally delightful evening besides being an educational experience for everyone. Another person who uplifted the entire room was Table Topics Master Diane Hart. Admitting she had some challenges coming up with questions for the theme of “State Flowers” she produced however some memorable answers from our members. Her first question was directed at Barbara Cusack CC, CL: “Why do we even have such a thing as State Flowers?” Barbara wondered that herself stating that it “gave the women something to do.” She admitted that the Florida state flower, the Orange Blossom was a great choice as the aroma was so wonderful. Jamie Waters ACB was asked if he was aware of a beautification project that was a success. Jamie told of the technical obstacles of achieving such a botanical plan and  alluding to recycling water to create several beautiful gardens that he named. Brian Wheeler ATMB using less of a scholarly reply, answered Diane’s question about “A weird or joke-like flower” by telling a tale of the City of Kilroy, La. that has a flower festival that celebrates a flower called “The Crazy Butt Flower” where people wear  T-shirts with the slogan of “Smell my Butt!” Having to follow that question, was EJ Jones who was given the query of “Is there a Flower in a song that you remember?” She picked the song “Lilly of the Valley” to speak on and how that song gave her strength at times. We had two excellent speeches starting with an Ice Breaker by Sean Dunn titled “Sink or Swim” who told us of his youth being brought up in a family with a competitive swimming background and how that translated into his future. Born in Japan into an Air Force family, he would go on to have a family of his own with two kids and own his own business in Orlando. It was a brilliant 1st speech! Alan Brents ACG, CL returned to the Club #28 lectern with a wonderful speech titled “St. Patrick’s Day” about the same subject. Alan told us a ton of facts and trivia that included St. Patrick, leprechauns, girls proposing to men one  out of every four years, the biggest and the smallest of St. Patty’s Day parades, green beer, whiskey and many other things. Having Alan back with us is the “luck o’ the Irish” for Club #28! Ken Walley ATMG, CL  was the General Evaluator with some home-grown talent to support him with the evaluations section of the meeting. Brian Wheeler ACB gave the evaluation for his good friend Sean Dunn‘s Ice Breaker Speech. which was followed by Ken Blake ACG, CL who gave the evaluation of his fellow Advanced Gold member, Alan. Both reviews were exceptionally helpful with advice and positive feedback. Ken Walley ATMG, CL praised the entire meeting as being strong “at all levels” and exceeding all expectations. “This was a sensational Toastmasters meeting” said Ken. Ken noted as well the competent work of the Scholarly Observation and Notation Cataloguers (SONC) who boasted the likes of Grammarian Barbara Cusack CC, CL; Timer Ryan Dick, AH Counter Carolyn Stapleton and first time Vote Counter Patty Stuart. on this evening. We also had two guests, Franklin Santos and Zack Greer that both gave glowing testimonies to the night’s proceedings. It was also announced that Patty Stuart joined Club #28 becoming our newest member! Welcome Patty! This “State Flower” themed meeting could only be labeled as a bloomin’ success!

When Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL announced that the date for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests as Thursday, March 3rd 2011, he could not have known that he would be announcing one of the finest contests ever held in the club’s long and storied history. it was simply an incredible night of Toastmaster magic when everyone seemed to have brought their very best to the lectern. The meeting room at the Herndon Branch Library was packed and the electricity could be felt everywhere in the room. “High-energy” was the main gear for Ken who served as the Contest Master leading the club through yet another legendary evening of great International Speeches and Table Topics. Many Toastmasters in the past have commented that Club #28’s contests often excel most of the local Area Contests simply because of the high caliber of the speeches and the top quality of the speakers that are in the Orlando Toastmasters #28 club. This year was no exception. A number of dignitaries were present including two past Division C Governors, Helen Joseph DTM and Ken Peplow CC, CLB. Returning also was or Immediate Past Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart ACS, CL as well as our current Area 32 Governor Elon Horsham, ACS, CL. Other visiting Toastmasters included Daisy Arus ACB of the Castaways Club #618581; Barbara Bess ACG, CL, a past president of the Uptown Toastmasters Club #6304 and Gail Hill Smith ACS, CL from the Central Florida Facilitators Club #9958. A few guests, as well as a strong turnout of club members also were present for this special meeting. Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart called the meeting to order and introduced Malita Clarke who gave the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Malita mentioned that competition makes us better in life and in Toastmasters, it also creates the groundwork for sportsmanship. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started off the evening with the Table Topics Contest. Ken asked the Table Topics Contest Sgt. at Arms Alan Brents ACG, CL to lead all of the contestants out of the room except for the first speaker Malita Clarke. He then asked the same question to all of the speakers by requesting them to finish the statement: “The most amazing thing I ever saw was…” Malita told us that her parent’s deep wisdom and their abilities to overcome setbacks or challenges was truly amazing. Marietta Bolatete who spoke of seeing the “Mountains of 7 Colors” in South America which change color as the sunlight hits the mountain range. Diane Hart remembered the incredible experience of watching a child grow up. Carolyn Stapleton told about making a “statement in art” when she redefined her VW bug by adapting “used cigarettes” to create a “stink bug”. Ken Blake ACG, CL spoke about the miracle of his children being born. All of the answers were impressive and truly imaginative! Ken Blake ACG, CL added to his already sizable hoard of contest trophies by winning first place with his answer. Diane Hart came in second, taking home her first Club #28 Table Topics Contest prize. Congratulations to all of the brave challengers in this contest who made the task of choosing a winner almost impossible for the judges. The International Speech Contest featured three of the best speakers that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has ever produced: Wilner Luders CC, Ken Blake ACG, CL and last year’s Area 32 International Speech Champion Barbara Cusack CC, CL. Each of them came through with unequivocally remarkable speeches. Wilner Luders CC was simply astounding with a speech titled “Disaster in Motion, Distant Voices Heard” which by all accounts was the best speech that he has ever given. Relating the fragility of life to the tragic earthquakes last year in his homeland of Haiti, Wilner’s speech was a brilliant performance as well as a powerful and moving narrative about life. Barbara Cusack CC, CL also brought her best to the lectern with a speech titled “Forgiving Yourself” which was a flawless presentation from start to finish. She completely mesmerized her audience about how she had made large mistakes in her life often leaving her wondering how she could ever overcome them. She realized that it was the act of forgiving herself that was a key to conquering her past demons. Ken Blake ACG, CL gave another trademark speech that showcased his polished skills and exceptional wit. His speech, about a troubled youth was titled “Where is Shelia?” Using his most engaging speaking tools, Ken built a story that was relatable to everyone in the room, had humor, emotional impact and even a little twist in the ending. All three speeches were brilliant. Ken won his second 1st Place award of the evening and Barbara Cusack CC, CL finished a close second. It must be noted that any of these three speeches were not only worthy of winning this competition but that any of them would be strong challengers to win at the Area Contest level. Let us not forget that those who made this contest possible were presented with Certificates of Appreciation by the Contest Master. He also highly praised the extremely professional and really beautiful documents that were made by Club #28’s own Malita Clarke! The Contest Master also brought his daughter, and fellow Toastmaster Monica Walley CL to present him with his citation! Saying a few words about the upcoming Area 32 Contests and helping to hand out the awards was our Area 32 Governor Elon Horsham ACS, CL. Another Club #28 member doing a great great job for his first time as the Raffle Master was Sean Dunn! Sean handed out a “large” sum of money to a visitor from another Toastmaster Club, Gale Hill Smith ACS, CL as our lucky 50/50 winner! The Club #28 contest winners will go on to compete in the Area 32 International Speech and Table Topics Contests on March 21, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the corner of Colonial and I-4 in Orlando. The contest will be at 6:30pm. I hope that Club #28 can send a big crowd to represent us at Area and cheer on our winners! Much thanks go out to those who made this a truly special evening, those who gave their time as functionaries, contestants and judges. Here is a list of those by whom our contest was made possible: Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Sgt. at Arms: Diane Hart;  Invocation and Pledge leader: Malita Clarke; Table Topics Sgt. at Arms: Alan Brents ACG, CL; Chief Judge Ken Peplow CC, ALB; Timers Frank Adams, CC and Ryan Dick; Vote Counters: EJ Jones and Steve Wood; Raffle Master: Sean Dunn; Table Topics Contestants: Ken Blake ACG, CL, Marietta Bolatete, Malita Clarke Diane Hart and Carolyn Stapleton; International Speech Contestants: Ken Blake ACG, CL; Barbara Cusack CC, CL and Wilner Luders CC and the 5 judges from other clubs. Again, congratulations to Club #28!

The theme for the Thursday, February  24, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Presidents” and was brought to order by the Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart who soon introduced Kayla Sorel-Bazil for the Invocation and Pledge. Diane also introduced the Club #28 President Steve Wood who was “very presidential” on this occasion. Leading the meeting on this evening was Ken Walley ATMG, CL an admitted history buff who told us intriguing and off-beat facts that you would not learn in school about Grover Cleveland (He executed two men as a sheriff in Buffalo, NY), Dwight D. Eisenhower (made a great vegetable soup) and William Howard Taft (four men could fit in his bathtub) and many others including George W. Bush, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon   Ken said his favorite president was Theodore Roosevelt who was the winner of both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Medal of Honor. Also bringing the White House to the Herndon Branch library was Table Topics Master Frank Adams CC (no relation to John and John Quincy Adams) who had some commanding questions for our members. Starting with Kayla Sorel-Bazil, Frank remembered John Adams as the first President to live in the White House and asked her what would she do if she move into that place herself. Kayla said that at first she would probably be a little overwhelmed by it all. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked if speaking more than one language would help as President. He said it would go a long way in helping build trust with some countries. Our guest Brian Holecko was asked why it was important for a President to be a citizen of the United States. Brian thought it was important and he also mentioned that you have to be 35 years old to be president. John Tyler had 15 kids and Frank asked Carolyn Stapleton how she would handle being president with 15 kids. She said she would turn the White House into a “large shoe”  because she would have so many children she wouldn’t know what to do. Many of our presidents were great orators such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy and our two speakers tonight would have felt right at home in their company. The first speaker, Wilner Luders CC astounded his audience with a remarkable speech titled “Disaster in Motion, Distant Voices Heard“. Remembering the horrific earthquake that hit his homeland of Haiti. Wilner used the “voices” of those lives were destroyed to relate the fear, sorrow and lessons of the tragedy. His message was on the fragility of life and the necessity of being humble and thankful. The second speech, which had a more political message was delivered by Jamie Waters ACB  and dealt with the labor unions debate and the protests currently happening in Wisconsin. Jamie explained that “public unions”  might have outgrown their usefulness and that policemen would not restore order if it meant that it was their own benefits that were being protested. Jamie pointed out that it was a “conflict of interest” if the public sector was  being paid by taxpayer funds to support a “public” union. The speech was titled “The Moral of the Story: Public Unions.”  The speech made some very good points. The Master Evaluator on this evening was Ken Blake ACG, CL who had the pleasure of introducing a man who had been gone for sometime from our club and had been very missed. Returning to give the evaluation of Wilner’s speech was none other that Alan Brents ACG, CL! Alan gave Wilner some excellent advice and encouraged him to give this speech in the upcoming Club #28 International Speech Contest. The second evaluator was Diane Hart who gave a very balanced and reasoned review of Jamie’s speech while giving him a good amount of praise. Ken Blake ACG, CL noted that it looked like we might not have much of a meeting because many of our members arrived late but the club somehow was able to put the pieces together to accomplish an excellent meeting. Excellence was the credo of the Investigative Foundation of Time and Structure (IFT&S) led by Timer EJ Jones, AH Counter Malita Clarke, Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton and Vote Counter Chris August. Any President would have been proud of their efforts! Before Ken returned the reins of power to the Club #28 President Steve Wood, he called upon Ryan Dick and Sean Dunn for their observations of the meeting. Both of them said that they were very pleased with the evening and were both planning their Ice breakers speeches.  Our guests Bill Fitzgerald, Alan Brents and Brian Holecko all he echoed Ryan and Sean’s sentiments and were planning on returning. Brian even joined the club after the meeting! Welcome to Club #28 Brian!. This meeting was a fantastic meeting but what else would you expect from a club that boasts that Franklin D. Roosevelt as a member of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 (True! look it up!)   .

The theme for the Thursday February 17, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Abundance” and this meeting showed a great abundance of many things including talent, inspiration and fun! Starting with a rousing beginning put forth by Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart and the thoughtful Invocation and Pledge by Marietta Bolatete everyone knew that we were in for a meeting that would be plentiful with meaning and skill. This was confirmed by the Toastmaster of the evening, Wilner Luders CC who gave a role performance worthy of the most masterful of hosts. Wilner pointed a number of reasons we should take the time to notice the plenty in the world around us and to remember that time is fleeting. He reminded us of those less fortunate and said the most abundant things on earth should be in the charity and love that should come from within. “Abundance is an attitude.” said Wilner.  Also adding to the evening’s excellence was Malita Clarke who asked some very imaginative question on the theme as the Table Topics Master. Starting with Marietta Bolatete, she asked “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Abundance’?” Marietta responded that a number of different things came to mind, including friends and family. EJ Jones who has shown a brilliance lately in responding to table topics question did not disappoint with her answer to Malita’s question of  what is abundant but not in a spiritual sense. EJ spoke of life itself as something that is is in abundance if we realize it. Kayla Sorel-Bazil was challenged with the question of naming something that was in too much abundance. Diane Hart gave another expressive answer as well with her reply to the question in which she shared an abundance remembering a great feast she once had. spirited expression continued with the next section of the meeting, the prepared speeches. Starting with Ken Blake ACG, CL the club was treated to an informal history of the time that Ken has been in Toastmasters titled “Tell A Story of Our Club History” Ken remembered many Toastmasters that had inspired him in Club #28 naming Ralph Cowell, ATMB; the late Dennis Gola ACG, CL; Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Monica Walley CL, Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL; Jim Stitt, Michael Joseph DTM, Helen Joseph DTM, Richard Hendrix, Paul Hagge, Steve Wood... as well other Club #28 esteemed members. His point was that he learned something from every member that embraced the program and that the history of Club #28 was only a portrait of it’s dedicated members. The second speaker, Tony Betts CC, “wowed” his audience with his first speech in at least four years at the Club #28 lectern. Titled “Good to be Back!” Tony told about how the Toastmasters program had helped him in the past and when he was unable to come to Club #28 meetings after he moved out of town, he felt that something was missing in his life. He told how after he returned that he found the club just as he had left it except for a few different faces. Welcoming, inviting and willing to help him improve in any way that the club could. Even though Tony was giving a “Second Ice Breaker” speech he was given a standing ovation. It might have been the club more happy to see Tony return than even Tony was. The evaluation section of the meeting was hosted by Barbara Cusack CC who brought her usual energy and skill in abundance to the role. She introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave the evaluation of his good friend Ken Blake‘s (ACG, CL) speech. Ken noted that a good way of getting a positive evaluation is to praise the evaluator as well as the evaluator’s wife and daughter in the speech! Ken said that the speech was not “written on paper, but in the room” as Ken B. had mentioned a number of those in attendance. Diane Hart followed Ken with her evaluation of Tony’s speech. Her evaluation was as as upbeat and helpful as any given before the Club #28 banner. Barbara noted the high quality evaluations in her meeting review as well as heaping praise upon Wilner as the Toastmaster, the strong table topics session and the two brilliant speeches. Let us extend that praise to the Proceedings Status and  Summary Company (PS&SCO) which had as it’s members: Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton, AH Counter Jamie Waters ACB, Timer Kayla Sorel Bazil and Vote Counter EJ Jones. All did stellar work but Carolyn’s Grammarian was later praised when Ken Walley ATMG, CL said that he believed that “Some people come to the meetings just to hear Carolyn’s Grammarian Reports!” President  Steve Wood  asked our visitors Stephanie Hampton and Patricia Stuart what they had thought of the meeting. Both guests proclaimed very positive feedback as well as pledging to return again. Steve brought the meeting to a close noting that we had an abundance of people attending. Seeing the great wealth of enjoyment that was had on this evening, that will no doubt continue!

‘Talent’ was the theme and talent is what was displayed at the Thursday February 10, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Starting from the sound of the gavel from Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart who had to announce a bevy of agenda changes, as well as a few addendums before the meeting got underway. Diane also gave a talented rendition of the Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. President Steve Wood introduced a returning member, Ruble Nedumkunnel ACB who announced that even though he was now living in Melbourne, Florida that he was still re-joining our club and would visit from time to time! Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL also announced that toastmaster Ryan Dick had also joined right before the meeting started! Welcome to the club Ryan and welcome back Ruble! Also introduced was returning guest Monica Artau who said she was very happy to be back at #28 again. On this evening Carolyn Stapleton was magnificent as our Toastmaster as she weaved her eloquent prose around the subject of talent. Throughout the evening Carolyn gave us a lot to think about. She started with a brief history of the word and its meaning. Carolyn reminded us that “The word ‘talent’ is biblical, as in the ‘Parable of the Lost Talent’. It was used in those times as a gold coin.” Carolyn said, “Later it came to mean a very different kind of treasure.”  She also touched upon  how we perceive talent, how we use our talents and how we build upon them. “Talent is who we are at our core.” said Carolyn. Mostly though, Carolyn led by example by showing us precisely what a talented toastmaster does. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Table Topics Master asking  seven questions of our members and guests staring with Jim Stitt who was asked to “name some people who are really talented.” Jim mentioned the people that he worked with and who were able to do “small miracles” on a regular basis. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked what he thought his special talent was. He believed it was the ability to explain complicated things and make them understandable. EJ Jones was asked about what she thought of talent shows such as “‘American Idol and ‘Dancing with the Stars‘.”  EJ admitted that she watched sometimes but thought of real talent being elsewhere. Frank Adams CC pondered the question “Is there really such a thing as ‘natural talent’ or can you overcome a lack of talent by working hard.” Admitting that some people are gifted, Frank said that “there is no replacement for hard work.” Our guest, Monica Artau answered the question of what she would like to be talented at. She replied that it would be great to be able to speak in many different languages. Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL was given the query of if he had any “useless talents”. He listed an ability to drink beer as one of those. The finial inquiry was for Ruble Nedumkunnel ACB who was asked “What is more important, having the ability to make good choices or having the talent to accomplish great things?” Ruble stated that “Good choices are everything! The world is full of unsuccessful but talented people who make poor choices.” We had two good choices of speakers for the evening. Both speakers were giving Advanced Manual speeches, starting with Barbara Cusack CC, CL. Her speech, titled “Forgiving Yourself” which might be a tough contender in the upcoming Club #28 International Speech Contest. Sighting past mistakes and bad choices that she had made in her past and using a liberal amount of humorous perspective, she told the story of forgiving herself and going beyond just “moving on” to becoming a stronger and improved person. Her speech gave encouragement to everyone in the room. Approaching the lectern next was Jamie Waters ACB who speaking for the second week in a row, was covering a speaking opening at the very last minute. His presentation exceeded all expectations, including his own, by giving a very polished speech titled “The Clothes Pin.”  Jamie delivered a humorous speech about the excuses that we give for not staying healthy and working out. This included a giant clothes pin type of clip intended to hold back folds of fat while you sleep! Ouch! The evaluation part of the meeting was headed by Wilner Luders CC in the role of General Evaluator. It was Wilner’s delight to introduce two excellent evaluators who both gave brilliant evaluations each teeming with positive energy, helpful advice and encouragement. Giving the review of Barbara’s speech was Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and for Jamie’s speech was Malita Clarke. Wilner also gave a strong and positive meeting evaluation. He praised the ability of the club to be flexible and was impressed with all three parts of the agenda, the speeches, table topics and evaluations. Through a number of different changes the Numerical and Composition Enforcement Squad (N&CES) consisted of Grammarian Ruble Nedumkunnel ACB, Timer EJ Jones, AH Counter Frank Adams CC and Vote Counter Steve Wood. All of them preformed their duties with excellence. The final comments of the evening included a very positive review of the meeting by our guest Monica Artau as well as high praise for the evening’s Toastmaster Carolyn Stapleton and the presenting of awards to Brian Wheeler ATMB (Best Evaluator and Table Topics answer), Malita Clarke for Most Improved Speaker and Barbara Cusack CC, CL for Best Speech. There is no doubt that Club #28 is rich in talent. An evening like this one simply proves it.      

The Thursday February 3, 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Guidance, Teaching and Mentoring ” Theme meeting started as returning and newest Club #28 member Tony Betts CTM gave forth an invocation from a quote of motivational speaker Norman Vincent Peale. New visitors Chris and Pamela Rogan and Alex Malavo as well as returning visitors Ryan Dick, Walk Jones ACS and Area 32 Governor Elon Horsham ACS, CL. They were warmly welcomed by presiding President Steve Wood. Club #28 linchpin, Ken Walley ATMG, CL introduced the theme “Guidance, Teaching and Mentoring” and Introduced the technical arbitrators who would help him officiate the meeting, including Grammarian Diane Hart who announced the Word of the Day as being “Neophyte”. No neophyte to being the Table Topics Master, Carolyn Stapleton opened table topics with a bit of Jim Croce‘s wisdom: “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape /You don’t spit in the wind/ You don’t pull the mask off of the old Lone Ranger and You don’t….” Good advice, which is why she asked: “What advice did you: Tony Betts CTM, wish that you would have taken?” His answer was he wished he had listened to his dad about going to college right after High School instead of “learning the hard way.” Our guest Chris Rogan was asked what Michael Vick could teach his fans about animal husbandry and Walk Jones ACS was asked how we can turn Mr. Vick’s role modeling around. Another guest Alex Malavo was asked if he’d ever followed an “unseen guidance”, or a hunch to his, or to a loved one’s benefit. He told how he once prevented a burglary on a hunch! Kayla Soral-Bazil was asked if she had sought any unconventional forms of guidance. Frank Adams CC was asked what skill that he would teach a young person. Frank said he would teach a belief in themselves and in a higher power. Steve Wood was asked how he would mentor to wayward teens. Steve said that he had worked as a guidance counselor’s aide but pled “Don’t send me your troubled teens!”  Barbara Cusack CC, CL when asked what the “best way to learn” quickly gave the answer “Hands on!” Club #28 featured two speakers starting with Jamie Waters ACB  who was working from the Advanced Communication Manual “Storytelling” in a speech titled “Ethics and Morals“. The speech illustrated how the meaning of words change over time and gave real world examples of how muddied the distinction between ‘ethics’ and ‘morals’ have become over the years. We all learned a lot about apples in a speech by Malita Clark‘. Her 9th Basic Manual project, titled “Apples”  began with a chorus from “Johnny Appleseed” and was followed by some unexpected history of apples! The presentation covered apples in the times of Alexander the Great and Ramses II to the 7,500 varietals grown world wide and closed with the story of how the “Big Apple” became known as such. It was a fascinating, entertaining speech from soon- to- be CC Malita Clarke! During the evaluation section of the meeting, past Club President Wilner Luders CC extolled Jamie Waters‘s (ACB) poise and coherence as well as his user-friendly examples of morals and ethics in modern times. Elon Horsham ACS, CL gave an exemplary evaluation of Malita Clarke‘s speech which left none to wonder how he’s become so successful in Toastmasters in just 31/2 years. He pointed out the relevance of her topic to all, her great transitions from one aspect of her topic to another and offered some very useful guidance to the benefit of all on vocal variety, eye contact and how little we really need notes when we are as well prepared as Malita was. Frank Adams CC as our Master Evaluator gave a tremendous evaluation of the meeting which sang the praises of all phases of this evening’s gathering. Before Ken Walley ATMG, CL left as the Toastmaster, he recognized the important Educational Standards Arbitrators (ESA) which including two 1st class reports by Grammarian Diane Hart and AH Counter Walk Jones ACS.. Rounding out the panel was Timer EJ Jones and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack CC, CL. President Steve Wood invited comments from our guests including Chris Rogan who shared that this meeting was “Just what he needed” his lovely bride, Pamela Rogan said she “loved the diversity and positive enthusiasm of Club #28″. Ryan Dick said that he’d “come full circle” as he had attended his first time when Malita Clarke gave her Ice Breaker speech and pulled no punches saying that #9 was a major positive improvement from her 1st effort. Walk Jones ACS was succinct in his praise saying that Club #28 is a “great group”. Alex Malavo said that Club #28 has a wonderful system in place to make a return “inevitable”. Steve Wood entertained us all with a parting joke on “business ethics” saying “If you inadvertently charged a customer $10 while your partner was in the shop, what would you do? Would you keep the $10 for yourself or… split it with your partner?”  This meeting was guided, taught and mentored to a happy & successful conclusion!     [cS/kW]

The Wednesday, January 26th 2011 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting might not have been dangerous, but it was thrilling thanks to the theme of “Extreme Sports” selected by Monica Walley CL who served as the Toastmaster! The meeting was opened by Sean Dunn who led us in the Invocation and Pledge for his first time and got the meeting off to an inspiring start.. Club President Steve Wood then  introduced three guests including Tony Betts, CTM who was a past Club #28 Vice President of Education. Also visiting was toastmaster Walk Jones ACS who  volunteered to be one of our evaluators and Bill Posson, a friend of toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL. Each was given a warm welcome. Monica Walley CL gave the club a tour of some heart-stopping “sports” that both pushed the adrenaline and danger factors to the max, including: Ice Climbing, Base Diving, Whitewater Kayaking, Motocross Stunt Biking, Bungee Cord Jumping, Urban Freerunning and many others! Table Topics Master Diane Hart also “jumped over the edge” with some challenging questions for our members. Her first question was aimed at EJ Jones “What would your idea of extreme sports be?” EJ gave an account of mountain hiking, in the dead of night and almost completely blind! It was a truly rousing, and scary, description! Returning member Tony Betts CTM told us of a few of his friends who dared to partake in extreme sports answering Diane’s question “Do you know anyone who makes a living in sports?” Steve Wood was asked if he thought that extreme sports were a good or a bad thing. Steve likened them to a photo he saw of a mouse wearing a helmet and eyeing the cheese in a mousetrap. He told about people who throw themselves off of cliffs in “flying-squirrel suits” while falling only inches from the walls of canyons! Diane asked our guest, Walk Jones ACS if he had met anyone who had let being a sportsman go to his head. Walk remembered a few “Big Sport” personalities that he had known. Speaking of daring and courage, Club #28 featured three Ice Breaker Speeches! Our first brave speaker was Chris August who’s 1st speech was titled “The Phases of Chris“. Chris showed a remarkable sense of humor (including a very funny joke about polar bears) and established a quick bond with the audience as he took us through his “phases”: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Chris’s first speech was packed with potential and left everyone looking forward to his next visit to the lectern. Speaking second was Jim Stitt who gave a panoramic view of his travels in a speech titled “The Life of a Traveling Restaurant Manager“. Jim told us about the strange quirks of fate, overcoming tough obstacles and answering the knock of opportunity (in Washington DC, Detroit Michigan, Toledo Ohio, Burbank California…. and others) that led him to Orlando and a life that he truly enjoys here. Jim had some great stories that made us think that “you never know what is around the next corner”. Speaking third was Brian Wheeler ATMB who gave an auspicious speech that was titled “Finally My Life is Complete… or is it?”  This speech told about how a young man built a successful business, married a beautiful wife and had a wonderful family with two great sons. He thought that he had everything, until one day, almost out of the blue, he found himself adopting a new baby daughter! This speech was as inspiring and powerful as it was extremely entertaining!  All three speakers would receive very much well deserved standing ovations. The General Evaluator on this evening was Ken Blake ACG, CL who was at his best tonight with an arsenal of adept insights and sharp, witty introductions. Ken was fortunate to be able to present three excellent evaluators who all accomplished the art of giving advice and encouraging the speakers simultaneously. Carolyn Stapleton was spot-on in her evaluation of Chris’s speech. She told of how Chris became “immediately enduring and had excellent composure, all the while building a rapport with the audience.” She also noted that he had a “genuine sense of humor that was naturally funny.”  The second evaluator was our guest Walk Jones ACS giving the evaluation of Jim’s speech. Walk proved up to the task with some wonderful praise of Jim’s ability to “bring to life places, things and circumstances with vivid words”. He gave some excellent advice to Jim as well. Next, Brian Wheeler ATMB was evaluated by Jamie Waters ACB. Jamie was immediately impressed with Brian’s speech. He pointing out a vast array of communication techniques that Brian had exceeded at. Ken Blake ACG, CL in his meeting evaluation gave high praise to the evening noting that all three sections of the meeting (Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations) were well thought out and although greatly entertaining, they were educational as well. The Congregation of Vocal Referees (CVR) that was appointed for the evening consisted of Grammarian Malita Clarke, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Timer Frank Adams CC and Vote Counter Tony Betts CTM, Malita gave another brilliant Grammarian report proving that Club #28 has a innate ability to paint verbal masterpieces. This meeting had all of the excitement of a bungee cord jump and the thrills of a leap out of an airplane without the fear of dying. This was a fantastic meeting!

The schedule change from the regular Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Thursday evening meeting to Wednesday January 19, 2011 was not a “hoax”, although the theme of the meeting was! Club #28 President and this evening’s Toastmaster, Steve Wood chose “Hoaxes” as the theme. It was another first-class meeting begun with a quotation attributed to Henry Ford which was chosen and Delivered by the club’s newest member Chris August. Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or think you cannot; you’re right!” Only one guest came for a visit, Eduardo Ramirez who invited toastmasters to a fundraising evening of entertainment by the “Up With People” cross cultural singing program. Monies raised would be used for scholarships talented foreign students to travel, do community service and entertain audiences with traditional song and dance from their native countries. Eduardo found two Orlando Toastmasters clubs in which to make his cause known. VPE Ken Walley ATMG, CL announced a gain of 5 new members since January 1st! The membership gain that can be aptly described by our Word of the Day: “auspicious.” Wilner Luders CC was our esteemed Table Topics Master and posed “how do you make a decision when you think that you might be tricked?” to Ken Walley ATMG, CL.  His sage response was to “listen to your gut feelings and do research” He used the example of Orson Wells’s broadcast of “War of the Worlds” to show how people can be tricked by the media. Next up was Frank Adams CC who asked to recall a hoax that was played out on him and what the effect had upon him. Frank vividly recalled an April 1st prank where he became trapped in an old refrigerator and to this day he had that hoax and April Fool’s Day permanently associated! Carolyn Stapleton was asked how the “mermaid” myth affected her! She disclosed her interest in mermaids, mermen, sirens, Yetti and a strong desire to go to Scotland in search of “Nessy.” Guest Eduardo Ramirez stepped up to the plate and explained that following “what you are and what you believe is like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.” Not to be outdone, Ken Blake ATMG, CL reported that he believes that the “initiation rites” rumor is NOT a hoax and cautioned fellow toastmasters not to “flash” their lights at oncoming cars with their headlights off and to add a “Don’t shoot, I’m not a tourist!” sign to their car, just in case. ne hart did an astonishing job on her 5th speech entitled “Focus!” She eloquently recounted a fund raising dinner that she helped orchestrate and easily met the goal of the speech which was to use “body language and gestures” proving that through song, mime and acting, that it is important to use focus to accomplish even the biggest tasks well. Club #28’s youngest, perhaps it’s oldest as well, member, Monica Walley CL delivered one of her best speeches yet titled “Toastmasters: The Best Thing on the Menu” where she delighted us with how Toastmaste5rs has helped her organization and communication skills. She said that the Toastmasters program has taught her to “think on her feet and problem solve” and the program has made her a “richer person all around!” Returning member Brain Wheeler ATMB said that he had to “really stretch” to find room for improvement in Diane Hart’s speech and that she scored  “Perfect on every count”, his only suggestion to her was not to use the word “okay’ as a segue. Fantastic job Diane! Ken Blake ACG, CL, who was introduced as “our next Area 33 Governor” beamed with pride as he evaluated Monica’s bocial variety, facts, smile and he applauded her on her organizational skills that made it all “come together” . His suggestions to Monica were to get rid of her notes and not do the “cha cha cha” behind the lectern. General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL followed the 2nd evaluation with a general evaluation of the meeting which was full of praise for the job that Steve did as Toastmaster, the brilliant questions and answers in Table Topics as well as the premium speeches and evaluations. He praised the work that was done by the Analysis and Amplification Collective (AAC) which consisted of Timer Jim Stitt, AH Counter Sean Dunn, Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton and first time Vote Counter Frank Adams CC. The Grammarian Report by Carolyn should also receive marked acclaim due to the intricate beauty of well chosen phases and of Carolyn’s ability to create visual images with words. Ribbons were handed out to Frank Adams CC for best Table Topics, Monica Walley CL for Best Speech and Most Improved  and Brian Wheeler ATMB for being the best Evaluator. Our welcomed guest Eduardo said that he’d only been to one meeting in Mexico prior to the Orlando Toastmasters meetings. He never thought he would enjoy Toastmasters from having to sit through that meeting. “It was three hours long!”  he said “and Chaotic!” but he went on to say that the meeting on this night with Club #28 restored his faith in Toastmasters and he found the evening very enjoyable, interesting and entertaining!”  On this night, Club #28 was proof that superb Toastmasters meetings are no hoax! [c S/kW]

The second meeting of 2011 on January 13th of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had the theme of “It is OK to Fail Because You Will Be In Good Company!” and it got off to a thoughtful start with a prayerful invocation by new member E J Jones for the recovery of Congresswoman Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of the Arizona shootings. She also reminded us of the upcoming holiday in honor of the slain statesman Martin Luther King Jr. and that “Freedom is not free.” Club President Steve Wood noted that we had two new guests who both found us online and were warmly welcomed. Shannon Knibble said that she wanted to add more “spice to life” and Monica Artau strives to sharpen her oral presentation skills and become proficient in English as she is in Spanish. Chris August returned and happily announced that he is ready to join Club #28 and received a loud applause and a hearty “whoo hoo!” from club member Carolyn Stapleton and others. The club was delighted to see Kayla Sorel-Bazil return after a few weeks missing as well as Dr. Ross Thomson ACB, CL who last attended our Humorous Speech contest in September. In other club news, Ken Walley ATMG, CL read an e-mail sent to him from club member Richard Hendrix, who is now a new heart recipient. He said that he is doing well although not out “of the woods” but he is out of ICU! Everyone gave a big “whoo hoo” for Richard “You cannot keep a good man down” Hendrix. Recently re-joined club member Brian Wheeler ATMB jumped back in the saddle as Toastmaster and introduced the theme “It is OK to Fail Because You Will Be In Good Company.” He introduced Marietta Bolatete serving as Grammarian who choose the word “tenacious” as the word of the day. Jim Stitt gave an exceptional AH Counter explanation professing to relish announcing those flaws with “the bell.” The inimitable Ken Walley ATMG, CL served aptly as Table Topics Master. After noting that Oprah Winfrey handled failure by eating “30 pounds of Mac and Cheese”,  Ken asked Sean Dunn about “good ways to deal with failure”. His second question went to E J Jones who was asked to give examples of how failure can be a “blessing in disguise”. Chris August was asked how he defines “success and failure”. Chris said that “Success is how you handle failure” and suggested to see failure as an “inconvenience”.  Carolyn Stapleton used her own unparalleled wisdom to explain the Mike Ditka quote that “Success is not permanent and failure is not fatal”. Saying that all is transient, the only thing that abides is real success gained by “picking yourself up” and moving on. The finial question was posed of our guest Monica Artau: “When or why is failure a good thing?” She stated that sometimes we have to fail in order to succeed. Brian Wheeler ATMB provided anecdotal evidence that “it is OK to fail” citing examples of  people who overcame failure and yet achieved greatness such as Mike Marshall the football Hall of Famer who once ran a “backwards touchdown” to score a safety for the other team and Michael Jordan the Basketball legend who was once cut from his High School team because of “lack of skills.” Next came two of Club #28’s most excellent speakers, Malita Clarke gave an interesting and informative speech titled “Splitting Headache” on the same subject. It contained excellent research on the many different varieties and symptoms associated with headaches. The speech closed with “knowledge is power” for a “newer, better, improved you in 2011.” A powerful speech indeed. Past Club #28 President Wilner Luders CC, gave a 20 minute speech on the “Selling Process in Five Steps” and encouraged all to approach sales as a problem solver, rather than as a person manipulator as well as to “throw off rejection and objection” The vivacious Diane Hart gave the evaluation for Malita Clarke and applauded her on her research, speech variation and body language. Using roses as a metaphor for praise, Diane presented a “blunt thorn’ in the form of the suggestion that she could have used her notes less but said that she surely has “another career ahead of her”  in the field of public speaking. The second evaluator Dr. Ross Thomson ATMB, CL gave a discerning and helpful evaluation of Wilner’s speech in which he recognized Wilner’s great stance, smile, humor, storytelling and encouraged him to use more vocal variety and augment his speech with “play dialogue” or other forms of “showmanship.” Jamie Waters ACB was our gentle General Evaluator and commented that Malita Clarke‘s “refreshing take on migraines almost takes away the pain.”  The Constructive Consultation and Efficiency Commission (CCEC) on this evening included Marietta Bolatete who gave her first Grammarian Report and impressed everyone present, the AH Counter Jim Stitt who also delivered an absolutely stellar UM/AH report  that proved that he is not as “bell-happy” as he at first said that he would be, as well as our Timer, Barbara Cusack CC, CL and first time Vote Counter Sean Dunn. Brian Wheeler ATMB closed with a story about Dizzy Dean the baseball great, who after being hit in the noggin with a baseball, said that the “Doctors had X-rayed my head and found nothing there!” Ribbons were presented by Vote Counter Sean Dunn to E J for Table Topics, Wilner for the Best Speech, Mailita for Most Improved and Dr. Ross for the Best Evaluator. The closing feedback from our guests was also a highlight of the evening! Shannon Kibble felt “Warm and welcome” and said that Club #28 seemed to her as being “cohesive and concerned with each other” as well as a warm environment that was interested in “learning an growing.” Shannon said that she felt “comfortable already!”  Monica Artau reported on the warm welcome and said the meeting was “well structured” with many “different types” including members that are happy to return. In closing, Ken Blake ACG, CL  announced that the imminent return of two more beloved past Toastmaster from years gone by was as relayed to him by Dr. Michael Deichen CC, CL and his wife Susan Deichen CC! We look forward to seeing them return. This meeting was surly no failure… and I think that was because of the good company that we had on this evening! [c S/kW]

2011 got off to an auspicious start for Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 with the first meeting of the new year on January 6, 2011 aptly themed “New Beginnings.” The lovely and eloquent  Diane Hart  our newly appointed Sergeant-at -Arms, called the meeting to order for her first time and Carolyn Stapleton  our newly appointed Secretary quoted Lao Tsu for the Invocation and made the happy announcement that fellow Club #28 toastmaster Richard Hendrix was receiving his new heart and might, at that very moment be recovering from his heart-transplant surgery! Carolyn asked for our thoughts and prayers for Richard. Steve Wood Club #28’s newly appointed President acted double duty as Toastmaster as well as the President and pledged that his 1st act as President was to help new toastmasters find “easy jobs” to make public speaking effortless, like being the Toastmaster or the Table Topics Master for example. Steve had the pleasure of introducing five guests including long-lapsed members Club #28 Brian Wheeler ATMB and Jim Stitt! They brought with them Sean Dunn who said he wanted to “go forth and be counted!” David Beagle who was a first time visitor as well as being newly graduated and looking for ways to improve upon leadership skills. A return visitor, Chris August said that being involved in Club #28 “is his new years resolution.” When “President Wood” became “Toastmaster Wood”  he reminded us that there is always a chance at a new start. He mentioned a homeless man by the name of Ted Williams who was caught on camera using a professional “Golden Voice”  and went from being a transient street person to a “new beginning” complete with TV fame, job offers etc. through the miracle of Youtube!  “If it happened to him, think what we can do!” said Steve. Steve also in his own inimitable fashion, was the first to use the “word of the day” to illustrate to the visitors the zeal with which Club #28 acknowledges the use of the word of the day! Yes, you guessed it, the w.o.d. was zeal. Table Topics Master Barbara Cusack CC, CL vowed to “do something she’s uncomfortable with” in 2011, like being the Table Topics Master, as well as putting into practice the “10-10-80″ principle and asked Frank Adams CC if he would implement that or some other forms of meaningful tithe/savings plans in 2011. Frank Adams CC was not only aware of this but has socked away 10% of his Disney Dollars for the last 20 years! His current resolution is an “old school idea” to use cash instead of credit to find financial peace in 2011. The next Table Topic went to the well-spoken Malita Clarke who replied to the question of “new health habits in 2011″ She envisioned  a “destination” race/ marathon, perhaps on a Chilean Mountain range? It was good to see Malita back after being away for awhile. Welcome back Malita!  Wilner Luders CC was posed the question about how to balance work, family and church. He said that he had plans to return to school in 2011 but that he will still prioritize what is truly meaningful  and balance the needs of family with the quality of life improvement that education will bring. Guest Jim Stitt was asked how he is going to improve his “spiritual connection.”  Jim planned to use the new year to better himself and hopefully attend church more often in addition to attending Toastmasters! Another guest David Beagle, said his “new years resolutions” are to “improve his communication skills” and to secure a leadership role job.  He knows that Toastmasters is a way to help him reach his goals. Barbara cheered him on saying “It works if you work it, and you’re worth it!”  Steve Wood was restored to the lectern where he queried members and guests about the Table Topics Master position. “Did that look hard?” he joked, “you don’t even have to answer any questions!”  He then moved on to his “favorite part” of the meeting: the speeches! The first speaker of the night was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave an amazing and seemingly effortless  “hip-pocket”  speech titled “How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking“. Ken created wonderful word pictures of the lectern being held “tighter than a teddy bear by a child” and recognized that most of us join Toastmasters to overcome a fear “greater than flying or dying”. In rapt attention we listened as he taught us in several easy steps how to “make the butterflies fly in formation” and to run “towards the opportunities to speak” instead of running away from the fear of speaking. He used baseball legend Pete Rose as an example of someone who always “ran it out” even if it looked like a hopeless grounder or pop-out. When he did, he often he would find himself safe on base. “In public speaking,  always run it out!”  Speaking second was Marietta Bolatete who gave a masterful 2nd speech, chocked full of zeal, titled “Get Engaged in 2011!” While noting that she planned to get married over the coming year she also planned to focus on taking healthy action in 2011. She explained that “engagement” includes your body and your breath and what you put in it as well as the more you put in… the more you get out. She gave us numerous ideas to improve fitness, vitality, vigor and reach optimal health and wellness, not just the absence of disease. She gave us three mandates: stop poisoning yourself, cleanse and detoxify and lastly to regenerate with sleep and proper nutrition.  All excellent ideas and great for New Beginnings!  Next came the evaluations of our two speeches with Frank Adams CC speaking first to evaluate Ken Walley‘s (ATMG, CL) speech. He got a giant laugh when he said he felt like John the Baptist baptizing Jesus” and likened Ken to the “Michael Jordan of Toastmasters” when the laughter subsided, Frank enumerated the many high points of his “masterful” speech and made a personal note to follow in his footsteps by incorporating greater vocal variety and modulation into his own speeches. Jamie Waters ACB was the evaluator of Marietta’s motivational speech while sighting great organization, delivery, confidence, facial expression  and her obvious potential as a very competent and knowledgeable public health speaker who has the education and the ability to “speak from the heart.”  General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL called both evaluations this evening as being “contest worthy” and he gave the meeting itself a grade of A+ speaking with great zeal and aplomb at seeing the room filled with new guests and returning members!. Of course the meeting could never have reached this high level of distinction without the help from the Inscription and Recitation Panel (IRP) that consisted of Timer Malita Clarke, AH Counter Monica Walley CL, Grammarian Diane Hart and 1st time Vote Counter E J Jones. Diane’s Grammarian report applauded all for their “heroic” use of the w.o.d. Monica gave an excellent AH Counter report even if she said that she had missed a couple ahs & ums because she was so caught up in the meeting! E J Jones did a superior job of presenting the ribbons. All of them gave sublime efforts. The flood of praise from our guests Brian Wheeler ATMB, Jim Stitt, Sean Dunn, David Beagle and Chris August was overwhelming. Chris summed it up with how important it is to have encouragement for “something that is as scary to some as dying!” All of our guests asked about joining the club and after the meeting it was announced that Brian, Jim and Sean had became our newest members! Welcome Sean and welcome back Brian and Jim! The meeting ended at 8:30 followed by the buzz of new members, visitors and camaraderie. This was a magnificent meeting and a striking new beginning for Club #28 and 2011!                                            [c S/kW]

The room was brightly lit with Christmas lights and there was enough holiday decorations brought in by our Club #28 members to make the Herndon Branch Library meeting room look like Santa’s workshop for the 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club Christmas Party and Installation of Officers on December 16th, 2010. Carolyn Stapleton also brought us chocolate treats (and eggnog!) and the mood was festive and full of cheer. Starting this special evening was the new Sergeant-at Arms Diane Hart who called the gathering to order and also covered for Richard Hendrix who was called out of the room at the last moment for a very important phone call. Diane led us in the invocation by telling us a Christmas memory and leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance. For the last time as President  Wilner Luders CC welcomed our guests. They were Erlean (“E J”) J ones and Gale ______ and then Wilner gave a brief  holiday greeting. He introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Ken Walley ATMG, CL  who expressed his joy at the opportunity to be this evening’s Toastmaster as well as making this a part of his Christmas season tradition. Another tradition, Ken’s annual “Ho! Ho! Ho!” laugh delighted the young and old alike. Ken introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Frank Adams CC who was giving his Competent Communicator Award Graduation Speech! Frank’s speech titled “Living a Life of Integrity” was another inspiring and insightful speech from one of the club’s most dynamic speakers. Using Charles Dickens‘s “A Christmas Carol” as a metaphor,  Frank showed how the elements of Faith, Hope, Passion and Love can help to create a life of moral honor and fulfillment. During the presentation, Frank played a part of the resignation speech of Robert McKirken who was leaving his job as the President of a Bible College to care for his Alzheimer’s disease stricken wife. Everyone in the room were greatly moved by his words. Congratulations to Frank for earning his CC award! As the Master of Ceremonies Ken did ask one Table Topics question, directed towards Ken Blake ACG, CL: “How do you stay warm on a cold Florida night?” Ken B. sang the praises of a space heater he owned which was also recommended by home building guru Bob Villa. Ken B. likewise sang the praises of Frank’s speech as his evaluator giving  him an early gift of  positive feedback. Before going on to the second part of the meeting Ken Walley ATMG, CL. gave Richard Hendrix a chance to read his prepared invocation that he was unable to do so at the start of the meeting. It was an exciting holiday tale but even more moving was Richard’s announcement that the phone call he rushed to answer earlier was the good news that he had been accepted for the “short list” of heart transplant recipients. It was a  fantastic Christmas wish come true for Richard. The second part of the meeting or the “changing of the guard” started as outgoing Club #28 President Wilner Luders CC gave his “Farewell Address“. Wilner said that “opportunities come to those who serve” and stated that the rewards of being the club president were many and diverse. He praised the club for its cultural diversity and the support that it gives its leaders. He was also happy to say that he would be back as the Vice President of Public Relations in the next administration. Following Wilner’s speech was the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony which was administered by our Area 32 Area Governor Elon Horsham ACG, CL. Elon masterfully inducted Sgt. at Arms Diane Hart, Treasurer Barbara Cusack, CC; Secretary Carolyn Stapleton, Vice President of Public Relations Wilner Luders, CC; Vice President of Membership Frank Adams, CC; Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL and President Steve Wood. Amid a loud ovation of bravos and cheers, new Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President Steve Wood approached the lectern to give his “Inaugural Address“. In his address he noted that a Toastmaster President is not like the President of a country. “A Toastmaster President has no navy, no army and no pay.” He spoke about how he looked forward toward guiding the club to reaching it goals and how the position offered him an opportunity to improve his own speaking skills. His speech while rich in humor was also rich in hope for the club’s future. After Steve’s address, Ken Walley ATMG, CL called for a standing ovation for Frank Adams CC for winning his CC award and the outgoing and incoming presidents Wilner Luders CC and Steve Wood!  Ken himself was given an award by Area Governor Elon Horsham ACG, CL for completing his Leadership Excellence program. In his closing remarks Ken reminded the club of the many accomplishment they had achieved over the past year and he wished everyone a very happy holiday season. Joining the club on this special evening was Earlean “EJ” Jones. Welcome EJ! Which only leaves us to say…A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The last regular meeting of the year for Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 with the theme of “Transitions” on December 9th 2010 also marked the end of Wilner Luder‘s (CC) brilliant term as Club #28 President. So it was fitting that Wilner took charge of the meeting as our Toastmaster as well. Wilner spoke about how change and transitions are a part of everyone’s life; be it a transition from childhood to adulthood or from one career to another. Having to adapt in life tests both our strengths and abilities. Also showing a skillful talent of adaptation were our club members who answered the verbal quests of the Table Topics Master Ken Blake ACG, CL. Ken, an auto mechanic, had first thought that the theme was “transmissions” instead of “transitions” but was able to overcome his disappointment  with some excellent questions. “If transitions are like a ‘glue'” asked Ken, “when was the last time that you were stuck on an idea?” Marietta Bolatete remembered overcoming the challenge of fixing a broken toilet without a plumbing background. Christopher Berns was asked to describe the changes in his future. Christopher said he looked forward to a career as an emergency room nurse and working in an intensive care unit! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what transitions he had gained from being in Toastmasters. Ken spoke about gaining self-confidence and being able to speak in front of groups of people without fear. Steve Wood was asked if he had prepared for the transition to become the new president of Club #28? Steve remembered the ill-fated leap of America into the metric system and said he was not putting limitations for change on the future. The two speeches tonight were both inspiring and motivational. They were also powerful speeches by two of the club’s best speakers. Frank Adams‘s speech “Marshmallows” spoke of the rewards of patience starting with making the audience wait while he tied his shoes. He told of an experiment with school children that tested their ability to wait for an award of an extra marshmallow. The study showed that those who had patience often succeeded in life far better than those who could not wait. It was hard to wait for our next speaker as well. Richard Hendrix, like Frank Adams, had many club members waiting in anticipation for his next speech. Richard’s speech was titled “How To Go From Good to Great!”   Richard explained that it was the “little differences”  that often separated those who truly succeeded at what he or she wanted from life from those who simply “got by”. Richard explained that it was often those who worked just a “little harder” or made the “little adjustments”, such as breaking bad habits or showing dedication to improvement, that paid off big time in the end. It is hard to remember two speeches that were so meaningful and beautifully performed given both on the same night. The evaluations were also remarkable. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the General Evaluator and asked Diane Hart to stand and explain what an evaluation was for our guest Robert Radloff. Diane did so with such eloquence and perfection that it should have been taped for future educational purposes. Ken then had the pleasure of introducing two very accomplished Toastmaster teachers in Carolyn Stapleton and Barbara Cusack CC, CL. Carolyn gave a very balanced and helpful evaluation of Frank’s speech that would have been a challenge to any evaluator. Barbara as well, noted that Richard’s speaking ability captures the attention of the audience so intently that any physical disability is not even noticed. As much as the speakers and evaluators were a part of the success of the meeting, the same could be said for those who served on the Continuance and Documentation Headquarters (CDH): Timer Kayla Sorel-Bazil, Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton, AH Counter Mariette Bolatete and Vote Counter Christopher Berns. All did exceedingly well in their duties. This was one of those remarkable meetings that “follow you around” as you transition back into the “real world” past the meeting room door. It was a great way to cap off a remarkable series of meetings throughout 2010.

One thing that was for sure was that the December 2, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Things That Could Never Be!” theme meeting was simply fantastic! Inspired and led by Steve Wood, the club looked at the impossible and found that the impossible often became probable. Steve told of a number of things that truly were beyond the edge of reality like “A kitten cannot always stay a kitten” and some once thought to be true that have fallen besides that barrier, such as “Mankind will never walk on the moon!” as well as ideas that have become commonplace, for example: “Mankind will never fly!” Helping in the quest to define the reality of possible and impossible, was Table Topics Master Richard Hendrix. Richard gave us a list of the “10 Most Stupid things People said would Never Be”. The list include Bill Gates comment that 640K was enough for any computer.” and the words of a former head of the US patent office in the late 1800’s: “All things that can be invented, have been invented!” Richard had some questions for the group on the subject starting with Ken Blake ACG, CL who was asked “If you found the fountain of youth what year and time would you go back to?”  Ken said to 1974 to buy a car that he passed up on that is now worth over a million dollars. Monica Walley was given the question of what is now thought impossible that she thinks might actually come to be. Monica remembered the “replicator” from the TV Star Trek series and thought in her lifetime, with the current speed of technology, it might someday exist. Wilber Luders CC was given the question of world peace but Wilner was not entirely optimistic only saying that the answer is still a big “maybe”. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about biogenetics and what animal he might like to create by breeding two animals. He said “a pig and an eagle” so that he could see “pigs fly” and then everything would be possible!  Our guest Andrew Schaefer was given the question of “If aliens came to the Earth how would they best communicate with us?” Besides being friendly, said Andrew they would have to come down to our level of understanding and not be threatening.” All of the answers were very interesting and thought provoking as could have been said of our two speeches. The first speech was a special occasion for Club #28: Marietta Bolatete‘s Ice Breaker speech titled “Life’s Twists and Turns!” Marietta gave us a spellbinding journey of her life and of  its up and downs including being born in the Philippines, playing guitar in a band, earning a BA in Psychology, becoming a tennis player, singing in choir and eventually, coming to the United States to be a health and wellness events director. It was a wonderful 1st speech that was rich in talent and adventure. Speaking next was Carolyn Stapleton who’s speech, titled “Move Over Dr. Moreau” dwelt on the horrors of biogenetics and genetically modified organisms or GMO’s. Carolyn educated Club #28 with some incredible facts about mismanagement at the top of the food industry and the irresponsibility of US regulators that could lead to major world-wide health concerns in the very near future. It was a powerful and enlightening speech! Also powerful and enlightening were the evaluations of our speakers. Led by General Evaluator, Wilner Luders CC, two of Club #28 most esteemed toastmasters, Ken Blake ACG, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave outstanding advice and encouragement for our speakers. Also upbeat was Wilner’s “meeting evaluation” which praised the theme, table topics, speeches, evaluations and the excellent effort by our Toastmaster Steve Wood. This meeting could not have been such a success with out the efforts of our Recording and Sanction Board  (RSB) consisting of Timer Monica Walley, Grammarian Diane Hart, Vote Counter Kayla Sorel-Bazil and AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Before giving his report, Ken Walley ATMG CL  noted that two members of the club had not had a chance to speak, so he asked a question of both George De Jesus and Mark Gumula CC. George spoke about coming to more Toastmasters meetings and Mark gave an very positive review of the meeting. Joining the chorus of positive feedback were our guests Samone Lett , Andrew Schaefer and Laura Crisan all of whom we hope will soon become part of our club. This club proved that one thing that CAN be: is a fabulous meeting!!

As the holiday season approaches, the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has had a tradition of looking back with gratitude with a Thanksgiving theme meeting. This year’s November 18, 2010 meeting started with a special Invocation and Pledge by Mariette Bolatete titled “Being Thankful in the Face of Adversity“. Hosting this special evening was Toastmaster Jamie Waters ACB who served up a fantastic feast of Thanksgiving history, personal memories and traditions. Among other things, Jamie reminded us to be thankful for many blessings, especially our families and friends. Also carving up a slice of Thanksgiving nostalgia was Table Topics Master Diane Hart. “Have you ever experienced a non-traditional thanksgiving?” was a question for Richard Hendrix who remembered a Thanksgiving dinner that consisted of Cheeseburgers! He thought that by having everyone bring a different topping it would be a  creative way to bring people together! Her next question was to Carolyn Stapleton asking if she had ever “almost forgotten Thanksgiving.” Carolyn told a story how she was hit on the head with an apple at a young age and suffered a coma and had erased all memory of Thanksgiving! In her recovery, she had to re-learn and re-experience the holiday from scratch. It must have been a really heavy apple! Wilner Luders CC was asked if he had ever received a gift and not felt as if he was properly thankful. He said yes, but it was rare when that happens as he is most always thankful for any gift, help or blessing. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked if there was a time when others had not shone her the proper gratitude. She remembered cleaning houses and getting little praise for a lot of hard work. She said that sometimes we fall short with our best efforts and that is why she likes the way that Club #28 always tries to focus on the positive. We had two different types of speeches at this meeting from the “two Kens”. Ken Walley ATMG, CL went first with a speech that warned us about a very powerful corporation that bordered on the monopolization of the farming industry. The company, named Monsanto was the subject of a speech titled “Monsanto: The Evil Empire!”  Ken gave a scathing review of a company he felt might cause a danger to public health and safety. The second speech, on a much more light-hearted theme was by Ken Blake ACG, CL with the title of “The Pomegranate!” The lesson here was that Toastmasters are, in a way, a lot like that very seedy fruit. If prepared correctly, they produce the finest and sweetest juice. But it takes some work to get there. His speech was funny, and even poignant in places. The General Evaluator was Barbara Cusack CC, CL  who introduced two Toastmasters who came prepared to give sensational evaluations. Frank Adams gave a very professional and extremely helpful report on Ken W.’s speech. The other evaluation, by Monica Walley  CL was also worthy of an evaluation contest. Monica gave solid insight into Ken B.’s speech. Barbara was very upbeat and positive in her meeting review, not only of the excellent evaluations but also of the other sections of the meeting as well. The “dessert” was still to come! The reports by our AH Counter Wilner Luders CC and Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton were brilliant. Carolyn outdid herself with a spectacular Grammarian report that brought back memories of the Grammarian reports once delivered by the late Club #28 legend Dennis Gola ACG, CL. The other members of the Recommendation and Computation Council (RCC) were the Timer Marietta Bolatete and the Vote Counter Richard Hendrix who also performed distinctively. Sadly, there were no guests to enjoy this delicious meeting but it was like a family had gathered together and feasted on a cornucopia of Toastmasters treats!  You could almost taste the turkey and smell the pumpkin pie!

The theme of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 11th 2010 meeting was for the first time, amazingly enough “Toastmasters!” A toastmaster perfectly suited to leading a meeting about Toastmasters was Mark Gumula CC who noted that Toastmasters International now has 260,000 members in 12,500 clubs in 113 countries! Mark sang the praises of how Toastmasters has improved the lives of, and has opened new opportunities to, thousands of people. Also providing background and acclaim for the non-profit organization was Table Topics Master Carolyn Stapleton who came prepared with a few very interesting questions. She started with a question for Diane Hart asking her if Toastmasters had given her the power to “stand up and speak out”. Diane was honest saying that she had never had a problem with speaking her mind but that Toastmasters had helped her to do it a little better. Carolyn asked Frank Adams to put into words a time at which he felt exhilarated and empowered. Frank remembered when he was a manager at a Disney World theme park when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. He remembered having to help clear the parks and keep the guests safe and the surprisingly supportive reaction he received in that situation. The third question as asked of Jamie Waters ACB: “What have you gained from the connections that you have made at Toastmasters? Jamie said that he was the member of three clubs and he had made great friends in all of them. He said that he was faced with a choice of having to leave one of the clubs but he could not make up his mind which one to leave. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked “what was the best advice you were ever given at Toastmasters?” Ken said it came from his early mentors in the club which was “Keep going with the program and do not give up.” Taking that advice was one of the best things he had ever done. The final question was directed at Steve Wood. Carolyn inquired “of all that you have learned in Toastmasters what who you like to pass on to others?”  Steve said  it was that the not really what you have learned but that the real point was to keep on learning. Steve noted that Toastmasters was a perfect forum for acquiring knowledge from others that you would not normally come in contact with. A Toastmasters meeting would not be a success without speeches! and on this night there were two excellent offerings from Frank Adams  and Wilner Luders CC, CL! Starting with Frank Adams speech, titled “DWT is the new DWI” he gave a warning about the dangers of texting on cell phones while driving. This has become the latest and most dangerous hazard of driving on our streets and highways. Frank called for more regulations and warned of future tragedies if something was not done soon. Wilner’s speech was a fascinating look into Ponzi Schemes titled “What is the Cost of Trust and Deceit?: Ponzi Schemes”  Wilner traced the devious world of financial investor fraud from Charles Ponzi to Bernard Madoff, explaining how these ruses work and how to avoid them. These speeches were both interesting, helpful, informative and fun to listen too. So were the evaluations by Diane Hart and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Introduced by General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, CL, Diane gave her first speech evaluation before a toastmasters meeting and made it an impressive debut. Giving excellent advice and insight, she also provided due credit to Frank’s skilled speech. The second evaluation was by Ken Walley ATM, CL of Wilner’s presentation which was another inspired example of speech appraisal. Ken B. noted in his meeting evaluation that this evening’s effort contained excellent table topics, speeches and evaluations, a perfect combination for a magnificent meeting. You can add to that the contributions of the Instruction and Measurement Committee (IMC)  which consisted of the Grammarian James Waters ACB, the AH Counter Barbara Cusack CC, CL, Vote Counter Steve Wood and the club’s newest member, Marietta Bolatete‘s 1st time as the club’s Timer. Both of our guests Karen Z _____ and and returning guest Marlou Defoe had truly positive and uplifting comments on the events of this night. If ever there ever was a meeting to showcase the qualities of Toastmasters this was it. As they say:  It is best when you lead by example!

The November 4th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Mass Media” themed meeting was so good it should have been broadcast worldwide! Appropriately, Ken Walley ATMG, CL started off the evening with an invocation from the words of Oprah Winfrey. Leading the overview of the power and scope of the Mass Media was Toastmaster Wilner Luders CC. He brought to light how the avalanche of information that is projected at the public both shapes us and manipulates us. Continuing the theme was the Table Topics Master Jamie Waters ACB. Jamie noted that term “Mass Media” was very extensive and asked our newest club member, Marietta Bolatete to give an example of  a TV show that could be truly classified as “mass media”. Marietta pointed out that network news shows were a good example because they provide information and try to reach as large an audience as possible. Steve Wood was asked if advertising on the internet should be regulated. Steve noted that ads are annoying and that pop-ups seem to be everywhere, but said it was possible to deal with them without state regulation. Richard Hendrix commented on a California ordinance that does not allow for a toy to be served with a child’s meal at fast food restaurants if the nutrition content of the meal is not up to state standards. Richard thought it was a “strange law” but was not surprised by “anything that the state of California does.” Diane Hart was given the question on if the news media should “not be let in” on certain right-of- privacy issues. She noted in a free society the right of the press should not be hampered by censorship and that rules on “when to let the press in or out were a slippery-slope.” She added: “I’m Diane Hart and I approved this message!” Mark Gumula CC was asked how democracy and freedom of the press were related. Mark said that in a true democracy, it is necessary to give the press complete freedom. “Other than complete freedom, the state has control over the people instead of it being the opposite way.” Well said. Reaching the wide audience of those in the meeting room, were two excellent speakers who gave two sensational speeches. Frank Adams was our first speaker, already on his 7th speech and providing another eye-opening presentation titled “A Winning Business Formula.”  Based on the Walt Disney World Company business principles, Frank laid out the blueprint that has helped that company reach such a high level of success. Among the ideas offered were “Exceeding guest expectations”, “Acting on guest feedback”, “Investing in staff and recognition of performance excellence” and “Maximizing profits and controling cost.”  His speech was another great example of presenting a lot of helpful information in a short amount of time! Speaking next, was Kayla Sorel-Bazil who was giving her only 2nd speech but showed dramatic improvement over her Ice Breaker speech just a month ago. Kayla’s speech, titled “Natural Disasters: The Dawn of the Ice Age” was a primer in how to survive a coming Ice Age! The picture that she painted “3/4’s of the world’s surface will be coved in Ice…” did not lend itself to great optimism for those of us in Florida. It was a terrific speech on a very different and interesting subject! “Terrific” could also be said of the job that the Master Evaluator Mark Gumula CC did as he led the evaluation section of the meeting. Jamie Waters ACB and Ken Walley ATMG, CL supported Mark’s efforts as the evaluators (for Frank and Kayla’s speeches respectively) both of them giving strong appraisals with the emphasis on praise. Mark also gave an excellent meeting perspective as well in his general meeting review. The Production Assistance Crew (PAC) consisted of Timer Richard Hendrix, AH Counter Steve Wood, Grammarian Diane Hart and serving for her first time as the Vote Counter, Marietta Bolatete. All of them did perfect work. It was announced that Jamie Waters ACB had earned his Advance Communicator Bronze Award last week and that the club had added a new member in Marietta Bolatete. Congratulations Jamie and welcome Marietta! Worthy of the mass media itself and certainly a lot better than many of the shows on TV, this Club #28 Toastmasters evening was only attended by a few. That was a shame because it really was a  thumb’s up (***** out of five) meeting!

There were no “Boos” at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 28th 2010 Halloween theme meeting. Carolyn Stapleton started off the meeting with an excellent invocation and pledge. Our Toastmaster for this haunted evening was Barbara Cusack CC, CL who instead of giving a dry history of the holiday, told us about the UNICEF “trick or treat” program and read us amazing poems written by children about the bewitching evening. Giving Club #28’s members and guests some “trick” questions was our Table Topics Master Diane Hart and she got some real “treats” for answers. The first question was asked of Wilner Luders who had arrived late and just walked in the door. “Did you have any imaginary friends or monsters who scared you when you were a child?”  Wilner told a great story that featured zombies and how later in life he would walk through cemeteries to prove to himself that the “dead have no power over the living.”  Returning guest Darrin Driver was given the question “Do remember a time when someone played a scary trick on you?” Darrin did not remember any time in which he had been tricked but he remembered the time he sent his friend, dressed as Jason from the Friday the 13th movies, to scare his sister! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if he believed in Guardian Angels. Ken admitted that there were times in his life when he could not explain how he had overcome seemingly overwhelming obstacles. He said that he has always “felt” a presence was around him. Although there were only three table topics questions on this night, they were all very well done. Speaking of threes, tonight was the first time since the beginning of August that Club #28 had presented three speakers! It was a remarkable night of excellent speeches starting with Richard Hendrix giving only his 2nd speech and performing a brilliant, flawless presentation titled “Save the Seventeen!”  Taking note of how 17 people die each day waiting for organ transplants, Richard made an impassioned plea to all to consider becoming an organ donor. Being in the situation of waiting for an organ donation himself,  he explained that it was like standing in back of a line with the “entire population of Winter Park, Maitland and Apopka combined.” His speech was one of the most professionally delivered performances in Club #28’s long history. Malita Clarke was up to the challenge of following Richard’s speech with a strong offering of her own. In a speech titled “What Do You Do?” she explained the challenges, nuances and pressures of being charged with pricing merchandise for a giant retail company. “As you can imagine the many complex calculations,” pondered Malita, ” but it is still an Art!  How much is just enough and not too much, today, but maybe not for tomorrow?” She made her job an entertaining and fascinating subject. Speaking third was Ruble Nedumkunnel CC who had been away from the club for a time and has since moved to Melbourne, Florida. He came tonight to give one last speech and say “goodbye” to the club. His speech was on the subject of how to give a great speech. He did disappoint with a speech appropriately titled “Unleash the Speaker In You!” . Did he ever! He gave a nine minute clinic on public speaking that was both powerful and exciting. Ruble later received a standing ovation for his service to the club. He will be missed. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  served as the General Evaluator and introduced two cultivated evaluators in Carolyn Stapleton for Richard’s speech and Jamie Waters CC for Malita’s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL himself did the honors for Ruble’s presentation. Ken noted in the Meeting Review that the evaluations were brilliant. Kelly Driver, a guest from last week, filled in as our Vote Counter and headed up a strong functionary team with Ken Blake ACG, CL as the Timer, Mark Gumula CC as the Grammarian and Kayla Sorel-Bazil as the AH Counter. Again, all of our guests, Marietta Bolatete, Kelly Driver and Darrin Driver had high praise for the meeting. For a Halloween theme meeting, how good of a meeting that this was will “haunt” our other meetings for weeks to come!  

There was a knowledge explosion at Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 21st 2010 meeting thanks to Toastmaster Steve Wood.  Steve was our host on the theme of “Knowledge Explosion!”. Steve pointed out that the rate of attaining data has outpaced our abilities to process or even store it. Steve brought some astounding facts with him such as that China is soon to become the #1 English speaking country in the world; that there are 31 billion searches on Google every month and that there is now 5 times the amount of words in the English language as in Shakespeare’s time! “We are living in exponential times.” said Steve. Adding to the meeting were the challenging questions put forth by our Table Topics Master Wilner Luders CC. “How has the expansion of knowledge effected the labor market?” was put forth to Frank Adams. He noted that the new data that has flooded the marketplace has led to less human involvement and many skills have been lost because of it. Our guest, Ed Janeczek answered a question about the effects of an influx of new products on the consumer. Ed noted that it is often hard to keep up with everything these days but it is good to have choices. Kelly Driver, another guest, was asked that if she moved to another planet, what information would she take with her? Kelly was practical, suggesting knowledge on how to grow food and make needed tools to survive. Richard Hendrix was asked if we could develop the technology to cope in time with population growth.  Richard was only semi-optimistic, noting that humankind still faces grave problems and new intelligence has not been the answer, so far. This Topics session, would have made for a great TV news dialogue show! It was surprisingly well-done. We had two speeches on this evening that were also top-notch. Starting with Diane Hart, who gave a brilliant speech on how to survive Ozone radiation titled “Slip, Slop, Slap!” . Diane gave a travelogue of Australia and a story on how she ended up the manager of a hostel in Perth. The speech concluded in a group song and dance extolling the joys of sunscreen lotion! Brilliant! Ken Walley ATMG, CL also gave a fabulous speech, even though it was put together on the spur of the moment about the “Fab Four” titled “The Three Stages of the Beatles”. Starting with how the Beatles met and formed to when they stopped doing live concerts and recorded only in the studio to their final break up. He had a plethora of interesting facts about the Beatles. Ken even sang a little of “All You Need is Love” . Doing one of the best presentations in recent history as the General Evaluator was Mark Gumula, CC.  Mark, who showed a flair for introductions and meeting analysis, had the honor of offering two of Club #28’s best evaluators: Ken Blake ACG, CL and Jamie Waters CC to review the speeches of Diane and Ken W. Both of the evaluations included great insight and strong support for the speakers. Also helping to make this meeting a success were the functionaries which included Timer Kayla Soral-Bazil who as well delivered an inspiring Invocation and Pledge to start the meeting. Rounding out the other Specialization Experts were AH Counter Richard Hendrix who also was the Vote Counter and Grammarian Frank Adams. It was Frank’s first time as Grammarian and he came through with a very competent effort! It was great to see the return of Jamie Waters CC who has been away for a time as well as one of our guests, Darrin Driver who joined Club #28 many years ago but only re-surfaced until this evening. Welcome back! Darrin brought with him his wife, Kelly Driver as well. Our other guest, Ed Janeczek along with Kelly and Darrin all had extremely positive comments on the meeting. You will never go to a toastmaster meeting and not learn something new but this night’s successful meeting was truly a knowledge explosion!

The best place that anyone could have been on October 14th 2010 at 7:00pm was at The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Time and Space” theme meeting. This evening’s Toastmaster was Ken Walley ATMG, CL and he compared time and distance in terms of interesting conjectures and observations starting with the “largest object in space”, a 200 million light-year wide structure that looks like a “giant green jellyfish!” Ken also gave facts on the smallest object known to man, ideas on how to go back in time, the international dateline and many other oddities. Also joining in the time/space continuum with a few choice conundrums was Steve Wood as the Table Topics Master. Steve asked Malita Clarke if she would rather explore a star in space or shrink to a very small size and  visit the inside of a human cell?  Malita choose to visit the star. Richard Hendrix was offered the choice of taking a “slow” starship into space or exploring worlds by being teleported. He did not like the idea of being “destroyed and reassembled.” even as Richard said, “if I was not aware of it.” Diane Hart got to answer the question “Is there intelligent life out there in the Universe?” Diane is a believer that there must be as the Universe is so immense. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was given the choice of going back into the past or visiting the future. Ken said that a trip to the future would be a fantastic voyage of new discoveries. Wilner Luders CC was given the question of should we spend vast resources and money to explore space when we have many problems that need our attention on Earth? Wilner said that there must be a balance, but space exploration is worth it. “We will always have pressing problems” explained Wilner, “but progress is paramount.” Ken Blake ACG, CL turned the tables on Steve asking him a table topics question! “What happened to the planet Pluto?” Steve explained that Pluto no longer met “planet criterion”. Someone who met the criterion of an excellent speaker on this night was Club #28 President Wilner Luders, CC who gave an astounding speech titled “Laurels in the Midst of Adversity“. This advanced speech called upon Wilner to give a commencement address to a graduating class. Wilner delivered an inspiring and uplifting appeal to never stop from learning and to set their goals higher than they believed possible. It was a heartfelt plea toward aiming at success in life. The second speech was every bit as moving because it was a true graduation of one of Club #28’s members. Mark Gumula, CC delivered his Competent Communicator  Award graduation speech titled “To Succeed In Club #28” Mark spoke about how the Toastmasters program had made real results in his life and had not only helped him overcome challenges with communication skills but had turned those “challenges” into positives with his career and life! It was an excellent speech worthy of a standing ovation which he received later in the evening. Congratulations Mark! Malita Carke also took a step into the unknown, by taking the initiative to serve as the General Evaluator for her first time. She also gave the evaluation for Wilner’s speech. In both roles, Malita showed the highest skill by using a sharp insight, first-rate guidance and solid encouragement. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave Mark’s evaluation and he praised his incredible progress. The functionaries also put forth their best efforts with a faithfulness to duty that deserved recognition; they were AH Counter Diane Hart, Grammarian Richard Hendrix, Timer Ken Blake ACG, CL and Vote Counter Steve Wood. It is a shame that one cannot go back in time an visit this meeting again. We can only look to the future for more fantastic Club #28 meetings like this one was!

Wednesday October 6, 2010 was an enchanted evening for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Folklore and Fairy Tales!” theme meeting. The Toastmaster of the evening, Malita Clarke cast a spell over the room that created toastmaster magic and she even read us the story of “Rumplestiltskin“! Also spinning a weave of Table Topics fun was Ken Blake ACG, CL who brought a captivating treasure of questions for our members starting with “What is a wish you made that came true?” to Richard Hendrix. Richard remembered hoping that a particularly beautiful girl would someday marry him and she later became his wife. Wilner Luders, CC was asked what day he would make into a national holiday . He said “September 12th” so that we would not dwell on the horrible events of 9/11. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to make up a folklore story or Fairy Tale about “Mew Mew the Kitten (?!)”. Ken came up with a strange tale of a kitten that brought bad luck. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked to pick a nursery rhyme and explain it . She picked “Jack and Jill” saying that it was the story of her life. Diane Hart was asked to comment on a movie that scared her. She choose the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Psycho” saying she had trouble taking showers after she had seen it. Steve Wood was asked to take us on a “Mission to the year 3000″ Steve was skeptical that mankind would even be around then. All of the answers were excellent. We started the speech segment of the meeting with a very special speech by Richard Hendrix. It was not only special because it was an Ice Breaker, titled “The Newest Member of the Oldest Club East of the Rockies” but it was special because anyone who heard it will never forget it. The speech, started with the typical ice breaker information. Richard grew up in Florida in the Merritt Island area, went to UCF and graduated, got married and took a job as sales manager in Orlando. Then Richard dropped a bombshell. Wearing what looked to be a laptop computer in a case, he explained that less than a year ago he went to the doctor for a checkup and was told that his heart was about to fail at any moment. After months in the hospital he was given a blood circulation pump to assist his heart while he waits for a heart transplant! Without the case, indiscreetly attached to him, he probably would not survive for very long! Richard intends to make the most of his life no matter what challenges that he might face! Having to follow that was Barbara Cusack CC, CL who nonetheless gave a memorable speech of her own. Titled “Salsa, Salsa, Salsa!” she gave a demonstration speech from the advanced manual about how to produce, manage and market an idea. Barbara told about how she put her “Four Tias” brand salsa on the market in eight steps from idea to the product in the pantry shelf. It was a truly fascinating journey. These two remarkable speeches deserved two worthy evaluations. Ken Blake ACG, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL did the honors with Ken W. also acting as the General Evaluator. Both of these evaluations were heavy with praise as the speeches themselves were extraordinary and, as Ken pointed out in the meeting evaluation, so was the meeting itself. It was a small gathering in terms of attendance but it was gigantic in terms of enthusiasm. Throughout the meeting the cacophony of wild applause could be heard. Richard received a standing ovation for his Ice Breaker. He might have gotten one even if his speech had not been his first. The functionaries on this night were AH Counter Wilner Luders, CC, Grammarian Diane Hart, Vote Counter Steve Wood with Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Malita Clarke sharing the Timer duties. I wish there had been more on hand to witness a meeting of this caliber but in a way it was like a fairy tale toastmaster meeting and the memory of it will live happily ever-after.

It was a safe bet that the Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Safety and Security” theme meeting would be a success. The topic, as Toastmaster Wilner Luders, CC pointed out, is on everyone’s mind since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. “The concern with safety and security goes beyond just wanting to feel protected” He said “It also shows that there is a massive amount of insecurity that surrounds our world right now. Wilner covered a wide array of issues concerning safety which included everything from the individual feelings of security to the international war on terrorism. “Terrorism can be compared to a Starfish, when a part of it is destroyed it seems to grow back in another place.” Also addressing this important subject was Table Topics Master Steve Wood. Steve asked Carolyn Stapleton if she has or would ever, parachute from an airplane. Carolyn showed that she is really a secret daredevil when she revealed that jumping out of a plane “is on her list!” She also told us about her adventures ziplining. Christopher Berns was asked about the dangerous fad of texting on a cell-phone while driving. Christopher called for legal regulations to curb the practice saying it was “5 times more deadly as not texting and just as dangerous as driving while drunk.” Malita Clarke was a little more undecided when asked about gun control. Admitting that the police often have less firepower than criminals, she still feels that the right to protect herself is important. Kayla Sorel-Bazil was given the question of recent FDA regulations of prescription drugs that had been thought to be “safe”. She said that it sounded really dangerous. Monica Walley CL was given the question if she thought that Social Security benefits would be available when she became of retirement age. She said that she hoped so but that at her age, she had never really given it any thought. Someone who was not “playing it safe” was Diane Hart who was giving her 3rd speech. Diane gave it all she had with a whirl-wind speech titled simply “Taste“. “Who wants to be low-class?” she asked. She made the point that what we listen to, what we watch and what we read becomes a part of us. “Good taste is the norm” she said “but things of low class and bad taste will consume us if we are not conscious of them.” Her speech was filled with beautiful, expressive and articulate language. Speaking second was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who was giving a speech for his High Performance Leadership project titled “Be A Judge!”  Ken’s project is to be the Chief Judge at the upcoming Division C Contests. Ken told about why we have contests, what judges do, how to fill out a judge’s ballot, who is a Chief Judge and he encouraged toastmasters to be contest judges in the future. Ken made this a fun speech and even “held court”. No speaker is safe from evaluations but the speakers could feel secure in knowing that they would get some good advice. Monica Walley CL was our General Evaluator and she had the pleasure of introducing Malita Clarke who gave her very first evaluation reviewing Diane’s speech. She did a great job giving good advice and excellent encouragement and sharing a wealth of her own insight. It was a fantastic first evaluation! Also giving uplifting advice was Ken Blake ACG, CL who praised Ken Walley ATMG, CL in his quest for his DTM. Monica gave another above-par meeting assessment saying that this meeting was important in its theme but was still full of extraordinary energy, brilliant speeches, helpful evaluations and marvelous table topics questions and answers! This could not have been possible without the help of the technical table which consisted of Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton, (who gave one of the best grammarian reports ever heard at a Toastmaster’s meeting), 1st time AH Counter Richard Hendrix, Timer Kayla Sorel-Bazil and Vote Counter Christopher Berns. At the end of the meeting Vice President of Public Relations Mark Gumula took photographs to use on a “Club #28 poster” that is in the works. It was a superlative evening and everyone got out safely!flyer       

Main Picture (L-R) Kayla Sorel-Bazil, Diane Hart, Ken Walley, Ken Blake, Malita Clarke, Monica Walley, Christopher Berns, Richard Hendrix, Carolyn Stapleton, Mark Gumula, Wilner Luders and Steve Wood. Inset Picture: Carolyn Stapleton, Ken Walley, Christopher Berns and Wilner Luders. September 2, 2010.

The September 23, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Heroes” theme meeting found a number of real-life heroes right in the room in which we had the meeting! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the host and Toastmaster as he showed that heroes came from all walks of life and from many different places. Ken covered sports heroes, heroes who changed the entire world, heroes who acted bravely, even heroes who make big changes in small ways. Ken mentioned among many others, John Glenn, Walt Disney, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Robert Kennedy and baseball great Henry Aaron as examples of heroes. He also remembered those who serve or have served in our armed forces mentioning past club members Michael Machata and Jose D. Lopez, CC, CL . He also said there were those in our club who volunteered to help feed the hungry and keep families together who deserve to be called “heroes”. Carrying on the theme was Table Topics Master Wilner Luders CC who brought out some very heroic statements from our members. Doug Creveling  spoke eloquently about heroes when asked to comment on the statement that “It takes heat to make popcorn.” He said heroes work best under pressure and often find they can accomplish more than they realized that they ever could. Steve Wood came through with a remarkable answer speaking on “common sense and being a hero”. He pointed out that understanding rules are often necessary for new  discovery as with Galileo Galilei and Sir Isaac Newton. “How should we look at others knowing that heroes come from all walks of life?” was the question asked of Carolyn Stapleton. “We should greet everyone with grace and dignity, as if you might expect them to be heroes.”  Our newest member, Richard Hendrix was asked “Do you think that heroism is rooted in conviction?” Not always said Richard, but fighting for a cause is often the starting place for heroism. On this night, we also had a brave hero of our own giving her Ice Breaker speech! In her first speech, titled “The Quest”  Kayla Sorel-Bazil  painted a picture of someone willing to take on her fears and overcome them! We learned that she came from Haiti but grew up in Lakeland, got married and works at Disney but her “quest” is to inspire others and be the “dim star in the sky that get brighter the more you look at it”. It was an inspiring first speech. Congratulations Kayla! Also inspiring was our second speaker with a speech that was perfect for the night’s theme. Frank Adams gave his 6th speech titled “Men Whom Inspire!” Frank spoke of three men who had a strong effect on his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan and the founder of an organization to help heal marriages and families, Family Life named Keith Tully. Those three men would have been proud of Frank, for it was Frank that did the inspiring on this night. General Evaluator Barbara Cusack CC, CL did a perfect job of leading the evaluations part of the evening. She started by introducing Mark Gumula who gave an excellent evaluation of Kayla’s Ice Breaker and Jamie Waters CC who gave a strong evaluation of Frank’s speech. Barbara gave a notably intelligent and positive meeting evaluation as well.  Bravely helping the club through the meeting were the meeting heroes also known as “functionaries”: Grammarian Diane Hart, Timer Carolyn Stapleton, AH Counter Steve Wood and a returning past member, as the Vote Counter, Amber Gudenkaupf. It was also announced that Richard Hendrix had joined our club as well. Welcome Richard! This meeting had everything including inspiration, courage and magnificent achievement… all of the things needed to produce heroes.

The impressive strengths and talents of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 were on display in the September 16th 2010 “Strengths and Talents” themed meeting. Toastmaster Carolyn Stapleton spoke about how sometimes our talents are often hidden and need to be brought out  while at other times we seem to know just what they are from the start. Carolyn herself has a true gift for leading Toastmasters Club meetings. Case in point being this masterpiece of compelling impressions, narratives of talent and the exhilarating tour of learning and enjoyment that took place during this night. Also pushing the envelope of untapped talent was the Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave Club #28’s members and guests a chance to showcase their talents of extemporaneous speaking. “How are you talented?” was the simple but tricky question posed to Carolyn. Carolyn said that she found a new talent for pressure washing over the weekend at her house but she had had for a long time a skill for cooking that led her to embrace a career as a chef. Frank Adams was asked what he though was his biggest strength was at his job. Frank said it was keeping his composure in a time of stress and gave an example of a time that a rat walked through a packed restaurant and had everyone standing on the chairs and tables! “Who is someone that you admire because because of their talents?” was a query given to the club’s newest member Jed Freeman. Jed came up with a number of people who inspired him including the man who came up with a system for card-counting! Given the question of if there truly is such a thing as a “natural talent” guest Richard Hendrix admitted that some people are born with an edge but talent is often something that takes great persistence to develop. He gave the example of Tiger Woods spending over 100,000 hours of practice to reach the highest level of a golf professional. Also showing great strengths and talents were our speakers. Giving one of the most remarkable second basic manual speeches in Club #28 history was Diane Hart who presented a speech titled “Parents“. Her speech pointed out that parents can go to the extremes in protecting their children such as being a “Bubble Boy” parent or a “Helicopter”  parent. She even sang a verse from a Noel Coward song “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage!”  Also performing oratorical magic was Club President Wilner Luders CC who gave a speech titled “Quid Unemployment vs. Unemployment Compensation“. This was a 14 minute informational and technical speech on unemployment compensation that Wilner somehow made enjoyable and interesting. Now that’s talent! Wilner covered, among other things, frictional and structural unemployment and labor mobility. The true test of raw talent is an attempt at something for the first time as Frank Adams bravely did so with his first ever evaluation of Diane’s speech. Frank succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations by sounding as if he had been giving evaluations for all of his life. Serving as the General Evaluator tonight was Ken Blake ACG, CL who also gave the evaluation for Wilner’s speech. Ken gave both a solid evaluation of her speech as well as a majestic review of the entire meeting. Showing off their talents at the different functionary roles were Ken Walley ATMG, CL with assistance from Ken Blake ACG, CL as the Timers; the AH Counter Steve Wood, Grammarian Jamie Waters and Vote Counter Jed Freeland. Jed joined the club tonight. Welcome Jed! It was a small turnout but the meeting itself was large beyond the scale of the numbers present. This was thanks to the lyrical handiwork and strengths and talent of Club #28’s praiseworthy members.

The September 9th 2010 “Amazing Feats!” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was, well, amazing! Ken Walley ATMG, CL played the role of the Toastmaster and packed the meeting full of the incredible, the interesting and the insane. The world’s fastest man, a man who survived a firing squad, the longest married couple and the world record holder for eating cow brains were just some of the amazing feats that Ken mentioned. Also astounding those who attended was Table Topics Master Wilner Luders CC who had some riveting questions based on astonishing achievements. Thinking of a man who ate 36 live cockroaches in one minute, Wilner asked Steve Wood if he would attempt anything like that. Steve stated that he might but he hoped they would be “chocolate covered”! Wilner asked Diane Hart about her impressions of Nelson Mandella who survived 27 year in prison and them become the leader of an entire country. She said she was awed by his ability to overcome such an obstacle as that and that he was a “wonderful example” of leadership. Guest Jed Freeland was as about strength when Wilner gave the example of a man named John Evans lifting a mini-car. John was not impressed saying that others have lifted far more… but it is truly impressive to strong. Carolyn Stapleton spoke about attempting the seemly impossible such as the world record 1134 push ups using the backs of the hands. Monica Walley CL spoke about a man who was famous for eating metal and glass remembering the the worst task she had had to ever overcome. It was an unforgettable Table Topics session! “Amazing” would be the perfect word to describe the speeches on this evening as well. Starting with Malita Clarke who is already on her 6th speech and her third speech in three weeks, she gave a spellbinding speech about new techniques in giving CPR . Titled “No Mouth Required” her presentation noted that it is no longer necessary to use “mouth to mouth” to save a life. She enlightened us with a much more efficient way to perform CPR. Frank Adams, who is on his 5th manual speech, gave an impressive presentation of his own about the psychological effects of colors titled “The Magic of Color“. He spoke about how painting a room in different colors causes a wide variety of emotions and behaviors. It was a truly fascinating concept… and speech! Steve Wood served as the General Evaluator and did so masterfully with the help of evaluators Jamie Waters CC (for Malita) and Carolyn Stapleton (for Frank). Both of these evaluations deserved to be in an evaluation contest as they carried exceptional advice and support. The meeting also boasted a blue ribbon panel of functionaries with Timer Kayla Sorel-Bazil, AH Counter Monica Walley CL, Vote Counter Melanie Rizzo as well as a very grammatical Grammarian Report by Diane Hart. This toastmasters meeting was an amazing feat all of its own with great Speeches, Table Topics and Evaluations!

September 2nd 2010 was an evening to remember for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 as some of its best speakers went head-to-head in its 2010 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests! Starting off the meeting was Frank Adams who spoke eloquently about the importance of learning from competition while leading the Invocation and Pledge to the flag. Contest Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL introduced Barbara Cusack CC, CL as “a toastmaster who was born to be a Humorous Speech Contest Master!” Barbara made this a very special evening as she kept everyone laughing with  funny stories, jokes and  some table topics questions. She also kept the meeting running on time and kept everyone in an upbeat and relaxed mood! The evaluation contest was the first on the agenda. Toastmasters veterans Ken Blake ATMG, CL and Jamie Waters CC joined contest newcomer Mark Gumula in reviewing “test” speaker Daisy Arus‘s speech “The Magical Potion Lotion Shop“. Her speech was a sales-type speech with a humorous twist that included a “customer” in the form of a giant bowling pin. You would have had to have been there! All three evaluations were filled with good advice, encouragement and valuable insight. Ken and Jamie who together, have over two decades experience in Toastmasters and have given hundreds of evaluations, were upstaged by Mark Gumula who, incredibly, was giving his very first ever evaluation! Mark wanted to “try his wings” by giving his first evaluation in a contest and it paid off big with the 1st place trophy! Second place went to Jamie Waters, CC. The Humorous Speech Contest featured four brilliant speakers including Ken Blake ACG, CL who told us about a phone mix-up with a Chinese take-out restaurant titled “Where are my Messages?“. Speaking next, Club #28 President Wilner Luders, CC gave another superb performance with a story about a barber who “gets even” in a speech called “Justice Served“. Malita Clarke gave a very funny speech that highlighted the danger of “on-road” driving called “What Happens to your Mind When You Enter Your Car!” Her speech had many thinking that she could have had a great career as an actress. Speaking in the finial position was Jamie Waters CC who gave his classic “Golfatorium” speech about combining golf courses and cemeteries. Any of the contestants were worthy of this year’s top spot but Jamie Waters CC came out with the most votes from the judges and Ken Blake ACG, CL came in second. Other highlights of the evening included fabulous Table Topics answers by Elon Horsham, ACS, CL; Frank Adams, Bob Blaydes, CC, CL; Christopher Berns and Kayla Sorel-Bazil. The turnout was excellent for the meeting which was held at the Center For Spiritual Living and including some of the most admired local Toastmaster dignitaries. These including former Area 49 Governor Toni Gitles, DTM; previous Let’s Talk Club #4413 and Club #28 President Helen Joseph DTM; Club #28 International Speech Contest winner and former club officer Bob Blaydes CC and past Club #28 President Dr. Ross Thomson ATMB, CL. The immediate past Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart ACS served as the Chief Judge and the current Area 32 Governor Elon Horsham ACS, CL was present as well to hand out the trophies to the winners! The contests could not have happened with out the “success team” that helped with the many duties required of producing these club contests. All of the contestants along with the Timers Steve Wood and Diane Hart, Vote Counter Christopher Berns and the Contest Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL were recognized for jobs well performed. At the end of this special evening it was announced that Dr. Ross Thomson ATMB, CL had re-joined our club! Welcome back Dr. Ross! This was a very magical evening that was filled with laughter and fun.

Thanks to our Toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL, the August 26, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Transportation” theme meeting had a lot of “get up and go!” Ken started out the meeting with the history of transportation noting the invention of the wheel and incorporated facts about all kinds of modes of travel  which included a number of helpful ways to keep our cars running in top condition. Ken, by the way, is one of Orlando’s most popular mechanics. Also keeping the wheels turning was our Table Topics Master Monica Walley CL who asked Frank Adams what his favorite way to travel was. Frank likes to travel on a cruise ship and he loved the relaxing pace of a deep sea cruise. Great answer! Steve Wood also gave an excellent response to Monica’s question about the most fearful way to travel. He said that getting from one place to another by airplane can have its moments, remembering a small plane he once owned. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked about the “coolest” place that she had ever visited. It’s not cool weather-wise but it is a great place to visit: Jamaica! Christopher Berns told us about the longest road trip that he ever took. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked how he would get around if cars had never been invented. Ken said he would live on a river and just boat from place to place. Lastly, Ken Walley ATMG, CL told how his daughter Monica was a good luck charm in a cruise ship casino on one trip when he was asked to tell a story about traveling. Those at the meeting were treated to two excellent speeches starting with Frank Adams’s fourth manual speech titled “A Touch of Color“. Frank gave a very informative and interesting speech about interior design. He gave us three key steps to follow to create an artistic home decoration plan: 1.) Pick a room theme 2.) create with fabrics and accessories, and 3.) match with a color theme. The speech was an inspiring success that made you want to go home and re-design your house! Also inspiring was Mark Gumula‘s speech “Get Your CC and CL! ” Mark told us why earning  the Toastmaster’s Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Awards could have a big effect on your job, personal and social life. Mark is well within reach of achieving both of those goals. He has only one more speech to earn his CC award! As the General Evaluator, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was able to introduce two of the club’s best evaluators, those being club president Wilner Luders CC and Barbara Cusack CC, CL. Wilner gave a very helpful and positive evaluation of Frank’s speech. While Barbara who has been away from the club the past two weeks, showed that she had not lost her touch by giving a strong and meaningful evaluation of Mark’s speech. The functionaries were a crew of seasoned toastmasters: Timer Malita Clake, AH Counter Christopher Berns, Grammarian Jamie Waters CC and Vote Counter Steve Wood. Also attending the meeting was club member Kayla Sorel-Bazil who was given a chance to speak at the end of the meeting and painted a very descriptive vocal picture of her car. There were two other guests also attending  Sophia Martinez and Ryan Sexton as well as a returning past Club #28 member John Bonowitiz-Coffey. Our guests gave some excellent comments and hopefully will return to become part of our club in the near future. As our next meeting is the Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contest at the Center for Spiritual Living in downtown Orlando, you might say this “Transportation” theme meeting was “one for the road!”             

The Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 “Change!” theme meeting of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was a meeting that showed that the changes over the years that have been made to this club has only made the club better! Wilner Luders, CC led the club in a superlative evening in which he examined the pros and cons of change. “The only thing we can be sure of is that change is going to come and we cannot stop it.” Said Wilner “But change is good, all of our advancements come from change!” Someone who obviously is not afraid of change is Diane Hart who courageously offered to be our Table Topics Master even though she had not performed at this meeting role before. Diane did a marvelous job! She asked four challenging questions starting with one for Carolyn Stapleton: “Name a change that has happened to you that has greatly effected your life?” Carolyn admitted that sometimes she had to “turn lose or be dragged” by change but looking back she was glad of some of the changes in her life that she might have feared at first. She asked one of our guests Tom Bacom what changes that he would like to see in his life. Tom answered that he would like to become better at communicating with others, pointing out that this was one of the reasons he was at our meeting tonight. Steve Wood was asked “Can you think of a change ‘after the fact’ that has had an effect upon you?” Steve remembered he left his lights on one time in his car. He also spoke of changes in the workplace where “trail and error” had paid off. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about “Changes in attitude” he said that attitude make all of the difference and that as a server he had to often change the attitudes of his guests. One of the things that I hope do not change at Club #28 is the high quality of the speeches! Tonight we had two fantastic speeches from Malita Clarke and Doug Creveling. Malita gave a speech titled “I See Numbers” about a numerical progression called the Fibonacci sequence. She explained how this remarkable mathematical oddity is found in the world of nature. Not only was it evident in sea and plant life but also in the world of art and structure as well. Her speech was an extraordinary example of making art, science, and education an interesting and a compelling learning experience. Doug Creveling spoke next in a speech about how to survive a triathlon, appropriately titled “Pleasure vs. Pain”. The triathlon challenges a competitor to swim 800 meters, bike 25 miles and then run 6.2 miles on top of that! Listening to Doug brought us a lot of pleasure in describing the perils and rewards of being in a triathlon although a few of our muscles might have ached after some of his descriptions. Monica Walley CL served as the General Evaluator and was blessed with two excellent evaluators Deepti Dhiman Sharma CC, CL and Carolyn Stapleton. Deepti and Carolyn came through with brilliant reviews of the speeches and Monica gave a very positive meeting evaluation to round out a strong evaluation section of the meeting. The functionaries for tonight were Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Vote Counter Steve Wood and Mark Gumula who was serving as both the AH Counter and Grammarian. At the start of the meeting past club president Deepti Dhiman Sharma presented the club with the President’s Distinguished Ribbon to add to our club banner! On a sad note it was announced that Deepti is leaving the club to move to Memphis Tenn. Deepti was given a standing ovation for all of the many accomplishments that she had done for our club. Deepti will be missed. It was also announced that Monica Walley CL had earned her Competent Leader Award (CL). Congratulations Monica! We had two guests Tom and Mary Bacom who both gave very positive comments about the meeting and hoped that they could come back soon. Some things seem to never change, like the great meetings of Club #28!

It would be a good habit for Kayla Sorel-Bazil to be the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting Toastmaster on a regular basis as she did such a great job for her first time at that position at the Wednesday August 8, 2010 “Bad Habits” theme meeting. Kayla had many insights on how to overcome bad habits and be aware of those that are forming! Also doing a fantastic job as the Table Topics Master for her first time was Malita Clarke! Malita asked her first question to Diane Hart “When does a bad habit become an addiction?” Diane said that we know “when we are doing things a certain way that interferes with other people.” Malita next asked Melanie Rizzo “What advice would you give someone trying to kick a bad habit?” Melanie thought that keeping a daily journal and writing down the thing and situation. “Then you could review it daily for accountability.”  Steve Wood was asked “What is a bad habit that someone you know has and why do you perceive it as a bad habit?” Steve said that if he were President of the United States he would talk to people about getting rid of their bad habits. He said that it would make a valuable impact on society. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to define what a bad habit was and how does culture and society influence the definition of a bad habit. Ken said it was hard to see a bad habit when you are personally involved because it is an action that seems meaningless at first. Ken also related it to his struggle to quit smoking. Another good habit of Club #28 is having excellent speeches! On this night we had three of them starting with Mark Gumula’s eighth speech titled “Types of Business Structures” in which he used a handout that laid out the types of business structures. The speech gave a wealth of information to be used as a tool when starting up a business plan of our own. Wilner Luders CC spoke next, giving an advanced speech from the “Persuasive Speaking” manual titled “Effective Selling“. Wilner used role playing to bring out three basic points: 1. A need to focus on the buyers needs. 2. Create an urgency to fulfill the need and 3. To understand that there is more than one way to satisfy a need. Wilner showed how to persuade the buyer by avoiding provocative, annoying and offensive techniques. Speaking third with a highly upbeat speech was Monica Walley who also gave her 8th speech titled “The History of the Telephone“. We walked through time from 135 year ago into the future by marking significant breakthroughs in communication technology. Monica moved from the first phone call to digit dialing to cell phone technology evolution to even possible hologram image phones featured in the Star Trek future! In the evaluations part of the meeting, Ken Walley ATMG, CL wore two hats as both the General Evaluator as well as the evaluator for Wilner’s speech. Deepti Dhiman Sharma, CC, CL evaluated Mark’s speech and we had a special evaluator giving the evaluation of Monica’s speech, guest Daisy Arus, ACB from the Castaways Toastmasters Club. All of the evaluations were of the highest quality with useful advice and compliments. Ken W. in his meeting review, praised highly the work of Malita and Kayla for doing such an admirable job for their first times at their meeting roles. The functionaries for this meeting were also to be highly praised: AH Counter Ken Blake ACB, CL; Grammarian Diana Hart, Vote Counter Jamie Waters CC and Timer Frank Adams. Also attending the meeting was a good friend of Mark’s Stephanie Gardner who had some very positive things to say about the meeting as well as our visiting Toastmaster Daisy Arus who also brought her two daughters as well. The only bad habit for this meeting was running a bit behind the time but it is hard to stop when you are having so much fun.

It was clear that the Passion of our Toastmaster Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC for the August 5th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Passion: What do You Love To Do?” theme meeting was… being a Toastmaster! Ruble led the evening with a great sense of purpose to show that it is the things that we care most about that shapes our world and defines us. He had passionate help in conveying that message from his Table Topics Master Wilner Luders CC who came prepared with some fantastic questions on what is most meaningful to those in Club #28. Diane Hart was asked to identify “passion”. She pointed out her love for travel and said it is a feeling “in the heart”. Mark Gumula II was asked about a person who inspired passion in him. Returning member, Tai Johnson spoke fervently on the question if it benefits others to know about her passions. Steve Wood was asked if he thought that a relationship could survive without passion. Steve did not believe that it truly could. Kayla Sorel-Bazil talked about excess in passions believing it was often the cause of serious problems in life. The speeches on this evening were also something to be passionate about. Barbara Cusack gave a speech titled “Ruth and Boaz‘ which brought to life the biblical story of a woman who was rewarded for her dedication. Barbara’s advanced speech gave both meaning, as well as the ability to relate to characters of a very different time and place. Speaking second was Carolyn Stapleton with speech titled “Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride: II” in which she brought to life celery, you read it right, celery. Carolyn astounded us with making the vegetable interesting, entertaining and very funny! Mark Gumula II was our General Evaluator for his first time and did a wonderful job at the position. Mark introduced the two evaluators for the night, Ken Blake ACG, CL and Monica Walley. Both of them signed up for the Evaluation Contest coming up in September and both gave contest worthy evaluations of our two speeches. The functionaries for this evening was a mix of new and seasoned toastmasters: Grammarian Melanie Rizzo, Timer Doug Creveling, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and it was good to see Tai Johnson return and fill in as the Vote Counter. With only two speakers tonight, Vice President of Membership Carolyn Stapleton took the opportunity to formally induct Tai Johnson, Diane Hart and Kayla Sorel-Bazil! It was a very well performed, even inspiring, ceremony. This was a great meeting and one that everyone should have been very passionate about!

WOW! The July 29th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Enthusiasm” theme meeting was a power-charged tour-de-force from start to finish with Deepti Dhiman Sharma CC, CL leading the way as the Toastmaster! Deepti said there were four steps to developing intense enthusiasm even when things are not going your way: 1.) Smile! 2.) Stand up straight! 3.) Speak in a clear voice! and 4.) Give yourself a pep talk! Someone who needed no pep talk was Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL, aka “Mr. Electricity” who brought some sparks to the meeting with some very electric questions. Ken’s first question was to Wilner Luders, CC: Ken, quoting Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, asked Wilner what he meant when he said “Enthusiasm makes the difference!” Wilner said enthusiasm was a way to inspire others as well as yourself . Malita Clarke was asked to name some things that she was enthusiastic about! Painting she said, is a passion to her as a way of expressing  herself. Kayla Sorel-Bazil was asked about enthusiasm at the work place. She said in her job in customer relations, enthusiasm is a main factor in being successful. Doug Creveling was asked if he had ever been inspired by somebody who was enthusiastic? Doug remembered his father. After Doug’s answer, Ken lead the club to a standing ovation for Doug in recognition of his Ice breaker speech two weeks ago! Carolyn Stapleton was asked to give the Club a “pep talk” about Toastmasters! Carolyn got everyone energized with a rousing oration! Liz Van De Mark, our guest,  was asked to give the club one way that she would make the world a better place. She spoke of a world with more compassion and understanding among ourselves. This was one of the most enthusiastic table topics sessions that the club has ever had! The two speeches presented tonight by Diane Hart and Ruble C. Nedumkunnel were both incredible as well. One of the most fun and interesting Ice Breakers was delivered by Diane in a speech titled simply as “TB“. Diane told about her passion for traveling, saying that she had “TB” or the “travel bug” … not tuberculosis!! While telling about her life she also gave a whirlwind tour of the world. Speaking second was Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC who gave an advanced motivational speech tiled “The Magic Formula” in which he gave us the recipe to overcome frustration and achieve your goals! it was another inspiring speech from Ruble and perfect for the “enthusiasm” theme of the evening! Diane Hart also received a well deserved standing ovation for her excellent Ice Breaker speech! Ken Blake, ACG, CL  led the evaluation session as the General Evaluator as well as having the pleasure of introducing two of Club #28’s best evaluators, Monica Walley and Jamie Waters, CC. Both came through with excellent evaluations as did Ken with a very thoughtful meeting review. The same can be said for the reports from the Grammarian and the AH Counter. Carolyn Stapleton‘s Grammarian report was another in a series of reports that have been far above the norm in quality, as well as being entertaining and helpful. The AH Counter report by Malita Clarke was also helpful, precise and enjoyable! Rounding out the technical table on this evening was Timer Wilner Luders CC and Vote Counter Doug Creveling. Toastmaster Steve Wood, who had not been given an opportunity to speak during the evening was given the “last word” on the theme he stated that “enthusiasm went beyond just a feeling of approval but that it was a passion for something that helped define who that person is.” Well said. We had only one visitor but she was extremely enthusiastic about the meeting. Liz Van De Mark said she did not know what to expect about the meeting but was very impressed. We hope that she will be impressed enough to return and join our club! This was after all a meeting to really get enthusiastic about!

Unlike our recent US economy, The July 22nd 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “CRASH PROOF: Surviving in the Current Economy” theme meeting was a bustling triumph! Leading our meeting to its robust success was Toastmaster Jamie Waters, CC who presented the club with some solid ideas on how to stay afloat during tough times. Also helping to bring reason and design to the current financial nightmare was Table Topics Master Frank Adams. Pointing out the recent job losses during the recession, Frank asked our newest member Diane Hart how she would go about protecting her income during this economy. With people watching their pocketbooks these days, Frank next asked returning past club President Deepti Dhiman Sharma, CC, CL how she controls her expenses in such a tight economy. Deepti said that she tries to increase her “Financial IQ” and shops a little less.” The last question was asked of our guest Tamara Palin about if she should stop saving or maybe think of investing during this uncertain era. Tamara suggested that investing might be a little shaky but saving was a good idea. The Table Topics session was somewhat abbreviated due to having four speakers scheduled on the agenda. Even so, the excellent questions, and answers made this Table Topics session a remarkably good exchange of ideas. For the first time in over a year Club #28 presented four speakers! Starting first was Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC who is working towards his Advanced Communicator Bronze award He presented a speech from the advanced “Storytelling” manual. His speech, titled “All That Glitters is Not Gold!” told of a horrendous experience buying a 1999 Honda Accord for $4000.00 and having to repair it, very shortly after buying it, for only $3000.00! The lesson of the story was “be aware of the details.” The second speech was by Carolyn Stapleton, it was her first speech at the Club #28 lectern. This truly excellent speech was titled “Human Doing vs. Human Being!” It the speech Carolyn explained that life is about living rather than just existing. That having the courage to explore new worlds without has given her life meaning and interest within. This was a powerful and enlightening speech that we might see again soon at a future International Speech contest. Steve Wood gave a very different type of speech, a much more scientific speech about the virtues of a Track Ball when compared to the common computer mouse in a speech titled “The Trouble with Mice“.  Steve as always, used his natural talent with humor to make his technical topic entertaining and enjoyable… even while we learned something! After three brilliant speeches, Club #28 members were rewarded with a bonus fourth exceptional speech by Malita Clarke. Malita’s speech had all the elements of a wonderful presentation. The subject was the history about he shape of the soccer ball titled “What Shape Is It?” Malita traced the shape of the ball from the perfectly round heat-fused ball used in the latest World Cup matches back in history to when human heads were used as the “ball” in a less-enlightened ancient time! Again, another interesting and fun speech about a subject that absolutely no one expected to hear about! General Evaluator Monica Walley was able to introduce four evaluators equal to the fantastic speeches given: Wilner Luders, CC; Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Ken Blake ACG, CL and Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. As expected each evaluation was entertaining on its own merits but still provided great ideas for the speakers and for everyone else as well.  The functionaries for tonight’s meeting somehow kept the meeting on track and on time, even with the extra speakers Kalya Sorel-Bazil gave a very polished report for her first time as Grammarian, Melanie Rizzo was perfect as the timer, Diane Hart kept track of the Ahs and Ums as our AH Counter and Deepti Dhiman Sharma, CC, CL served for her first time as the Vote Counter in a long time. Thanks to a great team effort, this meeting ran very smoothly. The room was packed as Professor Christopher Fama brought another class of students from Florida Technological College. Also attending as guests were William Chestnut and Tamara Palin who both were very upbeat and positive in their comments at the end of the meeting. It was also wonderful to see Deepti Dhiman CC, CL return to the club after being away for awhile! While the economy might be struggling to come back it is clear that Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 is doing very well, thank you!

The Wednesday, July 14th 2010 “Your State of Health” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was a very healthy one indeed! Club president Wilner Luders CC also served as our Toastmaster for the evening. He brought out some great examples of how each individual’s health effects us all and some excellent ideas to keep in shape! Keeping us in good extemporaneous speaking shape was Frank Adams as our Table Topics Master. Frank did a very fit job for his first time at the position. His first question was to Kayla Sorel-Bazil asking her “Why is exercise important to good health?” Kalya gave a number of good reasons. Steve Wood was given the question “Why is breakfast important?” Steve pointed out in China that prevention is stressed and one who becomes sick has, in a way, failed. Carolyn Stapleton was asked “How does sleep effect health?” She sounded like a health professional explaining the many benefits of sleep. Dental Health was the subject of Diane Hart‘s question. Melanie Rizzo was asked how having good friends were a part of staying healthy. Christopher Berns came up with a great answer as well about the part that water plays in everyday health care. All of the answers were superb. The same can be said of the speeches. Club #28 featured three speakers who all came prepared starting with Doug Creveling who gave his Ice Breaker speech! Titled “All About Me!” We learned a lot about our new club member who hails from Eastern Pennsylvania. He was taught at a young age to follow his passions and work hard. Doug compared his life to three things: crayola crayons, bison and Lance Armstrong! Doug became a cross country runner while pursuing a career as a financial analysis. His speech was brilliant for his first time at the lectern! Speaking second was Ken Blake ACG, CL who gave a speech titled “George” which drew a connection between his son Dr. Daniel Blake and the late New York Yankee team owner George Steinbrenner. While helping others in great need, his son had drawn inspiration from the baseball legend. Speaking third was Mark Gumula II already giving his 7th speech titled “Business, Success and Failure!” This speech was highly technical with a lot of statistics but it still was made interesting, even entertaining by Mark! We learned the focus of successful businesses and the odds of failure in today’s marketplace. Having the burden to give appraisals of those speeches fell to an impressive team of evaluators led by General Evaluator Carolyn Stapleton who did  very good work on her first time at the position. She introduced Monica Walley, Jamie Waters CC and Ken Walley ATMG, CL to disperse their wisdom. All of them gave helpful and empowering reviews. Also powering the club this evening was a strong specialized board: The functionaries were Timer Kayla Sorel-Bazil, AH Counter Melanie Rizzo, Vote Counter Diane Hart and Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL. All of them preformed splendidly. We had one new guest visiting us tonight, a friend of Carolyn, Gail Plosen who was very positive about our meeting in her comments. It was also announced that Diane Hart officially joined our club on this evening! Welcome Diane! It can only be said that with all of the new members that have come to Club #28 the club is definitely  growing and healthy!

The July 7th 2010 “Friendship” theme Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was a friendly place to be! Filling a number of different roles, Ken Walley ATMG, CL opened the meeting as the Sgt. at Arms and gave the Invocation which was an old Irish blessing. Ken also served as the Toastmaster for this evening. he brought with him a number of quotes and proverbs about friendship as well as a short guide on how to be a great friend. Additionally being very friendly and helping out as the Table Topics Master was Carolyn Stapleton who had a number of sociable questions for our members and guests. Carolyn asked Doug Creveling how he would go about making an acquaintance into a friend. Doug suggested meeting over coffee or seeing a movie. Another excellent question was asked of Steve Wood what qualities do you look for in a friend? Our guest, Caesar DaCosta was asked what were the “liabilities of having friends”? Caesar could do more damage because they would know more about you. Kevin Bauer was asked if he ever had a friend that he could really count on. The last question was for Paige Psaros who was asked if her perceptions about friendships had changed as she grew older. She said that often her perceptions change but the friendships stay the same. Club #28 had some new and long-standing friends giving speeches. Speaking first was Mark Gumula II who gave one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered at Club #28 titled “The Cost of the BP Oils Spill” amid a flurry of cost estimates to clean up the environment and the oil spill’s effect on the economy, health and cleanup waste, he noted that the true cost will never be able to be calculated. Mark remembered the human cost of the 11 people that died in the explosion of the oil rig.  Speaking next, with another excellent speech was Frank Adams, who’s speech titled “What Makes a Man?” was based on the idea that a man must have the heart of a king, a warrior, a mentor and a friend. The speech was a great insight into what makes a man “tick”.  The third speaker was Jamie Waters CC, CL who was giving a “practice” speech for a social event the next night. His award-winning humorous speech “Golfatorium” proposed that graveyards and golf courses be combined! It was a chance to laugh again for those who had heard the speech before and a real treat for our newer members and guests. Acting as the General Evaluator for his first time was Steve Wood who ended up doing an excellent job. Steve got to introduce Wilner Luders, CC; Ken Walley ATMG, CL  and Ken Blake ACG, CL. Ken W. used Frank’s idea of king, warrior, mentor and friend as the basis of his speech evaluation! Wilner and Ken B. both came through with strong evaluations of their own. The functionaries on this evening boasted  four new toastmasters all filling their meeting positions for the first time! First time Grammarian Melanie Rizzo, rookie Timer Kalya Sorel-Bazil, newbie AH Counter Doug Creveling and never-before Vote Counter Kevin Bauer all performed their duties with true expertise! Ken reminded the club that some of the best friends that he had ever made he found at Toastmasters. At the end of the meeting Kevin Bauer joined the club! Welcome Kevin! This was a wonderful meeting filled with a lot of learning, fun and friends.

The July 1st 2010 “July 4th” theme Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was a great celebration that only lacked some hot dogs and apple pie but still had some wonderful (verbal) fireworks! Steve Wood gave a very introspective invocation and led the pledge and introduced for the first time as Club #28 President Wilner Luders, CC. Wilner introduced Monica Walley who was no statue of liberty but instead gave a great presentation on the history of our country’s birthday along with some very interesting facts and trivia. “Did you know there are five cities named Independence?” was just one of many tidbits offered by Monica. Also doing a fantastic job was our Table Topics Master Wilner Luders, CC. Wilner asked Carolyn Stapleton what her “recipe” was for a great Fourth of July. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked to comment on our National Anthem. He gave a very inspiring answer. Jamie Waters CC was given a harder question about our nation’s “checks and balances” system. New member Doug Creveling was asked by Wilner to explain the line from the song “America“: “From every mountain side let freedom ring!” The last question went to another new member, Kayla Sorel-Bazil. She was asked to tell of her favorite 4th of July movie. She told how some war movies paint the picture of bravery among the troops who fight to keep our country free. The answers were all excellent as were both of our speeches tonight. Our speeches also showed how when you come to a toastmasters meeting you never know what subject that you might hear a speech on. The first speaker, Mark Gumula giving his fifth speech, titled “Mulch” was about how mulch was made, produced and packaged. It was a very interesting look into an industry that few people ever think about. Mark also did a great job of making his speech entertaining by using body gestures to “act out” giant machinery and cranes! Frank Adams spoke on a very different subject in his speech “Why Marriages Fail” explaining that the three threats to a marriage are the assumption that the marriage is strong enough to survive any challenge, the inability to adjust to changing circumstances and unwillingness to admit natural weaknesses. It was a powerful and helpful speech for anyone who is married. Two excellent speeches such as these deserve two excellent evaluations and that is what they got from Jamie Waters CC and Alan Brents ACS. In his “meeting evaluation” Master Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, CL  commented that the evaluations on this evening were both “right on target”. He also welcomed Alan back to the club after returning to Orlando while living out of the state for the past few years. Welcome back Alan! Kalya Sorel-Bazil did an perfect job as the AH Counter. it was her first time at the position as our newest club member. Melanie Rizzo, another new member, served well as our vote counter. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the timer for this evening and Carolyn Stapleton gave another 1st class Grammarian report that inspired Monica to wish that she could be our “permanent Grammarian.” We were also honored to have our new Area Governor Elon Horsham ACB, CL join us and he gave some highly encouraging words for Club #28 at the end of the meeting. Also giving high praise for the evening’s accomplishments were guests Chris August, Isabel Chang and a returning guest from last week, Kevin Bauer. It was great news as well that Alan Brents ACS re-joined the club after the meeting!  This meeting was a wonderful way to start out the upcoming Fourth of July holidays and a real “blast”!

The special Summer Celebration and Installation of Officers Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting held on June 24th 2010 was a giant success with great speeches, the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony and even a new member induction! The room was packed as we had a visit from Prof. Christopher Fama from Florida Technological College who brought his class of about 25 students… as well as a number of other visitors! Barbara Cusack CC, CL started off the meeting with a Call to Order and also introduced Monica Walley who gave the invocation. Monica had the pleasure of bringing to the lectern as the night’s Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken introduced some of  the visitors including Prof. Fama, two returning guests from last week, Melanie Rizzo and Kayla Sorel-Bazil as well as Charlie Van Derven, Travis Kemp, Kevin C. Bauer and Diane Hart. Ken was delighted also to welcome back Paul Hagge, CC a Club #28 member who has been away for some time. Ken explained that this was not “a normal meeting” to our guests but added that he would ask some Table Topics as the night went on even though we were not having a Table Topics session. Bringing up the theme of “Summer” he asked Paul Hagge, CC how he kept cool during the blistering Florida heat. Some of Paul’s advice was to stay indoors with the AC on! Ken later asked Mark Gumula what is there fun to do in a Florida Summer? Mark was very enthusiastic about water parks. Which has been a really good idea lately. Our featured speaker for this special night was our newest club member, Frank Adams who was also giving a special speech, his Ice Breaker. Titled “I Am“, Frank gave a remarkable first speech that told of his involvement in an organization called Family Life. He became active in the group after his first marriage ended in divorce. Family Life is an organization that helps keep families together and strong. Frank works at Disney World where he works as a restaurant manager and volunteers for community work with the “Disney Voluntears” programs.  Next on the agenda, Ken Blake ACG, CL gave a very upbeat and positive evaluation of Frank’s speech. He still however found some room for some excellent advice. Frank received a standing ovation for giving his Ice Breaker speech! Due to our out-going Club #28 President Deepti Dhiman CC, CL getting married in her native India, Ken Walley ATMG, CL filled in to give her “Farewell Speech“. Ken extolled Deepti’s leadership abilities, spoke about how the club membership grew, how the club produced tremendous meetings and how she was willing to try new ideas. Ken noted that the club won it’s 8th President’s Distinguished Award in the last 10 years under her watch. He gave credit to those in the club that earned achievement awards as well as thanking her officers for their hard work and dedication. He said that Deepti is very proud of this club but like him, she believes that the best moments of Club #28 are still in the future. Ken next introduced Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart ACG who called the incoming officers to the lectern for the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony. Gov. Hart installed Sgt. at Arms Monica Walley, Treasurer Barbara Cusack, CC, CL; Secretary Malita Clarke, Vice President of Public Relations Mark Gumula, Vice President of Membership Carolyn Stapleton, Vice President of Education Ken Walley ATMG, CL and President Wilner Luders, CC. After the ceremony, President Luders gave his “Inaugural Address” Wilner spoke of the club building a “strong bridge” to leadership and communication opportunities. He spoke that “8 is not enough” when it comes to earning the President’s Distinguished Award. He spoke of membership as a priority and that he would be counting on everyone for advice. Wilner said that he would like to see a “club inspired!”  It was Wilner who inspired us on this night. Wilner received a standing ovation as our new president. Ken Walley ATMG, CL seeing that there was a lot of time left in the meeting, mentioned that he had received an application for club membership from Melanie Rizzo. Ken noted that the club had not had a formal induction of a new member in a long time so he asked the new Sgt. at Arms Monica Walley to escort Melanie out of the room. He had Melanie voted into the club formally and then had Melanie take the “Toastmaster’s Promise”  while the club members affirmed their support of Melanie’s membership. Melanie received a standing ovation for joining the club. Also the Area 32 Governor-elect Elon Horsham ACB, CL was asked to say a few words about “Why I Became an Area Governor“. Elon spoke eloquently about the opportunity of serving in an Area with two legendary clubs such as Orlando Club #28 and the Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 as well as the great chance to learn leadership outside of the club environment. To end the meeting Ken once again asked some our guests to comment on the evening’s events. All of the guest comments were extremely uplifting and positive! Another guest, Kayla Sorel-Bazil decided to join our club family after the meeting! Welcome Kayla! This special evening was entertaining, inspiring, fun and showcased just what a great future that this club is creating for itself.

A very upbeat and positive Ken Walley ATMG, CL led the June 17th 2010 “Optimism and Pessimism” theme Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Ken reminded everyone that being optimistic would lead to better health, a more even temperament and even an increased intelligence. He also covered the “dark side” of pessimism saying that human nature is to put need before reason. Ken asked that everyone remember over the next week that “every cloud has a silver lining” and that “it will all come out right in the wash.” Helping Ken keep things upbeat and positive was Ken Blake ACG, CL as the Table Topics Master. Ken put the focus on the upcoming Father’s Day for his questions. His first question was to Monica Walley: “How could anyone survive having a father like Ken Walley?” Monica said that her dad was “the best father ever” and that he was always fun to be with and always caring about her life. Monica said her other friends “thought that she was lucky to have a dad like him… and she felt the same way.” Wilner Luders CC was asked what it meant to “Follow in your father’s footsteps?” He remembered fondly lessons he had learned from his father. Our guest Melanie Rizzo was asked about any situations in which she was told to “Wait until your father gets home!” She remembered her mom saying that when she left her bike in back of her mom’s car and it got ran over. Her father was a good guy about it. Ruble Nedumkunnel CC was asked about spanking as a punishment. He believed that it was “important to let kids grow and expand beyond the thoughts of their parents”. Another guest was Toastmaster Miles Keever who was asked to speak about if those who have been adopted should look for their birth parents. Miles thought in some cases that it was a good thing. There was every reason to be optimistic about our speakers for the evening and they did not disappoint. Speaking first was Wilner Luders CC who gave an astounding speech titled “Dig Up Your Unidentified Dormant Potential!” Reminiscent of a motivational speaker such as Zig Ziglar, Wilner called out to his audience to tap into the hidden inner strengths and gifts that might have been set aside because of past fears or situations. “Do what you love and are passionate about!” said Wilner. Speaking second was Ruble Nedumkunnel CC with a speech titled “Live in Ecstasy!“. This was Ruble’s best speech to date. He gave a 20 minute mini-seminar that entertained and motivated. He pointed out that if you can define what makes you depressed and downtrodden; then simply act and believe the opposite in how you talk, move and appear. Your own actions will change and redefine you. Leading the evaluation section of the meeting as the General Evaluator was Monica Walley who introduced Barbara Cusack CC, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Both evaluations were of the highest quality giving great advice and pointing out the many things that the speakers excelled in. Monica’s meeting report gave this meeting very high praise for the Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations. Everyone was at the top of their game including the functionaries who consisted of Timer Frank Adams (his first time at the position), Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton, AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, CL and Vote Counter Miles Keever. At the end of the meeting, all of our visitors Cristina Chylinski, Kayla Sorel-Bazil, Miles Keever and Melanie Rizzo unreservedly had admirable reports about the meeting and the club. Indeed, there was nothing but pure optimism about the future after such a great meeting like this one.

A very important and relevant Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Memorial Day” themed meeting took place on June 3rd 2010, just a few days after the Memorial Day weekend had passed. The gathering, led by Toastmaster Mark Gumula II  was both a remembrance of those who had bravely fallen in service of our country and also a look at the history and background of this hallowed celebration. Mark told of heroic stories as well as a number of interesting facts about Memorial Day. This was Mark’s first time as a meeting Toastmaster and he excelled in the role! Ken Walley ATMG, CL also was on hand to lead the Table Topics session. Ken had some great questions for our members. His first question was asked of Christopher Berns: “What was the bravest thing that you have ever seen or hear of?” Chris told the story of the famous Sullivan Brothers, all five of them, who all perished in World War II. Ken Blake, ACG, CL was asked to take a minute to thank our service men and women who are on active duty. Monica Walley was asked what were the good things that she would like the rest of the world to acknowledge about America. Our guest, Frank Adams was asked how we could support those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He came up with some great ideas. Lastly, Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked about the two often “forgotten” branches of the military, the Coast Guard and the National Guard. She remarked about the very important work that they did and gave some great examples as well. There were two simply excellent speeches on this evening starting with a speech by Malita Clarke that held everyone spellbound. Her speech titled “Press Record” was a reflective look at the power of memory. It was both an insightful speech and a moving one. In the speech, she captured moments of her youth with words pictures that bought them to life such as “the dew in the morning air and the smell of alfalfa” from her grandparent’s place. Also speaking, was Wilner Luders, CC who gave a “hip pocket” speech which was titled “Who Gets the Final Word?“. Wilner gave examples of men who “got the final word” because they had gained the courage to speak up. He used the example of John Payne a man who put into motion a movement towards social and political freedom. Ken Blake ACG, CL did double duty as the General Evaluator as well as giving an excellent review of Wilner’s speech. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was no less impressive with her top-notch evaluation of Malita’s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  stood in as the club president and was pleased to introduce three guests including returning guest Frank Adams as well as Erika Robl and Sam Lingawi. All three of the guests were very upbeat in their praise of the meeting! After the meeting, Frank joined the club and became Club #28’s newest member! Welcome Frank! This was a meeting that was a worthy tribute to Memorial Day and to our fallen heroes.

The May 27th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was an historic event  and not only because the theme was “Great Events in American History!” It should also be remembered as one of the finest examples of a Toastmasters meeting due to the excellence in table topics, speeches and evaluations. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the host for the evening, as well as starting out the meeting with the Invocation and Pledge. Ken throughout the evening unveiled his list of the “Top 10 Most Important Events in United States History” . In order from least important to most important, Ken ranked: The 9/11 attacks, Man Lands on the Moon, Oct. 24th (“Black Monday”) 1929, The assassination of Lincoln, The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima,  The attack on Pearl Harbor,  The Louisiana Purchase, The Emancipation Proclamation, The Battle of Gettysburg and the Number 1 Most important: The adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Also adding to this historic evening was Table Topics Master Barbara Cusack CC, CL who had some great questions ready for the club. Her first question was of Ken Blake ACG, CL “What do you remember of the first Moon landing in 1969?” Like most Americans Ken remembered where he was and that the moon never looked the same to him again. Mark Gumula II was asked if we should make cigarettes illegal. He agreed that cigarettes are bad but it would just cause another prohibition-era like debacle. Using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of a man with a passion, Barbara asked Malita Clarke what was her passion. Malita said that helping the homeless, especially in Central Florida was her most passionate cause. She said she would be willing to take a stand to help those in a truly great need. Carolyn Stapleton took on the role of being President Barrack Obama‘s advisor on the oil spill crisis going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Carolyn had a great empathy for the president and said that some things are beyond the control of a single man. Our guest Frank Adams was asked about his favorite war movie based on an actual event. Frank admitted that he was not a war movie buff and hoped for a time when those movies would all be fiction. All of the answers were excellent! The same can be said of our speeches. We had three speeches starting with speaker Deepti Dhiman CC, CL who gave a speech titled “Mr. Perfect“. She told of her quest to find the perfect man to marry and that it took a while to realize that there are no “perfect men”. Instead, she “surrendered to the Universe” and found that her soul mate came to her. It was a great story… things just fell into place, and, she’s getting married in June! Our second speaker was Ken Blake ATMG, CL who told us about his adventures at the District 84 Toastmasters Spring Conference in a speech titled “What I Learned in School” here in Orlando. The conference had a “Going back to School theme”.  Ken had a wonderful time and he shared with us some really fun stories. He also told us that he learned a lot from “Watching the Pros speak.” Speaking third was Steve Wood who gave a speech titled “How Do You Know You Know What You Do?” Steve started the speech by informing us that our brains had been captured by aliens while we slept and that we were “being programmed to accept our present reality.” It was one of the best openings to a speech ever heard at Club #28. Steve went on to examine how emotional perceptions can effect our views of reality. Having to come up with evaluation on these three very good speech was the daunting task of the evaluators which included our General Evaluator James Waters, CC. James also had the please to review Deepti’s speech and introduce Wilner Luders, CC who evaluated Ken B.’s speech and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who had the honor of giving Steve’s speech appraisal. All three evaluations were of the highest level! Praise should also be extended to the functionaries who did perfect work throughout the evening: Timer Carolyn Stapleton, Grammarian Mark Gumula II, AH Counter Malita Clarke and our brave guest Doug Creveling who served as the Vote Counter. All of our guests, Edwin Garcia Melendez, Frank Adams and Doug Creveling all were extremely upbeat and positive with their end-of-the-meeting comments. Although the meeting ran a bit late, it was a meeting that should live in Club #28 history for being interesting and fun!

The world of Art, Music and Literature took center stage for the May 20th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Arts and Culture” theme meeting. Leading us on this tour of expression was Toastmaster Wilner Luders, CC who brought in paintings, quotes from great minds and hearts, even classical music to make his point that “culture is the context for art.” Bringing a touch of high class to the evening was Table Topics Master Carolyn Stapleton who encouraged a resonating discourse on the perceptions of  art and culture. Carolyn asked returning toastmaster Christopher Berns if healing was an art or a science? Christopher said that the “medical side of healing cannot explain entirely why people heal. Many times health is part ‘art form’ as well as a science.” Jose E. Lopez was asked about customer service and art. “Dealing with human emotions is always subjective and therefore an art.” pointed out Jose. “Done well, it produces excellent results, done poorly… it is not a ‘pretty picture’.” James Waters CC was asked about the cultural direction of the present generation. James was not impressed with the current state of the arts and held up the pop media and Reality TV as an example of cultural disintegration. Resident Club #28 scientist Steve Wood, was given the question “Is science art?” Steve said that often bringing abstract science and math into the living or even just a 3-Dimensional world, created what could be called a “fine art”. Mark Gumula II was asked about using numbers to create art as a movement. Using a sharp wit, Mark remarked that he used to connect numbers to create art… by using crayons! He made the point that art is the same in any context. Guest Ryan Dicks was given the question about mixing drinks as an art. Pointing to ‘Mix-logy’ and relating it to food and beverage, Ryan said that matching food with wine is a truly delightful art! After this Table Topics Session, it was great to see that Club #28 was so refined! Speaking of high class, we had two very impressive prepared speeches on this evening. Keeping with the theme of the meeting, Malita Clarke‘s Ice Breaker titled “How I Feel About Turning 30!” used word pictures describing watercolors to paint a portrait of her life! Among her “paintings” were working at Disney World, helping the homeless and spending time with her father. It was a beautiful 1st speech!  She received a standing ovation. Congratulations Malita! Speaking next and giving his second speech was Jose E. Lopez who gave a speech that could have won an International Speech Contest titled “Can You Spare Some Change?“. Jose spoke about not only overcoming the fear of life transitions, but capturing the power of redefining one’s self to create a better future. Jose gave a powerful example of his father, who was dealing with change in the face of immigration challenges. This was an uplifting and inspiring speech with a very meaningful message. The General Evaluator on this evening was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who introduced two excellent evaluators: James Waters, CC and Ken Blake ACG, CL. Both rose to the occasion with helpful and well crafted evaluations. The functionaries produced a work of art themselves with flawless efforts. They were Timer Monica Walley, Grammarian Christopher Berns, AH Counter Mark Gumula II and Vote Counter Steve Wood. We had a number for guests who attended: Ryan Dicks, Jousha Todd, Doug Creveling, Mike King, Agatha Charles and Tai Johnson. Tai even became our newest member after the meeting! Welcome to the club Tai! This meeting was a true Toastmasters Masterpiece!

The May 13th 2010 “Summertime” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was HOT! HOT! HOT! Thanks to Barbara Cusack CC, CL, Jamie Waters, CC and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who shared the Toastmaster role for the evening and brought the lazy, hazy days of summer to life. Malita Clarke started the meeting off with her first time behind the lectern by giving the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Barbara reminded the women at the meeting that Summer was not the season to be pregnant but it was a good time to stay indoors. She introduced Ken Blake ATMG, CL to help out with the Summertime memories as the Table Topics Master. Ken asked questions of Ken Walley ACG, CL; Jose Lopez, our guest David ____, Carolyn Stapleton and Club President Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL. Just some of the highlights of this remarkable session were Ken W.’s description of a truly horrible summer job he had in college, Jose telling us how he stays cool, David’s advice on losing the “summertime blues”, Carolyn’s memories of summer camp (at least three club members attended Camp Wee-Waa!) and another memorable question being a brief description of a June wedding in India… by Deepti who is getting married there next month! This was a great Table Topics session. Jamie Waters CC introduced our first featured speaker of the night, Wilner Luders, CC who was giving his Competent Communicator graduation speech! The speech, titled “The Secret” was worthy of the occasion. Wilner told us that “the secret” that many of us do not know is that each one of us has the potential to do great things. After the speech Jamie led the room in a well deserved standing ovation for Wilner. Congratulations! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was back as the Toastmaster to introduce  the second speaker who also deserved high praise. Mark Gumula II gave his second third speech in three weeks. Titled “Sleep Hygiene” the speech told us about the development of good habits to promote restful sleep. Some of Mark’s suggestions were no caffeine before bedtime and to make a regular bedtime schedule. Mark has impressed everyone with his tremendous improvement from week to week. Barbara Cusack CC, CL served as the General Evaluator introducing Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL and Ken Walley ATMCG, CL who both gave excellent speech evaluations. Deepti’s review of Wilner’s speech was especially well thought out, full of terrific suggestions, enthusiasm and  brilliantly delivered. The functionaries this evening were Grammarian Jose Lopez, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Vote Counter Carolyn Stapleton and her first time as the Timer, Malita Clarke. All of them did excellent work. At the end of the meeting our guest David ____ had a number of very positive things to say about Club #28. Indeed, this really was the good old summertime in a toastmaster meeting..

The May 6th “Mother’s Day” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was a superb tribute to Moms all over the world. Led by Toastmaster Barbara Cusack CC, CL we were reminded of the great debt of gratitude owed to those who cared for us and loved us the most. Also giving eloquent honor to mother’s everywhere was Table Topics Master Wilner Luders who came prepared with some thought-provoking questions. His first question was asked of Ken Blake ACG, CL about what advice he would give to a single mother. Ken noted the trend over recent decades and said that single moms should try to “hold on to the true family values of the past.” Carolyn Stapleton was asked about women who juggle both a job and bringing up children. Carolyn admitted that it must be hard to do that but it can be done. “Women should wait until they are established enough to have children.” Malita Clarke was asked the tough question “Is it motherly love to give up a child for adoption?” She said “yes” but only, if the situation demanded it. Our guest Clemente Cuevas was given the question “In what way did your mother most effect your life?” He said that his mother was “always there” when he most needed her and that gave him a confidence and stability in his life. Steve Wood was asked what memory brought the most joy about his mother. Steve said that to choose would be hard and the answer would probably come to him while driving home. The last question was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL which asked about what effect his Grandmothers had on him. Ken remembered two very different grandmothers Pearl and Julia, who instilled in him a toughness and a tenderness. There were two extremely impressive but very different speeches tonight. The first was by Mark Gumula II who was giving his second speech in two week. This week’s speech was an informational speech on organic foods titled “The National Organic Program“.  Mark explained the four different standards of the Organic Food Program Act of 1990. Somehow Mark made all of this interesting and even exciting. Speaking next was Ruble Nedumkunnel CC, CL who delivered another speech from the Storytelling Advanced Manual. This night’s storytelling engaged us with a tale titled “The Donkey’s Brain” which feature a smart fox, a lion king and an easily flattered donkey. Ken Blake ACG, CL acting as our General Evaluator had the pleasure of introducing two evaluators with very different amounts of evaluator experience. Speaking first was Carolyn Stapleton who gave her first ever evaluation for Mark’s speech. She performed as if she had been giving speech evaluations all of her life! Carolyn came up with excellent advice and encouragement. Jamie Waters, CC no stranger to giving advice, also gave a compelling and helpful review for Ruble’s speech. Some of the technical table ended up doing more than one task on this night. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the timer as well as filling in for the President. AH Counter Jamie Waters, CC as well as Grammarian Carolyn Stapleton both also served as evaluators. Steve Wood rounded out the functionaries as our Vote Counter. We had three guests Clemente Cuevas, Poulose Kuyiladan and Malita Clarke all added to the meeting and had very positive things to say about the night’s proceedings. Malita also became our newest member of the club! Welcome Malita! This was a night that every mother, and everyone else as well could be very proud of!

The April 29th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Odd Jobs!” themed meeting took a look at the weird and often strange world of very unusual employment. The guide for this tour of the bizarre was Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL who told about Crocodile Wranglers, Cheese Sprayers, Professional Whistlers, Adult Bookstore Attendants, Dog Food Testers, and Light Benders and many more eccentric occupations… all real jobs in which people actually make a living. Monica Walley who was holding the job as Table Topics Master for the evening added to the fun with some terrific questions for the club members. Monica asked Barbara Cusack, CC, CL what was the “oddest job that she ever had?” She told some wild stories about when she cleaned houses as the “Queen of Clean”. Mark Gumula II was asked about his favorite odd job. Carolyn Stapleton gave a great answer about holding more than one job at a time. We found out that Carolyn was a practical “jack of all trades”. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what he thought was the weirdest job that he had ever heard of. His answer was the Rodeo Clown. Ken explained that was not a funny job at all, but extremely dangerous. Deepti Dhiman CC, CL,  was asked what job she would not do even if offered a million dollars a year. She said that she would pass on being an “odor tester”, or, one who tests deodorants by smelling other people’s armpits. The last question asked was to Wilner Luders: “What kind of work would you like to see your children do? Wilner said it would be a job that helped others find opportunities of their own. One thing that was not at all odd, was that two exceptional speeches were given by Wilner Luders and Mark Gumula II! Wilner went first with a speech titled “Are the Castles We Cherish Built on Rock or Sand?” For the second week in a row, Wilner delivered a top-notch speech. This speech explored the evils of stereotyping and prejudices. Mr. Gumula gave his second basic manual speech which was titled “Habitat for Humanity“. Mark told us about the Habitat for Humanity project which has helped so many families over the last thirty years to own affordable housing. His speech was both informational and uplifting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL did double duty as the General Evaluator and introduced two excellent evaluators: Jamie Waters CC who reviewed Wilner’s speech and Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL who evaluated Mark’s offering. Ken later noted in the “meeting evaluation” that, for two weeks in a row, both Jamie and Deepti gave contest-level evaluations of the speakers. Also giving brilliant reports were the AH Counter Carolyn Stapleton and our multiple-tasking Grammarian Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL. Tonight’s timer was Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and our Vote Counter was George De Jesus. George became the newest member of Club #28 at the end of the meeting! Welcome to the club George! We had a number of guests attend the meeting and all of them, Brice Aikens, Sophie Mitchell and Malita Clarke were very positive in their remarks at the end of the evening. It was certainly no “odd job” to enjoy this Club #28 meeting. It is apparent that the work that is done at a Club #28 meeting is very beneficial and productive. Sometimes it is hard to wait a whole week to see what Club #28 will come up with at their next meeting.

It was a warm and fuzzy feeling at the April 22nd, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting with the “Those Things That Nourish Us!” theme. Being the Toastmaster for her first time at Club #28 was Carolyn Stapleton who made us feel safe and contented while still efficiently keeping the meeting organized and running on time. Carolyn even told us of what it is that gives her own soul nourishment. She likes to go to the puppy store and play with the puppies! “Puppy breath is something that really nourishes me!” said Carolyn. Also bringing sustenance to the meeting was Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC, CL as the Table Topics Master. Ruble had some comforting questions starting with our returning guest Linda Dabney. Linda was asked “What Nourishes our body?” She said relaxing in a Jacuzzi or Sauna  brings her joy but it is “It is whatever nourishes the soul that nourishes the body.” Jose E. Lopez was asked “What nourishes the mind?” Jose spoke about how rest regenerates the mind, noting how glad he was that his UCF classes were over for the semester. Steve Wood responded to a question about vacations and celebrations. He thought they were important. Our guest, Josh Goodman spoke about the most nourishing people in his life. He recalled a recent trip to California with his friends. Monica Walley was able to answer the question about her “most nourishing vacation” as one that she has not taken yet which will be coming up in a few weeks. It will be her first vacation without the family! Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked to choose between oxygen, food, water or soil to bring him nourishment. Ken picked ‘water’ as he finds scuba diving a great way to relax and enjoy living. Today we had three excellent speakers who brought great joy to the room starting with an impressive speech from Wilner Luders titled “Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?”  Wilner’s speech was an stirring speech that requested the listener to try to see the environment around him or her in a different way by using nature as inspiration. Ruble Nedumkunnel CC, CL was the second speaker with a folk tale with a number of different twists. Titled “Sandra and the Woodcutter” his story weaved a number of different themes that included golden eggs, retrieving angels and Sandra Bullock. The moral was if you wish for Sandra Bullock you might end up like Toyota Motors. Well, something like that. The last speaker was Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who treated the club to a “tune up” of her Area 32 International Speech Contest award winning speech titled “The Echo“. With the Division ‘C’ Contest less than a week away she got some great advice from our club members that will hopefully let her go on to win at the next level. Barbara gave her usual brilliant performance. What is more nourishing that a great evaluation? Ken Blake, ATMG, CL was the General Evaluator who introduced three very soothing evaluators, starting with Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave good advice to Wilner. Next, Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL also showed great wisdom in her suggestions for Ruble. Lastly, Barbara’s contest speech was reviewed expertly by Jamie Waters CC. It was one of the most successful evaluation sessions in memory. Speaking of memory, let us remember the 1st rate work of the technical table: Grammarian Jose Lopez, Timer Mark Gumula II, AH Counter and returning member Justin Gay and Vote Counter and guest Linda Dabney. We had a few guests including Justin Gay who announced that he had been offered a job in Michigan after graduating from UCF. Congratulations Justin! Another past member, Dr. Princess Anita CC also said it was nice to be back at Club #28 returning guest Linda Dabney  helped out in our meeting and new visitor, Josh Goodman also stated he was impressed with the meeting and was interested in joining. To a Toastmaster this meeting was indeed nourishing to the soul!

There was a lot of energy in the April 15th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Energy” themed meeting! Speaking of energy, Wilner Luders showed how he could cover the President’s position and be the Toastmaster while keeping the meeting on time and lively with some fantastic facts about energy and the importance of using new resources and ideas. Also adding some electricity into the proceeding was Table Topics Master Steve Wood. Steve asked some powerful questions starting with the one he asked of Mark Gumula II: “Should we build nuclear power plants knowing they can cause a threat to the environment?” Steve used some very interesting science in describing his questions, which included quoting Albert Einstein. Which is what he did when asking Barbara Cusack, CC, CL how she would use the extra energy if her energy was doubled. Carolyn Stapleton was asked to reply to a question about global warming: would she drive an electric car? Carolyn gave a resounding “yes!” answer. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if we should explore new worlds as space travelers. Ken said he cannot wait to get on a space ship. One of our guests, George De Jesus was asked how long he thought that man could survive on Earth? George pointed to mankind’s ability to adapt and said that we might survive as a species “indefinitely.” Jose E. Lopez gave an excellent answer when asked that “as President how would he handle the threat of a nuclear war?” His approach would be very carefully and with a great restraint. The verbal high voltage continued with the  featured speaker Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC who gave a speech to entertain from the Advanced “Entertaining Speaker” manual. Ruble was our only speaker on this evening because his speech was 15 to 20 minutes in length but he definitely entertained us the entire time! His speech was titled “The Power of Laziness!” and it started out with Ruble explaining how Sir Isaac Newton used relaxation to discover the laws of gravity… by getting hit on the head with an apple! Throughout the speech Ruble gave us a wonderful example of how a speech can be a performance. He often played the part of different characters, used humor, as well as making an inspirational and enthusiastic message! The best thing for Club #28 members was that we did not have to pay to hear him speak! Ken Blake ACG, CL did an spirited job as the General Evaluator while introducing Ken Walley ATMG, CL as “Mr. Electricity” to give the evaluation of Ruble’s speech. Ken gave an exhilarated performance of his own with a very positive analysis of the speech. The functionaries were also highly competent and all turning in great work: 1st time Grammarian Mark Gumula II, Timer Barbara Cusack, CC, CL, AH Counter Jamie Waters, CC and Vote Counter Carolyn Stapleton. Carolyn became the newest member of the club joining after the meeting! Welcome Carolyn! Also joining us tonight were two long-time lost past members: Linda Dabney and George De Jesus. It was the first time that George had been to the club since February 1st 2007 and the first time Linda had been to a Club #28 meeting since October 23rd, 2001! Welcome Back! Don’t stay away so long next time! This was a high-octane meeting that actually lived up to it’s theme.

There were no “Boos” at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, April 8th, 2010 “Ghosts” themed meeting and the only thing that was scary was just how good the meeting was! Leading the meeting as our Toastmaster was Ken Blake, ACG, CL who told us some great ghost stories and described another world “just beyond our reach.” Also present tonight in the room was Marjorie McCauley, ACS, CL visiting us from the Let’s Talk Club #4413. Marjorie served as the Table Topics Master this evening and asked some very ‘haunting’ questions. First to be queried was Jamie Waters, CC. Jamie answered the question: “Have you ever encountered a ghost?”  Jamie remembered feeling his Grandfather’s “presence” one day on a golf course which would later inspired him to write a speech on the subject of combining golf courses and cemeteries! The next question was directed towards Steve Wood who was asked if it was possible for ghosts to communicate. He really did not know but none have contacted him… yet. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked how you make a ghost comfortable? Ken said even though some spirits might not make us comfortable, we can talk to them and try to understand why they are still around. Ken Blake ACG, CL had to answer why politicians keep skeletons in their closets! Visitor Carolyn Stapleton was asked if children are being de-sensitized to the spiritual world by the media. Carolyn admitted that it is hard for campfire stories to compete with Freddie Kruger. Lastly, returning visitor, Jose Hernandez was given the question if he had a favorite ghost story. Jose remembered a story told to him as a child. The speeches tonight were all truly tremendous starting with the Ice Breaker speech of Mark Gumula II titled “How I Became Part of Club #28!” Mark told us of his background in finance and accounting and his battle to earn his CPA degree at the University of Central Florida. He also told us of his struggles to become a better communicator and how he felt accepted at Club #28. You are in the right place Mark! Congratulations! The second speaker was Deepti Dhimnan, CC, CL who told a story titled “Do Not Be a Dinosaur!” about Dinosaurs and… automobile manufacturing! Somehow it all worked out into a great speech with the moral: “Never rest on your accomplishments!” or “Be prepared for anything!” or…oh, the speech just had a whole lot of great lessons! Speaking third was the always entertaining Wilner Luders. Giving his 7th speech titled “Bank Failures in the United States!” Wilner again delivered with both an interesting and informative speech about the banking crisis happening in America. It was a very eye-opening investigative speech. All of this excellent work was reviewed by our evaluation team headed by the General Evaluator Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. Barbara also gave the evaluation for Mark’s Ice Breaker speech and introduced Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL and Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC who both came through with brilliant evaluations of their own. Also doing excellent work was the technical table of Timer Ken Walley, ATMG, CL, Grammarian Jamie Waters, CC;  and the AH Counter as well being the Vote Tabulator, Steve Wood. Club #28 boasted of five guests on this night including toastmasters Marjorie McCauley ACS, CL and Carolyn Stapleton who were visiting from other clubs. Also attending were returning guest Jose Hernandez and two new guests, Katie Bourne and Aaron Berg. Everyone had wonderful things to say about the meeting! You might even say that a “specter” of  greatness hung over the room tonight.

The April 1st 2010 “Diversity” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28  turned out to be one of the most important and educational meetings in memory. The Invocation and Pledge was led by Ken Walley ATMG, CL and then Wilner Luders was introduced as not only the Toastmaster for the evening, but also as the acting Club #28 President! Wilner came in early to decorate the meeting room with balloons, candy and colorful streamers so that we might “celebrate diversity”. Wilner introduced the theme by underlining that the concept of incorporating different ideas from many cultures has transformed the social scene, workplace, generational outlooks and even how we view the modern world. Ken Walley ATMG, CL acting as the Table Topics Master turned the session into a mini-seminar on how to cross cultural bridges in order to create a better living environment for everyone. Ken’s first question was asked of Ken Blake ACG, CL: “How is America a better country because of the diversity of it’s population?” The next question, to new member Dana Davis was a reading of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. Dana gave some extremely insightful views from the perspective of an immigrant. Guest Mark Gumula II was given the question “How is it possible to create a world with less bigotry and intolerance?” Mark’s answer was to practice interaction, understanding and education. Steve Wood was asked to comment on the Anne Frank quote that “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” Steve saw first hand other countries that understood that different groups working together were more effective towards achieving their goals. Wilner Luders, who came from the country of Haiti was asked if he thought that America was still the “Land of Opportunity?” His answer was a resounding “yes!”  Lastly, Club #28 guest Jose Hernandez was asked “how does understanding the differences of others enriches ourselves?” Jose believed that both problems, and solutions, are universal. This was a truly uplifting and educational Table Topics session. The same can be said of our two speakers starting with a special event, the Ice Breaker speech of Jose E. Lopez. Jose’s speech titled “I Am Special” made it soon apparent that both Jose and the speech were special! Jose is studying at UCF for a career in Hospitality Management but his real love is public speaking! (Hooray!). he also told how he ran the Chicago Marathon, found religion and wanted to motivate others. From listening to his Ice Breaker speech, Club #28 looks forward to many big things from Jose! Called upon to give a “hip pocket” speech, Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL came through with a wonderful performance! Telling the story of having her identity stolen in a speech titled “Your Most Valuable Possession” she gave great advice on how to avoid immense suffering and loss. Her “spur of the moment” speech turned out excellent!. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL led the evaluation session as the General Evaluator and re-introduced Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL to deliver the evaluation of Jose’s Ice Breaker. Deborah was on the other side when Ken Blake ACG, CL gave her speech evaluation. Both speech reviews were full of great advice and rich in encouragement. The functionaries also stood out tonight as our Grammarian was our newest member Dana Davis who gave an impressive report. Ken Walley ATMG, CL doing double duty, served as the AH Counter and did not spare the bell! The timer was Steve Wood and bravely serving as the Vote Counter was Mark Gumula II. Acting President Wilner Luders closed the meeting by traditionally asking our guests what they thought of the meeting. Guest Jose Hernandez pledged to return and gave the meeting high praise and returning guest Mark Gumula II responded by joining the club! Mark is the fourth new member in two weeks! Club #28 is a highly diversified group whose membership and leadership boasts many different cultures and backgrounds. This has made our club remarkably strong over the years. We are truly proud of who we are and what we do at Club #28!

The March 25th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Spring Break” theme meeting was like a day at the beach! The Toastmaster for the evening Ken Walley ATMG, CL even came prepared with a beach towel, sunglasses, frisbee, sun screen and he even led the meeting in his bathing suit! Wow! really white legs Ken! Ken told us some history about Spring Break and even few hazy memories of his own spring breaks from the distant past. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL filled in as our Table Topics Master at the last minute and came up with some awesome questions. She started with Ebony Langston who was asked if she had any embarrassing moments during Spring Break. Ebony remembered a jump into a pool that went terribly wrong. Sun tanning and sun tan lotion were the subject of Barbara’s next question to Christopher Berns. Apparently, Mr. Berns… burns! Deborah Ryan, ATMG, CL told us of her favorite Spring Break memory, a summer with a lot of her friends. Even our guest Mark Gumula dove in with an answer about his best Spring Break adventure. Mark remembered taking a Caribbean cruise. We only had one speaker tonight because of the length of his speech. Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC was giving a 20 minute “after dinner keynote speech” from the advanced manual “The Professional Speaker” . The title of his speech was “The Secret Key” in which he told us the main ingredient to success and happiness: cultivating the “state of mind”. He even had a great quote from Jawaharial Nehru. The Indian Prime Minster shocked a media group once by saying, “The happiest moments I ever had was spent was with another man’s wife.” Until he added: “It was my mother.”  Ruble also added a wonderful story of how a priest once got into every big trouble by misquoting him! Ruble’s speech was enlightening and inspiring and would have brought out true happiness at any Toastmaster meeting. Doing the honors of General Evaluator was Wilner Luders who was able to introduce our only Evaluator, Deborah Ryan, ATMG, CL. She gave a very spot-on review of Wilner’s speech with some solid advice and excellent encouragement. The Technical Table for the meeting consisted of AH Counter Steve Wood, Grammarian and new member Dana Davis, Timers Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL and returning & new member Ebony Langston as our Vote Counter. Also joining our club tonight was Jose E. Lopez! Welcome Dana and Jose and welcome back Ebony! We had two other visitors, Mark Gumula and Jeimmy Acosta who both gave wonderful comments at the end of the meeting. This meeting was as good as any MTV Spring Break extravaganza, except of course, without the drinking and the wet T-shirt contest.

The March 18th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was not held but instead members were encouraged to attend the Area 32 Table Topics and International Speech Contests that were held on March 15th, 2010 at the beautiful Crown Plaza Hotel in Orlando. The first Contest was the Table Topics contest which featured four contestants, two from the Conqueror Club #1066, Steve Jamba and Paul Vondes Heide and two from Orlando Toastmasters Club #28: Christopher Berns and Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. The question was “The Greatest Lesson I have Learned Is…” Ken spoke about that it is “The importance of learning that is in the process of learning, not what it is that you have learned.” Ken took 2nd place in the contest to a very clever answer by Steve Jamba who lamented that he did not come up with a way to  make infomercials and get rich! In the Area 32 International Speech Contest there were six great speeches! Elon Horsham, CC, CL of the Court Muse Club spoke first with a moving speech titled “A Mother’s Love” which told about the depths of a mother’s love for her child. Speaking second was Sally Wolfe also from the Court Muse Club, who spoke about the tragic cost on society of Mental Illness in a very powerful speech titled “Four Stories“. The Power of Words was the focus of a speech by Jerome Kalisz, DTM from The Conquerors Club #1066 titled “Mere Words“. After a short recess for dinner, Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s Barbara Cusack, CC, CL took the stage and gave a command performance of her speech “The Echo” a speech about a life lesson learned from an echo. Barbara had the room captivated. Also speaking for the Conquerors Club #1066 was Paul Vondes Heide who gave a speech titled “A Great Idea” about as Paul said, “Spreading health instead of illnesses!” Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave his club’s contest winning speech titled “Our Future” about what the future might hold for us via his crystal ball. Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 came out the big winner as Barbara Cusack, CC, CL took the 1st place trophy and Ken Walley ATMG, CL came in 2nd place! A great time was enjoyed by all who attended and Club #28 now will go on to the Division ‘C’ Contests in April! Congratulations Barbara and Ken!

The March 11th, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech Contest will rank as one of the best ever, if not the #1 highest quality International Speech contest ever produced by the club.  The meeting started with Barbara Cusack, CC, CL calling the meeting to order, for the second week in a row Vice President of Education John Hines came up with a brilliant Invocation to start the meeting. Club President Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL  was introduced and welcomed many of our dignitaries and guests including a guest named Jose Lopez. The last club member we had named Jose Lopez, went on to become a club president!  Let’s hope the same happens this time. Also attending was our District 84 Lt. Governor of Education Scott Hoehn, DTM, The Court Muse Club VP of Education Elon Horsham, CC, CL;  President Nancy Humberson, CC of the Castaways Club #618581 and Carolyn Stapleton who was visiting us from the Baldwin Park Club #6304. It was also very nice to see returning members Sue Park and Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL who have been away for a few weeks. Deepti presented the lectern to our Contest Master Deborah Ryan, ATMG, CL. Debbe returned as Contest Master for the second week after doing the honor at last week’s Table Topics Contest. Again, she ran a “tight ship” keeping the contest on schedule and within the Toastmasters International guidelines. She also added a lot to the evening with some great stories of past International Speech Contests and Toastmaster lore. After reading the rules Deborah started the contest by introducing the first contestant, John Hines. John gave a powerful and emotional speech titled “Defiance Street” in which told how his daughter had overcome a severe illness and how her courage had inspired him to be able to make life changing decisions of his own. Speaking second was Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL who gave a captivating speech titled “Culture Shock” which compared the culture differences between the United States and her native India. The next speaker was Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who presented a truly motivating speech about how a father and son learned a life lesson from an echo. The speech, titled “The Echo” taught us “What you put out there, comes back to you.” The fourth speaker was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who spoke about two paths that the world might end up following in a speech titled “Our Future“. Looking into his crystal ball, Ken saw that one future was very, very good and the other was very, very bad. The last speaker of the evening was Ken Blake, ACG, CL who gave an inspiring and highly polished speech titled “Its Not About the Money” in which he told about an Olympic Gold Medal winner who overcame extreme dyslexia to make a successful living as a public speaker. Every speech was well prepared and presented. They were all worthy of winning an International Speech Contest. While the Chief Judge Scott Hoehn, DTM  was counting the votes, Deborah thanked all of the functionaries who helped the contest to run so smoothly: Timers Monica Walley and Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL, Raffle Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL and the Vote Counters Steve Wood and Christopher Berns. Everyone did a fantastic job. Deborah also called Barbara to the lectern to describe her Black Bean & Corn Salsa and then she called up Deepti to describe her hometown in India. Once the results came in, District Lt. Governor of Education Scott Hoehn, DTM did the honors of announcing the winners of our contest. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL came in 2nd place and the winner for the 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech Contest is… Ken Walley ATMG, CL! All of those who attended should be commended for braving horrible weather just to get to the library for the contest. Indeed, both of this year’s Table Topics and International Speech Contests are a testimony to the dedication and hard work of the entire club. Congratulations to Club #28 for another successful contest season! Now its on to Area to beat Club #1066!

The March 4th, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Table Topics Contest was a giant success. Because of so many of the club members taking part in the Table Topics and International Speech Contests, the club decided to have two separate contests on two different dates. The Table Topics contest featured seven different contestants, the most ever for a Club #28 Table Topics contest! Club Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL called the contest to order and introduced Vice President of Education John Hines to give the Invocation and Pledge. John used a verse from the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Boxer” to inspire our contestants! Club President Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL welcomed our guests and dignitaries which included the Area 34 Governor Luvenia Hart, ACS; the Let’s Talk Club #4413 VP of Education Linda Ramey, ACB; Past Division Governor Helen Joseph, DTM; Club Court Muse VP of Education Elon Horsham, CC, CL and returning Club #28 member Ebony Langston. Deepti also introduced our Contest Master Deborah Ryan, ATMG, CL. Debbe did a great job of reading the rules, keeping the meeting on time and recognizing the contestants and functionaries. As Contest Master she also picked the question to be asked of all of the contestants. The question was a good one: “What is your biggest regret?” Speaking first was Ken Blake, ACG, CL who mentioned working on a marriage. The next contestant was John Hines who spoke of how he tries to live without regrets. Speaking third was Wilner Luders who wished that he had spent more time with his wise grandmother when he had the chance. Jamie Waters, CC spoke on not joining Toastmasters sooner. Monica Walley speaking fifth, remembered a kitten that she once had. Christopher Berns regretted joining the Navy and later was glad that he did! Speaking last was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who wished that he had applied himself a little more in college or maybe did not work so many years at Disney World. In the end he asked the question “am I happy with my life?” He was, because of his many blessings. While the Chief Judge Helen Joseph, DTM counted the ballots with the vote counters, Deborah asked some Table Topics questions of her own. She asked  Ken Blake, ACG, CL what had brought him to Toastmasters. She asked Christopher Berns what he had gained from Toastmasters and Monica Walley what she did at her job at the Boston Market restaurant. All of them gave great answers, Ken Blake praised Christopher Berns for being the “most improved Toastmaster he had seen in his many Toastmaster years”. Christopher spoke about overcoming challenges and Monica spoke about pleasing her bosses, balancing banks and keeping a clean and safe place to work. Deborah gave out Certificates of Appreciation to the Vote Counters Deepti Dhiman CC, CL and Steve Wood and to the Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL, the Timer Luvenia Hart, ACS as well as all of our contestants. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who was also the Raffle Master, announced the winner of the 50/50 prize to be Luvenia… who donated her 50/50 winnings back to the club! Thank you Luvenia! At last… the winners were announced! Second place was awarded to Wilner Luders and the 2010 winner for the Table Topics contest was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL! Congratulations Ken! This was a great meeting and hopefully our International Speech Contest will be just as good next week!!

The February 25, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Success and Failure!” theme meeting was a gigantic success! Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL called the meeting to order and Christopher Berns led the club in an inspiring success-themed Invocation. Acting President John Hines set the tone for the meeting by telling us about the book “The Game Plan for Life” by the legendary Basketball coach John Wooden and his “7 point Creed of Success”. Ken Walley  ATMG, CL was introduced as the Toastmaster and throughout the evening Ken gave inspiring “proverbs of success” along with a number of famous examples of people who have overcome failure to achieve greatness including Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney and Michael Jordan. Using quotes from the book by Coach Wooden, John Hines returned to the lectern as the Table Topics Master and asked Wilner Luders to comment upon the phrase “Being True to Yourself”. Christopher Berns was asked to explain what it means to “Never flinch under failure”. Chris told about what that meant to him after serving in the military. Sashimi Robertson one of our guests for the evening, was asked what her definition of success was. She replied that it is finding the ability to “push harder to overcome the stumbling blocks of life.” Ken Blake ACG, CL was given the opportunity to speak on the subject of Enthusiasm, a thing that Ken is rarely ever short on. The club was not short on simply fantastic speeches tonight either. The first speech was a very special presentation by Deborah Ryan, ATMG, CL who’s speech titled “28 is More Than Just a Number” was a truly interesting and exciting history of Club #28! Tracing the club’s history from 1933 to the present. She told of the founders of the club including famous Orlando Mayor William Beardall and the founder of Toastmasters International Ralph Smedley, DTM coming to together to organize the club. She told stories of the 40’s and 50’s when the club was named after a local developer and war hero Howard Rybolt, DTM, stories about when the club met in a bowling alley and many other great stories about the club! Our second speaker was John Hines who also gave a riveting speech titled “Speech Vis Aids As A Metaphor For Life”. John used visual aids such as a painting by his daughter and books that have inspired him to help explain the important lessons that he has learned in life. It was one of John’s most dramatic and powerful speeches. Serving as the General Evaluator was Monica Walley who re-introduced her father Ken Walley ATMG, CL to give the evaluation of Debbe’s speech. Ken had very high praise for the speech and hoped to hear more from our new “club historian”. Ken Blake, ACG, CL also gave a review of the John Hines speech which was again packed with uplifting acclaim. Monica mentioned the excellent Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations in her “meeting assessment” and she even somehow got the meeting back on time after being quite a bit behind schedule! Wilner Luders and Steve Wood gave exceptional reports as the Grammarian and AH Counters. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL served as the Timer and Vote Counter. All of our guests had very high praise for the meeting including Sashimi Robertson who said when would definitely return as well as father and son visitors Spencer and Barry Pigot. Spencer said that they planed to look at a number of clubs but that they “might not be necessary now look at other clubs!” One of the “success proverbs” Toastmaster Walley used was “Nothing Succeeds like Success”, that was certainly true with this meeting.

Doing a decent Woody Woodpecker to start the February 18th, 2010 meeting, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL, filling in as the Sgt. at Arms opened the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Favorite Cartoon Characters” theme meeting. He also led the club in the invocation and pledge and then introduced the Club President and this night’s Toastmaster, Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL. Deepti came prepared with a ton of facts and stories about the great cartoon characters of the past and present. She mentioned some of Disney’s beloved cartoons including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, The Little Mermaid as well as others such as Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and many others. Ken Blake ACG, CL our Table Topics Master, was not allowed to watch cartoons as a child, we learned and so he  led one of the strangest Table topics session ever. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to describe his Disney “character” named “Mr. Howdy” that he “played” while working at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue dinner show. Deepti Dhiman CC, CL had the unfortunate assignment of explaining Daffy Duck while talking like Daffy Duck. Steve Wood was asked to do the Toastmaster Mission Statement talking like Elmer Fudd but he told an off-color joke instead. John Hines did a very passable Count Duckula but no one remembers just what he actually said. Jamie Waters, CC told how he was a “Dennis the Menace” to his parents. Christopher Berns mercifully ended the Table Topics session with an explanation of how he was “Grinch-like.” We had two excellent speeches however from two of the club’s better speakers. John Hines gave his 7th speech titled “Working on a Dream” which followed the history of the legal cases used  to fight discrimination and open the doors to the  passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. John brought history to life while both educating and entertaining us. Speaking second was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave a speech titled “Our Future” about the choices that we have to make leading into this decade. Looking into a crystal ball, he saw both the very good and the very bad that might await us. Ken Blake ACG, CL also acted as our General Evaluator and introduced Wilner Luders who was excellent with his review of John’s speech as well as was Jamie Waters, CC who gave the evaluation of Ken’s speech. Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL returned this week to be our Grammarian, Steve Wood served as the Timer, Ken Walley ATMG, CL doubled as an AH Counter and Christopher Berns awarded the ribbons as our Vote Counter. Our only guest, Eric Jones had some wonderful things to say about the meeting and he pledged to return. All and all, this was a lot like a Looney Tunes cartoon, a whole lot of fun… TTTTHHAAAT’S ALLL FOLKS!

Love was in the air for the February 11th, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Love” theme meeting with Valentines Day right around the corner. The Club’s own “Guru of Love” Barbara Cusack, CC, CL led the meeting and gave us words of wisdom, advice and warmth on the subject of Love. Also in the spirit of Love was our Table Topics Master Jamie Waters. CC who shot some of cupid’s arrows, in the form of questions, to our members. Our returning guest Ron Silva was the first to receive a question. He answered Jamie’s request to “describe a lovely day for yourself.” Wilner Luders got an open ended question “What do you love that is good for us?” Christopher Berns was asked a more personal question “Do you have a special someone?” Steve Wood answered Jamie’s question of “How do you see love effecting society?” Steve said that it is not “Love that make the world go ’round” but “centripetal gravitational forces that do that, but, love is a powerful emotion.” When asked when love has the most influence on her life, Barbara Cusack, CC, CL answered “When love is shown to me, not told to me.” Club #28 had what all Toastmasters Clubs love to have: three excellent speeches! Monica Walley, giving her 7th speech towards her Competent Communicator Award went first with a speech titled “Keep It Simple“. Her speech was on ways to make your life easier by simplifying. She gave us some great ideas such as using only one credit card and always telling the truth. It was an interesting and helpful speech. Speaking next was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave a speech titled “The Self Control Remote Control” in which Ken told us that “all you need to know in life is on your remote.”  Ken reminded us to “Play” “Pause” and  go “Forward” in life with the help of our “self control remote control”  Speaking third, was Ken Blake ACG, CL who told us about an Olympic sport, the Skeleton, in a speech titled “It’s Not Always About the Money“. He noticed the license plate of a car he was working on and found out it stood for the Skeleton gold medal winner Jim Shea from the 2002 Olympics! Ken told us the dangers involved with the sport which became prophetic when only a day later a 2010 Olympic Luge competitor was killed while practicing for the event. John Hines stepped in as the General Evaluator and created a stellar example for future General Evaluators with his skillful introductions and spot-on meeting evaluation. His evaluators for this evening were Ken Blake, ACG, CL, Wilner Luders and returning Past Club #28 President Debbe Ryan, ATMG, CL! All of the evaluations were excellent as well. The support group was one that you just had to love: Grammarian Wilner Luders, Timer Steve Wood, AH Counter Christorpher Berns and Vote Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL. We had three visitors Ron Silva, Debbe Ryan, ATMG, CL and Diana Walley ATMG, CL who had come to hear both her husband and her daughter speak. After the meeting, Ron and Debbe joined the club! What is there not to love about a meeting like this?

A very special Toastmasters meeting took place on the campus of the University of Central Florida on February 9th 2010. A “mock” Toastmaster Meeting was sponsored by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and produced by Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 and the Castaways Toastmasters Club #618581. This meeting was the brainchild of SMPS and Orlando Club #28 member Justin Gay who selected the theme “Success & People Skills”. This meeting was a great example of people skills and a huge success! With a very good turnout of UCF students willing to take part in their first Toastmaster meeting. Justin Gay opened the meeting and introduced Scott Hoehn, DTM the Lt. Governor of Education for District 84. Scott Introduced the attending Toastmasters including Club #28’s Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who brought along all of Club #28’s equipment for the mock meeting. Scott told about the Toastmasters program and explained the importance of getting involved and then introduced the Toastmaster for the evening, Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Showing his usual enthusiasm, Ken explained how he got involved with Toastmasters crediting his wife for “literally dragging me to my first meeting.” As the meeting progressed, Ken explained more about the program and the different parts of a Toastmasters meeting. All of the functionary positions were covered by SMPS members who were expertly coached by Barbara. The Table Topics Master for this evening was Nancy Humberson, CC the current President of the Castaways Club. Nancy challenged the SMPS members with some brilliant questions and even a “charades project” that required only hand gestures! Nancy asked one member to give a “Marketing Analysis” of the question “How much wood could a woodchuck, chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Another student was asked to explain, without hand gestures how to tie a tie! Still another SMPS student was asked to do a commercial for “Wet Ones Baby Wipes”. All of the answers were very well done and even remarkable considering this was their first time answering Table Topics questions. Three speeches were presented, all of them by SMPS students starting with a speech by Justin Gay titled “How to Give A Great Speech!” Justin gave some excellent advice for both the UCF students and the Toastmasters that were present alike. Speaking second was SMPS student Nick Lanza who spoke about “Life After College“. Although he said he was unprepared to give a speech, he delivered a very polished speech on what it was like to face an uncertain future. The third speaker wanted only be known as “J.R.” and he also came up with a fantastic speech titled “Buying your Next Car“. Instead, J.R. told us of his dream “muscle car” and how to find it. All three speeches were simply superb. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was also the General Evaluator and he introduced three very highly qualified evaluators. Speaking first and evaluating Justin’s speech was past Orlando Club #28 President Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. She had a number of positive and upbeat comments on Justin’s speech. Another Toastmaster who was impressed with the speech that she had to evaluate was Daisy Arus the VP of Education for the Castaways club. She admired the confidence that Nick showed while giving his speech. Evaluating J.R.’s speech was Scott Hoehn, DTM who gave an insightful and very helpful review of J.R.’s speech. Ken also gave a brief evaluation of the meeting stating how remarkable that the talent of the SMPS students was, as well as how happy he was to see this mock meeting take place. The functionaries gave expert Grammarian and AH Counter reports as if they had been in Toastmasters for years. Ken thanked the SMPS group for inviting Toastmasters and urged them to explore Toastmasters in the future. Justin Gay was re-introduced and thanked the Orlando Club #28 and the Castaway Club #618581 for helping to make this mock meeting such a great success. He presented each of the Toastmasters with a Certificate of Appreciation. Justin then adjourned the meeting. This special meeting was a wonderful way to bring Toastmasters to other groups and it was a really fun way to spend the evening as well!

Even if the theme for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 4th, 2010 meeting was “Peace” I do not think that you could describe it as “peaceful”. Maybe you could say it was exciting and fun or enjoyable and wonderful…  Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL called the meeting to order and introduced Christopher Berns to give the Invocation and Pledge. He read a stirring quotation regarding peace and solitude. Toastmaster and Club #28 President Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL welcomed our visiting guests including club member John Hines‘s daughter, Jenna Hines and Johnny Nuygen. Being the Toastmaster for his first time tonight was Wilner Luders. Wilner had many great insights as to peace both as a world goal and as an inner feeling. He likened peace to a man in a moving ocean or a man in the forest. He also reminded us of winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Our Table Topics Master tonight was Monica Walley. Monica wanted to know if John Hines ever thought there would be world peace. Despite John’s optimism in the world, he didn’t feel there would ever be a true world peace. Christopher Berns was asked what “peace” meant to him. Christopher talked about building connections with people. Returning member Justin Gay was given the question “did you ever have to be a peace keeper?” Justin said that he tries to defuse a bad situation before it gets out of hand. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL was asked how to bring about peace. Barbara thought that getting together at the table and eating salsa would help us out of the toughest disputes. Ken Blake, ACG, CL; was asked what good comes out of war. Ken thought that war helped out the economy and could possibly help our image if entered into properly. The night’s first speaker was Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL. Her speech was titled “Degrees of Separation” Deepti showed us how the world was all connected through “six degrees of separation.” She told some amazing stories about just how small our world really is. Our second speaker was Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken gave a hip pocket speech about how to deliver a great speech titled “How to Prepare a Speech“. He received a standing ovation! Our first evaluator was Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who evaluated Deepti’s speech. Barbara loved Deepti’s stories and use of vocal inflection. Ken Blake, ACG, CL was the second evaluator. Ken felt that this unprepared speech was well polished and very well detailed. He said that Ken actually had been preparing his speech for the last ten years while in toastmasters! Our functionaries were Grammarian Justin Gay, Timer Jamie Waters, CC, AH Counter John Hines and Vote Counter Jenna Hines. This meeting, besides being very entertaining, was full of some very deep insight.

The room was like a rainbow of colorful phrases and word pictures as the theme for the January 28th, 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Colors!”. Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack CC, CL called the meeting to order. A moving quote from Judy Garland was read for the Invocation and Pledge by Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Toastmaster Club #28 President, Deepti Dhiman, CC welcomed our visiting guests Melissa Leecock, Lee Chavous and Will Cooper. Tonight’s Toastmaster was Jamie Waters, CC who spoke about how colors often effect emotion and how colors have meaning. Our Table Topics Master for tonight was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Ken, a Florida State University graduate, wanted to know what John Hines‘s favorite colors were. We found out that John’s favorite colors were Orange and Blue… and that he was a true “gator”. Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL was shown a very colorful art painting and he was asked to describe it. Ed told us a shorthand art trick that anyone can use to appear like they are “art knowledgeable”.  Ed sounded like an art expert! Our guest Will Cooper, was asked what it means to show your “true colors”. Will felt that showing your true colors was about showing loyalty to those closest to you and pouring yourself into your purpose. Monica Walley was asked what was the most colorful thing that she has ever seen. Monica remembered seeing the Osborne Family Christmas Lights with her family every year at Walt Disney World. She said it was a colorful and memorable experience. Next the Table Topics Master wanted Wilner Luders to describe himself using colors. Wilner liked a certain shade of green because it reminded him of hope, and light blue because it conveys calmness as well as aggressiveness. Toastmaster Jamie Waters, CC also introduced Wilner Luders who gave his sixth speech titled “Stewardship.” Wilner taught how time, talent and treasure affect our lives. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL was our next speaker. Her speech was called “The Echo.” The morale of this story that she weaved was that whatever you send out comes back to you like an echo. Our final speaker Elon Horsham, CC, CL who gave a toast to Club #28! Elon praised this year’s accomplishments. Changing hats to become the General Evaluator was Jamie Waters, CC who introduced Deepti Dhiman, CC, who had high praise for our first speaker Wilner. Our second evaluator was John Hines. John loved Barbara’s voice inflection and expert timing. The final evaluator of the night was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Ken was honored to hear Elon’s toast and enjoyed how he tailored it to his audience. His evaluation ended with a toast of his own to Elon! Our functionaries for the night were Grammarian Monica Walley, Timer Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL; AH Counter Steve Wood and Vote Counter Christopher Berns. For a meeting with the theme of “Colors” this meeting lived up to it’s name but the most colorful thing about the meeting was the members themselves.

The theme for the January 20th 2010 special Wednesday edition Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Living Life Without Limits” and it truly was a meeting that had no limits on talent and inspiration! Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack CC, CL called the meeting to order. A touching Invocation and Pledge was given by toastmaster Deepti Dhiman, CC who was then introduced as Club #28 President Deepti Dhiman, CC. Deepti first greeted our guests Ron Silva and Felix Coven and then returned to the lectern to Barbara Cusack, CC, CL as the Toastmaster for the night’s meeting. Barbara invited us to “redesign, redeem, restore our vision, revive our passion for living and reclaim what is stored inside of us if we did not like the way that things are going in our lives.” The Table Table Topics Master for this evening was Ruble Nedumkunnel, CC; who had recently earned his Competent Communicator Award. Ruble wanted to know about “going beyond what you are, if the sky was the limit” from Christopher Berns. Christopher talked about his own goals to serve others and the steps in education he is taking to achieve those goals. Steve Wood received the next question from the Table Topics Master: “If you had an unlimited amount of money, how much would you spend each day and what would you spend it on?” Steve said he does not have a lot of extra time, so it would be difficult for him to spend a high amount of money. Steve did say however that he wanted an airplane for a quarter of a million dollars. Next, Ronald Silva was asked how he would spend his time if he had everything he needed in life. Ronald said that helping others, supporting his family and improving himself would take center stage. Jamie Waters, CC was asked what his greatest mission as a speaker would be. Jamie spoke about his transition in Toastmasters and how much being a part of this club has helped him to accomplished his goal of becoming a good speaker. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL took back the lectern to introduce the first of three speakers, Elon Horsham. Elon’s speech was called “A Leader as a Coach” from the Toastmasters International “Leadership Excellence” Series. He started his speech by saying “As a leader you are not recognized for what you do, but for the results of your team.” Elon spoke about getting the best out of your team, because it is from their success that you are going to be recognized. He talked about setting high standards but keeping the goals achievable. Elon went on to talk about support, acknowledgement and engaging team members on their level. Out second speaker was Wilner Luders. Wilner’s speech was entitled “Fight your Fear” He explained that  both hope and fear share uncertainty. The difference, he explained, is the outcome. Wilner also spoke about the importance of not yielding, even in the face of adversity. He told us how his friend, a taxi driver, overcame a robber pointing a gun at his head in his cab! Later we would find out that this “friend” was actually Wilner himself. Wilner’s story showed us how hope can win out over fear. Our final speaker was John Hines, his speech was called “A Still, Small Voice” He spoke about a noble purpose and a calling. John wanted to make an impact in an under-served area. He recognized the author Alfred Lord Tennyson, who said, “To life, you can only respond by being responsible.” John’s desire to be responsible has led him into a role as a teacher and a cross-country coach. Now taking on the position of General Evaluator,  Barbara Cusack, CC, CL introduced the first evaluator Ken Blake, ACG, CL, who loved Elon’s introduction and use of many examples in his speech. The next Evaluator was Jamie Waters, CC, who reviewed Wilner’s speech. Jamie recognized how his talk gave many inspirational phrases and that the delivery was exceptional. Our final evaluation as given by Deepti Dhiman, CC who complemented John Hines‘s use of body language, eye contact and use of motivating books. Our Functionaries for the night were Grammarian Jamie Waters, CC, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL, AH Counter Christopher Berns and Vote Counter Steve Wood. Visiting guests Ronald Silva and Felix Coven gave highly positive reviews of their first Toastmasters meeting experience! With a meeting this good, I only wish that we had had no limits on Time. This turned out to be an excellent meeting!

The theme for the January 14th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was: “Hot and Cold”. This meeting was HOT! Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL called the meeting to order. An inspiring Invocation and Pledge given by Monica Walley was the very appropriate to the theme, reading of Robert Frost‘s famous poem “Fire and Ice“. Deepti Dhiman, CC Toastmasters Club #28’s President, greeted returning members Justin Gay, Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Susan Deichen, CC. It was good to see them back again! Deepti Dhiman, CC also asked our visiting guests to introduce themselves. Their names were Kate Rose, Sarah Flower, Derya Dursun and Murat Balci. It was nice to see so many new faces as well. Ken Walley ATMG, CL took the lectern as our Toastmaster for the evening’s meeting. Ken Illustrated what hot and cold can mean. He gave an examples such as proximity to an object, attractiveness, personality and most important, temperature. Ken next gave control of the lectern to Table Topics Master Ken Blake ACG, CL. This evening Table Topics session was very exciting. Ken first wanted to know from his fellow toastmaster Steve Wood if he believed in global warming. Steve did, but he believed that the real question among scientists is more about what is going to happen when the planet does warm up, not if it would. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL was asked if she would prefer a car with a really cold AC or a warm heater. Barbara said that she loves the heat, but she can’t stand the cold. She said that even if she does not have an AC, she can always roll down the windows. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about a type of hot sauce. Ken compared this type of hot sauce to others and spoke about the finding right sauce to bring out the flavor in food. John Hines was given a question about the ethical use of pepper spray by the police. John talked about the effect of pepper spray on the neurotransmitter level and the importance for officers to use what was needed to subdue those resisting arrest. Our guest, Murat Balci, was asked if either he or his wife liked their food “hot and spicy”. Murat said it was all based on perception. Kate Rose was asked if she would prefer a bright red Mustang or a car that would be less likely to get a ticket. Kate said that her lead foot gets her into trouble sometimes, and that she would rather have the car with good features even if it were less sporty. Ken Walley ATMG, CL took back the lectern and entertained us about the hottest and coldest temperatures in the world. Ken introduced the first speaker Ruble Nedumkunnel. Ruble gave his ninth speech in only two and a half months, which is really amazing! His speech was called “Can Black Balloons Go Up?” Ruble’s inspiring speech recognized that it was not the color of the balloon that decided if it would go up or not, but it was what was inside the balloon that mattered. He was he said more interested in what was inside of us and what was preventing the group from “going up” or advancing in our lives. He had returning member, Justin Gay talk about his desires in life and ways that he could change his state of mind in order to put those desires in a priority worth achieving. Our next speaker was Wilner Luders who gave his fourth speech “Why Give Back?” Wilner spoke about how we are encouraged to give back through taxes, schools and in business. He showed us how we could all help each other out through giving back. Wilner emphasized how faith has been an anchor for him in the time of adversity. Deepti Dhiman, CC gave our finial speech for the evening called “Vikram and Bhital” Based on an Indian Folktale, it told about a brave king who ruled a prosperous kingdom in India. His bravery was tested when he was asked to bring back a possessed corpse. This corpse told the king about a woman who accidentally had a spirit put on the wrong head of her husband’s body! After her story, it was time for evaluations. General Evaluator Jamie Waters, CC introduced himself as the first evaluator. Jamie talked about Ruble’s passion and use of examples. Our next evaluator was Susan Deichen, CC. She talked about Wilner Luders use of body language and his ability to interact with the audience. John Hines evaluated the final speech. He talked about how we knew many things about our President Deepti Dhiman, CC CL; but we did not know until that night that she was a great folklore storyteller! John noticed Deepti’s use of voice, body language and her use of props. Our technical table for the night were Timer Steve Wood, AH Counter Monica Walley, Grammarian Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and Vote Counter Christopher Berns. Although time was limited at the end of the meeting, we got some extremely upbeat comments on the meetings from some of our guests and returning members. This was a hot night for club #28,  you could say it was really “cool”.

The theme for the January 7th 2010 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “New Beginnings.” It truly was a fantastic new beginning for the club! New Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL called the meeting to order. An inspirational Invocation and Pledge was given by toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Deepti Dhiman, CC, speaking from the lectern for the first time as Toastmasters Club #28 President she welcomed guest Michael Finn, DTM from Massachusetts who served as our Grammarian, utilizing his 18 years of experience as a toastmaster. Deepti Dhiman, CC began by saying “Every ending has a new beginning.” She was excited to begin the first meeting of the year 2010. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL was also interested in looking for the potential in the New Year. Wilner Luders was asked about a new beginning in his life. Wilner spoke about the intellectual, spiritual, physical and financial fitness that he wanted to achieve in this New year. Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL was asked what he though a resolution for the entire world should be. Ed wanted the world to “go slower” He spoke about computers, smart phones and the economy frustrations as well as the benefits of respecting others, physical fitness, and even the benefits of eating dark chocolate! Sue Park was asked what resolution has had the most effect on her life. Sue said coming to America in 1973 was a life-changing idea that has impacted her life. Deepti Dhiman, CC, was asked what a new year’s celebration was like in India. Deepti spoke about spending time with family, making New year’s resolutions and listening to the top twenty songs of the past year. Michael Finn DTM got the next question. He was asked about the best and worst of 2009. Michael spoke about retiring from work as a letter carrier during the past year. Christopher Berns received the last question for Table Topics. “Why should we be hopeful about the future?” Christopher spoke about spending time with friends and beginning new relationships. Deepti Dhiman, CC took the floor again and spoke about new beginnings, inventions and the tremendous impact of things we “can’t live without”. Our first two speeches of the year were given by toastmasters Steve Wood and Ruble Nedumkunnel. Steve’s speech was called “Be Rich and Famous” He explained how one could become a YouTube celebrity and get paid for advertisements. This was Steve’s fourth speech. Ruble Nedumkunnel gave his eight speech, which is  incredible because he has only been a Toastmaster for a little more than two months! he titled his speech “State of Mind is the Key“. Using a coconut and a little red ball he told about the “ball of concern” and the “ball of influence”. “We must live in the sphere of which we can influence, that which concerns us is often beyond our ability to change.” said Ruble. Master Evaluator John Hines introduced evaluators Jamie Waters, CC and Ken Blake ACG, CL whose evaluations would give us an opportunity to grow as communicators. Jamie and Ken praised the speeches and spoke highly about each speaker’s progress. Grammarian Michael Finn, DTM was exceptionally impressed with the well spoken group and use of descriptive words. Functionaries for the night’s meeting were Timer Barbara Cusack, CC, CL; AH Counter Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL and Vote Counter Christopher Berns. Our Grammarian was our distinguished guest Michael Finn, DTM. Ken W. announced that the meeting for the week after next week’s meeting would be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 instead of on our usual Thursday night. A special reminder that officer training will be held on January 16th 2010 at the Roth Jewish Community Center 815 North Maitland Ave, Maitland, Fl. 32751. As for a new beginning this club could not have had a better one!

The library halls were festooned with holiday gayety and joy as stockings and garlands, even a tree decorated the Herndon Branch Library meeting room for the December 17th, 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Holiday Party and Installation of Officers. Starting off the festivities was Sgt. at Arms Steve Wood who called the meeting to order and  introduced Monica Walley to give the Invocation and lead the club in the Pledge to the Flag. Club President Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL welcomed a full room of toastmasters, guests and dignitaries. Visiting the club was Area Governor Mario Blaise who brought his brother Gary Blaise, our own Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart, ACG, CL and our Division C Governor Kenneth Peplow, DTM. We also had a returning guest, Genio Lauresten as well! Ed introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the third year in a row, Kenneth H.Walley ATMG, CL. Ken started off the meeting with a hearty Santa-like “Ho! Ho! Ho!” while wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and promising some Table Topics questions. He asked Jamie Waters, CC what the best present that he ever received was and Jamie replied that it was Toastmasters! “I learned a lot and made some wonderful friendships as well as memories that will last a lifetime.” said Jamie. Division C Governor Kenneth Peplow, DTM was asked “Why do we call this the most wonderful time of the year?” Which Ken reminded us of a joy in the air and a feeling of hope that abounds during this time of year. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL next introduced our two featured speakers starting with Christopher Berns who was giving his Ice Breaker Speech titled simply, “Christopher Berns” . Chris told of growing up on a farm and being influenced by his sister and father, among others to find his way into the military, being a student, working with electronics, customer care and Toastmasters. His courage was apparent and his first speech was excellent! Speaking next was Wilner Luders who’s speech, titled “What is the Gift in this Season for You?’ which had a religious theme but was not a “religious speech”. Wilner asked us to “see within” and find how we can work to improve the lives of others. He used The Bible as guide for wisdom and this season as an inspiration. Next on the agenda were the evaluations which produced two brilliant evaluations starting with Ruble Nedumkunnel. Ruble gave his first ever speech evaluation for Chris’s Ice Breaker speech! John Hines also gave some solid advice and encouragement for Wilner’s speech. The second part of the meeting was about the “changing of the guard” for Club #28’s leadership team starting with the “Farewell Speech” for Outgoing President Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL. Ed recalled having to take over as President only a month into the new term while having to deal with changing the meeting place of Club #28 (where the club had been for over a decade), as well as the passing of Club #28 icon Dennis Gola, ACG, CL. Throughout these challenges however the club stayed strong and even grew, while earning the President’s Distinguished Award, the highest award a Toastmaster Club can earn! He praised his officers who helped in the club’s success during his term and also praised the incoming officers for their courage to lead. Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart, ACG, CL was introduced to perform the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony  to install our new officers. Treasurer Kenneth Walley ATMG, CL; Secretary Christopher Berns, Vice President of Public Relations Ruble Nedumkunnel, Vice President of Membership Wilner Luders, Vice President of Education John Hines and President Deepti Dhiman, CC, CL were on hand to accept the gavel (incoming Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack, CC, CL was unable to be at the ceremony) and be inducted as the January-June 2010 Club #28 officers. Gov. Hart presented Deepti Dhiman, CC to the lectern to give her “Inaugural Address” which turned out to be inspiring and uplifting to the Club and everyone in the room as well. Deepti reminded everyone that she was not “superwoman” but she was committed using all of her skills to make a success for the club. She wanted to focus on attaining President’s Distinguished, building Membership and using creativity to produce even better meetings! She used humor and heart to create a great Inaugural Address. After her speech, Ed, Deepti and Chris Berns (for giving his Ice Breaker speech) were all given standing ovations! Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley, ATMG, CL asked for comments from the forum and received many generous, positive and uplifting comments from all of our guests and dignitaries. As the meeting adjourned, Ken wished everyone a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!”  Club #28 cannot wait for 2010.

The theme for the December 10th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was “Whatever Comes to Mind”. What came to the mind of Elon Horsham, CC, CL who served as the Toastmaster for the evening was, well, … a truly excellent Toastmasters meeting! Elon used this theme to remind us that in other parts of the world saying “whatever” is thought of as rude. He also sang his version of “Que Sara, Sara [Whatever Will Be Will Be]” as well as reminding us that taking risks often pays off better than doing nothing. He did a beautiful job at his first time behind the lectern as the Toastmaster! The Table Topics Master called in sick with the flu at the last moment but the Club President Ed Dimayuga CC, CL was up to the challenge. Thinking of what was on his mind, Ed asked some wonderfully interesting questions, some probably never asked at a toastmaster’s meeting before.  He asked Ken Walley ATMG, CL “What about the weather?” to which Ken quoted the Beatles song “Rain” that the weather is “just a state of mind” . Christopher Berns was asked what he thought was the most entertaining thing on TV. Chris admitted to watching the show “Mantracker” . Wilner Luders was asked what his favorite thing about December was. Ken Blake, ACG, CL finally got to answer the question: “Is it better to work on a car or drive one.” Ken said he preferred to drive, because every once in a while you have to tell a customer that their car is dead! Visiting Toastmaster Natasha Stefaif, CL was asked what to get her significant other, she replied that women would “love to see a man do the dishes for Christmas.” She said that “giving the gift of time” is truly the most prized. Our other guest, Genio Lauresten answered the question of what was the best sport? Steve Wood got the last question “How could this club be better?” Among other things, Steve suggested aliens and spaceships. It was a Table Topics session that included a whole lot of fun. The speeches tonight were also on a contest level. Starting with John Hines‘s 5th speech titled “Fitness Evangelist!“, the club was treated to a power session of how to improve your life through exercise. It included a running, jumping, push-up making, squat producing and pull up machine that had us all out of breath from just watching him! He also gave us some great tips on the benefits of staying fit. Having the unenviable task of following John’s speech was Ruble Nedumkunnel. Ruble rose to the task with an inspirational speech titled “What Are Your Rules?“. Ruble said that he was going to give us “10 Minutes to change your life!” He reminded us that the goal of being happy does not have to be tied to becoming successful. He spoke with a style and an enthusiasm that would have pleased Zig Zigler. Club #28 President Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL returned to the lectern to serve as the General Evaluator. He had the pleasure of introducing our visiting Toastmaster from the Court Muse Club, Natasha Stefaif, CL to give the evaluation of John Hines‘s speech. Noting John’s speech title, she called herself an “Evaluation Evangelist!” and highly praised his speech. Ken Blake, ACG, CL had the tough task of giving Ruble’s evaluation but he did his usual brilliant work by mixing astute observations with a healthy dose of encouragement. The functionaries who supported such a highly successful meeting on this night were: Grammarian Wilner Luders, Timer Ken Walley, ATMG, CL; Ah Counter, Chris Bern and the Vote Counter Steve Wood, all of which gave super efforts as well. Both our our guests, Natasha and Genio, vowed to return to us and also gave us high praise. At the end of the meeting, for all of whom attended, “whatever came to their minds” was “now THAT was a really fantastic meeting!”

The December 3rd 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28  was a very special meeting with the theme of “Remembering Dennis Gola”. Over the Thanksgiving holidays, former Club #28 Distinguished President and stalwart supporter Dennis Gola, ACG, CL passed away at the age of 56 from complications following open heart surgery. This night’s meeting was a tribute to his leadership and friendship over the years. The meeting started off with a heartfelt Invocation and Pledge by the Rev. William Watson, CC. Longtime club member and a close friend of Dennis’s, Ken Blake ACG, CL served as the Toastmaster for tonight’s meeting. The first part of the meeting included two brilliant speeches by Wilner Luders and Ruble Nedumkunnel who had signed up to speak before the holiday break. Wilner’s speech was titled “Faith: An Anchor to Life in Adverse Times” which although not planned, was a very appropriate for the evening. Wilner gave personal stories about how he had faced troubles and challenges but was able to get through them with the help of turning to faith in God and in himself. The second speaker was Ruble Nedumkunnel who’s speech titled “Paradigm Shift” spoke of how when we change directions in life, we also change as individuals. We are the sum of our actions and beliefs but sometimes there are other situations beyond what we see or understand that change us. Both speeches were excellent examples of well crafted presentations. The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the memory of Dennis Gola, ACG, CL. Toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL spoke of some memories of Dennis and remembered his dedication to helping others. Ken then introduced Club #28 President Ed Dimayuga, CC, CL who delivered the Eulogy for Dennis Gola. Ed spoke about how much Dennis had meant to the club and his passion for Toastmasters as well as how he touched the lives of those around him. It was by all accounts a wonderful testimony to a man that will be very missed at Club #28. An open forum was then hosted by Ken Blake, ACG, CL. Speaking of their memories and thoughts of Dennis were John Hines, Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Bob Blaydes, CC; Jamie Waters CC; Steve Wood, Michael Deichen, CC, CL; Susan Deichen, CC; William Watson, CC and Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL. All had great stories and warm memories to share about Dennis. The meeting adjourned after announcement and some closing comments by our President Also attending tonight was Chris Berns who served as the evaluation assistant and five students from the University of Central Florida. All of our visiting students were impressed with this special meeting. This was a meeting that paid tribute to a great Toastmaster in a way that a great Toastmaster club should be honored..

There is a lot for Club #28 to be thankful for and one of them is the meeting that took place on November 18th 2009 with the theme of “Thanksgiving.”  This editor was not there so I will tell you what I have been able to find out. By all accounts it was an excellent meeting guided by the talents of Toastmaster Barbara Cusack, CC and Jamie Waters, CC who served as the Table Topics Master. We had three speakers including an Ice Breaker by Wilner Luders with the title “My Life as a Bank Account, a fourth speech by John Hines and Ed Dimayuga‘s CC graduation speech titled “Be a Club #28 Officer!” I know that Deepti Dhiman was there as the Grammarian and Sue Park as the AH Counter, and quite a few others. As I find out more about this meeting I will add to this recap. But I do want to say Congratulations to Wilner and Ed!

What’s in a name? If the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 name is any indication, greatness, talent and high quality meetings like the “What’s in a Name?” theme meeting that took place at the Herndon Library on November 4th, 2009, is the answer! Ken Walley ATMG, CL started off the meeting with the Invocation and Pledge using a insightful Native-American quote. Club #28 President Ed Dimayuga introduced our Toastmaster for the night, Deepti Dhiman, CC who had just earned her Competent Communicator award last week.  Deepti gave some truly fabulous stories about how children are named in her native India as well as researching most of the names of the club members in the room. For example, the name “Christopher” is from the Greek and stands for “bearing Christ within”  as Deepti told Chris Berns when she introduced him for his first time as our Table Topics Master. Chris had some excellent questions about names. Clothing names and torn jeans was the subject of his first question to John Hines. John professed his love for his jeans and flip-flops. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was asked what he thought of when he heard the name “Orlando”. Sue Park was asked how she came to have her name. Wilner Luders was asked what one person at work would he give a name to and what would it be? Wilner was nice. Steve Wood was asked what a name was worth and Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked about the difference between name brands and generic brands. Everyone seemed to have great answers to all of the questions. Toastmaster Deepti could not come up with a meaning for the name of our first speaker, Ruble Nedumkunnel except that “Ruble” was the term for the Russian dollar! Ruble however was worth a million bucks with his Ice Breaker speech titled “Me, My Life and My Decisions“. He told about not wanting to come to America but once he arrived he did not want to go back to India. Ruble earned his engineering degree and later got a job working in the health care industry. His true passion is public speaking and he wants to become a professional speaker some day with the help of Toastmasters. Speaking next was no stranger to the lectern, Jamie Waters CC. Jamie, who’s name means “one who plants” gave a strong presentation titled “Kick the Can” which told how a simple beverage container law with a 5 to 10 Percent mandatory deposit requirement could more than double the recycling efforts in Florida and produce a litter free state like the success stories of states that have adopted the legislation. Jamie made a very good case. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL returned to the position as General Evaluator and introduced John Hines to give the evaluation for Ruble’s Ice breaker speech. It was john’s 1st evaluation and he did an impressive job… even if he had given a thousand evaluations!  Evaluation pro Kenneth Blake ACG, CL (“Kenneth” by the way,  means “handsome”) also gave an excellent evaluation of Jamie’s speech. Barbara in her meeting review noted that this was a brilliant meeting by any name. Another handsome Kenneth, Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the timer tonight and headed a strong cast of functionaries, with Sue Park as the AH Counter, Wilner Luders as Grammarian and the Vote Counter being Steve Wood. Club President Ed Dimayuga noted that this meeting had a number of members serving for the first time in meeting roles. “Rubel gave his Ice Breaker tonight,” said Ed, “Sue Park as our AH Counter, Christopher Berns as Table Topics Master and John Hines giving his first evaluation just shows that our new member are brave enough to go outside of their comfort zones. They are to be commended!”  The truth is that the entire club should be commended for creating such a high quality meeting such as this. “Excellent” would be a good name for it.

The only thing truly scary about the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 29th 2009 “Halloween” theme meeting was just how good it turned out to be! Dennis Gola ACG, CL started out the meeting with the invocation and pledge and acting President Deepti Dhiman, CC introduced the Toastmaster of the evening, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Instead of telling about the history of Halloween, Ken told a ghost story (complete with night gown, cap & candle) about a haunted restaurant! Also adding to the Halloween spirit, or spirits… was first time Table Topics Master Wilner Luders who did a fantastic job of spooking the members with some frightening questions. “What is the most interesting costume that you have ever seen?” was asked of John Hines. Next, Herman Chahal was given the question of what was the scariest thing that he had ever seen at Halloween. Herman remembered going to Universal Studios and being attacked by a “man with a chainsaw”! He thought it was real at first! Steve Wood was asked if he had ever seen a movie that really scared him. The last question was asked of Chris Bern to describe a Haunted House… which he did with great fearsome detail. Tonight was a very special night because we had an Ice Breaker speech as well as a Competent Communicator Graduation speech among the three speakers. Speaking first was Sue Parks who titled her 1st speech “Why I Came to Toastmasters” she told of a time not long ago when she had to speak before a crowd of 50 people… and it did not go well. She said that she is determined to learn how to speak from the heart and never have to worry about not being ready to talk in front of an audience again! It was a wonderful Ice Breaker! Speaking next was Ken Blake ACG, CL who told us the folktale of “Stingy Jack” as a project from the Storytelling Advanced Manual. Stingy Jack was so bad that even the devil wouldn’t take him and he became the legend of the Jack O’ Lantern that we know of today! A perfect story for Halloween. Deepti Dhiman, CC earned her CC Award with an inspiring speech titled “Fear No More!” It was a moving message that “the power to control fear is within all of us” and we have to recognize that we have that power. “Once we acknowledge our fear” said Deepti “We can kill the fear!”  Both Deepti and Sue received standing ovations for their efforts! Ken Walley ATMG, CL also served as the General Evaluator having the pleasure to introduce Jamie Waters CC and Elon Horsham CC, CL to give the evaluations of Sue and Ken B.’s speeches. Ken W. himself gave the evaluation for Deepti’s speech. Again, all three evaluations were excellent! Many people helped to make this meeting a downright scary success including the functionaries: Timer Steve Wood, Grammarian John Hines, Vote Counter Jamie Waters, CC and AH Counter Herman Chahal. We had two guests Listiani Oencie (sp?) and returning guest  Ruble C. Nedumkunnel who had many positive things to say about the meeting. Ruble even became our newest member! This not- so- scary Halloween meeting turned out to be one of our best ever! No BOOs here!

[Editor’s Note: I was unable to attend the October 22nd 2009 meeting and I sincerely thank Monica Walley and Deepti Dhiman for providing me with the following information.]

No one was asleep when the October 22nd, 2009 “Sleep” theme meeting took place at the Herndon Library! It turned out to be a fantastic meeting which included the return of Dennis Gola ACG, CL this time to give our invocation, not from a hospital bed, but (thankfully) live and in person! Acting President and Toastmaster Ed Dimayuga kept everyone awake with some very interesting information about subject of sleeping such as: “Babies sleep for 18 hours a day! As you grow older  most people require 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Other people can make due with only a few hours, 3 or 4 hours of sleep every night” said Ed. Deepti Dhiman rang the alarm for everyone to keep on their toes with some great Table Topics question “How many hours do you sleep a night and is it enough?” was asked of Chris Berns. Ed Dimayuga was asked why he thought that sleep was important. Deepti came up with a fantastic question to ask of Steve Wood: “What was the longest time that you have gone without sleep and what was the effect on you?” Monica Walley was asked had she had any experience with someone keeping you awake when you were trying to sleep. Dennis Gola ACG, CL was asked what makes it hard for him to sleep and what his “sleep requirements” were. Our guest Elisa Ellison was asked if there was any “weird activity” that she did while sleeping. Our other guest, Rubal Nedumkunnel was asked about his latest dream. All of the answers were excellent! The speeches were also worth staying up for. John Hines gave another inspirational speech, this one titled “Run Free!” that got the entire room revved up to win a championship! John spoke to the club as if they were a cross country running team motivating them to win a big race! Speaking next was Elon Horsham CC, CL who did a speech, titled “Drinking and Driving” on the dangers of drunk driving. This speech was filled with valuable information about the devastating effects of drunk driving. It would be hard to follow those speeches on any night but Club #28 had Monica Walley serving as the Master Evaluator and she had two excellent evaluator in two veteran Toastmasters, Ken Blake ACG, CL and Demetrice Vasser, CC. Besides being helpful to both the speakers and all those attending, this evaluation session was a very entertaining one as well. The meeting was supported by a great cast of functionaries: Grammarian Wilner Luders, Timer Monica Walley, AH Counter Chris Berns and Vote Counter Steve Wood. This would be a meeting to emulate if you wanted to wake up a group of Toastmasters for sure!

The October 14th 2009 “Indian Summer” theme Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was as hot as the 95 degree mid-October weather we have been having lately! Hosted by Toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL the club was able to put together some fantastic Table Topics as well as two excellent speeches. Club Treasurer Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the acting President this week because the President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Public Relations, Vice President of Membership and the Secretary could not attend. “I’m glad I was here,” said Ken, “because the Sgt. at Arms is missing as well!” Ken Blake ACG, CL told us a number of fun facts about Indian Summer, like the fact that there are no love bugs during an Indian Summer because it is to hot for them and that in the South a late, hot summer are often known to as “Dog Days”.  What was not like “the dog days of summer” was a very lively Table Topics session held by John Hines. John asked some great questions including asking Steve Wood his thoughts about Global Warming and Climate Change. Steve said we might see Santa come on a floating houseboat this Christmas! Newest member Chris Berns  was asked if he would miss the changing seasons. Chris who is from Iowa, remembered jumping into big piles of brightly colored leaves as a kid. Barbara Cusack CC, CL was asked what was her favorite fall memory. She remembered a great Halloween story. Our guest Balaji Ramamurthy was asked what his favorite outdoor activity was. He loves skiing the mountains. Guest Sue Park answered the question about shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year: “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving. She told us a story from a 1990 visit to Disney World where the parks were empty because everyone else was out in the stores. “Where would you like to have a 2nd home?” was asked of Wilner Luders who choose the State of Maine because of that state’s natural beauty.  This night featured two excellent speakers starting with Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who gave an off-the-cuff speech about the Division C Humorous Speech and Evaluations contests held last week. Titled “I Go For the Cookies” she described a contest that had some surprise twists, not all of them good. It was a great review with more humor that some of the speeches that were at the contest. Jamie Waters, CC gave a highly technical speech titled “Support GIS” in which he talked about Global Information Systems which used such things as “Identifiable tone” and DM Systems to look underneath the ground. Jamie somehow managed to make all of this interesting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL stepped up to serve as the General Evaluator as well as evaluating Barbara Cusack‘s (CC, CL) speech. Barbara herself was the evaluator for Jamie’s speech. Both gave helpful and well thought out evaluations. The technical table consisted of  two brave toastmasters who were serving their roles for the first time: Wilner Luders as the Grammarian and Chris Berns as the AH Counter. They both did superb work for their first times at their positions. Rounding out the functionaries were Steve Wood as Timer and Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Vote Counter. We had very good comments from our guests Balaji Ramamurthy and Sue Park. After the meeting Sue joined our club! Welcome Sue! Like an Indian Summer heat wave, the great meetings just keep going on and on at Club #28!

The October 8th 2009 meeting ushered in a new era  at Club #28 and we started off with a yummy subject for the theme of the meeting: Fast Food. Our first meeting at our new home at the Herndon Library Branch was a great success mostly due to the efforts of the Toastmaster, Monica Walley. Monica brought with her a number of facts about the best and the worst of fast food. We also found out she has a great love for Tacos! Also adding to the feast was the Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken’s first question was served up to Jamie Waters CC who was asked what his favorite fast food was. Ed Dimayuga was asked “What has caused fast food to have such a bad nutritional reputation?” Michael Machata was given the question of why is that fast food is so popular in America.  Our returning visitor, Wilner Luders was asked what could the major fast food chains do to make their choices healthier? Our newest Club #28 member, Chris Berns was asked “If you had a restaurant what would be on the menu?” The last question was given to another guest, Sue Park asking her opinion if fast food should be served in schools. The main course of the evening were two delicious speeches given by John Hines and Elon Horsham. John gave only his second speech, titled “Defiant Street” but it was a powerful and inspiring speech that spoke about the courage it takes to face adversity. John spoke about not accepting what others might believe in order to overcome daunt challenges. A very different speech, an award winning humorous speech was given by Elon Horsham to prepare for the upcoming Division C Contest next week. Titled “Men, They Just Don’t Get It” it was his version of a humorous speech that Barbara Cusack, ACB  had given at our club contest about the Five Love Languages. Elon told about how he had started dating again … and things he had to re-learn. It was a really funny speech! Ken Blake ACG, CL was the Master Evaluator and he introduced two excellent evaluators Michael Machata and Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. Both of them gave two of the best evaluations that they have ever delivered. Everyone in the room learned from their advice to the speakers. The technical table consisted of Ken Blake ACG, CL as the Timer, Steve Wood as the AH Counter, Chris Berns as the Vote Counter and Jamie Waters, ACB who did a brilliant job as the Grammarian. Ed Dimayuga who has been our acting President for the past month said that this meeting had everything and more expected of a great Toastmasters meeting. I think it was like a really good meal… even if it was “fast food”!

The first meeting of October was also the end of an era for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. The October 1st, 2009  “Imagine If” themed get together was the last meeting at the Downtown Orlando Public Library where the club has met since 1999. The meeting started out with the Invocation and Pledge being delivered by speaker phone from Dennis Gola, ACG, CL who calling from his hospital bed at ORMC. Dennis read a quote from the author Richard Bach. Dennis was scheduled to have open heart surgery the next day. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster for the meeting and he used the theme to come up with some interesting ideas and even a look back at the great thinkers that used imagination to make fantasy become reality. Also using some some imagination was our Table Topics Master Ed Dimayuga who came up with some excellent question on the theme. Asked of Jason Davis, ACB was the question “Imagine that you were a kid, what did you think that life would be like as an adult?” Jason thought it would be eating potato chips, staying up late and watching TV. Deepti Dhiman was asked to imagine a world with no war or poverty. visiting Toastmaster Elon Horsham, CC, CL was asked where he would be 20 years from now. Toastmaster Ken Blake, ACG, CL was asked what he daydreams about. Steve Wood was given the question what he would change about the world if he could. His answer was that he would like to “make pigs fly”. Said Steve, “just stand at your doorway with a shotgun and you’ll have breakfast in no time!” In a fluke of conflicts, illness and accidents all four of the scheduled speakers cancelled out leaving two very brave Toastmasters to give “hip pocket” speeches! Going first was Toastmaster Jamie Waters, CC who titled his speech “Imagine If”. Jamie somehow came up with enough material to fill six minutes on the subject of drivers remembering to use their turn signals! The speech had humor and pointed out how much more efficient and safe our highways would be if people simply took advantage of their turn signals. It was an amazing attempt to show that an interesting and witty speech does not have to be about a complex subject. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also gave a speech titled “Imagine If” in which he spoke about the power of the human imagination. “The Earth is in a constant state of change. This evolution is due to the power of our thoughts. All that is around us has been created by our minds. Imagination is the most powerful and unstoppable force on the planet.” said Ken. Ken touched on the genius of Walt Disney, George Gershwin, Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison to show that imagination can change any path of life or accepted view. Ken also stayed on to serve as the Master Evaluator introducing the winner of the Area 33 Evaluation Contest last week, Ken Blake, ACG, CL who gave the evaluation of Jamie’s speech. The next evaluator, Elon Horsham CC, CL who gave a very well done evaluation for Ken’s speech, came in second at the Area 32 Evaluation contest last week!  The technical table for this finial meeting at the downtown library was composed of Grammarian Deepti Dhiman, Timer Steve Wood, Ah Counter Jason Davis, ACB and Vote Counter Herman Chahal. Also attending this historic meeting was Monica Walley. Besides Elon we also has two other guests, Wilner Luders and Chris Berns who both had great things to say about the meeting. Both said they look forward to joining the club! One can only Imagine If all of our meeting were this great.

The September 24th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was not held at the Orlando Public Library but instead was moved to the Florida Hospital Creation Conference Room so that our members could cheer on our winners of the club Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests in the Area 32 & 33 Contests! Club #28 had a lot to cheer about. In the Area 32 Evaluation Contest Club #28 was represented by Ed Dimayuga and Monica Walley who both did exceptionally well but were beaten out in a very strong field by 1st place winner Jessica Guthrie and 2nd place finisher Elon Horsham. In the Area 32 Humorous Speech Contest Club #28’s very own Barbara Cusack CC, CL took the 2nd place trophy! She had everyone howling with laughter with her speech “The 5 Love Languages”  Mitesh Smart came in first place with his speech “King of the Mall” and will represent our Area at the Division contest. Even though they were representing the Let’s Talk Toastmasters Club in the Area 33 Contest, two Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 members ended up winning both the Area 33 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests!! Jamie Waters CC took 1st place with his “Golfatorium”  speech and Ken Blake ACG, CL dedicated his winning the Evaluation to Dennis Gola, ACG, CL who is in the hospital and who he had substituted for. Club #28 had a wonderful turn out of members including Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Deepti Dhiman, Herman Chahal, John Hines and Steve Wood. It was a wonderful evening of fun and a grand success for all of the clubs who participated and both Areas 32 and 33!

The September 17th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Themed “Languages of Love!!!” meeting had everything a toastmaster could love including excellent Table Topics, great speeches and two brilliant evaluations. Starting off the meeting was Steve Wood who was covering for Sgt. at Arms Jason Davis. Steve got the meeting off to a good start as did Herman Chahal who gave the Invocation and Pledge for his first time as well. Ed Dimayuga who has done a masterful job filling in for our President Jose Lopez, CC the past month also brought the meeting off to a good footing with the introduction of the many guests: Samuel Lee, Reggie Reeves, and Mariana Prater all returned from last week as guests and Elizabeth Katen and Danielle Christian were visiting the club for their first time. The best part of Ed being our Acting President was to introduce the Toastmaster Barbara Cusack, CC, CL! Barbara reintroduced us to the five “Love Languages” which was the subject of her recent humorous speech from two weeks ago. The Love Languages of Acts of Service, Encouragement, Giving of Gifts, Touch and Quality Time were all explored by Barbara along with some great examples and her usual sense of fun and wit. Also helping to make this a love-filled meeting was Ed Dimayuga as our Table Topics Master. Ed’s first question to Steve Wood was “Have you ever performed an act of service that you were especially proud of?” Hard pressed to come up with an answer, Steve remembered having his car washed by bikini-clad women for a charity! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to speak on words of Encouragement. Jamie Waters, CC, was asked to speak on his favorite quality time that he spends with another person. Jamie mentioned his quality time on the golf course. Guest Aaron Pierre was given the the chance to choose between chocolate and flowers while speaking about the “giving of gifts”. Jennifer Barrett spoke about if schools should regulate the hugging and touching of the students. Ken Blake, ACG, CL was asked the question of “What fills up your Love tank?” All of the answers were excellent and it was a truly “lovely” table topics session. We had two speakers who both gave brilliant examples of speechmaking. First to speak with his Ice Breaker titled “Connections” was John Hines. John gave a jaw-dropping first speech that held everyone mesmerized from the start to the finish. He told of a career in real estate, traveling the United States and settling down with his two kids and two dogs in Florida. He told how he has spent his life trying to live up to the title of “overachiever” and how he wants to take the chances that make up an exciting and meaningful life. It was an awe-inspiring and very motivational Ice Breaker! Not to be out done, Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech (titled “A Near Death Experience“) that could be called more of a “word painting” describing a Near Death Experience. In vivid detail, he told of a horrible accident, following a great light into a “garden as big as an ocean” and meeting a very mysterious man. It was quite a trip! The evaluation section of the meeting was equally excellent. Ken Blake ACG, CL played the role of General Evaluator and did tremendous work introducing the two evaluators, (Ken Walley, ATMG, CL for John’s speech and Ed Dimayuga for Ken W.’s speech) as well as giving a very good “meeting review” of this wonderful toastmaster evening. The functionaries included Steve Wood as Timer, Herman Chahal as the AH Counter (also for his 1st time at that position) Jamie Waters, CC as our Grammarian and our guest, Samuel Lee doing a very good job as the Vote Counter. The entire meeting was given very positive feedback by our guests and why not? With a meeting like this one…What is there not to Love?

[Editor Note: I was not at the 9/10/09 Meeting but Monica Walley was kind enough to take notes for me. Here are her notes.]

Date: September 10, 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Theme: “Join the Club”. Toastmaster, Ken Blake, ACG, CL. Table Topics Master: Deepti Dhiman! #1 Question  was to Monica Walley “Why did you join and have you achieved your goal?” #2 Question to John Hines was “What are the benefits of joining Toastmasters?” #3 was “What is your most embarrassing Toastmasters moment?” was answered by Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. Question #4 “What was your best speech at Toastmasters?” was answered by Jason Davis ACB. Speeches: Paul Noor gave the first speech titled “Few at the Mountain Top” (10-12 minutes). In this speech, Paul used a clever tennis analogy to describe the changing economy. Speaker number two was Ed Dimayuga who gave a five to seven minute speech titled “How to Evaluate“. (5 -7 minutes) Ed gave us some great ideas on how to give a great speech evaluation. Evaluations: Ken Blake ACG, CL evaluated Paul’s speech and Monica Walley evaluated Paul’s speech. We had three guests.  The meeting started very late and ended very late as well but it was still a great meeting.

On September 3rd 2009 the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 achieved a masterful success with the brilliant performance of it’s 2009 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contestants! This was an evening enjoyed by all who attended and superbly highlighted the talents, dedication and creativity of the entire club. The Contest Master was a man who had been in this role many times before, Ken Walley ATMG, CL.  Ken led the proceedings with a quick wit and also at a very fast pace to get everything accomplished on time! The first contest of the night was the Evaluation Contest. The contestants, as well as the overflow crowd in the Magnolia Room (extra chairs had to be brought in just to seat everyone!) were in for an oratorical treat! Giving the “test speech” for the contestants to evaluate was Demetrice Vasser from the Kissimmee Night Talkers Club #6045. Demetrice presented a speech titled “Famous Faces Out of the Blue!” which was about celebrities that she had met while growing up in Memphis. She mentioned MC Hammer and Little Richard among a host of other well-knowns. The speech painted little portraits of each famous face and what it was like to meet them in real life. It was an interesting and fascinating performance. While the contestants were preparing their evaluations, the Contest Master took the opportunity to ask Michael Machata, Bob Blaydes, CC and Deepti Dhiman some Table Topics questions. They did so well answering them, Ken said that they were “showing off” for our guests! Faced with the tough task of evaluating such an excellent speech were the contestants Ken Blake, ACG, CL; Edward Dimayuga, Dennis Gola ACG, CL and Monica Walley. The Evaluation Contest Sgt. at Arms, Steve Wood helped to make sure that the contest went smoothly as each contestant gave their evaluation. All four evaluations would have won most club, area or division contests. That such high quality work could be found at only the club level made it particularity hard for the judges to pick a winner. Coming in second place in the contest was Ed Dimayuga and taking the first place trophy was Dennis Gola, ACG, CL. Dennis defended his crown successfully from last year. Last year’s Humorous Speech Contest was hailed as one of the best ever in the 75+ year history of Club #28. Even so, 2009’s contest may have exceeded that lofty level. Hilarious speeches were delivered by all four contestants. Going first, was Jamie Waters, CC who gave a revamped speech that he gave last year now titled “Golfatorium“. Jamie’s speech was given with an exquisite deadpan delivery while he proposed that we should combine graveyards and golf courses! It also showed how visiting a relative’s grave while playing a round of golf might lead to inner peace and improve your swing! Going next was Jason Davis ACB who came up with a great speech about the perfect girl and where to take her for a “dream date”. Titled “My Dream Girl” he found himself (and his future wife) at a McDonalds! Speaking third was Ken Blake ACG, CL who gave a speech titled “My Favorite Worker” about an employee who could outwork anyone in the shop and never complained. Even being struck by lighting could not stop her! It turned out that Ken’s employee “Bertha” was an industrial compressor machine! Following Ken was Barbara Cusack, CC, CL who had everyone holding their sides with laughter with her speech titled “The Five Love Languages” in which she lampooned the well known best seller, not to mention showing off her singing voice! Those were four very funny speeches and each of them had the entire room laughing. These speeches were lauded by many as some of the funniest that they had heard at any Humorous Speech contest! This time Jason Davis, ACB came in 2nd place and once the judges votes were counted, the winner for Orlando Toastmaster Club #28’s 2009 Humorous Speech Contest was… drum-roll please….Jamie Waters, CC!!! Another highlight was the 50/50 Raffle by the Raffle Master Kami Shahid who was able to award a sizable amount to raffle winner Barbara Cusack, CC. Barbara generously gave the money back to the club! A number of dignitaries were on hand for the contests including Helen and Michael Joseph (both DTMs) from the Let’s Talk Toastmasters Club #4413, Gloria Grehl, DTM another well known Distinguished Toastmaster, was visiting us from the Vista Club #7250, the President of the Let’s Talk Club, Linda Ramey was also present. Elon Horsham was also visiting us from the Turnpike Toastmasters Club as well as popular radio director and on-air personality Steve Biddle. Another guest who joined us for this special evening was Jim Edwards. The best news of the evening was that returning guest, John Hines became our newest member! Welcome John! The contest would not have succeeded without the help of our club members who also stood in as functionaries and participants, beside those mentioned above were our timers Justin Gay and Patrice Hatcher as well as our vote counters Robert Streeter and Jennifer Barrett and a special thank you to our Chief Judge Linda Ramey and the other judges as well as our Area Governor Luvenia Hart ACS, CL! Thanks to everyone for making this such a very special evening and a great success!

The August 27th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Football Season!” theme scored a TOUCHDOWN with some Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations worthy of a Speaker’s Super Bowl! Kicking off the meeting was the evening’s quarterback, Ed Dimayuga who scored with a number of pigskin facts, history as well as a great overview of the High School, College and Pro seasons. Monica Walley also came out as a winner with the Table Topics session as the Topics Master. Every time Monica asked a question she tossed a small football to the person she wanted to have answer it. Sure-handed Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to describe the game of football… in two minutes. Not an easy task! Ed Dimayuga was asked to explain the popularity of the game. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL received the football and the question “Should there be a woman’s football league?” Barbara did not like the idea very much. Rob Streeter was asked to tell us “Football story”. Dr. Ross Thomson, ATMB, CL was asked who his favorite team or player was. Coming from Canada he picked an “entire team made up of people not good enough for the NFL.” The last question was asked of our visitor Aaron Pierre of who he thought would win the Super Bowl? Aaron, smartly, did not want to venture a guess. One of the favorite speeches of any Toastmaster meeting is an Ice Breaker speech and tonight we heard a wonderful one from Kami Shahid titled “Rouge Citizen“. Kami impressed everyone with a story of her travels through America and even overseas to India where she collected languages like some people collect butterflies. It was an impressive speech, both in contest and in presentation, which promised some great speaking adventures from Kami in the future! Another brilliant speech was by Dennis Gola ATMG, CL who inspired the club to take action against recent library policy changes. His speech “Blessings for a Common My-Greater” put forth a brilliant message for us to find our voice as a club. The evaluations were as they say in football “right through the middle of the uprights” Ken Blake, ACG, CL was the Master Evaluator and he had the honor of introducing two of Club #28’s wisest coaches: Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and Jamie Waters ACB. Both had profound lessons for our speakers wrapped up in the hard helmets and shoulder pads of high praise. The “Refs” of tonight’s meeting had very few “flags” to toss: Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was the AH Counter, Jason Davis ACB, CL was the Timer, the Grammarian was Patrice Hatcher and our Vote Counter Rob Streeter. Our guest tonight, Aaron Pierre, echoed the feelings that this was like a great football game that you wanted to go into overtime (well, we did a little) and never end. If greatness was the gridiron than Club #28 were Champions on this night.

The August 20th 2009  Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Happy Habits” themed meeting was one of the happiest events that Club #28 has put together in recent memory. This evening’s Toastmaster Barbara Cusack, CC, CL showed us that there are many ways to improve our lives without entering expensive programs, therapy or seminars. “Developing simple habits that make for a more positive outlook is one thing that everyone can do.” said Barbara. Habits such as doing something good for someone else everyday, redirecting negative thoughts into positive ideas and saying ‘thank you’ with a true sincerity are just some of the healthy routines that she brought up during the meeting. Table Topics Master Dennis Gola, ACG, CL examined the world of good and bad habits with a brilliant question and answer session .”What is a ‘habit’?”  was asked of Ken Blake, ACG, CL. Steve Wood was asked what his favorite “happy” habit would be. He mentioned teeth flossing. Jason Davis, ACB was given the opportunity to explain the difference between “something that just keeps us busy” and a “true habit.”  Visitor and past Toastmaster John Hines was asked “Do we have more good habits or bad habits?” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to pluck from his Disney experience and convince someone to develop happy habits. Ken reminded everyone that each day is a blessing and to have a magical day!. Ed Dimayuga gave us an explanation of how long it takes to develop a habit. The club developed a happy habit of giving good speeches at this meeting starting with Patrice Hatcher‘s Ice Breaker speech titled “Our Life is Molded by Our Experiences“. Patrice told of growing up as a military kid, becoming a neo-natal nurse for 17 years, teaching her 15 year old to drive and also some about her beloved Labrador dog! It was an excellent 1st speech. Giving a much more technical type of speech, titled simply “GIS” was Jamie Waters CC who explained Global Information Systems from cell phones to Global Positioning Systems. Jamie enlightened us all about how these wonders of technology work. Speaking third and also giving his Ice Breaker (titled “Ice Breaker: The Sequel”) was 10 year Club veteran Ken Blake ACG, CL who was starting through the basic manual for a second time. Ken gave us an overview of his life as refrigerator repairman, auto mechanic, dog lover and husband. Ken B. told us about his duties while working for FEMA in disaster and hurricane relief. It was another very impressive Ice Breaker! Ken Walley ATMG, CL served triple duty on this night and one his roles was that of the General Evaluator. He had a lot of help from three truly excellent evaluators. Ed Dimayuga reviewed Patrice’s speech, Jason Davis, ACB evaluated Jamie’s speech and Monica Walley had the tough task of giving Ken’s evaluation. All of the evaluators had exceptional insight and advice for the speakers. Besides serving as the General Evaluator, Ken Walley ATMG, CL also gave the Invocation & Pledge and was the Grammarian for this meeting. The other members of the technical table were Kami Shahid who was the AH Counter for her very first time, Vote Counter Steve Wood and Timer Monica Walley. Acting President Ed Dimayuga had a lot of very positive comments from our guests who included a past Toastmaster John Hines, Mark Batchelor and visiting a Toastmaster Ahmad Durant-Bey. John even pledged to join the club and hopefully give an Ice Breaker speech at the next meeting! I think that if all Toastmasters meetings were like this one, being at the Orlando Public Library at 7:00 every Thursday night would be a “happy habit” for everyone!

The August 13th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting took a trip to China with it’s tour guide, club President Jose Lopez, CC during it’s “China” themed meeting. Jose told about his recent trip there, showed us photos and gave us some incredible stories about the culture, food and remarkable beauty of this amazing country. He made it feel as if we were standing with him at the gates of the Forbidden City or standing on the Great Wall. Also bringing a touch of China to the meeting was the Table Topics Master Monica Walley. Monica had some wonderful research to go along with her questions. Her first question was asked of Deepti Dhiman: “What would you like to see first if you visited China.” Deepti mentioned a number of places to go but chose the Great Wall of China. Because Ice Cream was a Chinese invention, Monica asked Ken Blake ATMG, CL what his favorite ice cream  flavor was. “How did you adjust to the time difference?” was asked of Jose Lopez, CC. New club member  Rob Streeter was asked if his “year” fit his personality. Rob was born in the “Year of the Rat”! Steve Wood was asked if he had a lucky color or charm? He noted a horseshoe that brought him luck even though he did not really believe in luck. All of the answers were almost worthy of Confucius! Our three speeches tonight were worthy of high praise! Deepti Dhiman started off with a brilliant speech on Global Warming titled “Good News / Bad News“. The bad news is we are going to experience infectious diseases, horrible weather, flooding, food shortages and disaster! Said Deepti, “the good news is that that is in the future!”  The second speech was by Steve Wood who gave his best speech yet titled “The Monty Hall Problem” which was about how our mind can be tricked by probability situations like going for Door #3 or switching to Door #2 for 2000 dollars?… it was an interesting speech that made probability and statistics easy to understand and even fun. Speaker #3 was William Watson, CC who earned his Competent Communicator Award with his 10th speech titled “The Beholder“. William told us how you could see the different personality types of people person by looking in their eyes. Congratulations William! He received a standing ovation for his speech and his accomplishment. Ken Walley ATMG, CL played a number of different roles during this meeting. He gave the Invocation and Pledge, was the timer for most of the meeting, gave the evaluation for Steve’s speech and served as the Master Evaluator! Ken had some help however with the evaluations from Ken Blake ACG, CL and Jason Davis ACB. All of the evaluations were excellent. Besides Ken W. as the timer, the others serving as functionaries were Grammarian Jamie Waters, CC and first timers AH Counter Rob Streeter and Vote Counter Kami Shahid. A great country like China deserved a great Toastmasters meeting like the one Club #28 held on this evening.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 6th, 2009 meeting had a very interesting, and useful theme: “Apologizing With Sincerity”. Also very interesting was Demetrice Vassar, the hostess for the evening. Demetrice, a guest from  the Kissimmee Night Talkers Club #6045 was trying her hand for her first time as a Toastmaster and she did a fantastic job! She told us about the many aspects of apologizing including how to ask for forgiveness, make restitution, and express remorse. She even told a personal story in which she had accused someone wrongly without realizing that she was the one in error. Adding his own insight to the meeting was the Table Topics Master Jason Davis, ACB, who had some great questions prepared. The first question, “Do people really mean it when they say “I’m sorry” for a small slight or accident?” was asked  of Deepti Dhiman. Next, Ken Blake, ACG, CL  was asked of a time that he made a bad mistake. He remembered opening the wrong can while making a tuna salad, using cat food instead! Visiting Area 32 Governor Luvenia Hart, ACB, was asked about cell phones and Toastmaster meetings. Club President Jose Lopez, CC, just back from a trip to China was asked to “sing a song” to his wife to impress her. Ed Dimayuga was asked what he would do if he accidentally stepped on his favorite actresses shoes! Returning toastmaster Dr. Ross Thomson, ATMB, CL was asked how he would apologize to his wife if he forgot their anniversary. The last question went to our newest member Rob Streeter which was how he would explain to a professor how he forget to write a term paper! This meeting featured three excellent speeches! Speaking first was Justin Gay who had been away from the club for awhile and who had re-joined just last week. Justin told us about a program at the University of Central Florida that prepares students for business careers. It was titled “Professional Selling” and it tended good advice on how to “sell yourself.” The Rev. William Watson giving his 8th speech in only six months of being a Toastmaster. He spoke on the subject of inspiration in a speech titled “How to Inspire an Audience!” William gave many of the newer toastmasters some good advice as he closes in on  his Competent Communicator Award. The third and finial speech of the evening was a very funny and heartwarming speech by Barbara Cusack, CC, CL, who gave a humorous speech titled “The Five Love Languages“! This speech could win the upcoming Club #28 humorous speech contest! The Master Evaluator Deepti Dhiman was able to call upon three experienced evaluators: Ed Dimayuga, Jose  Lopez, CC and Monica Walley. Each of the evaluators gave helpful and significant advice. During her meeting review, Deepti also praised the meeting highly! The last order of business was the Grammarian report by Ken Blake, ACG, CL and the AH Counter report by Jamie Waters CC. It should be noted  that both were two of the best in recent memory. The other member of the functionary table was the Vote Counter Robert Streeter. Besides Robert,  Kami Shahid also joined the club! Jennifer Barrett returned as a guest and Sonja Moraraity attended for her first time. Congratulations to Robert and Kami! No one had to apologize for the meeting that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had on this night!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 30th 2009 meeting had a very interesting theme: “Shipwrecks” it also had a very interesting Toastmaster: Jamie Waters CC who had some great tales of the ocean deep and the bravely of men in the face of disaster. Jamie kept the meeting afloat with some great examples of how the unthinkable could happen at sea such as what had happened the HMS Titanic. Also adding to the lore of shipwrecks was our Table Topics Master Ed Dimayuga who asked some questions that got us all thinking about life on the high seas. “Tell us about a boat trip that you once took?” was asked of seaman 1st Class William Watson. “If you find a sunken treasure who should keep the bounty?” was asked of Paul Hagge CC. Paul said “finders keepers”. Revisiting Toastmaster Demetrice Vassar from the Kissimmee Night Talkers Club 6045 was asked “What would you hate to lose in a Shipwreck?” Her answer was a very true: “human life.” Steve Wood was asked to explain the Bermuda Triangle. Another Visiting Toastmaster Elon Horshan from the Court Muse Club was asked about the creation of artificial coral reefs. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked what his favorite water disaster movie was. He feared most the movie “Jaws“. One thing that did not sink to the bottom were the prepared speeches. Even though two of our three scheduled speakers were unable to be at the meeting, Club #28 still had two brilliant performances. Speaking first was Jason Davis ACB who gave a presentation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech, the “I Have a Dream” speech of August 28th 1963. Jason did an inspiring performance of this powerful and historic speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech to persuade the club to get ready for the upcoming Humorous Speech contest in September titled “How to Give A Winning Humorous Speech!”  Ken told what the judges would be looking for and drew on his past contest experience. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also returned to the lectern to captain the Evaluations section of the meeting as the Master Evaluator. His evaluation crew included two of the best that Club #28 has to offer: Ken Blake ACG, CL (for Jason) and Paul Hagge, CC (giving Ken W.’s evaluation). Both evaluations were upbeat and helpful with insightful advice and strong encouragement. The functionaries for this meeting steered the Club past many verbal icebergs to a successful landing, they were Grammarian Barbara Cusack, CC, CL; Timer Steve Wood, Vote Counter Rev. William Watson and bravely returning AH Counter Demetrice Vassar. Demetrice even volunteered to return next week to be our Toastmaster! We had very positive feedback from our guests Elon, Demetrice and Jennifer Barrett. It was also announced that Justin Gay was coming back to the club and would speak next week! Welcome back Justin! Aye maties! No Davy Jones‘s locker here, this meeting was smooth sailing.

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 July 23rd, 2009 had the theme ” Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millenials” and was hosted by Baby Boomer Ken Walley ATMG, CL who led the club through a walk down memory lane and a peek into the future for Generations yet to come! Ken gave many examples of the achievements of each generation and reminded everyone that all three generations are still creating the future for “Generation Z”. Asking questions about our past and future was Jamie Waters, CC as the Table Topics Master. Jamie asked Steve Wood to tell a little about his generation. He said he was a Baby Boomer and he believed that the defining moment of his generation was the first manned landing on the moon. Monica Walley was asked to explain her generation’s (the Millenials or Generation Y) love for high tech. Deepti Dhiman explained the difference between family generations and cultural generations. Dennis Gola ACG, CL talked about aging issues among Baby Boomers. The answers showed that the generation gap of today is not as wide as it has been in the past. We had three excellent speeches starting with Dennis Gola ACG, CL who told us  in a speech simply titled “$425.” how to avoid foreclosure issues and lower interest rates in a very tough economy. Deepti Dhiman gave a wonderful speech on the beautiful classical fashions of her homeland India tiled “Culture Through Clothing” She showed us some very attractive clothes of the Sari, Salwar Kameez and Lehnga styles of the traditional Indian culture. Rajiv Bhatia giving his third speech, spoke on a more complex subject of how the median family income is being effected by recent economic trends in a speech titled ” Higher Risks, Lower Rewards and the Shrinking Safety Net” . He did not paint a very bright picture of the upcoming “adjustment market”. A very bright picture was however painted by our General Evaluator Ed Dimayuga of this meeting and the future looked pretty good for our club speakers when we heard from evaluators Monica Walley, Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and Jason Davis ACB. All of the evaluators had good things to say about the speeches as well as some excellent advice. Ed Dimayuga, who was also filling in as club President this week, gave a very good meeting review in his role a General Evaluator. Helping to create such a high quality meeting were the functionaries who performed flawlessly: Grammarian Patrice Hatcher (her first time at that position), AH Counter and visiting Toastmaster from the Kissimmee Night Talkers Club, Demetrice Vasser, Vote Counter Paul Hagge and Timer Steve Wood. All of our guests, Demetrice Vasser, Jacquine Chase and Kami Shahid had uplifting a positive comments. No matter what generation you were from, if you were 18 or 80 this was a delightful, interesting and fun meeting. Toastmasters is a great way to bring generations together!

Daaadum…daaaduuummmdaaduuuumd… DUMDAAMDUDUMDUM…!!! The theme of the July 16th 2009 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meeting was “SHARKS!” and it really had quite a bite to it. Monica Walley did a fantastic job as the Toastmaster giving everyone a lot to think about before they go back into the water. She told us many facts about one of the most misunderstood creatures of the deep. Also jumping in feet first was Dennis Gola ACG, CL who at the last moment took over as Table Topics Master. Dennis had some great bait to catch a few Toastmasters off guard with his questions. “If the Saturday Night Live Show ‘Land Shark’ came to your door, what would you do?” was asked of Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. Barbara did not remember the classic SNL skit, but she still managed to make her time limit! “Would you go down in a shark cage and what do you think would be going through your mind?” was asked of Jose Lopez, CC. Jose was up to the challenge. Clint Levert our guest, was asked what he would name a new type of shark. “Lion Shark” sounded good to him. Ed Dimayuga was asked to compare the roach to the shark and which would survive best in a global cataclysm. Jamie Waters was asked to speak on the idea of putting sharks in the water hazards at golf courses. Finally, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was challenged to remember the song “Mac the Knife” which had something to do with sharks. He said he dreamed of being as cool as Bobby Darin when he was younger. We had two very different speeches with two speakers who achieved oratory excellence like a Great White going after a bleeding surfer. First we had, Steve Wood giving his second speech titled “Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation” which captivated and educated his audience with a description of the “Big Bang”. He told how we can look backward into time toward the creation of the universe. Speaking second with a completely different type of presentation, was Jason Davis, ACB who played both parts from a Neil Simon play titled “Why Are You Doing This To Me?” He played both the frustrated father and the fearful daughter who had locked herself inside a bathroom and was refusing to come out on her wedding day. Jason did a very good performance while being challenged with a very hard advanced manual project. Monica Walley also covered the position of Master Evaluator and was rewarded with two of Club #28’s best evaluators, Barbara Cusack, CC, CL and Jose Lopez, CC to assist her. Jose and Barbara came through with expert advice and some great ideas for everyone in the room, not just for our speakers. The functionaries this night were also very strong: Ed Dimayuga as the Grammarian, Jamie Waters as the Timer, Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Ah Counter and Jose Lopez, CC as the Vote Counter all gave excellent reports and preformed their duties perfectly. Ken W. as the Ah Counter also noted that Patrice Hatcher had not had a chance to speak so he gave her a few minutes to sum up her feelings on sharks. She said that she might be more fearful of sharks now… than public speaking but that the meeting tonight was wonderful. President Lopez said that it was a very happy surprise to have Dennis Gola ACG, CL return back so soon. Dennis later voiced that because of the outpouring of support and encouragement from Club #28 he had decided to postpone his “sabbatical” from Toastmasters for the time being. This meeting was far, far better than watching all of the Jaws movies in a row and a lot less scary!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 9th 2009  “So you think you know July?” themed meeting was perfect for a July evening and for accomplished Toastmaster Dennis Gola, ACG, CL to bring out a myriad of fabulous facts about one of the hottest months of the year! We learned that July was Sugar Cookie Month as well as National Ice Cream Month. We learned about famous people born in July such as President Calvin Coolidge as well as two Presidents who died on the same Fourth of July (1826): Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Dennis gave us many other facts about the month and really did a tremendous job of keeping the meeting interesting, informative and fun! Ken Walley ATMG, CL also taught us a few things about July with a Table Topics session that was more like a trivia quiz. His first question to Rajiv Bhatia was about how to beat the heat. “How did people stay cool before air conditioning?” Rajiv came up with some very good ideas. The second question “What does July the 4th mean to you?” was given to Steve Wood. Noting that Idaho and Wyoming were the only two states admitted to the union during July, Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked to expound about what life is like in those two states. July 20, 1969 was the date of Neil Armstrong‘s first step on the moon. Michael Vance was asked what the significance of that event was now looking back 40 years. Returning Toastmaster Dr. Ross Thomson ATMB, CL spoke about how we should observe National Rock n’ Roll Day (July 9th). Our guest Shay Audrey spoke about what she liked best and worst about the month of July. All of our members and guests gave excellent answers. Our two speeches were also of superior quality. Michael Machata‘s 9th speech titled “Are You Ready for Retirement?” brought out that 47% of Americans have no retirement plan! He gave us ideas on how to start investing, even if it is late for the future. “Do your research for a plan that is right for you and save, save, save!” said Michael. Also giving wise advice was the Rev. William Watson who gave a speech titled “Time for a Change” . He noted that change can be small in life but it is often the small changes that we make in our lives that can have major consequences. Said William, “Small changes can be often more effective, and helpful than any large or earth shattering transformations.” Monica Walley served as our General Evaluator and had the pleasure of introducing two of the most effective evaluators that have ever stood behind the lectern: Jose Lopez, CC and Dr. Ross Thomson, ATMB, CL. It should be noted that both of the speech reviews were helpful, purposeful and encouraging. They were two of the best examples of quality evaluations in recent memory as was Monica’s meeting evaluation. We had two very good functionary reports by Grammarian Jamie Waters and AH Counter Steve Wood. Filling out the roles of our functionaries were timer Ken Blake ATMG, CL  and Vote Counter Michael Vance. Comments by our guests Patrice Hatcher, Shay Audrey, Krysten Childs, Linda Childs, Rob Streeter and Shawn Knibhe all were very upbeat and positive. Joining our club on this evening was Patrice Hatcher! Welcome Patrice! Dennis Gola ACG, CL announced that due to health reasons he would be taking a “sabbatical” from Toastmasters for the foreseeable future but he hoped that he would be returning to us as soon as possible. He will be greatly missed. Dennis was given a standing ovation. Thanks to this “So you think you know July?” meeting, July and the new Toastmasters term is off to a very positive start!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 25th 2009 Summer Celebration and Installation of Officers proved to be delightful fun, interesting, humorous, and much more,  covering a wide range of inspirational and joyful emotions as we said farewell to the past Toastmasters term and welcomed in a fantastic future! Starting off this special evening was Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL who gave an invocation that reminded us to encourage others by example. Tseganesh then introduced our club President Barbara Cusack, CC CL who welcomed our guest, Patrice Hatcher and two distinguished dignitaries, Let’s Talk Club #4413 President Helen Joseph, DTM and Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACG, CL. She also introduced our Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Paul Hagge, CC. Paul was at his best on this night! he paid tribute to the Summer with stories and personal memories and he even asked a few Table Topics questions along the way. Paul also paid tribute to two icons of the 1970’s and 80’s who past away earlier in the day: Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. He also called upon Dennis Gola, ACG, CL and Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL to also say a few words about these entertainment legends. The evening had two featured speakers who both came with excellent speeches. Speaking first was Deepti Dhiman who gave a s speech on the history of the city of Orlando titled “Magical Cowtown”  She took us through the entire history of the city from the Seminole War to Walt Disney World. Deepti told of a time when cows grazed next to the city streets and when most of those streets were paved with bricks. Which, incredibly, was still within the lifetime of a few of the Toastmasters sitting in the room! (I won’t name any names!). Deepti brought to life the history of our now, very modern, city. Speaking next was Monica Walley who asked the question “Are Ghosts Real?” Monica pondered the question of spirits among us and even told a very spooky tale that had everyone a little more afraid to turn off the lights. Next giving evaluations of our two speakers were Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Ed Dimayuga who both gave insightful and helpful advice. The next part of this special evening was the “changing of the guard” for Club #28 starting with the Farewell Address of Club #28 President Barbara Cusack, CC, CL. Barbara’s speech was full of her trademark humor and had plenty of praise for the club as well. She noted the work that was done by her officers, the increase in membership, the excellent international Speech Contest, and the Club winning the President’s Distinguished Award. She drew loud applause throughout the speech. She was given as standing ovation for her service at the end of the speech. Called next to the lectern was Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACG, CL who was on hand to perform the induction ceremony for our new officers. Taking the gavel for the “Passing of the Gavel Ceremony” were (in order) Sergeant of Arms Jason Davis, ACB; Treasurer Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Secretary Amber Gudenkauf, Vice President of Public Relations Rev. William Watson, Vice President of Membership Deepti Dhiman, Vice President of Education Ed Dimayuga and incoming Club #28 President Jose Lopez, CC. Congratulations to all of our newest leaders! Upon accepting the gavel, President Jose Lopez, CC gave his “Inaugural Address” in which he pledged to try to meet the needs of the members, to reach not only club goals but to focus on individual goals and to uphold the excellence that is the foundation of Club #28. He praised his fellow officers for having the courage to take leadership roles and said he was inspired by both the established toastmasters and the new toastmasters as well. He even congratulated Steve Wood, who was attending tonight for recently giving his Ice breaker speech. The speech was uplifting, encouraging and full of hope for the future of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28! After Jose’s speech Paul called for announcements from the floor and also received some very upbeat and positive remarks from our guest Patrice and from Helen Joseph, DTM as well. Helen invited Club #28 to attend her club’s Officer induction next week. Once the gavel fell everyone who left the room did so with a great feeling of anticipation towards a brilliant future for Club #28.

The June 18th, 2009 “Father’s Day!” theme made it a very special meeting to all who attended because of the hard work and effort provided by the evening’s Toastmaster Susan Deichen, CC who gave some heartwarming and uplifting stories and anecdotes about Fathers. It was a very memorable performance as Toastmaster. Our Table Topics Master, Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL changed the subject a little for Table Topics asking some questions about Toastmasters. She asked Deepti Dhiman “What speech have you heard, or given that has meant the most to you since you’ve joined Toastmasters?” Deepti remembered a classic speech that she gave a few months ago titled “Culture Shock“. Michael Machata was asked “What historical event do you wish that you could have had experienced?” Michael would have loved to have met George Washington and heard him speak. A good choice. Jose Lopez, CC was asked to give some speaking advice to President Barack Obama. He gave some very good suggestions including for the President to watch his “Ums and Ah’s”.  Susan Deichen, CC was asked to explain why she joined Toastmasters and how it had helped her. Barbara Cusack, CC, CL was asked why Toastmasters was important to her life. The last question returned to the theme of the meeting and was asked of one of our newest Toastmasters, Erin Hoalgen: “What makes for a good father?” One of the things she mentioned  was that a good dad was someone who “Made you feel loved and special” Our three speeches tonight were all special and the audience also loved them. Speaking first was Steve Wood who gave his Ice Breaker Speech titled “Addicted to Learning“. Steve’s speech told about how he came to love the quest for information which led him into a path towards being an Aerospace Engineer and a full time student at University of Central Florida! Congratulations Steve on your 1st speech! Rajiv Bhatia gave his own Ice Breaker only a few weeks ago and tonight showed a great improvement with his second speech titled “A Perfect Mess!” he featured a natural gift for humor while giving a dissertation on how being messy can be a good thing! Speaking third was Michael Machatta who gave a very technical speech titled “E.T.F.” The address was a financial treste on “Exchange Traded Funds”. We learned more in 7 minutes on this subject than most Financial Advisors learn in a lifetime! In order to put these speeches in perspective we called upon our General Evaluator Deepti Dhiman who came through with an excellent evaluation of Michael’s speech and also introducing Jamie Waters, ACB and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave the evaluations of Steve and Rajiv. Even though this meeting ran a bit overtime, we still had plenty of space for two excellent reports from the Grammarian Jose Lopez, CC and the AH Counter Barbara Cusack, CC, CL Our timer was Ed Dimayuga and Erin Hoalgen did a very good job as our Vote Counter. Jillian Galdieri was the only guest tonight and she said she was impressed with the camaraderie of the club. We hope she returns soon and becomes part of our Club #28 family. There was only one father present at the meeting: Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who was very happy to find out that his daughter Monica Walley and her good friend and fellow Club #28 member, Amber Gudenkauft were unharmed in a “fender bender” on their way to the meeting. Monica and Amber still showed up for the meeting in time to catch some of the speeches…now that is dedication to Toastmasters! It would make a father proud.

It was “Root, root, root for the home team” at the June 11th 2009 “Magic Mania” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Toastmaster Jamie Waters, CC brought a lot of team spirit with him for the evening . Jamie reminded everyone that Orlando has gone “Magic crazy” since it’s pro basketball team was in the NBA finials. Jamie had “the crowd” shouting “Let’s Go Magic!” and “Beat LA!” throughout the night! Also adding championship flavor to the meeting was the Dwight Howard-like effort by our Table Topics Master Monica Walley. Her first question was to Jose Lopez, CC: “Are professional sports good for the city of Orlando?” Jose answered with a resounding “Yes!” Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL was asked why it was better to live in Orlando than in Los Angles. Michael Machata was asked what the best and the worst professional sports were. His favorite was soccer and his choice for the worst pro sport was baseball, even though Club #28 has a large number of diehard baseball fans! Monica the “passed the ball” off to Susan Deichen, CC asking her for her prediction of the series. Susan said that if the Magic did not win on this night that they would lose in 5 or 6 games, but,  if they won, they might go all of the way! Amber Gudenkauf was asked what sport that she enjoyed watching the most. Amber said that she like watching all kinds of different sports and could not pick out a real favorite. Our two speakers tonight, using basketball jargon, “hit nothing but the net”! The Rev. William Watson spoke first, giving his 6th speech titled “The Power of Truth” This was William’s second speech in two weeks and another example of his power to hold and inspire an audience. He set forth the idea that the act  of positive thinking was far more than wishful thinking. He said that living a positive life and thinking positively is a way of coming the condition of human frailness. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a completely different presentation in which he spoke of his love for the ocean in a speech called “Ode to the Beach“. Ken not only professed his love for being at the beach but he also taught the rest of the club how to surf! Cowabunga dude! Our Master Evaluator on this night was Dennis Gola ACG, CL who had the great pleasure of introducing two excellent evaluators: Club guru Ken Blake ACG, CL and Jason Davis ACB. Both Ken and Jason gave 1st class evaluations. Dennis, noting that the club was far ahead of schedule (“Maybe because of a basketball game coming on at 9:00″ he said) gave a very detailed meeting evaluation which itself could have won the “best speaker” ribbon! Our Technical Table consisted of Grammarian Paul Hagge, CC; Timer Ed Dimayuga, AH Counter Erin Hoaglen and Vote Counter Steve Wood all performed wonderfully and also added to a night that was a “slam-dunk” of a meeting! [Editor note: Susan’s prediction was right! The Orlando Magic basketball team lost this night and went on to lose to LA in 5 games. This meeting, however will always be a winner.]

One of the most inventive meetings ever held of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was the June 4th 2009 “Invention” themed meeting. Toastmaster Barbara Cusack, CC, CL came up with some wonderful trivia, stories and even new ideas about brilliant inventors and inventions. She even told us of an invention of her own that might make her rich and famous someday. Ed Dimayuga showed an inventive streak of his own by coming up with some very imaginative questions for our Table Topics session. He started by asking visiting Toastmaster Frank Ricchi from the Lake Nona Toastmasters Club #695848: “What invention has helped mankind the most?” Frank noted that the airplane has made the world a smaller, and more friendly place. Our newest member Steve Wood, answered the question of what invention he would like to take credit for. Amber Gundenfauf came up with an answer for the worst invention of all time (the gun).  Ken Walley, ATMG, CL had to ponder the question of “How would you re-invent yourself?” Another one of our guests, Diane Bartolone was given the question “Is it easier to be an inventor or an editor of other people’s inventions?” Toastmaster Michael Machata used last week’s speech by Dennis Gola ACG, CL as an example of how to invent your way out of a tough situation. Our other guest, Michael Haldavnekar also visiting from the Lake Nona Toastmasters Club, was given an opportunity to answer the question of how do we come up with smarter innovations for the future? Lastly, Monica Walley asked to speak on musical inventions of which she praised highly the electric guitar. It was another remarkable Club #28 Table Topics session. Thomas Edison would have been proud. Our first speech of the night was by Rev. William Watson who is coming close to his Competent Communicator Award at lightening speed. William’s speech titled “Teaching Customer Service” used a very interesting approach to custom service: applying the Golden Rule. This novel idea made a great deal of sense to anyone in the services or professional fields. Jason Davis, ACB electrified the meeting with his rendition of “Barrack Ocala’s Election Night Victory Speech“. Jason brought all of the inspiration and engery of this powerful speech to life. Ken Blake, ACG, CL was the General Evaluator and did his usual highly excellent work but he had help from two very good evaluators in Michael Machata and Jamie Waters, ACB. The functionaries as well preformed with much skill and ability, they were: Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Timer Monica Walley, 1st time AH Counter Steve Wood and our Vote Counter Amber Gudenkauf. Our guest had nothing but high praise for our meeting Michael Haldavnekar, Frank Ricchi, Diane Bartolone, Dawn Smith and Robert Hill were very generous with their praise. I wish we could invent a club that gives ingenious and creative meetings like this one every week. Wait! We have! It’s Club #28!

The May 28th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Adapting” themed meeting showed that Club #28 sure knows how to adapt and create a great meeting! Deepti Dhiman was at the helm as our Toastmaster and she gave some wonderful examples of how mankind changes often for the better in the face of tribulation and challenge. She also used examples from nature and philosophy to weave and interesting and enlightening experience. Monica Walley as the Table Topics master followed Deepti’s lead with a series of very probing questions that brought out some of Club #28’s best Table Topics answers on record. Toastmaster Dennis Gola, ACS, CL was given the question of what was the biggest change he ever had had to endure. Dennis remembered adjusting to the “real world” after being a baseball umpire for years. “I just couldn’t tell my boss that he was “‘Yer Outta Here!!’ and throw him out of the building whenever I wanted.” The next question was asked of Alison Briggs who had announced earlier that she was moving to North Carolina next month, what she would have to adapt to there. She admitted that she is not looking forward to the colder weather. Ed Dimayuga told about how hard it was to change his mind. Michael Machata told about a situation in which he had to adapt in order to save his life. He remembered a bomb going off  while in the Marries serving in Iraq in which quick thinking might have saved the life of a friend who was badly injured. Returning Toastmaster Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL was asked about how he adapted to returning to College after over 20 years. This was a truly first class table topics session, every answer being interesting and thought provoking!! The Speeches as well were brilliant. We had three speakers tonight who gave very different but equally masterful presentations. Speaking first was Ed Dimayuga giving his 8th speech and entertaining us with tales of travel in a speech titled “Travel Tips for Traveling Light“. We learned a lot on the subject of going places with the least amount of hassle. After the speech, everybody wanted to take a trip somewhere! Speaking second was Dennis Gola ATMS, CL who once again made a speech out of “Words and Topics” by asking for one of each from everyone in the room. This speech went almost everywhere but it was still funny, interesting and fun as only Toastmaster Dennis can do it! Speaking third was Susan Deichen, CC who delivered her Competent Communicator graduation speech titled “You’ve Got the Power!” Susan had the power to totally inspire us to believe that we can face our doubts and prove others wrong if we are willing to try. She used real life examples like  Dana Torrez and Susan Boyle and had us all chanting “I’ve Got the POWER!” at the end of her speech! Susan was given a standing ovation for achieving her CC award. Congratulations! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the General Evaluator and also the first evaluator for Ed’s speech. Ken was able to introduce two other very good evaluators Michael Machata and Barbara Cusack, CC, CL while also giving a very positive criqutie of the meeting itself. Indeed, the evaluations were excellent, the speeches were tremendous, the Table Topics session superb and the Toastmaster was excellent. Even our functionaries for the evening: Timer Steve Wood (who joined the club on this evening), Grammarian Alison Briggs, AH Counter Rajiv Bhatia and Vote Counter Dr Michael Deichen, CC, CL performed admirably. At the end of the meeting, because there was a quorum present,  Club #28 accepted unanimously the new officer slate for 2009: President Jose Lopez, CC; VPE Ed Dimayuga, VPM Deepti Dhiman, VPPR Rev. William Watson, Secretary Amber Gudenkauf, Treasurer Ken Walley ATMG, CL and SAA Jason Davis! Congratulations to our new officers as well, The club adjusted to every little twist and turn tonight and still came up with a flawless meeting filled with some great memories!

The May 21st 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting started with a “Big Bang” as meeting Toastmaster Ken Walley ACG, CL introduced the theme of “Explosions!”. Ken spoke about some of the biggest explosions known to man including: “The Big Bang”, “The giant meteorite that hit the earth”,   “Krakatoa” and “The great Gamma Ray Burst” among others. Also making a big impact was our Table Topics Master Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. His first question was to Ken W.:  “What are the fun and positive things about explosions?” Ken remembered enjoying fireworks with his family in his youth. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked about “something that had blown up unexpectedly” around him.  Not unexpectedly, he told about a car that had some major troubles. Ed Dimayuga was asked about chemistry class experiments gone wrong. Our guest Michael Feury spoke about the biggest effect on our country due to the 9-11 attacks. Rajiv Bhatia was asked about President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs. The last question was directed towards returning member Jamie Waters. He was asked to give a plea to all of the countries of the world to disarm their Nuclear weapons! We had two excellent speeches from Amber Gudenkauf and Jason Davis. Amber gave her Ice Breaker Speech titled “My Story” She revealed that she was graduating from Boone High School and would be attending Valencia Community College in the fall, that she was a vegetarian, listens to Bob Marley and loves going to Disney and the beach. It was a great first speech! Congratulations Amber! Jason Davis, CC presented a project from the Advance manual “Speaking on Television” titled “Exceptional Speaker.”  He gave us a number of great ideas to improve public speaking skills. Acting as the General Evaluator was Deepti Dhiman who released a lot of energy with a highly explosive evaluation session. The two speaker evaluators, Ken Blake ACG, CL and Jamie Waters certainly did not “bomb”! They gave very good advice for our speakers. It should also be noted that Deepti gave a brilliant meeting evaluation as well. Lighting up the “Toastmaster sky” were tonight’s functionaries: Timer Ed Dimayuga,  AH Counter Monica Walley, Grammarian Rajva Bhatia and Vote Counter and returning guest Steve Wood. This meeting was interesting, fun and everything a Toastmasters meeting should have been! In short: it was a blast!

In what was one of the most unusual and fun meetings in the past few years, the May 14th 2009 “Time” themed meeting had the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 going backwards! Club President Barbara Cusack, CC started the meeting by Adjourning the meeting! After the VP of Education Deepti Dhiman announced next week’s schedule, we heard from our guests Hajol Kaur, Steve Wood and Stacey Forget some comments on what they had thought of our meeting! (They all loved it!) Ribbons were handed out to our winners from the Vote Counter Jose Lopez, CC and we heard the concluding remarks from our President… even before we first saw our Toastmaster for the evening Ed Dimayuga! In this topsy-turvy evening, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave the Grammarian report proudly announcing that everyone had used the Word of the Day and the AH Counter report was delivered by Jim Stitt even before we had heard the first “Ah”. Evaluator reports by Jose Lopez, CC, Michael Machata and Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL were delivered on what the evaluators hoped to hear from the speakers! General Evaluator Jason Davis, CC gave a very good meeting evaluation which was also based on what he hoped would take place! Amid the zaniness there were three excellent speeches starting with Speaker #3 Brian Wheeler, ATMB, CL who returned to the club after being away for well over a year! Welcome back Brian! He gave a superb speech titled “Fountain of Youth” which told how as he faced the upcoming 40 year-old mark, he found his “fountain”: a dark green Ford Bronco! One just felt younger simply by hearing his speech! Next, Speaker #2, Barbara Cusack, CC gave a speech that was titled “Armed and Dangerous” which was about HIV education and prevention. Even though the message was a serious and important one, Barbara used humor and personal stories to make it effective and meaningful. Speaker #1 was Rajiv Bhatia who gave his “Ice Breaker” speech titled “My Wanderings” which gave Rahiv a chance to express his love/hate relationship with Math and for us to get to know a funny and interesting new member of the club. After each speech Toastmaster Ed Dimayuga introduced the speaker who had just spoke. Also doing a backwards spin on things was Table Topics Master Deepti Dhiman who asked club members to speak about the theme of time and then she formed a question to fit the answer! Bravest of all was our guest Stacey Forget who spoke about how you change as you seek your own independence while experiencing life. Deepti then asked the question: “How do you change as you seek your independence while growing and developing in life?” Jose Lopez, CC gave an answer of  how he prioritizes events and duties in his life. Brian Wheeler, ATMB, CL spoke on how time means different things to different people. Barbara Cusack, CC spoke on how to cope with changing times and friends. Ken Walley ATMG, CL spoke on being abducted by aliens and brought back in time150 years. Before the Table Topics session, but really after it, Toastmaster Ed Dimayuga introduced Deepti! He then went on to introduce our Vote Counter Jose Lopez, CC, AH Counter Jim Stitt, Timer Monica Walley and  Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Soon Barbara was back as President to introduce Ed as the Toastmaster and welcome our guests. Michael Machata introduced Barbara and then lead us in the Pledge to the Flag before he delivering the Invocation. So that everyone would have their agendas correct, Michael read the changes to the agenda and then Called the meeting to order! Even backwards, this is a meeting to remember for a long time!

The truth is that the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 7th 2009 “Truth” themed meeting was a great way to spend a Thursday night! With the President and VP of Education unable to attend, Vice President of Education Ed Dimayuga did a super job as acting club president to get the meeting going  He had his work cut out for him as he had to introduce no less than 9 visitors and guests! Our Toastmaster for tonight Dennis Gola, ACS, CL got to the heart of the truth with a vast array of interesting quotes, history (he told just what “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” actually meant) and dilemmas that face us all to weave together a fascinating meeting. Also examining the truth was Paul Hagge, CC our Table Topics Master  who put together some ver interesting questions on the topic of Truth. Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL was asked “Should we tell a lie to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings?” She answered “No” because it becomes a “slippery slope of lies” to follow. Jose Lopez, CC was asked if it was easier to lie or to tell the truth. Jason Davis, CC  gave an example of telling the truth only to find out that it was really not the truth later on. Ken Blake, ACG, CL was asked if he could “tell when people are lying to him.” Paul asked our guest Matt Giles if he thought that telling lies had become more acceptable in today’s society. Allison Briggs was ready for the question when asked if the truth could be manipulated to get what you want. She said it could, but it is often better to build trust by the way of the truth. The Table Topics session was brilliant with both questions and answers on this evening and the same can be said about the speeches. Monica Walley gave the first speech titled “Just Do It!” about the art and sport of skateboarding. We learned about how to “drop in” (to a cement swimming pool without water) how to wear protective gear, how to do an “ollie”, a heel-flip and a kick-flip. We also learned about the regular and goofy stances on the board and much more! Let’s Ride! Michael Machata gave a speech on a completely different subject titled “Stress Test” which was about the financial market’s recently released reports on the “health” of our major banks. Michael managed to take a very complex speech with a lot of data and make it very interesting! Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL was our General Evaluator and she was given the task of introducing the “two kens”:  Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Ken Blake ACG, CL. Ken W. had a great time of giving his daughter’s evaluation as well as Ken B.’s excellent evaluation of Michael’s speech. From the evaluations, everyone in the room learned something. The truth is that the meeting was also a success because of the functionaries who also made our speaker look so good, they were Grammarian Alison Briggs, Timer Ed Dimayuga, AH Counter Jose Lopez, CC and Vote Counter and our newest member, Rajiv Bhatia. All did excellent work! We got great comments from our guests including Stephanie Thompson who is a past President of Club #8503! Matt Giles, Joan Hacker, Steve Woods, Erin Hoaglen, Andrea Arcos, Gloria Morales and Shirley Roman all had very good things to say about the meeting! To tell the truth is easy about this night, it was a wonderful meeting!

If you wanted to know what a successful Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting looks like, you have only to have been at the April 30th, 2009 “Success” themed meeting! The meeting was guided by a very successful Toastmaster, Jason Davis, CC who gave us great ideas on how to become successful as well as some interesting examples to follow! Jason did a remarkable job leading the meeting. He also had some help with a very auspicious Table Topics session directed by Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken came up with a few very enlightening questions, starting with the one given to Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL: “How do you define success and what does it mean to you?” Also challenged with a tough question was Michael Machata, who had to answer the question: “Was there an opportunity in your life that you wish you had acted on but didn’t?” Tseganesh Gudeta, ACB, CL was given the question “Who do you think is a great example of Success?”  Visiting Toastmaster Ed Pisani from the Volusia Toastmasters Club answered the question “When have you succeeded beyond your wildest dreams?” Getting the last question of the Table Topics session was Ed Dimayuga. He gave a “mini-seminar” answering the question ‘What are the ‘stepping stones’ to great success?”  Also giving a highly successful presentation tonight was Paul Hagge, CC who gave a completely entertaining and riveting speech titled “Buyer Beware!” He told of a trip to Aruba which involved his wife, para-sailing and a tequila-drinking boat crew doing backflips into the water. The speech had more thrills in it than an Evel Knievel show on water! Also giving a winning presentation was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who showed the club a Toastmasters International produced DVD that promoted Toastmasters for groups and businesses. Both the film, and Ken, had great ideas for presenting Toastmasters in a positive light as well as some motifs on how to have more effective meetings.  The General Evaluator was Ed Dimayuga who had the pleasure of introducing two very good evaluations given by Monica Walley and Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Ed himself gave a top shelf evaluation of the meeting. No meeting is a success unless the functionaries who support it do their work and this was a testimony to excellence at the technical table. Kudos go to Timer Deepti Dhiman, Grammarian Tseganish Gudeta, ACB, CL; AH Counter Paul Hagge, CC and visiting Vote Counter Toastmaster Ed Pisani who gave out our ribbons with a flourish! Also attending tonight was B.F. “Biff” Godfrey who said a number of very positive things about our meeting. If success for a Toastmasters meeting could be bottled up than this would be a good place to find the recipe.

The April 23rd 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Physical Fitness / General Wellness” themed meeting was a  healthy workout Toastmasters that lasted an entire evening. Amber Gundenkauf started off the evening with our Invocation and Pledge. Our Toastmaster for this evening  was Jose Lopez, CC who gave us insight into the “7 areas of General Wellness and Physical Health” which included cardiovascular strength, muscular strength and mental alertness. Jose also gave a baseball example of a child who was able to deal with stress by changing his outlook from that of being a batter to a pitcher. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL stepped up to the plate as out Table Topics Master and gave us a brain workout with some great questions. “What does personal fitness mean to you?” was asked of Paul Hagge, CC. Next, Monica Walley was asked “What would you tell President Barack Obama to help him to quit smoking?” Part of what Monica said to our 44th President was “Stop that! That’s really bad for you!” Tseganish Gudeta, ACB, CL was asked how she would help herself get into shape during “National Physical Fitness Month in May”. T. G. made a pledge to go to the Gym twice a week. “What Physical attribute would you like to improve was asked of Susan Deichen. She said that she would like to be stronger so she could move furniture around her living room easier. Ken Walley ATMG, CL spoke as to why being eccentric adds years to your life.We had three amazing speeches on this night. The Rev. William Watson, already giving his 4th speech, imparted some deep insights from his Grandmother in a speech titled “Grandma’s Hand“. The speech told what he had learned from his Grandmother’s wealth of homespun wisdom including respecting others and the meaning of true love. Our second speaker was Ed Dimayuga who is fast approaching his CC award with his 7th speech, and so far his best yet titled “Guardian Ad Litem“. Ed told of a program to give representation to children in family crisis situations. This extremely important program was supported by Ed with a strong call to action for our members to help save the Guardian Ad Litem program from proposed budget cuts at a time when this program is need the most. A humorous speech (“Dejavu all Over Again“) was given by Dennis Gola, ACS, CL which told how he 1.) faced a bullwhip with a straw in his hand. 2.) Hid in a garbage dump by moonlight and 3.) was an K-9 attack-dog’s chewtoy. Trust me, it was a very interesting speech! Also pulling their weight tonight was the evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Jason Davis, CC. Jason introduced three excellent evaluators including Michael Vance who was giving his first evaluation ever. Michael did a superb job as did our other “Michael”,  Michael Machata and Ken Walley ATMG, CL.The Technical Table also excelled this evening with great reports and precision measurements they were: Grammarian Deepti Dhiman, Timer Paul Hagge, CC, AH Counter Monica Walley and Vote Counter Tseganesh Gudeta, ACB, CL. We had two guests tonight Loly Patino and Mantra Ruw who both expressed some truly positive comments about the meeting! Whew! I am tired just from reading this re-cap! This was a great meeting!

We had a very strong turnout even though we were meeting at the Herndon Branch Library for the April 16th, 2009 “Orlando” themed meeting! We also learned a lot about the namesake of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Club President Barbara Cusack, CC had an amazing array of facts and trivia about “The City Beautiful” and led us through the meeting while keeping us completely entertained!  Susan Deichen also had many interesting facts (Did you know that Orlando was not originally named Orlando!) and a whole lot of superb questions for our members and guests. Jose Lopez, CC was asked about how he got his name. Deepti Dhiman was asked what kind of contest she would hold for the City of Orlando. She suggested a “Most Walk-able Neighborhood Contest”.  Visiting Toastmaster Jim Ellis, DTM was asked to come up with a personal slogan. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked what kind of resort he would build in Orlando. We had some truly brilliant answers this week! The speeches were brilliant as well. All three speakers came prepared with strong presentations starting with an excellent speech by Michael Vance titled “Just Add Ice!” which he told us how to put together a “dinner” for 6000 people! “You do it just like you would have someone over to your house. All you need is food, beverages and some ambience.” Although when he got into the details, it seemed just a bit more complicated. Jason Davis, CC gave a high energy interview of fellow toastmaster Rev. William Watson as part of “The JD Show!“. With such an interesting guest as Rev. Watson, this project from the Advanced Manual “Communicating on Television“, brought out the best in both the interviewee and host. Rev. William Watson gave a speech after completing his interview but still had plenty of stamina left to completely impress us! His speech titled “Changing Lives and Changing Seasons” delved into the subject of how to make change productive. “One must be optimistic to change using the ability to uplift others!” said William. The message was both inspiring and powerful. Doing a perfect job as General Evaluator was Jose Lopez, CC on this evening. Jose was helped out by three of the best evaluators that Club #28 has to offer: Michael Machata, Ed Dimayuga and Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. The three evaluations tonight, as well as Jose’s meeting evaluation, made for one of the best evaluation session in memory. Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Deepti Dhiman, and Alison Briggs served as the AH Counter, Timer and Grammarian respectively along with guest My Scott, ACS who did a very good job as Vote Counter to round out the functionary roles. We had three guests including Jim Ellis, DTM and My Scott, ACS who were visiting from the Casselberry Orators Club #8945 as well as Cameron Saulsby. All of them had very positive things to say about the meeting. Even though it might have took some time to get everyone together this night at the Herndon Branch Library, once this meeting got started, Club #28 did the City of Orlando proud!

As hard working as an ant and as big in surprises as an elephant, the April 9, 2009 “Ants and Elephants” themed meeting was one of the most fun and enjoyable meetings that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has ever had! The main reason for that was the stories, facts and really funny jokes that meeting Toastmaster Deepti Dhiman told throughout the evening! Also adding to the fun was Table Topics Master Dennis Gola, ACS, CL  who really came through with some fabulous questions on the big and small of things. His first question which had almost nothing to do with either ants or elephants went to Alison Briggs was “Who is the sexiest man on Earth? Alison choose Brad Pitt. Although I think that she is married. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to “speak like an elephant.” He spoke very good elephant! Jose Lopez, CC when asked what “physical attribute” that he wished he that could acquire, chose  “telekinesis”! Dennis, bravely, asked Rev. William Watson to comment on Aunt Jemmina of maple syrup fame! “What is the worst thing that you ever had to do over a long period of time?” was asked of Jason Davis. Using the “Elephant Ear” as an example, Dennis asked Barbara Cusack, CC what her favorite pastry was. Like many in the room funnel cake with powered sugar topped the list. We had some truly wonderful answers from this Table Topics session. In terms of talent, it was more “elephant” than “ants” for our speeches. Our first speaker was Justin Gay who was giving his second speech with an appropriate meeting theme and title of “Leaf Cutter Ants“. Justin told us about a visit to Costa Rica where he saw the ants marching in incredible numbers. He told us about he why the ants cut foliage as well as Costra Rica surfing and spring break cruising. Our second speaker was Susan Deichen who gave her 9th speech titled “Don’t Jump!” which told us why Global Climate change might not be as bad as we think. She made a very persuasive argument. One more speech for Susan and she earns her CC award! Michael Machata told us about another inspiring Machata, his brother in a speech titled “My Brother” in which he told of an overly inquisitive child who grew up, like Michael, to join the Marines and later took on the responsibility for helping a family member who was in need. It was an inspiring speech. Ken Walley ACG, CL took the lead as our General Evaluator and was delighted with the high level of expertiese delivered by his fellow evaluators Ed Dimayuga, Ken Blake, ACS, CL and the Rev. William Watson. William did a remarkable evaluation for his first time ever as an evaluator! Filling out the positions at this meeting were Grammarian Monica Walley, Timer Jose Lopez, CC , AH Counter Alison Briggs and Vote Counter Jason Davis, CC. Also Amber Gundenkauf fought off a case of laryngitis to give our Invocation and Pledge! William Watson brought his wife Anita and his daughter as guests, as well as Rajiv Bhatia who joined us for our meeting tonight.All had very positive comments about the meeting. You will not need an elephant’s memory to remember this meeting, it was truly a great experience.

“What’s Up Doc?” Was the question to ask at the April 2, 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Cartoon” theme meeting. The answer would be “A fantastic Meeting!” Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was our Toastmaster for a jam-packed evening of Cartoon nostalgia in which some classics like Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Tom & Jerry were remembered along with the newer “adult” ‘toons such as “Family Guy” and “South Park“. Many, many more of our beloved animated friends were mentioned. Serving as the Table Topics Master for this evening was quite a character himself, Dennis Gola, ACS, CL.Faster than a Roadrunner, Dennis offered some great questions for our members and quests. Barbara Cusack, CC was asked what her favorite cartoon character was. Barbara said that Scooby Doo came to mind. Good choice! Bob Blaydes, CC was asked if he knew of a real-life ACME company like the one preferred by Wiley Coyote. Bob nominated E-Bay. Also a good choice.  Ed Carmona, ACB, CL was asked how we should punish “bad” cartoons. Our guest, Anriana Izquierdo was asked if she was ever inspired by a cartoon. She said she was inspired by the Power Puff Girls when she was young. Lastly, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was asked to do a Mickey Mouse imitation and tell everyone why they should go to Disney. Ken sounded so much like the mouse that could be Mickey’s twin! We had four speeches tonight! The first was the most important because it was Alison Briggs‘s Ice Breaker speech. Titled “Finding My Way“, Alison told how she attended Art & Design College in Savannah, Ga. before coming to Orlando to work for an Architectural firm. Alison did a great job on her first speech and it sounds like we have quite a few great stories to hear in the future!. Speaking next was Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL who was giving her first speech to Club #28 in over three yeas! She gave a “2nd Ice Breaker” speech that simply captivated the room as she told of coming to America from Ethiopia, overcoming cultural shock, raising a daughter in America and serving the Community as a social worker Speaking third was Jason Davis, CC who gave a humorous speech titled “I Need A Roommate” which covered all of the positives and, well dangers of a roommate and how one can change from a good roommate to a bad one in no time at all! He had everyone laughing with a great speech! The fourth speech of the night was an inspiring speech by the Rev. William Watson who just gave his Ice Breaker last week  Titled “The Power of the Tongue” William told why words are important and how words ignite action and galvanize cooperation towards achieving goals. Another excellent speech by William! Pressed for time, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL had to lead the fastest evaluation segment in Club #28 history. He introduced, quickly, Barbara Cusack, CC; Susan Deichen, Michael Machata and Ed Carmona, ACB, CL all of whom gave brilliant evaluations. Even though the evaluation session was rushed a bit, it was still one of the best the club has had in recent memory. We had time for two exceptional reports by our Grammarian Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL and our AH Counter Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL. It should be noted as well that our timer was Deepti Dhiman and our Vote Counter was our newest member, Herman Chahal. Our three guests, Ney Norwood, Adriana Izquierdo and Ying Hong all enjoyed the meeting as well. We adjourned the meeting in a flourish but we will remember an evening of fun, entertainment and great speeches… Thaaat’s Alll Folks!

The March 26th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was as beautiful as Spring itself! With the the theme of “Spring”  Susan Deichen was at her best as our Toastmaster with a garden full of fantastic stories, facts and anecdotes that warmed the Magnolia Room and our hearts! Our Table Topics Master Deepti Dhiman picked some “flowers” of curiosity for our guests and members. “What is your favorite season?” was her question asked of Jason Davis. He preferred Winter over Spring! Tseganesh Gudeta, ACB, CL was asked about what the “bad” things were when it came to Spring. Monica Walley was given the query of “Where would you go in Spring if you could go anywhere?” She choose the beach… in California! Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked what Veggies he would grow if he had a garden. Andrew Ridge, our guest bravely answered a question about outdoor sports and the last question was saved for Melissa Vingian, “give an example of renewal in your life?” She told s story about how a new puppy made her see things in a different light. We had three speeches, all of them as good as a glorious Spring morning. Michael Vance and the Rev. William Watson started off the with two of the best Ice Breakers in memory! Michael’s speech, titled “Love What You Do” told of his life travels through different jobs such as a youth minister, 911 dispatcher and being a professional college student until he found his calling as the Executive Director of the Central Florida Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Coalition. His 1st speech was a stunning beginning for a Toastmaster!. Another impressive Ice Breaker, titled “One on One Noise” was given by Rev. William Watson who grew up in Ft. Myers Beach but stayed so busy he never learned how to swim! He told of a life as a Baptist Minister and 30 years as a professional nurse. Wow! Club #28 has some great new speakers! Not to be outdone, Michael Machata gave his 5th speech which had everyone paying attention. Titled “U.S.M.C.” told us what it was like to try to survive boot camp and even let us hear what his drill instructor sounded like! It was a truly eye-opening experience. Serving as General Evaluator was Monica Walley who did a great job of keeping the meeting on track while introducing three brilliant evaluators, Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and Ed Dimayuga. Every evaluation was worthy of a great evaluation itself! Praise should also go to the functionaries as well for this meeting: Dennis Gola, ACS, CL served as Grammarian, Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL as Timer, Jason Davis, CC filled in the AH Counter position and Amber Gudenkauf once more coved the Vote Counter position. We also had wonderful comments from our guests: Tinisa Parris, Andrew and Oksana Ridge, Herman Chahal, Melissa Vingian and Christa Boolukos. This was a “blooming” great meeting!

Ah! The luck o’ the Irish was with Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 for the March 19th 2009 “St. Patrick’s Day” themed meeting. Our Toastmaster Monica Walley told us may a tale of Leprechauns & pot o’ gold, Green Beer, St. Patty himself and Corned Beef & Cabbage… among much others of St. Patrick’s day fame! As luck would have it, Barbara Cusack, CC  was on hand to be our Table Topics Master. She asked one of our more Irish members, for today anyway, Jose Lopez, CC about what tricks he would play as a leprechaun to protect his treasure. Rev. William Watson got even a tougher question when asked to speak on Corned Beef and Cabbage. George Johnson, one of our guests was invited to speak on the tradition of pinching someone who is not wearing green. Ed Dimayuga spoke on the subject of “lucky charms” and Susan Deichen was asked about what she would do on vacation to the Emerald Isle. Two of our three speakers cancelled at the last moment and it looked as if the third one would as well but Jason Davis, CC came in at the last moment and responded to a challenge to give an “Ice Breaker” speech to introduce himself to our club. His speech titled “My Life” told about growing up in Florida and being a single dad with a four year old daughter as well as his goal to give 100 speeches in a year in Toastmasters while belonging to three different clubs! We hope he gives the majority of them at Club #28! Also challenged with giving a last minute speech was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who presented a speech titled “What Toastmasters Means to Me“. He told how he had first come to Toastmasters, almost against his will, and how glad now that he had because the program had become such a force of discovery and empowerment in his life.   Susan Deichen covered two positions, General Evaluator and the evaluator of Ken’s speech. She did excellent in both roles. Ed Dimayuga gave the evaluation of Jason’s speech and came through with good advice for anyone who wants to be a successful speaker. Two of the technical Table members were a bit “green” but they did a wonderful job William Watson as Timer and Amber Gudenkauf as our Vote Counter. Club veterans Jose Lopez, CC as Grammarian and Ed Dimayuga as AH Counter rounded out the functionaries and gave very good reports. We had excellent guest comments from our five guests: Kathleen and George Johnson, Tahir _______, Ahdela _______ and Moharia _______ who also gave our speakers some excellent advice as well. The Irish came out in everyone tonight, it was indeed, a lucky night for Club #28!

Everyone was happy with the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Happiness!” theme meeting of March 12th 2009. Ken Walley ATMG, CL came up with a “list ” of ways to make yourself happy that he had put together which included “See the Best in others”, “Smile & Laugh every chance you get” and “Pet the dog”… among many others. Also making a list was Deepti Dhiman who had a list of great questions for our members. Jim Stitt was asked “What make you happy?” Jim said some of the things that he saw at his company brought a smile to his face like respect, working together and having fun. Deepti noticed that Susan Deichen had brought her two daughters, Megan Deichen and Katie Deichen to the meeting. Deepti asked Susan what she did to make her daughters happy. “Anything that I can think of.” was just a small part of her wonderful answer. Amber Gudenkauf had the question of “What was your happiest moment?” Amber remembered the day she got her first car. Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL was given the philosophical question of “Why do the sad moments seem to last longer than happy moments?” Tseganesh mentioned that her daughter is at Harvard and how things seemed to move so fast at times. Jesse Baker was given the question “Why are so many people unhappy?”. Returning Toastmaster Michael Vance was asked what music made him happy (“They shouldn’t put radios in cars, sometimes I get so into the music I forget that I am driving.”) and the last question went to Ed Dimayuga: “If you had to come up with a bumper sticker for your car about happiness, what would it say? Ed, inspired by Jim Stitt, said “Happiness is a Bigger Burrito!”. One thing is for sure that Happiness is two great speakers and Club #28 had that on this evening. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL gave a speech with the title: “Bstan-‘dzin-rgya-mtsho” which mean “Oceans of Wisdom” also the name of the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dennis told of the history of the Dalai Lama from the 1st Dalai Lama up to the current day. He told of how the present Dalai Lama was found, escaped persecution, became a champion for the cause of Tibet and earned a Nobel Peace prize. It was an inspiring and fascinating speech. Speaking next was new club member Jason Davis taking the lectern for the first time at Club #28 with a speech titled “My Dream Girl” which told of how a friend played a practical joke on him with a blind date. Needless to say his “dream girl” was not what he expected! Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL was happy to be the General Evaluator and put on a great show for all who attended. Ed really did a wonderful job introducing the evaluators as well as presenting a meeting evaluation with a lot of flair. Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave the evaluation for Dennis’s speech and Tseganesh Gudeta ATMB, CL showed that she still had great skill as an evaluator herself with her review of Jason’s speech. The Functionaries for tonight were: Grammarian Susan Deichen, Timer Jose Lopez, CC, AH Counter Jim Stitt and Vote Counter Michael Vance. Everyone not only did a good job at their positions but they also brought a lot of joy to the meeting as well. Toastmaster Dionne Aiken gave the last word of the night when asked about what made her happy, she summed up things up well: she said that having a new baby brought her the most happiness yet in life and also “If you want to be happy, come to a meeting like this one.” I could not have said it better myself!

When Vice president of Education Deepti Dhiman announced the date for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contest for Thursday March 5th 2009 she could not have had any idea that that date would go down in club history as one of the most successful and entertaining evenings in its 76 year history! Club #28 was able to showcase some of its well-known speakers and introduce to the Central Florida scene some upcoming orator super talent. The magnolia Room at the Downtown Orlando Public library was packed with club members, guests and dignitaries. Some of the most recognizable local Toastmaster elite graced the room including Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACS, CL; Central Florida Toastmaster legend Helen Joseph, DTM, Area 33 Governor Gloria Esteban, DTM and long time Club #28 supporter and Orange County Club #129’s VP of Education Luvenia Hart, ACS. No one, from the first time visitor to the Distinguished Toastmaster, would be disappointed by the performances of this evening. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started off the evening with an Invocation and Pledge that focused appropriately on “talent and discipline”. Our hostess for this evening was Contest Master and Club #28 president Barbara Cusack, CC. Barbara not only kept the contest (including four speeches and five Table Topics speakers) on task and on time, she also greatly enhanced the evening with her charm and her well known sense of humor. The Table Topics contest was a highly impressive display of extemporaneous speech. Contest Sgt. at Arms Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL led all of the contestants out of the room except for the first speaker, Dennis Gola ACG, CL who was the first to answer the question: “What makes a perfect day?” Dennis spoke about not having to worry about getting from one place to another and for things to simply “fall into place”. Ed brought in Jamie Waters as the next speaker who spoke with a perspective of one who was looking for employment. His optimistic view was that until he gets hired, “everyday is the weekend”. Michael Machata spoke of spending time with his wife and surfing at the beach. Ken Blake ATMS, CL spoke about getting away from the responsibilities of his job and “running barefoot through the wet grass.” Susan Deichen, a last minute entry in the contest, spoke about walking up to the alarm clock and finding out that you still had hours to sleep and then, later as a teacher, making a difference in the life of a child. They were all excellent answers. The answers were at times, funny, witty, thoughtful and even moving. Dennis added to his already impressive hoard of trophies by coming in 2nd place and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL, another Club #28 icon, took the first place prize with his table Topics answer. The International Speech Contest included past winner Ken Blake ATMS, CL and three contest newcomers: Deepti Dhiman, Ed Dimayuga and Jose Lopez, CC. Ken’s speech titled “I Can’t Breath!” was a speech that he had given before to the club a number of times but it always captures the imagination of the audience. he told of the time that he was left in charge of two divers during a deep sea dive and when the boat got back to shore, those divers were not on board! Jose’s speech was about the boxing champion Muhammad Ali titled “The Greatest of All Time!” Jose even reenacted some of Ali’s boxing matches as part of the speech! Ed Dimayuga’s speech was about the types of personalities that can “kill a meeting”. Titled “Bad Apples” these included “The Jerk”, “The Pessimist” and the “guy who argues with everything.” Deepti Dhiman‘s highly upbeat speech “How to Develop Enthusiasm“, gave us advice such as “Speak in a strong voice” and “Give yourself a pep talk!” Everyone was enthusiastic with all of the speeches! Coming in second place was Deepti and Jose Lopez took the 1st place trophy in his first ever International Speech Contest! Congratulations to Jose, Ken, Dennis and Deepti! All of them will now go to the Area 32 Contest March 29th at the Mayflower Retirement resort in Winter park. I hope that Club #28 can send as big crowd to represent us at Area and cheer on our winners. At the end of the evening, Club #28 received some truly positive comments from our guests Brian McCormick, Amber Gudenkauf, Jade Kimmeth and Cynthia DeJesus. Everyone who took part in this contest was a winner! There was as much talent behind the scenes as there was at the lectern. A special thanks to the judges who hailed from different clubs, Sgt. at Arms Michael Machata, Contest Sgt. at Arms Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL; Timer Tseganesh Gudeta, ACB, CL; Vote Counters Ken Walley, ATMG, CL; and Justin Gay, Chief Judge Gloria Esteban and of course, our Contest Master Barbara Cusack, CC. Everyone did a great job! Again congratulations to our winners and to Club #28!

The theme of the February 26th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was about the newest frontier: Cyberspace. The “Cyberspace: Our New Expanding Universe!” meeting was hosted by one of our technical gurus Louis Cianfrogna. Louis took us on a cyber tour of the many changing landscapes of the internet such as facebook, myspace, linkedin, youtube, blogging and others. He provided many very interesting stories and facts and everyone learned something on this night. Also encouraging us to face the future was Deepti Dhiman who provided some tough questions as our Table Topics Master. Dionne Aiken was the recipient of Deepti’s first question: “How much time to you spend on the Internet and what is you favorite website?” We found out that Dionne builds websites for a living and right now her favorite site is Babycenter.com because when is expecting a baby in a few months! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked “What do you use the internet for?” Toastmaster Ed Carmonia, ATMB, CL spoke on the interesting question “Is the Internet driving people away or bring them closer together?”  On line shopping was the subject of our guest Amy Mierzwinski who said that it could be a very big temptation. Bori Um who announced earlier that he had to leave Club #28  because he had been informed last week that he had been accepted into the Air Force, was given the question “If an attack by UFO’s had wiped out the internet, could we survive?” Bori thought we would not be able to defend ourselves very well! We will sure miss you Bori and we wish you the best of luck! Two awesome speeches were in store starting with Barbara Cusack‘s excellent speech titled “Gentle Giant” which coved the subject of protecting Florida’s Manatees. Barbara gave a very informative speech about this very important subject, especially here in Florida. Our second speaker Dennis Gola, ACS,CL  gave another brilliant speech titled “Weight Until You Hear This” that told about how elephants are trained by being tied to a steak as a baby elephant. He pointed out that Toastmasters need to “pull up the 5 lbs. steaks in their lives” and use our knowledge that we learn at Toastmasters and use it in the everyday world. Dennis hit a very profound chord. Ken Blake ATMS, CL took the role of General Evaluator and was rewarded by two excellent evaluations from the Walley family. Monica Walley gave a very good evaluation of Barbara’s speech but her father, Ken Walley ATMG, CL had a hard time find any fault with Dennis’s speech. Ed Carmonia ATMB, CL served as the Grammarian along with Timer Dionne Aiken (1st time) and AH Counter Bori Um along with his girlfriend Rebecca King who he had brought to the meeting, served as our Vote Counter and rounded out our functionaries. William Watson got a chance to speak at the end of the meeting as well and gave some final thoughts on cyberspace. While you are reading this on the internet, it simply will not be as wonderful as an experience than had you actually been in the room this night at the Orlando Public Library. Hope to see you soon!

Before the meeting on February 19th 2009, Ed Dimayuga delivered a very well crafted speech titled “Places That I have Lived”  that was both a brilliant travelogue and also a window into experience of the joys of exploration. Ed covered living in places as diverse as China to Daytona Beach,  giving insights from places all over the world. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave Ed’s evaluation. Thus with the speech that he would give later in the evening, Ed would have given his 6th speech, which qualifies him for the March 5th 2009 International Speech Contest.

The Founding Fathers of our Country would have been proud to have seen the “Founding Fathers” themed February 19th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club Meeting. From the encouraging Invocation and Pledge by Dennis Gola ACS, CL which started the meeting to the final gavel. The meeting was defined by the determination of our leader Paul Hagge, CC to bring to life those who crafted both our liberties and our  government. Franklin, Washington, Jefferson and the others would have been pleased with the Questions posed from our Table Topics Master Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL. She first asked Ken Walley ATMG, CL “What President comes to mind as the most important in our nation’s history?”  Ken said that Abraham Lincoln should be remembered first for keeping the union together and second for having to overcome extreme personal challenges during his time in office. Noteing the time in office of President William Henry Harrison, Tseganish asked Louis Cianfrogna, “What what you do as President if you only had 31 days?”. Barbara Cusack, CC was given the question of what the country should do in the case of the death of a president. Speaking on the two party system was Dennis Gola ACS, CL. Dennis noted that it is a shame that the president often loses touch with the people because the office itself often isolates him. We had three speech that would have been worthy of the founding fathers themselves. Speaking first was Louis Cainfrogna Who gave a very helpful, informative and interesting speech titled “How To Buy A New Car From a Dealership“. Louis stressed Budget, Research and Negotiations, or, the “art of walking away”. Justin Gay spoke second and gave the club its second Ice Breaker in two weeks!  Justin’s speech which was titled “Brick Walls”  told of growing up in Orlando, surfing at the beaches, attending UCF and working for Disney. He showed a lot of great potential as a speaker! Congratulations Justin! Our third speaker  was Ed Dimayua who gave a speech titled “Over-Cross Section” an informative speech about the federal government system. He asked at the start of the speech that without knowing what it was, would you sign the Constitution? It was Ed’s second speech of the night and both of them were excellent! The General Evaluator tonight was Monica Walley who had the pleasure of introducing her father, Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the evaluator for Justin Gay’s Ice breaker speech. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was on hand to give the evaluation for for Ed’s speech and Deepti Dhiman gave an  impressive evaluation of Louis Cianfrogna‘s speech. Monica was quick to point out that Table Topics, Evaluations and all of our Speeches for tonight’s meeting were exceptional as was the work of our Toastmaster Paul Hagge, CC.  Included in that list could have been our functionaries. Monica brought a guest who served as our AH Counter, Amber Gudenkauf and our newest member, Alison Brooke Briggs served for the first time as our AH Counter with veteran toastmasters Dennis Gola ACS, CL and Susan Deichen serving as Grammarian and Timer, respectively. Club #28 had reason to celebrate as it added three more members to the membership roll: Alison Brooke Briggs and Jason Davis joined along with past Club #28 President Edward Carmona, ATMB, CL! Welcome and welcome back! This was a great great meeting worthy of our founding fathers indeed.

The theme for the February 12th 2009 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Man’s Best Friend” and like a loyal and gallant pet dog, this meeting fiercely protected the string of wonderful meeting this club has had over the past few decades. Giving us a stirring and inspiring Invocation & Pledge was Tseganesh Gudeta, ATMB, CL who got the meeting off to a great start. The room was packed and one of the delights was to have two members of a Toastmasters Club visiting from Germany, Evelyn Rzymelza and Leif Busse who told us about their meetings overseas, including that they have a meeting in English every third week! Providing many a tail, er, tale (pardon the pun) on the subject of dogs was our Toastmaster Jose Lopez, CC who gave us tremendous facts and heartwarming anecdotes about our four-footed friends. Jose produced a memorable job as our meeting leader. Also excelling was our Table Topics Master, Louis Cianfrogna who asked some great questions to our full house: “Tell us about your favorite Dog?” was asked of Ed Dimayuka. “Is there a special bond between dogs and humans?” was presented to Susan Deichen. “What is the best breed of dog?” was aimed at Dionne Aiken. She answered: “The one who wins at a dog show!” Dennis Gola ACS, CL was asked “If you were a dog what kind of dog would you be?” Dennis went with “A mutt!” “What talent would you like to teach a dog?” was asked Michael Machata. Lastly, Paul Hagge was asked what kind of breeds would he like to create if he could mix two breeds of dogs. He thought that a mix of a herding dog like a Blue Healer and a high-strung Mexican Chihuahua would make for a very interesting type of breed! We had two great speeches tonight, both of which had everyone truly impressed with  the presenters and the riveting contents of the speeches. Speaking first was Deepti Dhiman who gave a brilliant speech on the topic attaining one’s hopes and dreams. Titled “Making Dreams Come True” her speech provided a plan for accomplishing life goals. “Define your dreams, find out what the cost is to make it come true and then put together a strategy to achieve it.” Said Deepti, “Waiting to make a dream come true is often what will defeat one’s best intentions”. Bori Um came to the lectern to give his first speech, titled “Goals and Obsessions” and proceeded to astound his audience with his Ice Breaker. Just some of the highlights included that he was he was born while his parents were attempting to escape the Cambodian horror of the Pol Pot regime. He taught himself to play guitar and toured with rock bands before becoming a jazz musician. He learned how to repair cars and soon joined in Auto Cross racing. His goal now is earning an engineering degree. Bori’s obsessions have become reaching his goals and his 1st Toastmaster goal, his Ice Breaker Speech has already been reached! Congratulations Bori! We had two excellent evaluations of our speeches by Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and Monica Walley both of which were insightful and helpful to the speakers and everyone else who heard them. In his “meeting evaluation” General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL praised the meeting as brilliant in “every area that a Toastmasters meeting should be.” That would include the effort done by the functionaries who did perfect work and gave 1st class reports. They were: Grammarian Dennis Gola ACS, CL;  Timer Susan Deichen, AH Counter Dionne Aiken and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack. We had three other guests besides our visitors from Germany. Steve, Allison and Marci all praised the meeting highly. This meeting was no “dog” but if it was, it would have been wagging it’s tail.     

It was very correct for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 to select the topic of “Black History” as the theme for the February 5th 2009 meeting as this month is “Black History Month”. Starting our the meeting was a profound Invocation by Ken Blake, ATMS, CL  who told a story of a “man who could sleep through the storm”… because he prepared ahead of time. Toastmaster Dennis Gola ACS, CL really prepared well for the meeting. All who attended were treated to a superb lesson into the chronicles of the African-American’s struggles and triumphs in America. Throughout the night he made Black History come alive.   Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Table Topics Master also tried to put the African American experience into perspective with some very thought provoking questions on the subject as well.  “Is Black History Month still relevant in light of recent events?” was his first question directed to Michael Machata. “What African American has inspired you?” was asked of Jim Stitt. Jim noted that the great actor Morgan Freeman was a man who came to mind. Louis Cianfrogna was given the question “If you had to pick a historical turning point of race relations in America, what would it be?” Returning past Club #28 member Tseganish Gudeta ATMB, CL answered the question “Is it possible to achieve a world in which racism is a thing of the past?” Our guests were also asked some questions. Jason Davis was asked “What makes you proud to be black?” and another guest, Dionne Aiken was asked to describe the significance to the black community of the election of President Barack Obama. We had two brilliant speeches this evening. The first being the second speech of a two part series by Jesse Baker on making America smarter titled “Smart Infrastructure“. Jesse addressed the opportunities in the fields of Health, Broadband and the creation of an intelligent grid using “only” 30 billion dollars to create jobs and improve the quality of life. Our second speaker, Jose Lopez, CC earned his Competent Communicator Award giving a remarkable 10th speech titled “My Story“. Moving and powerful he told of how he earned the purple heart in Iraq, lost and eye and found happiness through surviving a car bomb. It was s speech so compellingly given that anyone who heard it will remember for a long time. Jose received a standing ovation for earning his CC award. Congratulations Jose! Monica Walley served as our General Evaluator and did a great job of getting our meeting back on track time-wise with the help of two excellent evaluators: Louis Cianfrogna and Michael Machata. Louis and Michael both excelled with sage advice and  hearty encouragement for our speakers. As mentioned the club was delighted at the return of Club #28 legend Tseganish Gudeta, ATMB, CL who had bee away from the club for a number of years. Tseganish also served as our Vote Counter. Welcome Back T.G.! Rounding out the functionaries were Deepti Dhiman who besides serving as acting club president was also the AH Counter, Jim Stitt as our timer and Grammarian Ken Blake ATMS, CL who performed bravely despite a horrendous cold. We had a number of guests including returning guests Dionne Aiken, Bori Um, Marcie Gerena and Jason Davis. All of them expressed a desire to join club #28! Welcome aboard! This important meeting was not only informative but enlightening as well.

If only Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 were the example that America could set abroad, then our global stature would be pristine… well if the January 29th 2009 “America Abroad!” themed meeting was any indication anyway. Club President Barbara Cusack, CC did a splendid of  leading the assembly with sharp insights as to the good America creates in easing worldwide suffering. It was a vivid contrast to the bad publicity that America has received over the past few years. Also looking at the role of America abroad was Table Topics Master Dennis Gola ACS, CL. Dennis used American foreign policy as the basis of his questions. “If money was no object what country would you procure for the United States?” was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL  Ken said China would be a good addition to the United States. “Describe your foreign policy?” was asked of Jose Lopez. Barbara Cusack, CC used Moses to explain Teddy Roosevelt‘s statement “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Deepti Dhiman was asked to choose between Economics & trade or Human Rights with foreign strategy.” Michael Machata was asked to comment on the War Powers Resolution. Our guest Dionne Aiken was given the task speaking on Isolationism or Involvement polices. Justin Gay was asked about what America’s policy on Cuba should be. Lastly, Dennis asked Ed Dimayuga what should be the goals for the Obama Administration to create a better worldview of America.  When the Table Topics session was over we all felt as if we had been at a White House briefing. Again Club #28 was blessed with two excellent speeches The first, by Monica Walley was titled “Change Your World” was about simple, easy ways to make the world a better place. “Change your attitude and you change the world.” said Monica. Ed Dimayuga speech titled “Bad Apple” told of a sociological experiment on group behavior to see what the effect of a single person could be. The “bad apple”, i.e. one who disrupts or is extremely pessimistic, had a great effect upon the rest of the group. It was a speech full of fascinating insight. Jose Lopez held the duel role of  General Evaluator and evaluator for Monica’s speech. This was the first time that Jose took on the role of General Evaluator and he did an excellent job. Michael Machata gave his first evaluation as well of Ed’s speech. Michael’s evaluation was as polished as if he had been doing them for years. Our functionaries tonight consisted of  Ken Walley ATMG, CL covering both the Grammarian and AH Counter positions, Deepti Dhiman as our Timer and Justin Gay serving as the vote counter. Both of our guests, Dionne Aiken and Jason Davis were impressed with the meeting and hoped that they could return soon. Indeed this was another excellent night for Club #28… and Americans abroad everywhere.

“In the future, if I could travel to the past, I would travel to the present to relive this meeting” said Orlando Club #28 General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL. about the January 22nd 2009 “Time Travel” themed meeting. Louis Cianfrogna led the club through a myriad of different scenarios of the past, present and future. He captured the imagination as well as the attention of the club throughout the evening. Also wandering the outer bonds of time travel was Table Topics Master Dennis Gola, ACS, CL who had some very interesting questions for those brave enough to encounter them. “Would you rather go forward or backward in time?” was asked of Ed Dimayuga who prefers going forwards. “What was you favorite time traveler?” was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. “Where in the future and what would you like to see would you go if you could?” was put forth to Jim Stitt.  “Take us on a journey to the beginning of time” was the task put before Barbara Cusack, CCKen Blake, ATMS, CL  was asked to tell us about the legendary  Deloren sports cars as seen in the movie “Back to the Future“. Our guest, Nicole Evans was asked about what kind of watch she would wear. Jose Lopez gave an amazing answer to the question of: “How do you tell time without a watch?” The last question was asked of Dasha Chatrna, “Where is your favorite clock?” Dasha remembered a giant clock in Prague from the 12th Century. You didn’t need a clock to know that it was time for some great speeches. We had two of them tonight! First a speech titled “Pronayam” was presented by Deepti Dhiman which covered the basics on the “Art of Breathing”. She gave demonstrations of how to increase strength and endurance through breathing exercises. Speaking second was Jesse Baker who was giving his third speech titled “A Smarter Planet” which was an eye-opening speech about how we should put together a global plan to limit the damage of the problems that are facing our planet. Ken Walley ATMG, CL acted as our General Evaluator and was able to introduce two excellent evaluators: Jose Lopez and Ed Dimayuga both of whom delivered helpful and informative evaluations of our speakers. The expert “meeting efficiency  panel” consisted of Timer Barbara Cusack, CC, AH Counter Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and Grammarian Jim Stitt. Also helping out as our Vote Counter was Dasha Chatrna. This meeting was everything that a Toastmaster meeting should be: in bygone times, in the period at hand or in the imminent time to come. Club #28 will be traveling there for sure.

It took a lot of teamwork to create an experience as good as the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s January 15th 2009 “Teamwork” themed  meeting. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL a toastmasters who knows a few things about teamwork, led the meeting and covered the “9 components to Successful Teamwork”. The nine teamwork goals he mentioned were: Listening, Dialogue, Inquiring, Persuading, Appreciating other viewpoints, Facilitating, Sharing, Activism and Communicating. Also creating the teamwork necessary to produce a superior meeting was the Table Topics Master Jose Lopez. Jose asked some very probing questions on the subjects such as “What sport best defines teamwork?” which was asked of Ken Blake ATMS, CL. The question of “How is leadership and teamwork important to your job?” was answered by Ebony Langston. “Give an example of an exciting experience you had as a team member? prompted club president Barbara Cusack, CC to remember being on a track team. “If you knew that you could not fail, what issues would you use teamwork to solve?” was given to new club member Jim Stitt. Do you work better on a team or by yourself?” was given to Michael Machata.  The final question was asked of our guest, Justin Alexander Gay “How can teamwork improve your life?” The answers were all very illumining on the subject. We had two very different speeches both of them excellent efforts by any standards. Deepti Dhiman started with a speech titled “Sling Shot Ride!”  that had everyone on the edge of their seats. It described the experience of being shot 400 ft. into the air on thrill ride. Deepti painted such a vivid picture that there are now only a very few people who heard her speech that would have the courage to attempt that ride! Also doing a remarkable speech this evening was Dennis Gola ACS, CL who used words and phrases from the audience to craft a speech titled “The Inauguration On the Run!” His impressive skill at speaking “off the cuff” was on full display. Having the daunting task of evaluating those speakers fell to Louis Cianfronga and Barbara Cusack, CC. Louis gave a brilliant evaluation of Deepti’s speech which was even more impressive as it was his first ever evaluation. Barbara also gave a solid and helpful evaluation of Dennis’s speech. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our General Evaluator praising the evening highly in a voluminous meeting critique. The teamwork of the functionaries should also be noted: Grammarian Ebony Langston, AH Counter Jim Stitt, Timer Michael Machata and our guest, Ying Hong all worked impressively together to make this meeting possible! Club #28 added three new members on this evening, Jim Stitt rejoined the club as well as William Watson and Justin Gay! It just goes to show what a great Toastmasters Club can accomplish through teamwork.

If the first meeting of 2009 is any indication the new year is going to be a great one for Orlando Toastmaster Club #28! The theme for the January 8th, 2009 meeting was “New Beginnings!” and we had the start of something special with Ed Dimayuga serving for his first time as the Toastmaster. Ed did a wonderful job throughout the evening keeping the meeting interesting and insightful with facts and trivia (The New Year is not celebrated on the same date or time everywhere), anecdotes and few personal predictions. Ed did a truly great job. Also starting off the year with a superb effort was our new President Barbara Cusack, CC who asked some great questions for our first 2009 Table Topics session. The first question of the new year went to Deepti Dhiman who was asked “Is setting goals for you a realistic or an idealistic choice?” Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was asked “What changes would I like to see from the upcoming Barack Obama Administration?” Ken W. mentioned that he would like to see war simply “go away”.  “What would you cut back on in the year 2009?” was asked of toastmaster Ken Blake, ATMS, CL . Ken B. said “Driving, in order to save gas and time.” Barbara asked one of our guests, Tonia Craig, “What is your first resolution of the new year?” Her answer was staying in shape and losing weight, like many people who are making resolutions at the start of a new year. The last question also went to returning past member Jim Stitt: “Have you ever wagered on a resolution?” As a matter of fact Jim just happened to have a current bet with a co-worker to be the first to lose 15 pounds. Our speeches also set this club off in the right direction. Michael Machata, giving his 4th speech since joining the club in November told a story of a  remarkable American hero from the Viet Nam war. His speech titled “Roy Benavidez” told the story of the late Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez who was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Ronald Reagan for bravery almost beyond comprehension. It made for an exciting speech. We were honored by a visit from our Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACG, CL who presented a project from the Toastmasters International Successful Club Series titled “How to be a Distinguished Club” . Richard gave Club #28 some clear goals to focus on and made the “educational alphabet soup” (CC’s, AC’s, CL’s DTM’s etc.), much easier to understand. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as our General Evaluator as well as giving the evaluation of Area Gov. Arden’s speech and Deepti Dhiman gave a very good evaluation of Michael Machata‘s speech. Ken W. also wore the hat of our Timer, Jim Stitt served as our AH Counter and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL gave an impressive report as our Grammarian. Rounding out our esteemed functionaries panel was Barbara Cusack, CC who served as our Vote Counter. We had more guests in the room on this night than members! Beri Um, Pablo More, Tonia Craig, Ying Hung, Suibion Lin, Elsie Moran, Thierry Ngoie and Jim Stitt all visited Club #28 and helped make this meeting successful. I hope they all return… and join us! This “New Beginning” was a wonderful start and 2009 looks like a great year for Club #28

The room looked beautiful for the December 18th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Holiday Party and Installation of Officers Celebration. The meeting was made festive with Christmas Trees, Christmas Music, lights… even a snowman! Thanks to Bob Blaydes, CC;  Ken Walley ATMG, CLJose Lopez and Monica Walley for bringing in the decorations. Jose called the meeting to order and Bob gave the Invocation and Pledge which included a warm holiday greeting and a wish for joy and peace to all. Our Master of Ceremonies for this special night was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who also asked some Table Topics questions to keep everyone in the holiday spirit as we went through the evening. Bob Blaydes, CC was asked for example to give us a “verbal Christmas Card”. “A Christmas Memory” was the task asked of Jesus Serrano. Deepti Dhiman gave us a picture of what winter is like where she is from in India. Ed Dimayuga told us the best gift that he ever received. Ken also got to introduce two featured speakers for the evening, both of whom brought excellent speeches. We started with Jose Lopez who’s speech was titled “SPQB“; a title taken from the Ancient Roman Republic. His speech was an non-partisan speech  calling for more transparency in government to avoid scandals like the ones that have rocked today’s headlines. It was a very well crafted and reasoned speech. Our second speaker was Michael Machata who gave a more practical speech titled “How to Save” which gave helpful advice in using 401Ks and IRA accounts. Michael’s speech took a very complicated subject and made it easy to follow. Our speakers were also given excellent evaluations by Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Jesus Serrano. It was noted that Jesus came from Miami to attend this special meeting tonight. Jesus has just taken on a new job in South Florida and he will be very missed at #28. The second part of our meeting focused on the “changing of the guard” and the induction of our new officers starting with the Farewell Speech by Outgoing President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Dennis gave one of the longest Farewell Speeches in Club #28’s history but it was also one of the most interesting and uplifting speeches by any outgoing president. Dennis praised the resilience of the club in handling challenges and was proud of this club’s commitment to diversity and dedication to improving the lives of each other. Area 32 Governor Richard  Arden was unable to attend so Ken Walley ATMG, CL presided over the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony to induct our new officers for the January-June 2009 Toastmasters term. Sergeant at Arms Michael Machata, Treasurer Jose Lopez, Secretary Monica Walley, Vice President of Membership Ed Dimayuga, Vice President of Education Deepti Dhiman and President Barbara Cusack, CC were all present to be inducted. Vice President of Public Relations Ebony Langston was unable to attend but was also sworn in “inabsentia” by Ken. Even though time was running short, time was made to hear Barbara Cusack‘s (CC) complete Inaugural Address. Her speech was a powerful and inspiring message of hope for the future of those who have joined this club. It was a very important message that everyone was glad they were able to hear. This club is off to a great start for 2009. This was also one of the very best Holiday Parties that this club has ever had. A great way to top off a very successful year.       

Everyone who was at the December 11th 2008 “Winners and Losers” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was a winner! This meeting brilliant performances throughout the entire evening. Winner #1 was our Toastmaster for the night, Ken Blake ATMS, CL. Ken use some great examples of winners such as the indomitable coach Vince Lombardi and even Club #28’s past International Speech Champion, James Webb, ACB as examples of how to overcome great odds ands succeed. Ken Walley ATMG, CL filled in as the Table Topics Master and asked questions that also explored the theme of winning and losing. “Who would you say was the biggest winner of 2008?” was offered to Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL.  She gave that honor to President-elect Barrack Obama. On the other hand,  when asked who was  “The biggest loser of 2008?” Michael Machata gave a very appropriate answer of some past CEO’s of some of the well known financial management firms who have forced out during the recent Wall Street financial crisis. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked to comment on the statement “Winning or losing is not important, it’s how you play the game.”  Jose Lopez was asked to give an example of winning a competition and how it made him feel. Jesus Serrano was asked to give an example of losing a competition and how it make him feel. Jesus told of losing a job opening only to find a better job opportunity later on. Ed Dimayuga was asked “What was the best comeback that you have ever seen?” Our guest and soon to be new member William Watson was asked “What makes one a winner in life?” William answered “never quitting” and he gave some example of challenges he faced in his career as a nurse. Both of our speakers were also winners: Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Ebony Langston each gave outstanding presentations. Ken W.’s speech titled “My Old Age” was a speech directed toward the “younger Toastmasters” about what it was like to be getting older in life. The speech was filled with wisdom and humor. Another remarkable speech was by Ebony Langston titled “Patience is a Virtue” about an ill-fated visit to her boyfriend’s house where she had to endure four flat tires at at different times within two weeks! While the speech was humorous, it also told an impressive story of ingenuity and survival. Dennis Gola ACS, CL took over as our General Evaluator. Dennis was able to introduce two of Club #28 members with wildly different  evaluation experience. Debbe Ryan, ATMG, CL who evaluated Ken W.’s speech gave a very helpful and encouraging evaluation. Jesus Serrano, the second evaluator for Ebony’s speech was giving his first evaluation ever. Jesus also succeed with an excellent assessment, one worthy of a seasoned toastmaster! Our technical table tonight consisted of Jesus Serrano as Grammarian, Jose Lopez at the timer position, Ed Dimayuga as the AH Counter and Michael Machata as the Vote counter. Our guest, William Watson pledged to join the club and had some very nice things to say about the meeting. William is a winner as was this meeting!

Extraordinary meetings like the December 4th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting, call for Extraordinary themes. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL chose the theme of “Extraordinary Lives!” Ken used many, and very different, personalities as examples of the extraordinary. American President Abe Lincoln, poet Emily Dickinson, baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and sports hero Henry “The Hammer” Aaron, were just some of the lives examined during the evening. Ken also acted as the Table Topics Master due to a last-minute cancellation. With only a short time to prepare, Ken came up with some very worthy questions. His first question “What makes for an ‘extraordinary life?” was asked of returning member Debbe Ryan, ATMG, CL. Debbe used the example of Polish union leader and later Poland’s President Lech Walesa. “Do you know of someone Personally who has had an extraordinary life?” was asked of Jamie Waters who mentioned his Grandfather. Deepti Dhiman was given the question “What is something amazing, unseal or completely unexpected that has happened to you?”  Ken asked one of our guests, James Williams, “If you could trade your life with someone from history, who would it be?” James choose Michael Jordan. Another guest, Audra Marlow was asked who her heroes were. She sighted her parents who truly seemed like some very wonderful people by her answer. We definitely had some wonderful speakers tonight. We were entertained by yet another interesting life, that of Michael Machata. Michael’s 2nd speech, simply titled “Me“, told a little bit more about himself, due to popular demand after his fantastic Ice Breaker speech that he gave a couple of weeks ago. Even better was that he brought his wife, Jullian Machata to hear it! Jose Lopez superbly helped anyone that could have been looking to improve their speaking skills with a brilliant speech on… How to deliver a great speech. He titled his speech “Speak It!” and he really showed us how! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL did double duty as our General Evaluator as well as giving the evaluation of Jose’s speech. One of the highlights of the meeting was Monica Walley‘s first ever evaluation. She did a very competent undertaking of Michael’s speech evaluation. Congratulations Monica. Monica also served as our Vote Counter a task made a little harder because we ran out of ballots!  Rounding out our functionaries were Debbe Ryan as Grammarian, Deepti Dhiman as our Timer and Jamie Waters as our AH Counter. We had three guests: Audra Marlow, James Williams and Jullian Machata all of whom expressed interest in joining our club! That would be extraordinary indeed! What a great meeting!

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has many things to be thankful for. One of those things is that the club was able to have meetings like the November 20th 2008 “Thanksgiving” themed meeting. As we move towards the holiday season, Club #28 remembered those things that are truly important to us. Leading us this night was Toastmaster Susan Deichen who set before us a feast of Thanksgiving tradition, stories and lore. We were all thankful to have her back with us again. Joining in the celebration was Table Topics Master Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who had a banquet of delicious table topic questions. The first request was asked of Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who had to describe a delectable Thanksgiving meal. Ken’s mouth-watering description made everyone hungry.  Next, Ken’s daughter Monica Walley, was asked about after Thanksgiving Day shopping . “What is something that you have backed away from or ‘chickened out’ of?”  was asked of new Toastmaster Michael Machata. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL was given the question of what was his favorite sport. To no one’s surprise Dennis answered “Baseball”.  Susan Deichen was asked if she could raise an animal to eat. She said “no” but once went rabbit hunting. Our guest,  Rev. William Watson was given the question “Should a convicted felon be given a Thanksgiving feast while in prison?” He though so believing that some good might come of it for both the provider and prisoner. We could be thankful for two exceptional speeches on this evening. Speaking first was Paul Hagge, CC who was doing his first Advanced Project from the “Storytelling” manual. Paul chose the classic story “The Emperors New Clothes” Paul kept everyone entranced with his telling of the story! Next, Monica Walley gave her 3rd speech, this one with “a call to action”.. She spoke with passion about stopping the abuse of live animals in food processing plants. Her speech, titled “Kentucky Fried Cruelty” called for an end to the horrible treatment of animals by giant food manufactures. It was an eye-opening and very powerful speech. Jose Lopez gave his first ever evaluation. His review of Monica’s speech was excellent, even for Toastmaster who had had many years of giving speech advice. Ken Walley ATMG, CL acted as both the General Evaluator and the evaluator of Paul Hagge‘s speech.  While Ken was the General Evaluator Jesus Serrano covered his place as our Timer. Also rounding out the functionaries for this evening were: Dennis Gola, ACS, CL as the Grammarian, Jose Lopez as the AH Counter and Michael Machata filling in as Vote Counter, for his first time at the position. We had a number of guests including Carolyn Paul-Werty, Jose Betancourt, Rev. William Watson, and Harry and Christe Malamatos. All of them had wonderful things to say about the meeting. Most of them asked how they could join our club. Now that is something to be thankful for!

The November 13th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Family Reunion” meeting was a giant success except for one one small detail. The club had hoped that a number of it’s past members would attend but that was not to be. None of our hoped for “past family” was able to attend but… On the other hand, Club #28 had plenty of its current members present and was able to produce an exceptional meeting which included Dennis Gola ACS, CL as the Toastmaster. Dennis regaled us with past stories of family reunions and also some Club #28 Toastmasters lore. Helping the cause was our Table Topics Master Ed Dimayuga who came up with wonderful questions about Family Reunions. Ken Blake, ATMS, CC answered the question of “How has Toastmasters effected your life?” Ken remembered Club member Sam Ryan ATMG, CL who had passed away two weeks before. Ken was asked to speak at his memorial service and was able to do so on the spur of the moment thank to Toastmasters. Deepti Dhiman was asked to tell us about her family. It turns out that Deepti’s large family is planning a reunion of their own soon. Our guest, Carol Paul-Werty spoke on the “most interesting person in her family”. Barbara Cusack, CC was given the task of answering what she had left behind in her life that she would like to re-discover. Her answer was “Tennis!”  Paul Hagge when asked what music group should re-unite surprisingly said that the Rick Springfield Band should have a reunion tour. For the first time in a while we had three speakers! All of them came through with three excellent speeches. The highlight of the night was was Michael Machata’s Ice Breaker speech, “A Life Untitled” . His speech was in three parts that covered his family, his experience in the Marines and meeting his wife. His speech hinted at more very interesting speeches to come. Jose Lopez, well on his way to his CC, introduced us to the marshal arts of Jiu Jitsu in a speech titled “The Art of Softness“.  Jesus was our third speaker for the evening and he made a eloquent impact by delivering a further one of his highly polished speeches, this gem titled “A Right Earned“.  Three brilliant speeches called for three excellent Evaluations. Dennis Gola, ACS, CC doubled as our General Evaluator and introduced Paul Hagge, CC; Deepti Dhiman and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who all gave very expert evaluations. Dennis commented that Deepti’s 1st evaluation ever, was even “contest worthy”. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was the Grammarian, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Timer and Barbara Cusack, CC held both jobs as AH Counter and Vote Counter to complete our panel of  facilitators. Although we did not have any past members show up tonight, both of our guests, Devin Lessne and Carol Paul-Werty agreed that the Club was “like family” and said that we put on a great meeting. They both looked forward to returning next week.

The results are in! The November 6th 2008 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “U.S. Presidential Elections” themed meeting was a big winner! Jesus Serrano manned the lectern for the first time as a meeting Toastmaster and he scored a landslide victory. Jesus gave us some very impressive information on how the great campaigns of the past were won and lost. He also delivered a lot of truly fun trivia facts about presidential politics and he kept the meeting as fascinating and inspiring as a Barack Obama speech. Also doing a great job was Table Topics Master Paul Hagge, CC who came at the ready with some very vote-worthy questions such as “What is great about America?” which was handled by Barbara Cusack, CC. Another club “insider”, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked how the recent presidential election compared to others that he had witnessed in his life. Ken said the 2008 election was by far the most historic and dramatic. When asked what issues she would use to start a political party  Deepti Dhiman answered “environmental issues”  and she suggested naming it the “Green Party”. She was pleased to find out that there already is such a political party! Michael Vance, one of the two new members who joined Club #28 on this very evening, was asked about the long lines at the polls. “When you are in a long line, what do you do to pass the time?” He usually brings a book to read. Monica Walley was asked about what celebrity endorsements might sway her vote. She said she pays attention to the issues more than the personalities. Our other newest club member, Michael Machata, was asked to tell us about a promise that he couldn’t keep. Our two speakers tonight gave speeches worthy of any great politician, even the likes of William Jennings Bryant or Daniel Webster! Speaking first was Ed Dimayuga who kept his audience entranced with a remarkable speech titled “There Ought to be a Law!” about the need to purge the books of some of the over 4000 federal criminal laws. Ed told us of some really crazy laws still on the books and how they came to be. This was a insightful speech that made the law exciting, which even for a lawyer is something very hard to do! Jose Lopez gave a speech titled “Can He Do It?” that was a warning about the upcoming Obama administration. Using the words of President-elect Obama himself, Jose painted a picture of what could happen if the worst fears of the new presidential order came to pass. It was a well presented political speech. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our General Evaluator and challenged his evaluators, Dennis Gola ACS, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL to “give a little something extra” in their evaluations for our speakers. Both gave excellent evaluations but Ken’s “a little extra” put him over the time limit! The Grammarian and AH Counter reports were both exceptional on this night. They were given, respectively, by Jamie Waters and Deepti Dhiman. The other functionaries were Barbara Cusack, CC as the timer and Monica Walley as the Vote Counter. The club was awarded the Smedly Award for Club Membership by Toastmasters International and Ken Walley ATMG, CL presented the ribbon to be added to the club banner. Noting the many ribbons,  Ken quipped that “Our banner is starting to look like a Wooly Mammoth.”. This was another meeting worthy of a landslide election for a great Toastmasters meeting!

The only thing scary about the special Wednesday October 29th 2008 edition of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Halloween!” themed meeting was just how good that the meeting was! Starting off the meeting and giving the Invocation and Pledge as well as acting as President was our acting Vice President of Education, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Ken had the pleasure of introducing the Toastmaster for this spooky night, Paul Hagge, CC. Paul had our hair standing on edge with a “true” story about of Natalie Russ, a librarian, who although long since having past away… still haunts parts of the library. Paul added facts on the history of Halloween, memories of personal Halloweens past and a look at what this festival has become today! Paul did a great job of making this meeting interesting, fun and a little frightening as well! Barbara Cusack, CC although a Toastmaster for over two years had never tried the role of Table Topics Master until this night. Barbara did her usual excellent job with some tricks and treats for her fellow Toastmasters. Her first question was about Halloween costumes to Jamie Waters. “Did you ever dress up as a famous TV Character?” Favorite candy was the subject of her question to Ebony Langston. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about collecting for UNICEF when trick or treating. Ed Dimayuga remembered making costumes by himself but thought the store made one were a lot better. The final question brought a chilling answer from Paul Hagge, CC about an experience at a haunted house!  The Table Topics session was like finding a favorite piece of candy in the treat bag! Another “Treat” for our Toastmasters was the speeches given on this night. Deepti Dhiman gave a very memorable speech (titled “It’s Festival Time!“) about another kind of festival, “Dhivally” or ‘The Festival of Lights” held in India at this time of year. The celebration heralded the triumph of good over evil from within and whole villages were festooned in lights. Deepti’s descriptions brought the festival to life. Our next speaker, Barbara Cusack, CC wanted to prepare for a testimony to be given at another Toastmasters Club based upon a speech she gave at our club’s International Speech Contest titled “Positively Beautiful“.  The speech is a powerful call to action to help AIDS awareness in our community. Paul Hagge, CC served as our General Evaluator as well as being our Toastmaster and introducing both Jamie Waters and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who both departed some valuable wisdom to our speakers. filling the functionary positions were Ed Dimayuga as our Grammarian and Vote Counter, Ebony Langston working as our Timer and Ken Walley, ATMG, CL ringing the bell as the AH Counter. Even though it was only a small turnout for this Wednesday meeting the Halloween meeting this year turned out to be all treat and no tricks.

There was a lot of trivial things about the October 23rd 2008 “Trivial Pursuit” themed meeting but Club #28 Toastmasters being sharp with some excellent speeches, evaluations and table topics answers were certainly not any of them. Ed Dimayuga started off the meeting with a meaningful Invocation and Pledge and returned the lectern to Ken Walley ATMG, CL who serving as the acting President and Toastmaster due to a last minute cancellation by Dennis Gola ACS, CL. Ken managed to come up with a number of unimportant facts and meaningless information throughout the meeting (Oldest housecat, Name the Seven dwarfs, etc…)  that kept meeting, to quote a 60’s comedian “Ve-e-e-ry Interesting” (answer: Artie Johnson). Also joining the fun was Table Topics Master Deepti Dhiman who was trying the Table Topics role for her first time. She had some great questions for our members such as the first one she asked of Monica Walley: “What is you favorite board game?” Monica said the “Game of Life because “it mirrors real life in a lot of ways.” Ken Blake ATMS, CL was given the next question: tell us something trivial, but interesting you would like to share. His answer had to do with a 1998 Toyota Maxium he saw in the parking garage. Ken Walley, ATMG,.CL was asked to tell us about some Club #28 trivia. Louis Cainfrogna when asked about his favorite holiday named St. Patrick’s Day because it also falls on his birthday. Ed Dimayuga was asked what was the oldest city that he had ever visited.. He’s been to a few but Beijing was probably the oldest. Ebony Langston brought her husband Laman Langston as a guest on this evening and she could not have picked a better night to do so because she presented to the club an exceptional speech. Titled “Stress and Your Health”  Ebony told us about the implications of stress in our lives and how to make it manageable. Ebony’s speech was informative as well as meaningful. Following Ebony’s speech was speaker Jesus Serrano who gave a very memorable speech about a very memorable night. His speech titled “A Super Bowl Night Like No Other” was really not about the Super Bowl but about the night that his daughter was born. It has many colorful word pictures that included the comparing of parts of a football game to that of becoming a new father! It was brilliant! We had two very good evaluations which were introduced by General Evaluator Monica Walley. Monica introduced Jamie Waters and Barbara Cusack, CC who both gave insightful and helpful advice. Monica praised the meeting highly in her meeting critique. Our Technical table included Ken Blake ACS, CL as the Grammarian, Ed Dimayuga as the Timer, Louis Cianfrogna as the AH Counter as well as being our Vote Counter. The club was honored to have past member Dr. Princess Anita CTM visit the club tonight. She was delighted to have been able to have joined us on this evening! Even with the “curve balls” that were thrown at the club tonight everything went well and there was nothing trivial about this excellent meeting!

A very important subject was selected as the theme for the October 16th 2008 “Protecting Yourself from Cancer and Other Diseases!” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. The Toastmaster for the evening, Louis Cianfrogina covered a massive amount of information including histories, common sense prevention, new scientific breakthroughs and technologies that could help to protect us from a number of major health threats. Louis did a fantastic job covering this very important subject. Opening up the forum to our fellow Club #28 members was our Table Topics Master, Ken Blake ATMS, CL who asked some very appropriate and timely questions. The first question was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL : “What habit or habits would you break to make your lifestyle a more healthy one?” Ken told about how he was able to quit smoking after 25 years. “What is your least favorite vegetable that you would eat anyway?” was asked of Jesus Serrano who was not very fond of asparagus. Visiting Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACS, CL was asked what simple things could everyone do to protect us from illness? Louis Cianfrogina was asked about Skin Cancer prevention. Louis pointed out that skin cancer was the #1 most prevalent cancer in the United States. Deepti Dhiman spoke on alterative forms of treatment, including was is known in India as “Rikki” also known as Faith Healing in the United States and Acupuncture. Visiting us on this night was a group of 10 students, including some who are going into the health profession from Southern Technological College who brought to the meeting by Professor Jules Jacobs. Prof. Jacobs was asked to comment on the Ben Franklin quote of “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” The last question was also asked of a guest to Caroline DeLeon, about if preventive medicine was a good idea. She agreed that some preventive medicine could help stop disease before they have an ability to develop. We had two excellent speeches on this evening. Starting with Ebony Langston who was delivering her 2nd speech which fit in with the theme of the meeting very well. Her speech was titled “The Mysteries of Medicare“. Ebony did a wonderful job of unraveling the intricate rules and regulations surrounding Medicare and making it easy to understand as well as making the subject informative and interesting. Our second speaker was club President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL who gave a speech from the “Speaking to Inform” Advanced Manual. Dennis’s speech titled “Mind Your Own Business” covered techniques in meditation and breathing that helps us to not only revitalize, beat stress but also helps to prevent illness! As usual, Dennis gave a 1st rate performance. The General Evaluator for the night was Jamie Waters who introduced two of Club #28 ‘s premiere evaluators, Ken Walley ATMS, CL and Barbara Cusack, CC. Both of them excelled with remarkable reviews of the speeches. Jamie also gave a very astute and highly positive evaluation of the meeting. The technical table was composed of Grammarian Deepti Dhiman, Timer Monica Walley, AH Counter Jesus Serrano and our Vote Counter was none other than Area Gov. Arden! Even though time was running short, all of our guests gave warm praise for the meeting. Steve Nichols from Brevard Community College, Prof. Jules Jacobs and a few of his students as well as Caroline DeLeon all had very positive feedback. We hope they all return soon!! This meeting showed that Club #28 has the ability to lead the community in important and relevant subjects and all who took part in this program are to be congratulated.

An award for the Best Toastmasters Meeting on a Thursday Night Anywhere should be given to Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 for the October 9th 2008 “Awards, Medals and Prizes!” themed meeting. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL announced the winners of almost every kind of award imaginable, and some that many members had never heard of. There was an award for everything from the Nobel Prizes to the Best Bed & Breakfasts in the USA. There were awards from websites to campsites. Taking the blue ribbon for the best Table Topics Master was a very welcomed returning toastmaster Louis Cianfronga who really had some excellent questions for our members. Louis asked Jose Lopez the first question “What award do you hold most dear?” Jose told how he earned the purple heart in Iraq. Another returning toastmaster Ebony Langston, remembered a time that she did not win an award that she should have won. It was when she just missed being her class valedictorian by a single grade. Our guest, Mike Machata was asked “What is an award that you would like to have won?” His answer was the Medal of Honor! Returning from over a month in India and Italy was Paul Hagge, CC. Louis asked him “What is the worst prize that you have ever won?” Jesus Serrano was given the question of “If you had the task of awarding yourself a medal what would it be for?” Jesus had the courage to leave a job to try something different. We had two speeches tonight and the first one really was an award winning speech! Barbara Cusack, CC gave her Competent Communicator graduation speech! Her speech was titled “A Loving Memory” and it was an inspiring and heartrending speech about donating organs after death. Congratulations Barbara! Jesse Baker  presented his 2nd speech titled “IBM: A History of Change!” Jesse’s speech told the amazing story of the IBM Corp. from it’s start in 1896 to its current place as a technological giant. Jesse cover over 100 years of history in 7 minutes! Monica Walley who seems to be trying a new role almost every week, was our General Evaluator for her 1st time. She got to introduce two excellent evaluators: Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Paul Hagge, CC. Both evaluations were rich in advice and enthusiastic support. Monica’s own meeting evaluation was one of the most upbeat that any club could receive! “This was incredible!’ said Monica “I loved every minute of this meeting!” Rounding out command performances as our functionaries tonight were: Dennis Gola, ACS, CL as the Grammarian, Jesus Serrano as our Timer, Jose Lopez as AH Counter and Ebony Langston as the Vote Counter. Ebony had the best job as she got to give out the ribbons for our winner. Tonight however… everyone who came to this meeting was a winner.

“Right On!” and “Groovy” were the perfectly acceptable expressions for the October 2nd, 2008 “The 1970’s” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Monica Walley served as our tour guide of the strange world of the 70’s, a time long before she was born. For the second week in a row we had a 1st time Toastmaster. Monica did a smashing job remembering disco, pet rocks, mood rings, Watergate and many of the other things that have endeared us to a very wild decade. Also trying a position for the first time was Ed Dimayuga who was our Table Topics Master. Ed asked some questions that brought back the glow of the black light and the smell of incense. (What did you think I was going to say?) Of Deepti Dhiman, Ed asked “What Blockbuster Movie from the 70’s era do you remember best?” Deepti remembered the classic Jaws (1975) and Speilberg’s ET (1982). “What self-help book has had an effect on your life?” was asked of Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. “How did women’s roles evolve in the 1970’s?” was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. “What was your favorite music of the 1970’s?”  was asked of returning guest Michael Vance. His surprising answer was the oft-maligned disco music of the time! Monica Walley was asked about fashion in the 70’s. She did not care for the incredibly loud polyester suits that men were forced to wear! We had two remarkable speeches on this evening. Our first speech was a jaw-dropping Ice Breaker titled “The Nurturing of a Serrano” from Jesus Serrano who told a passionate and a compassionate tale about his young life. Raised by his parents, 4 sisters and a brother, his siblings averaging 20 years older than him, he had no lack of guidance, wisdom or advice. Overcoming obstacles and developing a love of the sea, he now sees himself coming full circle with his own family. It was a powerful and entertaining speech. The speech by Jose Lopez was a knockout! Jose put on a true performance,  a contest caliber speech titled “Muhammad Ali” that literally brought the boxing ring to the lectern. With body movement, hand gestures and vocal variety, Jose jabbed, bobbed and ducked his way to an exciting and entertaining success! “I AM THE GREATEST!” could have been said of Jose tonight as well as Muhammad Ali.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our General Evaluator and he was honored to be able to introduce a visiting Toastmaster, Kevin Adams, CC who had bravely volunteered to evaluate Jesus’s Ice Breaker Speech. Jesus was rewarded with an evaluation that was worthy of his excellent speech. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL also shined as the evaluator for Jose’s speech. The functionaries for tonight were: Deepti Dhiman as the Grammarian and she is fast becoming one of this club’s best at that position by the way. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL in a limited vocal role, due to a bad throat, was the AH Counter, Ken (ATMG, CL)  and Monica Walley traded off and on as timers and our guest Ritesh Rahate, served well as our Vote Counter. Amy Reed, Kevin Adams, CC; Michael Vance, James Lee and Ritesh Rahate all had very positive things to say about the meeting. Like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd… this 70’s show really rocked.

The “Going Green” themed September 25th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was like a breath of fresh air underneath clear, blue skies. Deepti Dhiman was our Toastmaster for this evening. Deepti was a bit “green” herself, this being her first time at the job but Deepti handled the position with the skill of a pro, as if she had done it many times before. She gave us great ideas for not only saving our planet but also saving our money as well! She entertained us and educated us all the way through the meeting. Spending a lot of time behind the lectern tonight was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who had to cover for some Toastmasters who were unable to attend at the last moment. His first role was as acting President because of a car breakdown on the way to the meeting held up both Dennis Gola, ACS, CL and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Ken also was our Table Topics Master and he got into the “green of things” with some excellent questions. His first question was to Toastmaster Bob Blaydes, CC, CL, “If you were President, what would you think would be the most pressing issues environmentally?” The next question was asked of Deepti Dhiman: “What are some of the things that everyone could do to help the environment?” Jesus Serrano was asked “Is it too late to solve the problems facing us?”  One of our guests took up the challenge of answering a table topics question. Lisa March answered the question “What are you looking for in a candidate who is running for office in regards to environmental issues?”  Many of tonight’s answers brought great ideas and good solutions to a number of pressing problems. Also dealing the the theme of “Going Green” were both of our speeches tonight. Giving his second speech in two weeks, Ed Dimayuga, who gave his Ice Breaker speech last week, gave a speech titled “Good Choices” which used the country of China as a powerful warning of what is to come if we do not halt pollution and the destruction to our natural habitats. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave a speech titled “Going Green!” about the “little things” we can all do to make our world a better place to live in. He mentioned among many other things: changing light bulbs, using canvas bags when shopping and rediscovering the library. Ken B. and Dennis took a bus from where the car had broke down to arrive at the meeting just in time to hear the speeches and in time for Ken Blake ATMS, CL to be the General Evaluator! Ken had the pleasure to introduce two evaluators who have been away for a few weeks: Bob Blaydes, CC and Susan Diechen! Welcome Back! Both delivered with excellent evaluations of our speeches. Susan also filled in as Grammarian and led a strong group of functionaries tonight: Dennis Gola, ACS, CL as the AH Counter, Jesus Serrano as the Timer and also as our Vote Counter. At one time our guests, Merlinda Eugene, Lisa March, Lisa Huynh and Michael Vance, almost outnumbered our members, we still produced a very exciting, interesting and fun meeting! It turned out to be a great evening!

Someday when they write the book of great Orlando Toastmasters Club#28 meetings, the “Books and Reading” themed meeting of September 18, 2008 will be a bright chapter. Jose Lopez served as our Toastmaster and again transcended the role of Toastmaster and delivered a sterling performance that was laced with humor, wit, interesting facts and drama. Like in a great novel, Jose brought to life the wisdom, fun and enjoyment of books and reading. Also bringing the written word to life was our Table Topics Master Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who was able to read his audience like a book when asking them the questions we all wanted to hear, such as : (Asked of Barbara Cusack) “What is your favorite place to read?”;  “What is your favorite character from a novel?” (To Dennis Gola, ACS, CL , who answered CIA crackerjack agent Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy‘s fiction series); “What book,  banned from your High School library, did you enjoy the most?” (Ken Walley ATMG, CL recommended “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote.); “What book was better than the movie” (Guest Ken Holder said the Harry Potter book series was far better than the movies!); “What fiction book do you wish was truly real?” (Asked of Jose Lopez, he noted a book titled “Behold the Pale White Horse” that he wished parts of were not real); the last question asked by Ken B. was of our guest Sid Sivasilam which was “Who is your favorite author?” Sid enjoys reading the tangled mysteries of Dan Brown such as his book “Angels and Demons“. The speeches tonight could have been the basis of a couple of “best seller list” books starting with our first speech Ed Dimayuga‘s Ice Breaker Speech titled “Why and How“. Ed took us on a journey of his life that showed an incredible ability to adapt to many challenges. Ed also displayed remarkable talent as a dynamic speaker! Congratulations Ed! Giving her second speech tonight was Deepti Dhiman who gave a speech titled “Culture Shock” about the differences of the American culture and her native India. Like her Ice Breaker speech, this presentation was rich in astute observations and warm humor. She won over her audience at the very start and never let go of our attention. With two excellent speeches, two worthy evaluators were needed to do them justice. Ken Walley ATMG, CL who was also acting as the General Evaluator, was up to the task of reviewing Ed’s Ice Breaker speech. Barbara Cusack also proved to be just as proficient giving the evaluation of Deepti’s speech. Because the speeches were so good, they provided a real challenge for these two learned toastmasters. Excellent support for the meeting was provided by our guest Sid Sivasilam who served as the Vote Counter, Timer Jamie Waters, AH Counter Jesus Serrano and  Grammarian Dennis Gola ACS, CL This meeting was like a true classic, from the first words to the last, like a great book it was entertaining all the way through!

If you were smart you would have taken a train, plane or automobile (most likely) to the September 11th 2008 “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” themed meeting because it was yet another brilliant Club #28 meeting. The meeting started out with a poignant Invocation and Pledge by Toastmaster Jose Lopez who remembered our troops on this day that many Americans devote to patriotism. Dennis Gola ACS, CL was our Toastmaster and he brought plenty of interesting facts about Planes (A Boeing 747 has six million parts!), Trains (The first commercial train traveled at 8 mph!) and Automobiles (Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line!)  Dennis used imagination and skill to create a fascinating evening. Also coming through was Stephen Bentley our Table Topics Master who had some excellent questions for our members. Club #28’s newest member, Jesus Serrano was asked the first question: “What was the most memorable road trip you have ever taken?” Of the three choices of transportation, Deepti Dhiman chose to travel by train when asked her preference by Stephen. Ed Dimayuga got the question of what places he would like to see on a trip from Florida to Alaska. Barbara Cusack was asked where she would like to g with her own private jet. Part of her answer included California, China, France and Key West, Florida! Dennis Gola ACS, CL was asked to sell us on the “Bullet Train”. Our guest, Peggy Fliess answered the question of what she would do if given an army personnel carrier. We were blessed with two Ice Breaker speeches on this night! The first was a remarkable speech titled “The Artist Formerly Known as ” given by Ebony Langston. Ebony traced her history through many impressive challenges including earning a degree in Psychology from Duke, working as a child protective officer and as an insurance adjuster. Just to name a few things that she has done. We really look forward to hearing more about Ebony! Equally impressive was the first speech of Jesse Baker who titled his speech “I’m Glad to Be Here!” . Jesse told of how he worked his way through college and earned his MBA from Georgia Tech. He now has a family in Orlando as he is working for the IBM Corp. Both the Ice Breakers were exceptionally well delivered for 1st speeches and both speakers have a wealth of talents to explore as they go through the Toastmasters program. Monica Walley was our third speaker  giving a speech she titled “Where I Was and Where I Am: 9/11” about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. What was different about Monica’s speech was it was an account of a 12 year old girl at Conway Middle School in Orlando and how that day’s events effected her life then and how that day in September of 2001 applies to her life now. It was a remarkable speech. Three exciting speeches deserved three good evaluations and General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL had the pleasure of introducing Barbara Cusack, Jamie Waters and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL, all tremendous evaluators. They did not disappoint. All three gave riveting and helpful reviews of the speeches. Other highlights of this meeting including skilled job by first time AH Counter Jesus Serrano, in addition to which Stephen Bentley excelled with a tremendous Grammarian report and very adept work as our Timer by Deepti Dhiman. Another guest, Chris Markee served as our Vote Counter and handed out the ribbon with a dynamic flair. This was a meeting that brought out the best of Orlando Toastmaster’s Club #28… A Rolls Royce of a meeting so to speak.

On September 4th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 achieved success with the brilliant performances of it’s 2008 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests. Ebony Langston started off the evening with with a moving and inspirational invocation and pledge to the flag. “Starring as the Contest Master for his first time was veteran Club #28 member Bob Blaydes, CC. Bob shined throughout the evening leading the proceedings with sharp insight, a quick wit and some very funny humor. The first contest of the night was the Evaluation Contest. In order to have an evaluation contest a speech must be given for the contestants to evaluate. Our “Test” speaker tonight was Luvenia Hart from the Orange County Toastmasters Club #129. Luvenia came through with an impressive speech titled “Open Minded“. The speech was an autobiographical portrait of herself as she learned from encountering different cultures. These included people she met as she grew up in Louisiana, served in our Armed Forces and as she visited far away countries such as Thailand. It was an electric and an entrancing performance. Faced with the task of evaluating such an excellent speech were the contestants Stephen Bentley, Dennis Gola, ACS, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. The evaluations Sgt. at Arms Monica Walley helped make sure that the contest went smoothly as each contestant gave their evaluation. All of the evaluations were worthy efforts of the highest praise. Coming in second place was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL and taking the first place trophy was Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Last year’s Humorous Speech Contest was hailed as one of the best ever in the 75 year history of Club #28. This year’s contest may have exceeded that lofty level. Hilarious speeches were delivered by all four contestants. Going first was Barbara Cusack who had everyone holding their sides with laughter with her speech titled “Queen of Clean!” Barbara told about her career cleaning houses and reflecting on her own family’s lack of, shall we say… organizational skills? Her speech was a hit! Dennis Gola ACS, CL went next with a speech titled “Like A Rock!” This speech dealt with Dennis on a quest to control his temper and how he found serenity… in a most unlikely place. Speaking third was Jamie Waters who had the entire room in hysterical laughter with a speech titled “The Two Biggest Waste of Land!” Jamie’s speech, given with exquisite deadpan, proposed that we should combine graveyards and golf courses! Following Jamie’s speech was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who’s speech titled “Runs Great!” told his story about teaching his daughter to drive and buying a used car with limited funds. No matter what flaws a used car had, including one that had the engine being held together with duct tape, the salesperson always said that the car “Runs Great!”  Four very funny speeches and each one of them had the entire room laughing. The judges had a tough time deciding but again awarded Ken Walley, ATMG, CL second place and presenting 1st place to Barbara Cusack! A number of dignitaries were on hand for the contest including Distinguished Toastmasters and past Orlando Club #28 Presidents, Helen and Michael Joseph (both DTMs). One of our guests tonight, Jesus Serrano was so impressed that he joined Club #28 on the spot! Welcome Jesus! The contest could not have been possible without the help of our club members who stood in as functionaries and participants. Here are those people beside the one listed above who made this evening such a great success: Contest Organizer: Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Sgt. at Arms: Jose Lopez; Vote Counters: Deepti Dhiman and Ed Dimayuga and our Chief Judge Helen Joseph, DTM. Thank you to all!

The August 27th 2008 “Back to School!” themed meeting turned out to both a remarkable and informative meeting that was unafraid to examine the accomplishments and the flaws of the American educational system. Stephen Bentley, the Toastmaster for this night’s discussion, led an astounding dialog that was both inspiring and revealing. Also adding weight to the subject was first time Table Topic Master Ebony Langston. She did a remarkable job of asking preterit questions that brought out exceptional answers covering a wide range of subjects about today’s school systems. For example, her first question to Jose Lopez was “How important is it for a parent to take a role in their child’s education?” Another question, asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL was “How can we level the community playing field so that all children receive a quality education?” Visiting Orange County Club #129 member Luvenia Hart, CC, was given the question “How has education effected your life?” Luvenia explained that both of her parents were educators and that her education has helped to define almost every career decision she would make later. The last question was asked of Ken Blake ATMS, CL “How fair is it to ask an 18 year old to pick a major that might effect them for the rest of their life?” Ken made the point that it is one thing to pick a major at eighteen but where you end up in life maybe someplace completely different. Also on this evening, Club #28 celebrated a very special event. The first address tonight was an Ice Breaker speech from one of the club’s newest members: Deepti Dhiman! Deepti’s speech aptly titled “Across 7 Oceans“, told of a life that started in India and set out to conquer the world architectural design in America. The real power of this speech came from Deepti’s uncompromising will to succeed, in life and behind the lectern. It was simply an excellent first speech. Deepti received a standing ovation for her effort. With the Humorous Speech contest coming up next week, Toastmaster Barbara Cusack wisely practiced her speech titled “Queen of Clean”. She gave a hilarious comical performance that had everyone laughing as she told about the “different stages” of chaotic disorganization. Barbara’s speech has a good chance of winning next week! Ken Blake ATMS, CL  led the evaluation element of the assembly as the General Evaluator. He introduced two evaluators, Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Luvenia Hart, CC  who both responded with meaningful and insightful evaluations. Ken B. as well gave a superlative evaluation of the meeting. A meeting this first-rate would not have been possible if it was not for the supporting functionaries: Timer Jamie Waters, Grammarian Jose Lopez, AH Counter Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Vote Counter Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Indeed on this evening Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 put on a class on how to deliver a splendid Toastmasters meeting!

The August 20th 2008 “The Olympics!” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting should win a gold metal among Toastmasters meetings! Our Toastmaster Jose Lopez trained hard and brought his very best game to the Toastmaster role. He succeed like Michael Phelps did at the 2008 Beijing games. Jose entertained and delighted all of those present at the meeting with a dazzling array of Olympics stories, facts and up-close- and- personal profiles of the game’s sports heroes of past and present. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL also came through with a number of challenging questions that had even the most competitive Table Topics athlete sweating hard! Jesse Baker responded to the question: “What do you consider your ‘Gold Medal’  moment in your life?” Jesse referred to the recent birth of his son. Deepti Dhiman answered a question about how to deal with disappointment when given the recent example of China’s most popular Track and Field star, Liu Xiang who was forced to withdraw from his races because of injury. Ken Blake ATMS, CL answered the question of how some players, like the USA Beach Volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh dominate their sport. Ken said simply that it was “heart and desire”. Jose Lopez answered a question of what the limits will be on the world records. New member Ebony Langston gave a world record answer to the question of : “Can we solve our nation’s problems through sports competition instead of through mass destruction?”  Our two speeches tonight were also of Olympic quality. Our first speaker, Stephen Bentley gave his best speech yet titled “What is PODETR?” Stephen, using humor, enthusiasm and visual props, explained about changes in the way temporary tags are printed, and traced, to protect the public. His speech was informative but remarkably entertaining as well. Our second speaker Dennis Gola ACS, CL was simply at the top of his game with a speech titled “You Write The Speech” .Dennis weaved a coherent speech from 7 different subjects and using 7 random words, eight if you count the Word of the Day, provided to him by the club members only a minute before he started the speech. Some of the topics were: “If I had the Time”; “Goal Setting”, “Football”, “Tropical Storm Fay”, “Terrorism”, “Inflation” and the “Secret to Happiness”. It was an impressive effort and a lot of fun to watch. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also doubled as the General Evaluator and evaluator for Dennis. Also evaluating was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who had some brilliant insight to Stephen’s speech.  Ken W. in his “meeting review” pointed out that his meeting was a tremendous success partly because of our newer members Jesse Baker, Ebony Langston and Deepti Dhiman willingness to become involved. Deepti did a very competent job as our Grammarian, Ebony served as Vote Counter and Jesse was a very good AH Counter. It was the first time for all three of them at those positions. The club longest standing club veteran, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was the Timer . The entire meeting was like a world record winning relay race. Each club member passing the baton to the next, never a drop, not a falter in footstep with blazing speed and intense purpose… all the way to the finish line. This meeting was pure gold.

The August 14th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Leadership” themed meeting was unlike any meeting of the past. Club #28 invited our Division ‘C’ Governor Bruce Gould DTM and our Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACB, CL to present a special presentation on officer training which fulfilled the club’s requirement for the President’s Distinguished Award goal. This meeting was exceptional not only because of the large amount of information presented, but also because of the sharpening of our club’s focus on leadership. The meeting started as Sgt. at Arms Jose Lopez called the meeting to order and led the club in the Invocation and Pledge. Club President Dennis Gola ACS, CL covered the club business which included the announcement that Club #28 would try to stay at the Orlando Public Library and that the cost of the meeting room would be defrayed by a $2.00 fee from those who attend. Ken Walley ATMG, CL acted as our Toastmaster for the evening and introduced the theme of Leadership. He only had to introduce one functionary tonight as there was no AH Counter or Grammarian positions tonight.. The lone functionary was Monica Walley who did her usual superb job as the evening’s Timer. We were very fortunate to have a featured speaker tonight, Jose Lopez who gave a speech that directly related to the theme of the evening. Titled “Lead from the Front” the speech borrowed from the principles of leadership that Jose had acquired from serving in the Army and applied to everyday life. This was a compelling and inspiring speech that motivated everyone who heard it even had they not served in the military. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL was introduced next as our General Evaluator. He introduced Susan Deichen as our evaluator for Jose’s speech. Susan gave a evaluation worthy of an evaluation contest. She gave examples of Jose’s strong speaking points, insightful opportunities for improvement and highly supportive encouragement. Area 32 Governor Richard Arden, ACB, CL and Division ‘C’ Governor Bruce Gould, DTM gave a 45 minute special Presentation titled  “Leadership Roles and Officer Training” that gave a strong overview of the Toastmaster Club officer positions and what was involved in managing a successful Toastmasters Club. Bruce noted that it was good that we had young members and new members here to listen to the presentation because maybe they would be inspired to be future club leaders. Dennis Gola ACS, CL returned to the lectern as the General Evaluator to give a very positive and upbeat review of the meeting. He also returned as the club president to close the meeting. Before the gavel went down he called upon the Vice President of Education Dr. Mike Deichen CC, CL to report on the next week’s schedule (we are meeting on Wednesday next week!) and also to congratulate Deepti Dhiman on becoming our newest member of the club. She joined right before the meeting started!  It was also noted that the Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests sign up sheet was being passed around for the  September the 4th contest date. When the gavel went down everyone was in agreement that this was a truly remarkable and  productive meeting! That is, after all,  what leadership is all about!

Everyone at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 got blown away with the August 7th 2008 “Hurricanes: Don’t get Blown Away!” themed meeting because our Toastmaster Dr. Michael Deichen, CC CL did such a Category 5 job. Dr. Mike was on top of things with enough facts and stories about the most dangerous storms on earth to inspire anyone to prepare for when  the next one might visit. Let’s hope that’s not for another 50 years. Adding to the discussion on hurricanes was a thorough effort by our Table Topics Master Stephen Bentley Stephen started with an interesting question of our club President Dennis Gola ACS, CL, he asked “Why do people try to stay at home during a hurricane when it would be safer to evacuate?’ Dennis brought out some very good points. One of our two newest member Jesse Baker, who joined on this night, was asked what he would name all hurricanes if they all could only have one name. Jessie choose “Bob” to make them sound a little less dangerous. Toastmaster Ken Blake, ATMS, CL remembered working for FEMA when asked about a time in his life when he had to rebuild. Jamie Waters spoke about being surrounded by Chaos and staying calm. One of our guests, Ebony Langston, took on the question of what would have to be biggest challenge taking on a Hurricane, a Gator, a Knight or a Seminole! Our speeches were a force to be reckoned with as well! Ken Walley ATMG, CL started as our first prepared speaker with a speech titled “Who We Are and Why You Should Join Us!” This was a speech that Ken would give if he had to tell about Club #28 to an organization that was interested in Toastmasters. It was a perfect speech to give on a night that we had 6 guests! Ken told about what we do at our meetings and how Toastmasters has helped him in his job and everyday life. Speaking next for the second week in a row was Susan Deichen. Susan did a tremendous presentation about handwriting analysis titled “The Real You Revealed!” This speech combined education with a lot of Susan’s trademark sharp wit and humor. Both of these speeches were excellent. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also covered as our General Evaluator and had the pleasure of introducing two polished evaluators. Dennis Gola ACS, CL who gave Ken’s evaluation and returning Club #28 Toastmaster Joe Cannazzaro who gave a sparking review of Susan’s speech. The functionaries tonight were Monica Walley who served as our Timer, Jamie Waters who gave a very good report as our Grammarian and Ken Blake ATMS, CL who also excelled as our AH Counter. Ed Dimayuga, who also joined tonight was our Vote Counter. Unfourtunely, with time running out we did not get to hear comments from our guest tonight who were Deepti Dhimond, Teresa . Macleod, Herman Chahal, Tai Cocchia, Ebony Langston and Cheryle Robinson-Hayes. Many of our guests however approached our Treasurer Ken Walley after the meeting and said they looked forward to joining the club! I guess you could say Club #28 took them by storm!

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 returned to its regular meeting room for the July 31st 2008 “Opposites: Apples and Oranges!” themed meeting. Again filling in for our President was VPE Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL;  who got the meeting going with a professional flair. He was delighted to see so many guests attending. They were in luck because this would turn out to be a fantastic meeting and one of the major reasons was the incredible performance by the Toastmaster for the evening, Stephen Bentley! It was amazing that this brilliant job was Stephen’s first time in the Toastmaster role. Throughout the evening Stephen gave examples of opposite including the introductions of the functionaries and speakers. For example he introduced  “the opposite of tongue-tied is our Table Topics Master the articulate Ken Walley, ATMG, CL!” Ken came ready with some of the most challenging questions ever put before any toastmaster club. He asked Dr. Deichen to “define the words ‘good’ and ‘bad'”  Toastmaster Paul Hagge, CC was asked to describe eating an Apple and an Orange and telling us the difference between the two. Jose Lopez had the task of picking an historic figure that he was the opposite of. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was given the choice between a Rolls Royce and and gas saving Toyota Prius. Visiting Toastmaster from England, David Sherwood was asked what makes for a good marriage. Our second time visitor Ed Dimyauga had an excellent answer for the question “What has been the hottest you have ever been and the coldest?” Ed said getting in a car on a summer afternoon in Florida was the hottest that he has ever been! The opposite of boring was our speeches on this night. Our first speaker, Monica Walley delivered her Ice Breaker speech titled “In My Life” and impressed her audience with a well written speech that was ably presented and thought of as beyond the ability of her experience and years. Monica stated that she was not sure of what she really wanted to do with her life just yet but that the amount effort she put into her future would define its success. Congratulations Monica! Speaking next was the opposite of oratory failure: Susan Deichen! Every time Susan has given a speech she has been a complete success and tonight was no different. “Go fish: Omega 3 for You and Me” was the title of her speech and she told us how to stay healthy and improve our eating habits through seafood. She gave us great nutritional ideas as well as some yummy recipes. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was unable to speak at our last meeting but made up of it at this meeting as our General Evaluator. Ken introduced our two evaluators, Jamie Waters (for Monica) and Ken Walley, ATMCG, CL (for Susan)  giving Ken one of the most memorable introductions ever. Both of the evaluations were truly helpful and well accomplished. Ken B. also gave a highly detailed meeting evaluation that could have counted as a speech had he delivered it for credit. Credit should also be given to a great technical table which was served by Jose Lopez as our Timer, Dr. Mike Deichen, CC, CL as our Grammarian, Paul Hagge, CC who did a wonderful job as AH Counter and visitor Dionne Sherwood who served as our Vote Counter. We had brilliant comments from our guests about the meeting. Dionne and David from “across the pond” said they were delighted by the meeting as well as great comments by Deepti Dhiman, Ed Dimayuga and Herman Chahal. Best yet is that Deepti and Ed both have made plans to join our club! With meeting like this the opposite of not joining would be taking advantage of a great opportunity.

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Dennis Gola at the podium at the July 24th 2008 meeting on the main stage in the lobby of the Orlando Public Library

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 24th 2008 meeting theme of “That’s Entertainment!” was the perfect theme for this evening. Double booked in our regular conference room, the library moved our meeting to the 1st floor library main stage area!  Club #28 was lucky to have a Toastmaster this evening who was comfortable on a stage, Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken did his best to entertain the club and any library patrons who wandered into the meeting as well. Ken covered entertainment in the movies, music, and of course, on the stage with facts and lists about current and past legendary films, records and hit Broadway shows. Ken had some help from toastmaster Monica Walley as well who appeared as the Table Topics Master. Monica asked some great questions about what keeps us amused. Jose Lopez was asked what his favorite form of entertainment was. John Bonowitz-Coffey was asked who his favorite comedienne was. Dr. Mike Deichen, CC, CL was asked what music group most influenced him while growing up. Ken Walley ATMG, CC was asked what his most beloved and most despised TV shows were. Monica also inquired of Susan Deichen what was her all-time favorite movie. It was also a favorite of millions around the world: Mary Poppins! Our speeches stole the show tonight starting with Paul Hagge‘s 10th speech, earning his Competent Communicator Award. Titled “The Finish Line!” The speech reviewed his Toastmasters journey and inspired us to never give up on reaching our goals. Congratulations Paul! Our next speaker, Stephen Bentley gave his 2nd speech titled “A Coin Flip” which was an overview of controversial concerns about Globalization. Stephen’s speech was very well thought out and informative. Thanks to the quick work of auto mechanic Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who got a broken car started just in time to get our General Evaluator Dennis Gola ACS, CL to the meeting, we had another excellent evaluations session! Dennis introduced two very good evaluators, Barbara Cusack and Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL. Both of them were up to the task and delivered some remarkable insight to the speeches this evening. Dennis commented in his meeting review that he had been trying to get the library to let us have a meeting on the main stage for some time and he hopes now that they will be able to let us do this again! Jamie Waters did an enthusiastic job as our Vote Counter, Susan Deichen had a brilliant Grammarian report, Jose Lopez was the club AH Counter (it was nice to hear that bell ring again!) and doing fine work as our timer was John Bonowitz-Coffey. All three of our guests, Adam Bewter, Ed Dimayuga and Bryan Akins all gave raving reviews of our “show”! For sheer entertainment, this was the place to be Thursday night!

The July 17th 2008 “Vacations” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was like being on a wonderful holiday. Great entertainment, no worries and some exotic food, well food for thought anyway. Susan Deichen outdid herself with a brilliant offering as our Toastmaster this evening. She told us many things about vacations that this club had never known before. For example, Orlando is the #1 tourist destination in the world and that most people stay at the home of a relative while on vacation. Also did you know that the #1 favorite activity while on vacation is shopping? Susan kept us entertained throughout the meeting. So did our Table Topics Master Stephen Bentley. It was Stephen’s first time as Table Topics Master and he made the best of it. Here are some of the excellent questions he asked during the session: 1.) (To Jose Lopez) What is the most memorable meal that you have ever eaten on vacation? 2.) (To Ken Walley ATMG, CL) When you are on vacation, are you an adventurer or a person who relaxes? Ken likes to relax.3.) (To Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL) Tell us about an exciting vacation? 4.) (To Susan Deichen) How would you spend a vacation in Las Vegas? 5.) (To Monica Walley) What is your fondest vacation memory? All of the answers were extraordinary and they took us to many places around the globe. You did not have to go far however to find some great speeches! We had two amazing efforts on this night starting with Barbara Cusack‘s 9th basic manual speech titled “10/10/80“. It was a speech about how to plan for your future by tithing, savings and investments. Barbara’s speech had some deep wisdom that was especially helpful during today’s rocky economic times. The second speech of the evening was just as dynamic. Jose Lopez gave his third speech to the club titled “A Life Distilled” Jose was right on point when he inspired us to follow the formula of  “Thoughts to Actions to Results” and then use your results to create more thoughts. “Results are our feedback!” said Jose. Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL; was a very busy man this meeting. Not only did he fill in for our President on this evening, but he also served as our General Evaluator and the Evaluator for Barbara’s speech. It must be noted that he led a skilled mission in all of the roles. Barbara Cusack also juggled positions giving Dr. Diechen’s wife, Susan her evaluation. Both Mike and Barbara proffered highly successful reviews of the speeches. It was not a large turnout even though most Toastmaster clubs would have given away their best gavel for such a great meeting. Everyone had to pitch in to make it work. Monica Walley handled two functionary roles that of AH Counter (her first time) and also as Vote Counter. Her father, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Timer and serving well as our Grammarian was Stephen Bentley. Like a good vacation, everyone left wanting more. Thank goodness that there is another Club #28 meeting next week!

The theme for the July 10th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Getting Your House in Order!” and Club #28 certainly did that by coming up with one of its best meetings in recent history! There was an excellent turnout but that was to be expected because our Toastmaster for the evening was Barbara Cusack. Barbara, who knows a few things about cleaning, being in the housekeeping business for over 20 years, went beyond just the helpful tips and domestic science to share many insightful perceptions about having a life in order and in balance. Appearing for the first time as an official Toastmaster, young Monica Walley did a remarkable job as the Table Topics Master. Her first question was asked of Barbara “What was the biggest mess that you have ever had to clean up?” Barbara told of some harrowing tasks left to her by some of her clients. Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL, was asked how the chores were divided up at his house. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked “If you owned a maid service, what would you call it and how much would you pay the maids?” Monica’s father, Ken Walley, ACG, CL was asked “What was the biggest mess made by one of your kids?” Ken took Monica off the hook and told about how her brother and former Club #28 Toastmaster, Robin Knight, CTM, was in a different league from her when making a disaster area out of their bedrooms. Dennis Gola ATMS, CL also got a great question being asked “What do you like and what do you hate, about housework?” Dennis liked “doing as little as possible.” We were blessed with two wonderful speakers and two truly auspicious presentations tonight. Going first was a delightful speech (titled “Lemons“) delivered by Paul Hagge that was on the surface about a summons to jury duty but in reality about viewing the world in a positive perspective. He brought a new viewpoint to the old adage “When given lemons, make lemonade.” His speech was more like expensive champagne however than lemonade. Our next speech was one of the most ingenious and inventive speeches ever performed before our club. Susan Deichen‘s speech titled “CPR for Club #28: Breathing New Life into an Old Club” used props from the kindergarten class that she teaches in order to give us ideas on how to increase club membership. Some of her ideas were simply brilliant. If we had speeches like this speech every meeting, the only membership problem we would have is not being able to find enough chairs to seat everyone. Barbara’s husband, Dr. Michael Deichen, filled two positions that as the Master Evaluator and the first evaluator for Paul’s speech. The Deichen’s were on fire tonight as Mike gave a exquisite evaluation. Not to be outdone, Ken Blake, ATMS, CC also came through with a very good review for Barbara’s speech. Even the Grammarian and AH Counter reports were 1st class this evening. The functionaries were AH Counter Ken Walley, ATMG, CL; Grammarian Dennis Gola ACS, CL; Timer Jose Lopez, and Vote Counter Stephen Bentley. Besides two very positive comments by our guests Tim Gale and  Jesse Baker, toastmaster John Bonowitz-Coffey also spoke some encouraging words about the meeting. This was a night that Club #28 not only had it “house in order” but it’s “act in order” as well.

Each Summer Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Celebrates the past six months and looks towards the future with the club’s “Summer Celebration and the Installation of Officers”. On June 26th 2008 The club once again gathered for this special meeting. The evening started with a Call to Order by our new Sergeant at Arms Jose Lopez. An excellent Invocation and Pledge was led by Toastmaster Susan Deichen and the meeting was given over to a master at being a Master of Ceremonies: Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Ken was just one of the many highlights of this evening. Given a night of many “political” and lengthy, speeches, Mr. Blake was at his best! Injecting humor and inspiration, he somehow kept the meeting fresh and exciting from gavel to gavel. Even more amazing was that Ken kept the meeting on time!. Our featured speaker on this evening was Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL who gave his Competent Leader graduation speech “The Art of Evaluation”  Michael handled this speech very well and even though it was a longer speech, it was packed so full of excellent advice and presented so well that the speech did not seem long enough! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was pressed into an evaluator’s role shortly before the meeting but he was able to give a very good evaluation of Dr. Mike’s speech. President Walley did not have to wait long to return to the lectern as the next item on the Agenda was his “Farewell Address #3” to the club. Ken gave a speech that brought out some of the accomplishments of Club #28, including an impressive International Speech and Table Topics Contest as well as members earning awards and the club overcoming some very strong challenges. Ken also looked to the future saying that Membership needs to be “job #1″ for the next administration. He thanked his fellow officers who he praised highly. “Do not let anyone tell you that Club #28 is not a great club.” said Ken. “This is the best club on Earth!”  Next, Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould, ACG, CL addressed the club. He announced the many changes due to the splitting of District 47 into District 47 and 84. Orlando Club #28 will now be a part of Area 32 of District 84 and Bruce will be taking over as our District Governor! Bruce noted that Club #28 would have achieved a Select Distinguished Club status had it been able to keep 20 members and he challenged the club to achieve President’s Distinguished status  in the coming year. Governor Gould also presided over the “Passing of the Gavel Ceremony” For the first time in years ALL of the incoming officers were on hand to be inducted! Sgt-at-Arms Jose Lopez was followed by incoming Treasurer Ken Walley ATMG, CL. The new Secretary, Susan Deichen was sworn in next and then Vice President of Public Relations-elect Paul Hagge. After Paul , the very important job of Vice President of Membership was literally, and symbolically with the gavel, placed in the hands of Barbara Cusack and then came the Vice President of Education Dr. Michael Deichen, CC, CL;. The last officer, of course, to be inducted was the incoming President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Dennis had a lot to say when he approached the lectern to give his Inaugural Address. Dennis spoke for over 20 minutes on many, different subjects. He painted a vision of a stronger club and how he would have to rely on his officers in order to restore the glory of our club’s past. Membership and club growth was once again brought into the main focus as well as a call to dedication from our members and a hope that we can bring back some of the members that have left the club over the past years. It was a powerful speech. At end of the meeting guest Jessie Baker gave a very positive impression of the meeting in his comments. He said that he wants to return to experience a “more normal” meeting. The true highlight of this night’s special celebration happened when guest Monica Walley a visitor to many, many different meetings over the past decade, stated that she looked forward to joining our club now that she had turned 18 years old recently and can do so legally! The room erupted into applause. This is a hopeful time for Club #28 and it’s future could not be in better hands.

The June 19th, 2008 “Weather” themed meeting was so good it that it produced a torrent of praise and a flood of toastmaster talent! As shocking as lightening was our Toastmaster Ken Walley ACG, CL who did not let a lack of club attendance rain on the parade. Indeed, most of those who made it to the meeting had to brave a thunderstorm but they were rewarded with an excellent shower of Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations. Ken started the meeting with a 5 day weather forecast for the Orlando Area. He also brought along a number of interesting weather facts and records. Our Table Topics Master, Jose Lopez came prepared with some fabulous questions about weather. His first question directed to Dennis Gola, ACS, CL  was “How could have the Hurricane Katrina disaster been handled better?” Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked “Have you ever been happy that the weather sabotaged your plans?” Jose asked Ken Walley ATMG, CL “What was the coolest place that he had ever been?”  Ken said in the deep freezer at his job at Disney! Stephen Bentley was asked to describe a “perfect afternoon” He said it would be a day watching the Atlanta Braves play at Turner Field. Our guest, Kim Anderson gave a fantastic answer about visiting Indonesia when asked “Where is the best weather you’ve ever seen?” Our speeches were as bright as the sun on a Florida summer afternoon. Stephen Bentley gave his first speech before Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 and his first speech as a Toastmaster as well! Stephen’s Ice Breaker speech titled “The American Dream“,  wondered where had our hopes and dreams for our country gone? In the speech Stephen told of a vision of a non-profit organization to help bring back the values and living standards of the past. His speech painted a picture of an idealistic and compassionate person and showed us a dynamic speaker as well.. Ken Walley ATMG, CL filled in as our second speaker. Ken gave a speech titled “Toastmasters Sells” which was based on an article written for the club website. Ken brought out many reasons how Toastmasters can help future sales representatives become successful. In the process he “sold” Toastmasters as well! Jose Lopez after giving Table Topics Master a try for the first time, also decided to see if he could be our General Evaluator. He handled that job as if he had been doing it for years. He had the pleasure of re-introducing Ken Walley ACG, CL to review Stephen’s Ice Breaker. Ken called for a standing ovation in honor of Stephen’s first speech. Dennis Gola ACS, CL had honor of giving the evaluation of Ken W.’s speech. In the evaluation Dennis called the speech “masterful”. Ken Blake ATMS, CL. filled all of the positions of our technical table: AH Counter, Grammarian and Timer and he did a remarkable job in every department! Guest Kim Anderson was one of our best ever Vote Counters. Kim, along with fellow guest Patricia Garcia both gave resounding and encouraging comments about the meeting. I sure hope they both join so we could have a few more people to experience upbeat, positive meetings like this one was. All this meeting needed was for a rainbow to form over the library to make it perfect.

The June 12th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters #28 2008 meeting had a very interesting theme of “Living Life Without Limits!” that seemed to bring out the philosophers in our members. From the moment our new Sgt. at Arms Jose Lopez brought the gavel down to start the meeting our toastmasters were engaged in enlighten thinking. Barbara Cusack our Toastmaster for the night brought up the many different ways that we can go beyond the limitations that we set on ourselves. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  served as Table Topics Master and he found many jewels of wisdom when asking questions based on the book by T.D. Jake titled “Reposition Yourself: Living Life Without Limits” Ken’s first question asked of new member Stephen Bentley was “What is the importance of facing your own indifference?” Jose Lopez was asked an equally searching question of “How have you learned from your past mistakes?” Guest John Bonowitz-Coffey expounded upon how to overcome the fact that “life is not fair!” Dennis Gola ACS, CL spoke on when “Tradition should be changed and why change is often for the good.”  “Tradition” said Dennis, “Is a bad thing when it hurts people.”  Ken Blake ACS, CL spoke on why you should “Dream Big and take chances”. Another of our guests Ivan ______ gave an inspirational answer to the question of when it is “Best to go beyond limits and when it best to set boundaries”. We had two excellent speeches again this week. First, Paul Hagge explained what he would like to see changed when his company sends him back to India for a business trip. In his speech titled “Cheeseburger with Extra Onions” Paul told us of India’s erratic driving habits, suspect food and water and a really bad beer named King Fisher Beer. We will have that cheeseburger waiting when you get back Paul. Another brilliant speech but with a completely different topic was delivered by Jamie Waters. Jamie’s speech was just what it’s title promised: “An Update on the Commuter Rail Project” Jamie went into the reasons why the project was voted down and, using passion and reason, he explained how these reasons where politically motivated and poorly supported by fact. He ended his speech with a call for action and a demand for Gov. Charlie Crist to live up to his promises. Our General Evaluator was Dennis Gola ACS, CL and he also had the pleasure of reviewing Jamie’s speech. Another Advanced Silver Award winner, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL had the honor of giving Paul’s evaluation. Both speakers had excellent advice to improve with and a vast pool of knowledge to draw from. Dennis was very impressed with our meeting  in his “meeting evaluation” which he delivers as the General Evaluator. Supporting the meeting was timer Ken Blake, ATMS, CL; Grammarian Jose Lopez and AH Counter Stephen Bentley. John Bonowitz-Coffey also helped out as our Vote Counter. This turned out to be another wonderful meeting in the Club #28 tradition. It is a toastmaster tradition of learning without limits.

For the first time in a month, the June 5th, 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was well attended! Maybe it had to do with the theme, “Get Rich Quick!” which was picked by our Toastmaster Ben Jackson. While Ben was unable to give us the “golden ticket” to prosperity, he was able to warn us of hustlers, cheats, scams and rackets that would gladly take our hard earned money. Ben was not the only one watching our wallets. Table Topics Master Paul Hagge, a financial advisor and accountant himself, offered a reward of $1 to the best answer to his questions. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL gave it a good try with an answer to the question of “Have you ever been cheated or swindled?” Barbara Cusack had an excellent answer to what her “greatest hindrance to making money was.” She, like many of us, replied that it was a “lack of focus.” “Other than money what makes us feel rich?” was the question directed at Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Dennis told of “almost” winning the lottery. Bob Blaydes, CC remembered the worst thing that he ever did for the sake of money. Ken Walley ATMG, CL told us what he would do with a humongous lottery prize. Our newest member, transferring from an Atlanta, Ga. club, Stephen Bentley, answered the question “What jobs are the most underpaid?” He mentioned Teachers and Nurses. We were rich in the speeches department this evening having two sensational presenters. Jose Lopez, giving only his second speech, produced an effort worthy of a much more polished orator. Titled “Live the American Dream!” the speech pointed to how we can improve our living standards by plugging the “holes in the pool of prosperity.” He covered the lack of financial education, taxes and inflation as some of the main culprits keeping us from real wealth. Speaking next was Louis Cianfrogna, who returned to the club after being away for awhile. We were reminded of why we missed him so much by his tremendous speech titled “The Next Time You are on the Highway.” Louis brought up some great ideas for America’s transportation systems that he learned while driving on Germany’s autobahn. He also brought the thrill of “no speed limit” driving right into our meeting room! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our General Evaluator and introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Jamie Waters as our evaluators for our speakers. Both gave helpful and creative evaluations that were on par in quality with the speeches themselves! Bob Blaydes, CC served as our AH Counter and Vote Counter, Barbara Cusack did a solid job in the role of  Timer and Dennis Gola ACS, CL delivered yet another elegant report as our Grammarian. Our Sgt. at Arms, Ben Jackson announced that he was leaving us to live in Korea for a time and he hoped that he would someday return to Club #28 again. He will be greatly missed and he was given a standing ovation. Our three guests, Stephen Bentley, Mayra DeJesus and Owen Gregory were very enthusiastic about our meeting. In many ways this meeting lived up to its theme. Every one that attended this meeting got a little bit richer before they left.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 29th 2008 “Amazing Feats and Extreme Phenomenon” themed meeting was as amazing as it’s own theme. It featured only five Toastmasters present but produced a meeting that belongs in a Ripley’s “Believe or Not!” book. The Toastmaster, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL not only told of such interesting facts like: “The world’s fastest shopping cart was fitted with a jet engine and reached speeds over 50 miles an hour” but Ken also juggled the positions of President, Toastmaster, Timer, and being an Evaluator as well. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was every bit as remarkable as the Table Topics Master. He investigated the bizarre and strange as well. Ken B. asked Ken W. “What was the the most amazing place that you have ever been?” Ken said parts of Yellowstone National Park were like “walking on another planet.” Ben Jackson was asked what his “most incredible feat” was. Ben said that he had gone from not even being the best clarinet player in his High School Band to becoming the #1 rated clarinet player in the State… all within one year due to hard work and perseverance. Dennis Gola, ACG, CL was asked what would be the topic if he had to break the world record for “length of a speech” (120 hours). Dennis said he would be willing to talk on the subject of Baseball. Our guest, Krishna Akumalla handled the question of what his favorite reality show was. He loved it when Donald Trump announced “You’re Fired!” on “The Apprentice“. The last question was asked of Barbara Cusack. It was about past very large meals that she had eaten. She remember a “10,000 calorie Thanksgiving dinner” that she had when she was younger. We had three speeches, in other words… over half of the club members who showed up on this night were speaking! Dennis Gola, ACS CL gave a TV project speech from the Communicating on Television Advanced Manual titled: “A Focus on Contemporary History”  which turned our meeting room into a TV studio. Next was Barbara Cusack‘s speech titled “Magnets” which paid homage to those little refrigerator magnets that can be collected almost everywhere. I never realized that you could tell so much about someone by looking at their refrigerator. Our third speaker was Ben Jackson who gave a very non-boring speech about statistics titled “100% of Statistics Kill 100% of Speeches” Ben explained to us how he kept his stat-laden speech to his boss interesting. Not only was his speech entertaining, but it was educational as well. We had excellent evaluations by Ken Blake, ATMS, CL, Ben Jackson and Ken Walley, ACG, CL. Our Grammarian for this evening was Ken Blake, ACS, CL and our AH Counter was Barbara Cusack who also was able to count the votes as well. Earlier in the evening the new slate of officers was approved for the next term and we had two extraordinarily positive comments from our two guests Krishna Akumalla and Gerilyn Capps. The meeting was in a sense an “Amazing Feat” itself  because the club able to produce such a great meeting with so few members!

One of the most successful meetings that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has ever had was the May 22nd 2008 “Success” themed meeting hosted by Toastmaster Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Among the advice and wisdom given throughout the evening from many wise thinkers and entrepreneurs was this quote on the subject of success by Mark Twain: “You only need two things to be successful: ignorance and confidence.” Also joining the brainstorming session was Table Topics Master Dr. Mike Deichen, CC. Dr. Deichen started out the meeting by asking Barbara Cusack what her definition of success was. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was asked what it was that make a song or music successful. “Becoming successful has often been referred to in terms of ‘playing a game’.” said Dr. Deichen. He asked Dennis Gola, ACS, CL what his favorite games were. Another question dwelt with a boat named the “SS. Success” which led to a question to Bob Blaydes, CC about “Where would you go if you could sail off on a ship?” Bob, of course answered that he would “go fishing!” The last question asked of Jose Lopez was “What title would you give a book about yourself? His title was would be “Drive On!” and from his answer, I would love to read it. Again for the second week we only had one speaker but it was another amazing effort. Dennis Gola ACS, CL attempted a reading project titled “He Did What?”  with a unique insight on our theme of success. The speech, featuring Ernest L. Thayer‘s famous poem “Casey at the Bat” and Grantland Rice‘s equally brilliant “Casey’s Return“. Dennis’s speech was fun, interesting and inspiring! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL did a tremendous job as our General Evaluator while also having the pleasure of introducing back to the lectern Bob Blaydes, CC who has been away for over a month. Bob showed that he had lost none of his abilities in giving excellent evaluations. More success was found in our team of functionaries: Jose Lopez manned the clock as our timer, Barbara Cusack served as our Grammarian and Ken Blake ATMS, CL covered three positions: Invocation & Pledge, General Evaluator and AH Counter. Our guest Joe Dywer was pressed into duty as a vote counter and did an outstanding job. Joe also had some very nice things to say about our meeting as did returning guest Christie Cohen and a friend that she had brought with her, Jacob Tapia.The results of this meeting were personal growth, self confidence and a rewarding feeling of accomplishment. THAT is what a successful Toastmasters meeting is all about!

“PLAY BALL!” Said Ken Walley, ATMG. CL after he led Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 in the “Star Spangled Banner” before throwing out the first pitch for the May 15th, 2008 “Baseball” themed meeting. Paul Hagge hit a Grand Slam as our Toastmaster for the evening with a fact & fun filled presentation on the history, joy and love of America’s pastime. This meeting had everything, even for those who did not follow the game and those people, after listening to Paul, might just be sitting in the bleachers this summer. Although the sparsely attended meeting  made the Albertson Room look like a Tampa Bay Rays game in early September, the meeting turned out to be a  Toastmaster Hall of Fame type gathering. Ken Walley ATMG, CL., his singing finished for the night, next led the TM version of the “Gashouse Gang” in Table Topics! He asked guest Stranje Nelson if she thought that our ancestors were “tougher” than our current generations. Paul Hagge was challenged to support or reject the statement that “Barry Bonds is the Greatest Baseball player to have ever played the game” Paul was not in favor of that idea. LaQuanda Thompson was asked “What scenery could be so beautiful that it might bring tears to your eyes?” She said being at a ballpark on a perfect summer evening.” Dr. Mike Diechen was asked why Baseball is called “Our National Pastime?” Eddie Selover was asked to tell a story about actually playing the game. The last question was for Patrice Nelson: “What are your thoughts on this game of Baseball?” All the answers made one want to grab a glove and head out to the diamond. Speaking of diamonds, the shining jewel of the evening was Dr. Mike Diechen‘s (CC) brilliant presentation of the Toastmaster International “Successful Club Series” “The Toastmasters International Educational System” Not only was Dr. Deichen’s speech informative and expertly crafted, but Dr. Deichen also personally created the PowerPoint slideshow that added substantially to his presentation. Batting cleanup was Mr. Walley who was given the assignment of giving an evaluation of Dr. Deichen’s speech while also serving as the General Evaluator. Almost everyone present was given an assignment. Guest Stranje Nelson served as our AH Counter and did very competent work. Another of our guests, Patrice Nelson served as our Vote Counter. Both of them said that they looked forward to becoming Toastmasters in the future when they turn 18! Eddie Selover did double duty as Timer and Grammarian to round out our functionary lineup card. This meeting truly “hit the ball out of the park” and we only need more people to come out and cheer on the team! Remember that having a great time at Toastmasters is as easy as “catching a can o’ corn!”

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, Toastmaster Ken Blake, ATMS, CL chose the topic of “Mothers” for the Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 May 8th 2008 meeting. Mom would have been proud! Ken Walley ATMG, CL started off the meeting with some famous quotes about motherhood for the Invocation and Ken B. was ready with all kinds of great tidbits about Mothers and Mother’s Day, including some interesting facts on semi-related subjects such as “Mother of Pearl”, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and the Frank Zappa inspired “Mothers of Invention”. Ken had some help from Paul Hagge who was our Table Topics Master, with preparing for Mother’s Day. Paul asked Joe Cannizzarro “What advice have you received that has help you for his entire life?” Another person who was given a tough question was Jose Lopez when asked what was the “perfect Mother’s Day gift?” Jose told how he quit his job to be with his mom on the first Mother’s Day after his father had died. Dr. Mike Deichen, CC answered the question of which he would prefer to live in, a small family or large family. The open ended question of “What would mom do?” and how does she still guide my adult life was put before Ken W. The last question featured a savory Jewish meal that was the answer to Ken B.’s query of “Do you have a favorite family recipe?” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was also the first speaker who came up with a “Speech about speeches” titled “Great Speeches!” (Which later became this month’s featured website article, see the “Current News” section) In the speech, Ken remembered some of the excellent speeches that have been given over the past six months at Club #28. “These speeches are some of the best that have EVER been presented before this club! This club is over 70 years old!” said Ken. He mentioned speeches by Ken Blake, ACS, CL; Susan Deichen, and even Jose Lopez‘s unforgettable Ice Breaker among many others. “This club is still very rich in talent!” Susan Deichen proved that with the second speech of the evening titled “Keep Dreaming, Baby!” about not conceding youth to aging. Susan quoted in her speech that “You grow old when your regrets replace your dreams.”  Ken Walley, ACG, CL also stepped in as the General Evaluator, an easy job because he had Joe Cannizzaro and Paul Hagge on hand to give excellent evaluations on the speeches. Jose Lopez helped out as our Grammarian and AH Counter and Dr. Mike Deichen, CC did a great job as our Timer along with our very able Vote Counter, guest Jennifer Finch. This meeting turned out to be a meeting anyone’s mom would have been thrilled to see her children attend! I only wish that more smart adult kids could have enjoyed it along with those who came to this wonderful Club #28 evening!

The May 1st 2008 “Cats” meeting kept the string of excellent meetings going as our Toastmaster for the evening, Barbara Cusack was at her very best! She came ready with some really interesting facts about the role of cats throughout history and the amazing things that they can do. It was also interesting to see the differences between last week’s “Dogs” themed meeting and this week’s “Cats” meeting. Barbara kept this evening lively and on track…and fun for everyone who attended! Also helping to make this meeting the “cat’s meow” was Susan Deichen who had a very different approach to Table Topics as our Table Topics Master. She based each question on the name of a fictional cat. For example the first question asked of Paul Hagge was based on Garfield the Cat: “What pranks have you played on a friend?” Her second question was about Morris the Cat to Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. He was asked what charity of Morris’s he would support. Next, Joe Cannizzaro told about the “strangest food that he has ever eaten” based on the Cat in the Hat. The Pink Panther came into play when she asked Barbara Cusack about the “luckiest experience of her life” Dr. Mike Deichen CC got to answer the question about his “longest unplanned trip” and, like a Cheshire Cat, he answer about a trip  to Europe he took on the spur of the moment! Newest club member Jeff Garica, in the memory of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz,  was asked what he would ask the wizard for. All of the answers were excellent, it was a Prrrrrfect Table Topics session! The speeches were both exceptional as well! Eddie Selover gave his 6th basic manual speech titled “Edward Ho!” towards his Competent Toastmaster award. His presentation was a humorous speech that described the harsh realities of “being an Eddie”. He pointed out that notable “Eddies” such as Eddie Haskle, Eddie Munster, Eddie Money and The Edsel Automobile, all achieved dubious fame. But our Eddie succeeded with great distinction: he had us laughing our heads off.!! Also rising to the occasion with a great success was our second speaker Jamie Waters who gave an off the cuff speech titled “Commuter Rail” about the Light Rail System that was being debated by state legislators at the same time Jamie was giving his speech. Jamie used a lot of data and statistics to back up his argument that this would be a good thing for Central Florida. For a hip pocket speech, it was very well prepared and delivered! Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as our General Evaluator and was also the evaluator for Eddie’s speech. Joe Cannizzaro turned in another very strong effort as evaluator for Jamie’s speech. The functionaries for tonight were: Ken Walley, ATMG, CL as the AH Counter, Dr. Mike Deichen as our Grammarian and Paul Hagge doing a wonderful job as our Timer. Jeff Garcia filled in as our Vote Counter and announced that he wanted to join our club as welll! We had three guests, Shanique Nelson, Stranje Nelson and LaQuanda Thompson all of which had very nice things say about our meeting. This was another example of Club #28 landing on it’s feet with another great meeting!

The April 24th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was another example of our club making something special happen. The theme of “Dogs” was picked by our Toastmaster Ben Jackson and Ben made sure that this was no “dog” of a meeting. Ben told of the love for his dog Pez and also came prepared with some excellent canine facts such as: “The longest ears on a dog measured 14 inches for the right ear and 13.5 inches for the left ear on a dog named Tigger, an Illinois Bloodhound.”  Also bringing out some interesting dog facts was our Table Topics Master Dr. Mike Deichen, CC. Mike asked Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. “What are the best traits that a dog possesses?” Ken used endearing examples of his Chihuahua Queenie to answer the question. When Ben Jackson was asked “What would you put about dogs on a bumper sticker?” Ben said he would just put a picture of his dog Pez.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what he would name a dog. Ken said his daughter Monica Walley, FTM named their dog Becky but Ken would have named her something more reflective of her personality: friendly, obedient and giving of unconditional love. Visiting Toastmaster Elliott Dennis, DTM handled Dr. Mike’s next question: “What are the more annoying traits a dog might have?” The last Table Topic question was asked of Barbara Cusack “What can we learn from a dog?” Barbara relayed some great lessons that she had learned from her dog Maggie. Tonight was also a very special evening at Club #28. The club hosted the newly crowned Division C winner Andrew Greenstein who graciously came to deliver his award winning speech “The Magic Is...” Deliver he did!! The speech about the magic words that help cure his young daughter’s “boo-boo’s” that would eventfully end up curing his own fears and worries. This speech was worthy of a 1st place finish in any International Speech contest! Having the tough task of following Andrew’s speech was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who performed a contest worthy speech of his own titled “Is There Anyone Out There?” The speech was about the West Baptist Church of Beatrice, Nebraska that exploded right as choir practice was about to start. Ken’s speech was an uplifting and inspiring story. Ken also served as the General Evaluator and had the good fortune to introduce to exceptional evaluator’s. Club #28’s own Ken Blake evaluated Andrew’s speech and visiting Toastmaster Elliott Dennis, DTM from Princeton, N.J. Club #3954 who reviewed Ken’s speech. Both were very enthusiastic in their praise of the speakers. Also enthusiastic was Susan Deichen who served as  both our AH Counter and Grammarian. She gave two brilliant accounts of the meeting. Guest Ed Riordan covered as our Vote Counter and turned in a phenomenal effort as well. Club #28 had many guests this evening all of whom were delighted with the meeting. Jeff Garcia, Cindy Laberinto, Kristi Stevens and Christie Cohen all offered wonderful comments about the night’s events! This meeting truly showed why Toastmaster’s is a “Speaker’s Best Friend!”

The theme for the April 17th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “American History” and our Toastmaster for the evening, Ken Walley ATMG, CL put together a list of the “10 Most Important Events in American History” as the evening went on Ken explained his selections which included The 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada; The July 4th, 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence; The 1952 publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin; The invention of the electric light bulb and Neil Armstrong‘s Landing on the Moon in 1969. Missing from his top 10 were such events as the 9/11 attacks, The Kennedy and Lincoln Assassinations and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan in 1945! Also “making history” was Club #28 Table Topics Master Eddie Selover. Eddie asked some very historical questions of our members such as: “If we were having our own tax revolt today what would you throw overboard at the ‘tea party’?” Ken Blake ATMS, CL had to answer that one. Dr. Mike Deichen, CC was given the question of who he though was our greatest President. Ben Jackson was asked to comment on myths in American history. Susan Deichen was asked “if not Lincoln, who should be on the $5 dollar bill?” Susan went went with ex-Federal Finance Director Alan Greenspan! Which when you think about it, would not be a bad choice. Shawn Tran our guest, commented on where he would go if he could go back into history. He choose the gold rush of the 1870’s. Out other guest, Meghan Yost, answered the question of “What will future historians will think about us?” Using global warming as an example, she pointed out that we could be viewed by historians as either great world villains or beloved world saviors. The speeches tonight were both unique and interesting! Jose Lopez gave a powerful speech that showed that we have some great speeches ahead from this young Toastmaster! Giving his Ice Beaker speech titled “Big Thinking!”  Jose, a budding entrepreneur, plans to start a life that includes travel, investing and writing a book in the near future. “What does not kill us, make us stronger!” said Joe. He gave some inspiring examples of how the human spirit can overcome devastating events such as losing an eye to a car bomb while serving in Iraq and the death of his girl friend in a car accident. Jose’s Ice Breaker speech touched everyone in the room. Dennis Gola ACS, CL spoke next and gave us a “tune up” to his Table Topics Contest coming up next week at the District 47 convention in Jacksonville. He answered  four questions in a speech titled “4 Questions” from the floor.  “How would you end the energy crisis?”  “What is the biggest problem with organized religion?”  “Who is your favorite Baseball player and why?’ and “If you could be an animal what kind of animal would you be?”  Four completely different questions and all of them were handled extremely well by our extemporaneous speaking master! Our Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL also handled the job of Master Evaluator. Ken had some wonderful support from his evaluators Barbara Cusack and Ben Jackson. Barbara it must be noted has become an expert at evaluating Ice Breaker speeches and again tonight she delivered an exceptional effort for Jose’s speech. Ben Jackson gave his first ever evaluation and did a superb job as well. Our functionaries tonight included Ben as our AH Counter,  Susan Deichen as our Timer, and in a rare appearance as our Grammarian, Ken Blake, ACS, CL. Our guest, Shawn Tran covered as our Vote Counter as well. In the glorious history of Toastmasters Club #28, American History night will not be long forgotten, for it was truly a remarkable night!

I have been a Toastmaster for a long time and few meetings have left me with such a sense of sheer gratitude for just the opportunity of attending than the April 10th 2008 “Gratitude” themed meeting last week. First of all, We had a superb job of Toastmastering by this evening’s Toastmaster, Barbara Cusack. She reminded us of many things that we should be thankful for, as well as keeping us entertained with some great stories. Table Topics Master Dennis Gola ACS, CL came up with another brilliant idea for Table Topics by using different derivatives of the word “Gratitude”. Ken Walley ATMG, CL answered a question about the “Grateful Dead” Rock group. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was required to speak about what would cause him to leave a “Bad Gratuity” in a restaurant. Eddie Selover was given the word “Congratulate” and asked to speak on when the last time he greeted someone with pleasure. Answering the question of “Gratification” was our newest member, Jose Lopez who spoke on something he felt proud of in his life. Jose remembered his service to our Country in Iraq with great pride. Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL told about her gratitude toward her parents for their love and support. Guest Ron Dixon did a wonderful job on his first Table Topic speaking about “Something that he deserved to be shown gratitude for.” Rob remembered the hard work it took to achieve his goals on the football field. This was a really eye-opening and inspiring Table Topics session! I know I speak for everyone who attended when I say that we were grateful for the two awesome speeches that were delivered! First up was a very funny speech that is a sure win for a humorous speech contest by Jamie Waters titled “A Waste of Land“. Jamie mused about the idea of Combining cemeteries with golf courses! “I have been told that the two biggest waste of land are cemeteries and golf courses!” said Jamie, “Why not combine them? With names like Forest Lawn, Pebble Beach, Maple Grove, Pinehurst…it’s hard to tell the golf courses from the graveyards.” Our second speaker Susan Deichen gave another masterful speech which was of a more inspirational nature. Her speech, titled “The Attitude of Gratitude” was a reminder of how we should not wait until we might not have a chance to show our appreciation and gratitude to those we love. Susan, a natural storyteller, remembered the last chance she had to tell her grandmother that she loved her. The speech was a poignant call to action as well as a call from the heart. Ken Walley ATMG. CL returned to the club after a long hiatus to fill in the duties of the Master Evaluator. Ken had the good fortune of having two seasoned evaluators to help him out: Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL. Both of their evaluations were truly excellent, balancing wise advice with inspiration. Ken W. also doubled as the timer, the AH Counter was Jose Lopez, The Grammarian was Eddie Selover   and filling in as our vote counter was Ron Dixon! It must be noted the marvelous work done by Joe, Ron and Eddie. Eddie’s Grammarian report was worth coming to meeting for itself. Our guests, Ron, Dimari Castro, Aman Ra Reowen and his cousin Monica ______ all were very enthusiastic about the meeting. Jose Lopez also joined tonight making this a very special evening indeed! We are grateful.

[Editor’s Note: A special “Thank You” to Barbara Cusack and Susan Deichen for this  Meeting report!] Last Week, April 3rd, 2008 the theme for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Brown Bag Meeting” and the Toastmaster Debbe Ryan, ACG, CL shared with us some of the history of Club #28! She told us that Club #28 is THE Florida Toastmasters club actually founded by the late Toastmasters founder Ralph Smedley, DTM. Small wonder that Club #28 enjoys one amazing meeting after another! This meeting was no exception! Ben Jackson returned as our Sgt. at Arms and Ken Blake ACS, CL got the meeting started with the Invocation and Pledge. Debbe introduced our Table Topics master Joe Cannazzaro who did a tremendous job asking some very intricate questions. Those who answered Joe’s questions were Jamie Waters (What is your favorite color?), Dr. Mike Deichen, CC (Did you enjoy Science in High School?); Susan Deichen (How do you like going to the Beach?), Ken Blake ATMS, CL (Do you have a favorite shirt?) and Ben Jackson (Talk to us about a Central American Government!). We also had two truly magnificent speeches. The first speech of the evening was by Barbara Cusack, her 7th speech in the basic manual was titled “Insidious Persistence“. It was a very compelling speech about the important topic of HIV. She taught us many of the technical aspects of the AIDS disorder, and personalized some those with anecdotes that had us all on the edge of our seats! This meeting was extra special because  Dr. Mike Deichen, CC  gave his 10th Toastmaster’s speech earning him his Competent Communicator Award!!! A heartfelt speech titled “A Ray of Sun” that was a moving story about a bad start of a morning and how an act of kindness makes the day better. He encouraged us to do the same and how the world would be a better place when we can learn from that example. We had two excellent evaluations from Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Jamie Waters. Returning guest, Jose Lopez  served as our vote counter, our timer was another guest Shawn ______ and Ben Jackson held court as our Grammarian. This was an incredible meeting!!!!.

Editor’s Note: I was unable to get a report on the March 27th 2008 “Music” Themed meeting. Louis Cianfrogna led the meeting as Toastmaster and did an awesome job as we explored the world of Music. It was Louis’s first time as a Toastmaster. We also had two excellent speeches by Jamie Waters and Dennis Gola ACS, CL Signing up to be the Table Topics Master was Joe Cannizzaro. Others who I know attended were Ken Blake ATMS, CL, Sam Ryan ATMG, CL and Debbe Ryan ATMG, CL. If I receive any more information about this meeting I will update the information.

Editor’s note: I was unable to get a report on the March 20th 2008 “Ways We Save” themed  meeting. The lineup for the meeting’s agenda was as follows :President: Dennis Gola, ACS, CL Toastmaster: Ken Blake. ATMS, CL Table Topics Master: Susan Deichen; Invocation & Pledge:? Timer: Dr. Mike Deichen Grammarian:? AH Counter: Darrin Driver Speaker #1: Joe Cannizzaro. Speaker #2: Louis Cianfrogna, Speaker #3: Eddie Selover. Master Evaluator: ? Evaluator #1: Jamie Waters. Evaluator #2: ? Evaluator #3:? If I receive more information about this meeting I will update the information.

In what turned out to be a captivating March 13th, 2008 meeting with the theme of “luck”, had nothing to do with luck…it had everything to do with a lot of talented Toastmasters and guests that attended that night. Although the meeting was small in numbers, as luck would have it some of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s finest speaker were on hand to create Toastmaster bedazzlement. The meeting started with Ben Jackson holding two positions and doing both extremely well. Ben began the meeting as our Sergeant at Arms and then led the club in the Invocation and Pledge. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL stepped back into his role as club President for the evening and he had the honor of introducing Jamie Waters who was serving as our Toastmaster. This was Jamie’s first time at Club #28 as Toastmaster. Jamie was impressive with an array of tools that made our theme fascinating. He used wit, humor, personal experiences and anecdotes to bring enlightened us on the subject of luck. His audience were the lucky ones however. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our Table Topics Master and he let our members and guests do the “enlightening” with some excellent questions such as: “Do you believe in luck?” Joe Cannizzaro answered that one saying he believed that we “Make our own luck”. The next question went to new member Darrin Driver who told us of the “luckiest thing that ever happen to him”. Barbara Cusack was eloquent with her response to the question “Why are we “lucky to have been born in America?” Louis Cianfrogna answered Ken’s question of “What was the unluckiest thing that ever happened to you?” Both of our guests tackled at Table Topics question Guest Dean Ritchey answered “Do you have a ‘lucky charm’ or superstition?” and Luis Salinas the question of “What would you do if you won $25 million dollars in the lottery?” Traveling was one of the things on Luis’s list. We were lucky to have two excellent speakers this evening as well. Ben Jackson returned to the lectern to give a intriguing speech on how to capitalize on the “March Madness” NCAA basketball tournament. His speech titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About College Basketball” told the secret to winning big money by betting on individual games rather than on the whole of the 64 teams playing. Ben sounded like the expert as he guided our way through the complex world of “Bracketology“. Ken W. also gave a speech, this time from the Toastmaster International’s “Successful Club Series” titled “Building the Best Club Climate” In this speech, Ken pointed out ways that we could make our club a friendly and more inviting place for both our guests and members. Barbara Cusack served as our General Evaluator and again performed with excellence. She re-introduced both Ben and Ken who gave interestingly, evaluations of each other’s speeches! Both evaluations were as good as the speeches that they had given earlier. Barbara called this meeting “A triumphant success!” during her review of the meeting. Our support staff was headed by our timer Louis Cianfrogna, with brilliant reports from Grammarian Joe Cannizzaro and Ah Counter (for his first time) Darrin Driver who also doubled as our Vote Counter. Our guests, Dean and Luis, had nothing but great praise for our meeting! As acting president, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL explained that one of the reasons that we were low on attendance was because, “like in baseball’s spring training, we were a Split-Squad tonight.” Over at Rollins College this evening the Division ‘C’ International Speech Contest and the  Table Topics Contests were being held! Toastmasters Bob Blaydes, CC and Dennis Gola, ACS, CL were representing Club #28 respectively. Dr. Michael Deichen, his wife Susan Deichen and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL had attended the contests to cheer on our brave orators! Dennis won the Table Topics Contest and will go on to the District 47 Contest and Bob turned a commanding performance as well coming in 3rd place in the Speech contest! I have to admit that I feel lucky to be a part of Club #28!

The theme could not have been a better one for an Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 6th, 2008 meeting: “Random Acts of Kindness!” No Toastmaster could  have been  better qualified  to lead on this subject than Barbara Cusack! Barbara did a spectacular job of giving examples, and telling stories of kindness and generosity that left a warm feeling in the hearts of everyone who attended. Another Toastmaster who has that effect on people was our President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL who served as our Table Topics Master. Dennis first asked a daring question for a Toastmaster meeting to Susan Deichen: “Is there kindness in religion?” Susan thought so, giving her faith as a Catholic for an example. Returning after an absence of a few meetings was our Sgt. at Arms Ben Jackson who was asked by Dennis: “What would be a good day for a ‘National Random Act of Kindness Day’ ?” Ben was thinking of making it a weekly thing and answered “Sunday!” Dr. Mike Deichen was given the task to “Pick someone and tell us why you think that person is a good example of kindness.” Dr. Mike picked a number of people in the room to talk about. Jamie Waters was asked how “kindness connects us all”. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked to explain the “ripple effect” of kindness and he brought to mind people paying for the people in back of them at a fast food take out lane. Ken Walley ACG, CL was asked to tell the difference between Kindness and Altruism. Our guest, Stan Penteck  gave an excellent answer to the question of “an act of kindness that gets returned” Stan spoke of the love that his cat gives back when he is petted. Two impressive speeches happened this evening! The first was by Dr. Michael Deichen who’s speech “A Special Script”  told us how to BE FIT: 1. Be Prepared! .2. Everyone can exercise! 3.Fun is part of it! 4. Involve others! and 5. Train with someone who can help! By following Dr. Mike’s advice you can live a long, healthy life! His speech started with the question “Do you want to live to be 100?” Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL was speaker #2 and he gave a speech that was simply jaw dropping. Titled “Gola’s Goulash” Dennis had everyone in the room write on a sheet of paper: (1.) A subject for him to speak about and (2.) a word that he must work into the speech. Dennis ended up with such diverse subjects as “Hillary Clinton”, “Singing in the Shower” and “Hitting Curves and Fastballs” and words including “cornfed’ and “tepid” among the offerings from the 15 or so present. Dennis then proceeded to give a speech, that told a story working in all of the subjects and words! He did such an extremely good job that one forgot that this speech was made up on the spot! It was Dennis at his best. The evaluations were delivered by Ken Walley ACG, CL (For Mike’s speech) and Ken Blake ACS, CL (for Dennis’s remarkable effort). Both were truly excellent reviews of the speeches. Ken B. also served as our General Evaluator. We had an impressive technical team as well tonight starting with our jack-of-all trades timer Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. The AH Counter duties were handled by Susan Deichen, the Grammarian report was given by Jamie Waters and Barbara Cusack‘s mother, Yolanda Choser did another 1st class job as our vote counter! A random act of kindness on this night would have been to have brought a friend to this meeting!

A wide open theme like “Anything Goes!” was perfect for a wide open meeting like The February 28th 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL would wear a number of different hats for this meeting. Before the meeting Dennis took over as the club President so that Ken Walley ATMG, CL could deal with some unexpected challenging life-situations. Dennis was not only the President but also the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master and the first Speaker of the evening. Only Dennis could succeed so well in all of those positions. As a Toastmaster Dennis embraced a number of different topics that varies from the important (social/political issues) to the mundane (the Orlando bus system). Dennis managed to keep everything interesting. As a Table Topics Master he asked the following questions: “When was the last time you cleaned your room?” (To Ken Blake ATMS, CL); “When was the last time you took a trip, what did you do and where did you go?” (To Barbara Cusack); “Describe the windows in your office or home.” (To Dr. Mike Deichen); “How do you deal with a rude boss?” (To Bob Blaydes, CC) and to Ken W.: “Tell us about a pet you have or once had?”  Dennis’s speech was about finding peace (“The Place“) in a hectic world. Dennis expounded upon the necessary balance of finding inner peace and seeing the beauty imbedded in the world that surround us. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the second speaker who gave a speech on preparing for and giving a speech to a big audience. Titled “Speaking Before A Large Group” Ken gave many wonderful tips and ideas on how to address a large group including mental preparation, stage gestures and power-point presentation. Ken also had another hat to wear: that of the General Evaluator. Ken had the pleasure of introducing two very good evaluators: Dr. Mike Deichen who evaluated Dennis’s speech and our visiting Area 49 Governor, Bruce Gould, ACS, CL who evaluated Ken’s Speech. Both gave helpful and constructive evaluations. Ken W. praised the meeting saying it had excellent Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations. Ken and Dennis were not the only ones filling multiple roles. Bob Blaydes, CC did duty as both the AH Counter and Grammarian. Barbara Cusack was our timer on this evening and in a very rare occasion, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as  Vote Counter! “I think this is my first time as Vote Counter!” said Ken. We had a lot of very positive feedback from both of our guests Audrey Brown and Sasha Coleman. Well, that’s to be expected  when “anything goes”…

The theme for the February 21st 2008 meeting was perfect for a Toastmasters meeting: “Encouragement!” picked by our Toastmaster for tonight, Diana Walley ACG, CL. Diana brought along a lot of encouragement for the entire club throughout the evening. She was returning to the lectern for the first time in the Toastmaster role in well over a year. A man who is no stranger to the lectern is Dennis Gola ACS, CL who was our Table Topics Master. Dennis used the opportunity to show that we could inspire ourselves. He asked us such questions such as: “What does encouragement mean to you?” (to Ben Jackson ); “In what area of your life do you need the most encouragement?” (to Ken Blake, ATMS, CL); “Who’s encouragement do you prize the most?” was asked of our returning guest Walter Moryan. Jamie Waters was asked “What form of encouragement helps you the most?” and Ken Walley ATMG, CL had the hard question of “How can you tell false praise from true encouragement?” The last question went to our guest Heiledo _____(?) was “Who would you most want encouragement from Randy, Paula or Simon?” Heiledo and Dennis chose Simon… as did everyone else in the room. We had two superb speeches Paul Hagge who gave a speech about a very special man, the remarkable Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain titled “An American Hero” and the just the opposite was covered by Joe Cannizzaro‘s speech titled  “Che Guevara” about a man whom he painted as a socialist failure. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL acted both as our General Evaluator as well as the evaluator for Joe’s speech. Barbara Cusack did a stellar job with her review of Paul’s speech. It must also be noted that the work of our functionaries Jamie Waters as AH Counter and Grammarian, Ben Jackson as Timer and Walter Moryan as our vote counter brought much encouragement to all who attended. This was an uplifting and exciting meeting which hopefully encouraged everyone to attend next week’s meeting!

The Valentine’s Day (February 14th 2008) Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting theme was, of course: LOVE. The meeting started out with Ken Walley ATMG, CL giving the Invocation and Pledge from the “Love verse” in the Bible 1COR. 13.  Ben Jackson working as Toastmaster for his first time, did an extraordinary job using quotes about Love throughout the session. “Love, like a river, will cut a new path whenever it meets an obstacle.” was just one of the many gems of wisdom from Ben. Also bringing wisdom to the meeting was Table Topics Master Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who asked some thought provoking questions on the most powerful force in the world: Love. Ken’s first question was to Ken W.: “Can you prove that there is Love?” Ben Jackson‘s question dealt with finding a mate: “Would you use a dating service like E-Harmony?” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked about opposites attracting. Dennis Gola ACS, CL was handed a marshmallow topics question being as he is a cruise salesman: “Why you haven’t  lived until you’ve gone on a cruise.” Joe Cannizzaro told us about his best friend and Darrin Driver told us what makes him cry at the movies. We had three unforgettable speeches starting with Karolyn Oakley’s Ice Breaker speech titled “Western Foundations, Eastern Ties“. She weaved a number of stories in a beautiful mosaic of her early life in the west and how she came to Florida. Dennis Gola‘s (ACS, CL) speech was a practice for the upcoming Area 49 Table Topics contest Dennis spoke extemporaneously combining two separate topics, that of the recent Super Bowl and The 2008 Presidential Elections and came up with an impressive presentation! Jamie Waters gave a speech (“The View“) about pretending to be a buyer for a high rise condo in Orlando but guessing just a little bit to low on the price. Jamie got a quick tour by a caretaker from the “bottom up” instead of a tour from the top down! Ken Walley, ATMG, CL acted as our General Evaluator as well as giving an evaluation for Karolyn’s speech. Two excellent evaluations were also delivered by Joe Cannizzatro and Ken Blake ATMS, CL as well. Our functionaries for this “love fest” were timer Diana Walley ATMG, CL , Joe Cannizzaro was our Grammarian and our AH Counter was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Darrin Driver did a great job as our Vote Counter. This meeting once again proved that Club #28 could pull together and produce a great meeting. That is what happens when you put love into the mix.

When Club President Ken Walley, ATMG, CL and Vice President of Education Susan Deichen announced the date for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests for Thursday, Feb.7th 2008 neither one of them could have known that the contest would earn the highest marks for any club contest held anywhere. Even though the contest was held one month before the club had ever held our club spring contests, these turned out to be two of the best contests ever held in our entire history of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 which was founded in 1933! Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould ACS, CL called the evening performance one of the “Best club contests that I have ever seen anywhere!” Other members called the contest “remarkable” and “Amazing”. Past Orlando Club #28 contests have often been lauded as some of the best club contests in the region. They are often compared with Area and even Division contests in terms of speaking talent. Even though the club had to work with such a short preparation time, these contests were two of the most impressive contests ever organized by Club #28! The club has a great wealth of talent both from established members and from the newer members who have recently joined the club.  There was a large crowd on hand attending only only by many Club #28 Toastmasters but Toastmasters from other clubs as well and Dignitaries such as Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould, ACS, CL and Helen Joseph, DTM also graced the room. Club #28 was blessed with a number of guests attending to hear some of the speakers. Sgt. at Arms Ben Jackson called the meeting to order with a “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The International Speech and Table Topics Contests Shall come to order! All gather ’round!” The Invocation and Pledge was delivered by Susan Deichen who also introduced our Contest Master and Club #28 President Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken has held the Contest Master position many time before. Ken kept the contest on track with a quick pace, and even through it was a full agenda, we finished on time. Chief Judge Roxie Steadman, DTM was also fill a role that she has mastered extremely well over her years in Toastmasters. She got the festivities underway proclaiming “LET THE CONTEST BEGIN!”  The sign up sheet for the International Speech Contestants was filled on the first night that it was posted.! The list included such impressive speakers as Bob Blaydes, CC; Dennis Gola, ACS, CL, ; Ken Blake, ATMS, CL; Diana Walley ATMS, CL; and newcomer Barbara Cusack. Diana was unable to take part in the contest but the other four brought their “A-game”! The first speaker was veteran Toastmaster Ken Blake, ATMS, CL, who’s speech titled “Please Don’t be Offended!” was a speech about a bus driver who’s foul language brought concern to Ken until he found out that he was going on a tour of the Hoover Dam. “Get on the dam bus please for the dam tour!” the bus driver said. Next up was Dennis Gola ACS, CL giving a speech titled “I’ve Changed My Mind” that weaved stories of his days as a baseball umpire along with his joy of discovering Buddhism… along with a good meal. Bob Blaydes, CC was the speaker with a quintessential International Speech titled “Connections” that told the story of how Bob faced certain death in an airplane free-fall that was saved only at the last moment by the pilot. The lessons that Bob learned in those 45 seconds changed his life. Barbara Cusack‘s speech was an emotionally charged performance titled “Positively Beautiful!” that told of her battles with the HIV virus that took the life of her husband. It was an inspiring and in the end, a positive call to action for all that heard her voice. With such verbal mastery any of the candidates could have taken home the trophy as our winner. Coming in 2nd place was Ken Blake ATMS, CL and going on to the Area Contest as Club #28’s representative was Bob Blaydes! His speech will be very difficult to beat at the Area Contest. The Table Topics Contest was every bit as impressive as the International Speech Contest. Serving as our contest Sgt. at Arms was Eddie Selover who was also by the way our Assistant Timer and Raffle Master as well. Eddie led all of the contestants out of the room except for the first contestant, Dennis Gola ACS, CL. He had the first shot at the question: “My idea of a Perfect Day is…” Dennis gave a humorous answer about being able to catch the Orlando Lynx Bus service on time at every stop since he does not own a car. Ben Jackson remembered his girlfriend in his answer and also a love of soccer too. Susan Deichen spoke about the love that she has received from her family, and the students that she teaches. Ken Blake ATMS, CL spoke about his marriage and the time he spends with his lovely wife. Many of the answers were downright profound. Coming in 2nd was Ken Blake, ACS, CL and taking the top spot was Dennis Gola ACS, CL! Dennis and Bob will now go to the Area 49 contest later this month. Ken Walley ATMG, CL handed out beautiful Certificates of Appreciation to all of those who made our contest possible. Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould, ACS, CL handed out the trophies and our guests were asked to comment on our special evening. All of our visitors Tim O’Mara, Teresa Beard, Darrin Driver and Kim Robinson were very impressed and had great things to say. Other dignitaries who visited  our club were Sarah Lyndia Keihl and Luvenia Hart form our sister club Orange County Toastmasters Club #129. Here with a sincere Thank You” is a list of those who worked hard to make this historic evening possible: Contest organizer and Invocation & Pledge: Susan Deichen; Contest Master: Ken Walley, ATMG, CL; Contest Sgt. at Arms, Raffle Master and Assistant Timer: Eddie Selover;  Chief Timer: Paul Hagge; Vote Counter: Jamie Waters; International Speech Contest Sgt. at Arms: Ben Jackson; Chief Judge: Roxie Steadman, DTM and our Judges from the Let Talk Toastmasters Club and the OC Toastmasters Club #129.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had every reason to be optimistic about the January 31st 2008 “Optimism” meeting. With a jam-packed room of members and guests Sgt.-at- Arms Ben Jackson called the meeting to order. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our Toastmaster for the evening and he brought along some questions from a Pessimist/Optimist test that he had found on the web. he asked some of the questions to those at the meeting. ” Do you find the good in even the most disagreeable people?” was one of the test’s questions. Also coming prepared with some questions of his own was Table Topics Master Joe Cannizzaro. His first question was to Barbara Cusack “Can you remember a time when your enthusiasm for something you believed in was compromised?” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if optimism had made a difference in any part of his life. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked about a time in his life when a negative was turned into a positive. Bob Blaydes, CC was asked about the last time he ate shellfish. The last question was to Ben Jackson about the upcoming Super bowl game. Ben said that you had to be an optimist to cheer for the Giants. Our two speeches were another example of Club #28 showcasing  its best talent. Louis Cianfrogna gave an International Speech caliber presentation titled “Allen Hengst” about a mystery man who was very successful at his job but had “no past”. Was this overachiever once in the CIA or a forgotten criminal?  This speech was like reading a great novel. Dr. Mike Deichen gave a very different kind of speech titled “It’s as simple as ABC” Dr. Mike warned us about the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma. He told of an easy way to recognize the signs of melanoma that could save a life. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was the General Evaluator who had the pleasure of introducing two excellent speakers Barbara Cusack and Bob Blaydes, CC both of whom gave such helpful advice as to tie for the “Best Evaluator” ribbon! Jamie Waters was on had to do double duty as our Grammarian and AH Counter, giving superb reports on both. Ben acted as our timer for his first time at that position.  Our returning guest, Jennifer Clement served as our vote counter as well. Jennifer plans to join the club! One guest who did join tonight was Karolyn Oakley who was very impressed by our meeting. Welcome Karolyn! Walter Moryan also returned to the club for a 2nd visit. We also heard wonderful comments about the meeting from guests Teresa Beard, Christine Sheriden, Kimbery Robinson, D.J. Johnson and Robert Schumacker. it was no wonder we were optimistic about a fabulous meeting like this one!

The January 24th 2008 had the theme of “Renaissance” and Club #28 had a renaissance of our own! It started with our Toastmaster Susan Deichen who did a job worthy of Michelangelo. Susan came prepared with stories, facts and insight into the Renaissance that kept us entertained throughout the meeting. This was Susan’s first time as a Toastmaster and she did a sublime effort! The same can be said for Diana Walley ATMG, CL who brought back the “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show!” tonight’s show was filled with laughs and some great wisdom as “renaissance men” from the present were interviewed. First up was Bob Blaydes, CC impersonating Bill Gates while being interviewed by Dr. Mike Deichen. Next, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL playacted Charles Shultz in his interview with Joe Cannizzaro. The founder of Toastmasters International, Ralph Smedley was portrayed by Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and was interviewed by Ben Jackson. The last team was Louis Cianfrofna interviewing Paul Hagge as Nobel Prize winning environmentalist Al Gore. It was great to see the show come back again to Club 28! We had two masterful prepared speeches. The first Speech, titled “The J H20 Timeline” was an “Ice Breaker” speech by Jamie Waters. This was not his 1st Toastmasters speech but it was his first before Club #28 and he wanted to introduce himself to the rest of the club. We found that Jamie has had a very inspiring life! He survived a serious accident in Detroit but still became successful after moving to Orlando. The second speaker, Joe Cannizzaro gave a “history lesson” titled “The Irony of the Great Leap Forward” taken from Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” experiment and the hard lessons that China had to learn from that disastrous experience. Ken Walley ATMG, CL headed up the evaluation team as the General Evaluator and was supported by two excellent evaluations delivered by Dr. Michael Deichen and Paul Hagge. Our technical table was fielded by AH Counter Ben Jackson, who also preformed his official duties as our new Sgt. at Arms, Grammarian Louis Cianfrogna, Timer Bob Blaydes and for the first time in a long time as Vote Counter, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL! Our one guest Jennifer Clement was very impressed with our “renaissance” themed meeting and she mentioned that she would like to come back again. If this meeting was a painting, Donatello would have been proud, if it was a play William Shakespeare would have felt it a great achievement and Leonardo Da Vinci wish he would have invented this meeting. It was an artistic triumph!

In a special “Wednesday Night Edition” of the January 16th, 2008 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting the theme was “Excuses”. Nine toastmasters and guests had no excuses for not being there because… they showed up! Our Toastmaster for the evening was Dennis Gola, ACS, CL who had us all laughing with examples of children’s poor excuses to the teacher. He mentioned that there were entire websites devoted to making excuses. Table Topics Master Paul Hagge was interested in what some of our excuses might be. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL told how he talked his way out of a ticket with a good excuse to a policeman. Guest Greg Hentze was given the question of what excuses that he might use at work. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL was asked about an excuse for getting out of a commitment. Dennis told of his loathing of his company’s office Christmas parties. Jamie Waters spoke on creative excuses that kids come up with. Ken Walley ACG, CL had to answer the question of how to give an excuse to end a romantic relationship. Ken thought “I am studying to be a priest.” might work. Our speeches tonight were both memorable and praiseworthy. Louis Cianfrogna gave one of the most unique Ice Breaker speeches ever delivered to a Toastmasters club. Titled “Oxymoron”  Louis told us about himself by looking at his contradictions. “I love the outdoors but I also love the couch. I love the gun range and the golf range as well. I love to exercise but I eat at McDonald’s…” This was a great concept that ended up being an interesting and delightful speech. Louis was given a standing ovation for completing his first speech! Congratulations Louis! The next speaker was Barbara Cusack.  Her speech, titled “Positively Beautiful” on the subject of her struggles with the HIV virus and the loss of her husband. This presentation was one was one of the most moving, powerful and positive speeches ever presented behind the lectern at Club #28. “This speech has the power to save lives but more importantly it might change attitudes.” said Ken Walley ATMG, CL during his meeting review as the General Evaluator. In his evaluation of Barbara’s speech Ken Blake ATMS, CL spoke of losing a spouse himself and applauded her courage to face hardships by helping others learn from her experience. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL, doing double duty as the evaluator for Louis’s Ice Breaker commented on how Louis already had the ingenuity and speaking basics to become a future contest winner. They were two truly exquisite evaluations. The functionaries for the meeting were Jamie Waters as our timer., Ken Walley ATMG, CL doubling as Grammarian and Greg Hentze handling the duties of AH Counter for his first time.  Barbara Cusack‘s Mom and Dad who were there to hear her speak, Yolanda and Bob Choser handled the Vote Counter duties. They also gave wonderful and enthusiastic praise for our meeting. Greg Hentze became our newest member by joining the club after the meeting! Welcome Greg! This was a great meeting I wish that more people had been there to enjoy it. I guess they have no excuses now.

Before the Jan. 10th 2008 meeting started Barbara Cusack gave two speeches to Ken Walley, ATMG, CL for evaluation and credit towards her basic manual. The first Speech was about her hometown. “Growing up in Orlando” which told about her early life and what it was like to be in Orlando when it was not the large city that it has become. Barbara’s second speech titled “Destiny” which was a true-life, hard reality fairy tale. This left Barbara with only one speech to give to become eligible for the International Speech Contest.

My vote for “Best Meeting of the Year” would go to the “Voting” themed meeting Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had on January 10th, 2008! Our Toastmaster was Bob Blaydes, CC who was the primary (pardon the pun) force behind the meeting. Bob gave us many reasons to celebrate the power of the ballot. He reminded us of just how important our right to choose was. “Only 520 votes were the difference between George Bush and Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 elections. Just 520!” Also making his platform known was Table Topics Master Ken Blake ACS, CL who asked some tough questions about both the process and the subject. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked “Why should I vote?” Dennis Gola ACS, CL was asked if it “Would be a good idea to do away with the Electoral College vote and adopt the Popular vote?” Susan Deichen was asked about what attracted her to a particular candidate. Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked if it would be a good idea to lower the voting age. Joshua Brandt was asked if it was time for a woman president. At the request of Ken B.,  Joe Cannizzaro, a life-long republican, got to give his impressions of Barack Obama. We had two amazing speeches again this week. Our first speaker was Dennis Gola ACS, CL  who gave a speech titled “The Interesting Thing About July” which, in keeping with the theme of the meeting was about July Perry who set off a race riot and lynching in Ocoee, Florida in 1920. July and a friend had taken upon themselves as an African-Americans to attempt to vote. This was a powerful and thought-provoking speech. Speaking second was Diana Walley ATMG, CL with a speech titled “Who Can We Trust?” The speech brought up an intriguing question. She gave examples of how we learn from betrayal and how to place and receive trust in others. Both Diana’s and Dennis’s speeches are worthy candidates for the upcoming International Speech Contest. Louis Cianfrogna threw his hat into the ring to be our General Evaluator for his first time and did a remarkable job at that position. He was supported by two strong evaluators: Barbara Cusack and Jamie Waters. Both evaluations were insightful and helpful to our speakers. Our functionaries tonight were AH Counter Joe Cannizzaro, Timer Ken Walley and Susan Deichen as Grammarian.. Joshua Brandt filled in as Vote Counter. Our guest for tonight Walter Moryan was very impressed with the meeting and looks forward to returning to the club in the future. This meeting would any election as a great Toastmasters meeting!

The new year started with a BANG and another wonderful Club #28 meeting! The theme of the January 3rd 2008 meeting was “New Beginnings” and to start us on this journey through 2008 was Toastmaster and new President Ken Walley, ATMG, CL. Ken came prepared with a “Top 10″ list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. “Spending more time with family and friends” according to Ken was the top resolution. Ken’s wife, Table Topic Master Diana Walley ATMG, CL  brought up a few resolutions of her own in her table topics session. Her first question was to Susan Deichen “What is a service that you could use for free?” Diana next asked her husband “How could you lose weight?” Although Ken denied the need, he mentioned eating right and exercise. Paul Hagge was asked what he could do to “Green Up” his house. Dr. Mike Deichen was given a chance to come up with a home/business plan. One of our guests, Eric Olsen was asked the question of “What did you do for Christmas?” Our other guest, Lindsay Braun was given the question “Where do you work and what do you do?” On a night that was a first in anyone’s long memory as all three of our speakers failed to show so Joe Cannizzaro and Ken Walley, ATMG, CL stepped in to give “hip pocket” speeches. Ken gave a speech from the Toastmaster International “The Better Speaker Series”  titled “Beginning Your Speech” . Ken used humor and examples to show how to get the attention of the audience at the start a speech. Joe Cannizzaro gave a remarkable speech titled “The Middle East” about how fundamentalist Islam found its renaissance during the Afghanistan war against the Soviet Union and America’s covert interest in the war. For an “off the cuff” speech it was well developed, entertaining and educational. Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Mike Deichen both gave masterful evaluations of these two great speeches. Also great was Susan Deichen who covered as the General Evaluator for her first time and did a wonderful job! Our timer was Paul Hagge,doing double duty was Joe Cannizzaro as our Grammarian and Louis Cianfrogna gave one of the best AH Counter reports ever. Our guest, Eric Olson also did excellent as our vote counter. All of our guests, Kate McHugh, Lindsay Braun, Eric Olson and Greg Hentze were very enthusiastic about the meeting! Eric joined our club after the meeting!! Welcome Eric. This was a great meeting and a great beginning to the new year!

Christmas music floated from the meeting room for our 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Christmas Party and Installation of Officers to the far reaches of the Downtown Orlando Library 3rd floor as we “decked the halls” with festive decorations and lights. A great job was done by our decorating committee Susan Deichen, Dr. Michael Deichen and Bob Blaydes, CC! We even had little stockings with candy canes at every seat thanks to Susan! Also bringing joy to our celebration was our Master of Ceremonies Diana Walley, ATMG, CL. Diana mixed the twin themes of Orlando Toastmasters Club history and the Holiday Season together as we went through the evening. Even had this evening been just an “ordinary” meeting, it still would not have been ordinary thanks to our two featured speakers for this evening. In keeping with the spirit of the meeting, our first speaker, Paul Hagge made a case supporting the existence of Santa Clause with the use of evidence supplied to him by his pre-school niece. Like Paul’s speech, the results were compelling! Paul’s speech was titled “Christmas Eyes” because it was seen from the eyes of a child. Our second speaker, Jose Cotelo told of an amazing story of a young man who graduated from college and started his own business by the age of 20 after growing up as a “wild child” and overcoming a challenging family life. The speech was his Ice Breaker (titled “Evolution”) and was as fascinating as any novel. Jose has a bright future. Evaluations of our speakers were then presented by Joe Cannizzaro and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Both evaluations were filled with positive accolades for two excellent speeches. The club was next treated to the bitter-sweet Farewell Address of Dennis Gola, ACS, CL our outgoing President. Dennis expressed sadness because he was unable to carry on as President for our next term (he will be back and he is also returning as an officer) but he had many accomplishments to look back upon over his term in office. Dennis highlighted that the club is on a solid path for the future. He thanked his fellow officers and members for the tremendous support that he had received as President. Dennis introduced our Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould who honored the club with words of admiration and a reminder of the upcoming officer training sessions. Gov. Gould then presided over the Toastmasters Induction of  Officers ceremony the “Passing of the Gavel”.  Inducted this night into office was Treasurer Joe Cannizzaro; Vice President of Public Relations Dennis Gola, ACS, CL; Vice President of Membership Dr. Michael Deichen; Vice President of Education Susan Deichen and President Kenneth H. Walley ATMG, CL. Also taking office this night would be Secretary Barbara Cusack and Sergeant at Arms Ben Jackson. After President Walley was handed the gavel he gave his Inaugural Address that was simply titled “#3“.  This was Ken’s third time being induced as President of Club #28. Ken made a plea for support noting that he learned more from his fellow Toastmasters than he could ever teach them. “This club is larger than any one person. That is why the call it a ‘club’.” Said Ken. “I am going to need all of the help I can get.”  Ken praised outgoing President Gola calling him a “tough act to follow” and one of the “most effective Presidents that this club has ever had.”  Ken’s goals for the next six months are to keep growing in membership, both with new members and also by returning past members to the fold. He also put his focus back on the Presidents Distinguished Award program as well. “I have a feeling that this club is going to do great things. It will be a great year,  as great as the people who are in this club.”. Diana closed by wishing everyone a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The holidays got off to a great start with the December 6th 2007 “Happy Holidays” themed meeting! We had a great present for the club as Jamie Walters became the newest member of the club and started off the meeting with an excellent invocation. Club President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL was our Toastmaster on this enchanted night and spread a lot of Christmas joy. Dennis gave us some “holiday history”, informed us of some holidays we might not even be aware of this time of they year, as well as a few cherished memories of his own that made our evening as bright as a shining star on the top of a well decorated tree. Dennis gave a few presents to our members also in the form of Table Topics questions while doubling as our Table Topics Master. Barbara Cusack was asked what her her favorite pie to bake for the holidays was. Her answered was “apple” after some deep soul searching. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked what food he would chose if today was to be a “National _________ Day” Ken reminisced about traditional Jewish fare. Ken Walley ATMG, CL had the toughest question of all. Dennis noted that Pearl Harbor Day fell on the same day as “National Cotton Candy Day”. He asked Ken how one justify the two together? Ken paid tribute to those who gave their life for our county and suggested cotton candy to celebrate the freedom we enjoy. Josh Brandt was asked what he would use in place of a Christmas tree in order to help save our environment. Josh had a great answerer: an artificial tree! Returning guest Susan Lee was asked a question about what animal we should have a national celebration of. “Cows” rated very high in her answer. We had three speeches that were simply exquisite! Starting with Joe Cannizzaro who told about going to college in Australia (Titled: “College in Australia“). This speech has so many great adventures in it that it could be the basis of four or five speeches! Dr. Mike Deichen, already on speech #7, gave an amazing speech titled “The Mass Psychology of Voting” that looked into what makes people vote. He came to the refreshing conclusion that people vote not because they think that their vote really counts but because of peer pressure. Diana Walley ATMG, CL gave a humorous speech that almost everyone could relate to. Her speech was about working in a mad house under a repressive regime while having to tip-toe through endless regulations and rules. She had everyone laughing with her speech “My Job is for the Birds!”  Jumping in to handle the General Evaluator position for the first time was Barbara Cusack who did exceptional work. She had the pleasure of introducing Ken Blake ATMS, CL, Jamie Walters and Bob Blaydes, CC. All of them were able to give helpful advice, and tons of encouragement! Our functionaries tonight included Joshua Brandt who did an impressive effort as Ah Counter for his first time at that position, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who was our Timer, Susan Deichen as Grammarian and Susan Lee who filled in as our Vote Counter. Besides Susan, Darren Driver and Davis Tademy visited our club. As Barbara said in her meeting review: “This meeting was a wonderful way to get the holidays started on a bright note!” Happy Holidays to everyone!

The theme for the November 29th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “The Simpler Life!” and it was simply an awesome meeting! In order to make things simple, let me break things down alphabetically by last name: Ken Blake ATMS, CL was our Table Topics Master and asked eight fascinating questions of Josh, Diana, Ken, Mike, Jamie, Susan, Joe and Susan Lee. Joshua Brandt served as our Vote Counter for the night. Josh also answered the Table Topics question: “How far would you travel to a sporting event?” Pretty far, he’d go to Chicago to see the Bears play! Joe Cannizzaro wore two hats as our Grammarian and AH Counter doing an excellent job at both! Joe answered the Table Topics question “What would be in a capsule that would ensure great health?” Joe remembered a product called ‘Juice Plus’. Dr. Mike Deichen gave his first evaluation of Diana’s speech and he made it look like he had been giving evaluations all of his life. He gave some wonderful advice, and a lot of encouragement! Dr. Mike also was asked about Doctors making house calls…believe it or not some still do! Susan Deichen was our first speaker this evening and she gave an inspiring speech with the great title of “Never Give UP! Never Surrender!” The speech told of some of her heroes who created a legacy with courage and conviction including Babe Ruth and Chuck Norris. It was a captivating speech! Susan also answered the question: “What modern convenience would you gladly give up?” Susan Lee was our guest tonight and bravely answered a Ken B. Table Topic question of “If you could go back in time to a simpler life, where and when would you go?” When asked about our meeting she said that she really liked what we did here and planned to join us again! That would be great Susan! Diana Walley ATMG, CL returned back to the club for the first time in almost a year to give a speech titled “What to Do if Your Child Goes Missing?” Diana gave some practical advice for a situation that is every parents worst nightmare. Diana also answered the question of “Would the world be a better place with no cell phones or i-pods?” It was great to have Diana back and she pledges to return more often!  Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our Toastmaster and gave an number of excellent ideas for simplifying our lives such as: Learning to say “No”, Using only one credit card, Cleaning out our closets, buying Christmas gifts all year long and many other great ideas. Ken W. was also the Acting president, General Evaluator, Invocation and Pledge and Evaluator for Susan’s speech. Ken answered the Table Topics question “What item of value would you never part with?” Jamie Walters returned to Club #28 and filled in as our Timer. Jamie was given the Table Topics of “What Price would you not pay for gas?” Jamie said it would depend on how bad he had to get somewhere. Jamie also said he going to join the club! Welcome Jamie! This was simply a fantastic meeting!

The November 15th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Favorite Things” themed meeting turned out to be a favorite thing for all of those  that attended. Bob Blaydes, CC was our toastmaster and he came prepared for the meeting, even re-writing the famous “Favorite Things” song with new lyrics to fit our more modern times! Dennis Gola, ACS, CL used that song as the basis of the Table Topics session. Dennis called upon Ken Walley ATMG, CL first. He was asked about “Brown paper packages tied up with string”. Paul Hagge was asked about “His favorite season” which was fall because of Cornhusker football. Josh Brandt said his favorite sound was the screech of brakes as people stopped to look at the Christmas decorations on his house. Ralph Jean-Paul remembered his “favorite non- typical meal” which turned out to be a “4th meal” from Taco Bell! Jose Cotel told of an “unpleasant encounter with an animal” which turned out to a dog bite. Louis Cianfrogna spoke of his least favorite insect. Two of our favorite things on this night were the speeches. The first speech, by Barbara Cusack turned out to be a lively, funny and interesting story of working in the housecleaning business. “Queen of Clean” was the title of the speech but “Queen of Entertainment” is the title that should be given to Barbara for that witty and fun speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  gave his 2nd speech from the “Leadership Excellence Series” this speech dealt with Toastmasters Ethics and Standards. Two of the best evaluations of the year were preformed by Susan Deichen and Paul Hagge. Both were right on the mark with helpful ideas and insightful comments. Almost as impressive as the evaluations were the observations of our General Evaluator, Ken Blake ATMS, CL. Ken noted that the meeting was “…fun and educational. It was interesting, but also filled with a lot of stuff that made you think… but not too hard.” The technical table included Ken W. as the Grammarian, Jose Cotelo as our AH Counter, Louis Cianfrogna as our Timer and new member Joshua Brandt as our Vote Counter. This turned out to be a wonderful meeting and guest Mike Melicka echoed that sentiment when he answered President Gola’s question of what he had thought of the meeting. As long as we have meetings like this Club #28 will be a “favorite thing” for many Toastmasters to come.

The November 8th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Oxymoron” themed meeting was more than a “Qualified Success” it was “Awfully Good”! Our Toastmaster, Table Topics Master and General Evaluator for this meeting was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who led us through the meeting with the help of a list of 600 oxymoron, giving him an “artificial intelligence” as he mentioned many of those throughout the evening! His “constant infrequent” usage of the contradictory phases did not stop with Table Topics. Ken assigned an oxymoron to each Toastmaster to comment on. Eddie Selover was given the phase “Microsoft Works”.  Ken Blake, ATMS, CL talked about “Necessary Evil”, Louis Cianfrogna spoke on a “Working Vacation”. Susan Deichen used a pig as an example to describe the term “Pretty Ugly”, Guest Jose Cotelo covered “Virtual Reality”. Our other guest, Sharon Kazzowka took a stab at “Work Party”. All of their answers were “Extra Ordinary”! There was a “Realistic fantasy” to our speakers, that being that they were all of the highest professional quality. Joe Cannizzaro came through with a remarkable follow up to a sales speech he gave a couple of weeks ago. This one was titled “Juice Plus Plus” which told of  even more of the benefits of that product. Dr. Mike Deichen gave a speech (titled “A Special Christening“)  that was loaded with great “word pictures” about the rituals of attending a college football game. You could smell the steaks cooking at the tailgate party outside of the stadium! The evaluations were also “exceedingly exceptional” Ken Blake ATMS, CL showed why he was a award winning evaluator with his review of Joe’s speech. Eddie Selover also highlighted the skills of a master reviewer when he gave an impressive overview of Mike’s speech. The Vote Counter for this evening was our guest Sharon Kazzowska who headed up another remarkable team of functionaries: Timer Barbara Cusack, AH Counter Louis Cianfrogna and Grammarian Susan Deichen. This was a “devilishly heavenly” meeting that once again showed how the best in Toastmasters can shine through at Club #28!

There was no risk of a boring Toastmasters meeting at the “Take a Risk/Play it Safe” Themed November 1st, 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL  was the Toastmaster and started the meeting by seeing who would take risks such as, skydiving, doing missionary work in hostile countries, quitting their job for the chance at a better job, living in a tree for a week or betting on the Chicago Bears. He found that the club was full of brave risk-takers. Ken also spoke about “playing it safe” when it comes to drinking and driving, water safety, lighting storms and getting medical check ups. A few of our Toastmasters took a risk though answering some of Dr. Mike Deichen‘s Table Topics questions! I was unable to get the notes as to who answered what questions but Mike used examples from the likes of successful risk-takers like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Donald Trump to create his inquiries. He asked questions of Dennis Gola, ACS, CL; Joe Cannizzaro, Barbara Cusack, Adam Scoggins, CTM, and Tony Betts, CTM. This turned out to be another excellent Table Topics session with some very insightful answers. Our speakers did not “play it safe” with their speeches either. Instead we were treated to an amazing evening of dazzling speeches by Gladston Fuller and Paul Hagge that broke new ground for both speakers and paid off with great dividends for their audience. Gladston gave his Ice Breaker speech titled “Who Am I?” He told of his path of awareness that went through Jamaica and the United States as well as tragedy and the determination to succeed. Gladston gave a beautifully written and delivered speech! Paul Hagge came through with what many thought was his best effort yet. His speech, “Sometimes It’s OK to Sleep With The Lights On” told the story of a family growing up in Nebraska in a simpler time and place, except for the state prison next door! Paul told of the night that gunfire was heard and his father, a policeman, had to go investigate. Told with remarkable word pictures and images, Paul’s childhood came to life. It was storytelling at its best!  The Evaluations section of the meeting was handled with the same professional grace that is expected of Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Ken had help however making this part of the meeting a success. One of our Toastmasters who has become a very good as an evaluator is Barbara Cusack. Barbara gave Gladstons’s review and filled it with encouragement and great advice. Dennis Gola ACS, CL of course is an old hand at great evaluations. Again he used the time allotted to help Paul improve his speaking techniques. We had a star-laden cast of functionaries with Susan Deichen doing fabulous work as our timer. Joe Cannizzaro handled the duties of Grammarian as well as any seasoned Toastmaster. Speaking of old hands, two of our returning Toastmasters from our fabled past stepped in to help out as well. Tony Betts, CC, proved that being the AH Counter is like riding a bicycle and Adam Scoggins, CTM volunteered to be our Vote Counter. Both Adam and Tony made commitments to re-join our club and Tony signed up to be our Toastmaster for next week. How’s that for taking a risk? We had two guests, Joshua Brandt and Henry B. Stone who both showed an interest in joining the club also. It is “playing it safe” to say that this meeting was a hit!

There was nothing scary about the October 25th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Halloween” themed meeting except for how good of a meeting it was! Our Toastmaster Paul Hagge, brought the “dead to life” as our host for the evening. Paul did a remarkable undertaking (pardon the pun) as Toastmaster giving ghoulish Halloween History as well as some frightening stories of his own. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our Table Topics Master who asked some devilish questions about Halloween. Ken’s first question went to Toastmaster Bob Blaydes, CC: “Can you tell us a Halloween story from your past?” Bob told us a tale of a Snoopy costume that has haunted him ever since. Gladston Fuller was asked “What was the best Halloween costume that you have ever seen?”  Debra Carr was asked about the scariest movie she had ever seen. Debra picked “The Exorcist”  a movie which has given many people nightmares over the years. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked to describe a haunted house. “Do you believe in ghosts and have you ever had a supernatural or strange experience you cannot explain?” was the question given to a visiting Toastmaster Joe Jowdy. Lastly was the question given to guest Jose Lopez “What is the scariest place that you have ever been?” Jose told about a local Halloween Horror House attraction that was complete with Zombies, Butchers with body parts and people who chase after you with chainsaws! It was a perfect answer for a Halloween theme night! There were no Boos from ghosts… or our audience with our two speakers on this night. And why not? The speakers were the Deichens, the first husband and wife team to speak on the same night in over two years at Club #28 and the speeches they gave were brilliant. Susan Deichan gave a speech titled “The Little Seed in the Paper Cup” about her experiences as a Kindergarten teacher. This speech was profound in what she taught us from what she had learned from the smallest of teachers. I hope that she saves this speech for our next International Speech contest. Not to be outdone, Dr. Mike Deichen gave another excellent effort for the 2nd week in a row with a speech titled “High Blood Pressure” about how to control a medical problem that effects almost everyone in their lifetime. He recommended we that we get back to the basis of fruits and vegetables, lose weight and avoid process foods where up to 80% of the salt in most diets comes from. One thing is for sure, that because of Dr. Mike, we are going to be a healthier Toastmasters club! Bob Blaydes, CC doubled as both our General Evaluator and gave a euphonious review of Mike’s speech. Another illuminative evaluation of Susan’s speech was given by Barbara Cusack. Barbara as well wore two hats being our Vote Counter tonight as well. Debra Carr did commendable work as our Grammarian, Gladston Fuller served as AH Counter and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL manned the time machine as our timer. This Halloween brought the Club members of Club #28 no tricks just a very yummy treat with a superior meeting.

The theme for the October 18th, 2007  Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Potpourri, Hodgepodge & Trivia!” but the meeting was anything but trivial, although it was a lot of fun! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL packed the meeting with numerous, odd and mostly useless facts such as “A hummingbird beats its wings 70 times per second” and “One percent of all US businesses let their employees nap during business hours”. Another Toastmaster who had some great trivia was Dr. Mike Deichen. Mike filled the position of Table Topics Master and his first endeavor was truly remarkable. Ken W. got the first question from Mike: “Tells a humorous animal story” Ken told of his pet cat who “hunted” humans from the top of his refrigerator! Dennis Gola ACS, CL told of something good that “Comes in a small package.” Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked to speak on the care and feeding of Hamsters. Paul Hagge told us of the opulent wonders of flying business class when asked about a “trip where sleep is a great part of the experience.” Gladston Fuller remembered a time when he “ate like a horse!” By the time Gladston had finished, we all felt like we just had a Thanksgiving dinner. Debra Carr finished out our Table Topics session by talking about something that she would hate to lose and something that she would love to get rid of. We had two excellent speeches, both of them from the second project in the basic manual. Speaking first was Joe Cannizzaro who gave a sales-pitch type of speech titled “Prevention” about a juice product that would help ward off illness and disease. Part of his speech had Joe eating raw vegetables with a less-than-overjoyed look on his face! Another awesome speech was by Ben Jackson who’s speech “Invest in the Wave of the Past”  was a humorous address about a cell phone that was indestructible. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our General Evaluator and had the good fortune to introduce Paul Hagge to give Joe’s evaluation. Paul’s evaluation was his first ever but it was an excellent review. Paul pointed out many great things that Joe had accomplished in only two speeches he had delivered before the club! Dennis Gola ACS, CL gave an evaluation that went overtime for good reason. He had so many different encouragements and advice for both of our speakers that he had to cover them all. Jamie Waters returned to us after a long absence and did a super job serving as our Grammarian, Debra Carr filled in as our AH Counter and Gladston Fuller was our Timer also for his first time on this night. The most happy news was that our Vote Counter, Louis Cianfrogna not only did a superb job in that capacity but became our newest member as well! Even though the meeting had a lot of information that most people could not use, such as “Havergal Brian wrote 10 symphonies between the ages of 89 and 92.” The one fact that everyone DID take with them was that this was a great way to spend this Thursday night!

The theme for the Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Winners or Losers!” but there were only winners who attended this excellent meeting! Meeting for the first time on a Wednesday since the mid-90’s because of the meeting rooms being booked up for this Thursday, the turnout was very good! Eddie Selover started out the meeting on a high note when he brought-back-by-popular-demand his engaging rendition of “The Creation of the Pledge of Allegiance”. Toastmaster Ken Blake, ACS, CL was the leader of the meeting and gave us a tour-de-force of the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat by regaling us with a number of stories and anecdotes, including the saga of the fan who caught the Barry Bonds record-breaking baseball. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL filled in as our Table Topics Master and really came through with some winning questions. Ken Walley ACG, CL got the first question which required him to pick the World Series Champion. Ken said The Rockies and the Indians would vie for the prize with the Rockies coming out on top. Ken Blake, ACS, CL was questioned about George Steinbrenner. Eddie Selover was asked “What is the best way to lose weight?” Eddie said the only way he did it as an adult was when he had his mouth wired shut for braces. Joe Cannizzaro told a great story of the “Last time he lost his mind” which was when he was studying for a medical exam…in a foreign language. Debra Carr told us how to keep from getting lost and Gladston Fuller talked about a sport that none of us knew anything about, Hockey. Everyone was a winner in Table Topics because all of the answers were worthy of a ribbon! Two brilliant speeches followed our Table Topics session. The first speech was an Ice Breaker by Ben Jackson. Ben’s speech, titled “All About Me” was inspiring and entertaining. Ben told of wanting to become a professional musician and then coming to the realization that he might have to redefine himself in order to pursue a different career. Ben also showed many of the abilities of a dynamic speaker. Also showing the potential to be a great speaker was Dr. Mike Deichen who gave his second strong speech in two weeks. This week he spoke on a subject that has the world’s attention in a speech titled “Global Warming“. Mike gave practical ways that we could help combat a growing threat to our environment. Eddie Selover, returning from the club after winning the Division “C” Humorous Speech Contest over the weekend, served both as our General Evaluator as well as the evaluator for Ben Jackson’s Ice Breaker. Ken Walley, ACG, CL  also did double duty along with being the Timer to give the evaluation of Dr. Mike’s speech. It should be noted that the Technical team of Ken W., as well as Grammarian Susan Deichen, Vote Counter Joe Cannizzaro and AH Counter Gladston Fuller all served with distinction. Susan, Joe and Galdston were all “first timers” at their positions. Not only were everyone who attended this meeting winners but so was the club itself. This was a meeting that any Toastmasters Club could be proud of!

There were no bumps and bruises along the way of the October 4th, 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Bumps and Bruises” themed meeting but Toastmaster Dennis Gola, ACS, CL brought in a goldmine of information about everything about bumps (from that which goes ‘bump’ in the night to the speed bumps in the road) and a few things about bruises including a brief explanation of bruises from our resident doctor, Dr. Mike Deichen. Jumping on the slippery path of bumps and bruises was our Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL who challenged our members with some good questions on the subject: “What was the worst that you have ever hurt yourself physically?” was asked of returning toastmaster Bob Blaydes, CC who told a grand tale of self-inflected woe. Dennis next was asked to tell a story about overcoming adversity. He turned to his days as a baseball umpire and found a lively story. “How do you stop a little girl from crying because she skinned her knee?” was the challenge given Barbara Cusack. Barbara had a great answer: “Bribe her with candy! That’s the cure!” “Dr. Mike Dichen was asked what are the good and bad things about being a doctor?” Our guest, Gladston Fuller was asked “What good comes out of failing?” and Ken Blake ATMS, CL was assigned the query” What is worse, Physical or Mental pain?” We had two excellent speeches on this evening. Our first speaker was Joe Cannizzarro who was giving his Ice Breaker speech. Joe gave a speech that many veteran Toastmasters would have been proud of! Joe’s speech, titled “A Brief Summary of my Travels” took us around the globe and had enough twists and turns that his evaluator said “I see at least four more speeches coming out of this Ice Breaker!” Our second speaker, Dr. Mike Deichen, gave an interesting  if somewhat scary and very informative speech titled “Protecting yourself in a Pandemic“. He traced the recent history of mass illness and how to survive future events which are bound to happen again! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL filled in as our General Evaluator and had the pleasure of introducing Barbara Cusack and Dennis Gola ACS, CL who both gave outstanding evaluations of our speakers. It should be noted that that our Technical Table preformed without any ‘bumps’ along the way as well. Bob Blaydes was our Timer, Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our AH Counter and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was our Grammarian. Doing a fantastic job as our Vote Counter was our guest and what would turn out to be our newest member, Gladston Fuller! Welcome Gadston! Again, even though we had a small turnout we had a powerful and inventive meeting that was well worth the trip to the library!

The September 27th 2007 “Space Aliens!” themed Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was out of this world. Guiding us through the universe of UFO sightings, Area 51, strange abductions and little gray beings with big black eyes was our Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Helping out to beam aboard some extra insights into the space alien lifestyle was Table Topics Master Dennis Gola ACS, CL. One of our visitors,  Ben Jackson was asked by Dennis to define what a space alien was. A tough question since Ben has not been lucky enough to have seen one yet. Asked of Susan Deichen what person in the room was most likely to be abducted by an alien, she immediately offered up her husband Dr. Mike Deichen. “He would be the most interesting specimen to them…” she said. Another guest Steve Montgomery spoke about alien spacecraft recommending a hydrogen-based model to traverse space. Derek Green spoke on “Do you believe in space aliens?” Derek thought that it is possible for other life forms to be in the universe but unlikely they are here.  Debra Carr when asked if she would take go “where no one has gone before” (meaning exploring the galaxy) with Capt. James T. Kirk. She said that she could trust the good Captain to keep her safe during the voyage. Everyone had great answers! The speeches were All-Universe as well! Our first speaker was Paul Hagge who’s speech titled “Shake it Off!”  was an inspirational speech that focused on how to learn from defeat and how to triumph over adversity. Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave a “tune up” to the Area 49 Humorous Speech Contest on Saturday with his winning club contest speech “Please Don’t Stop! Ken Walley ACG, CL, speaking to complete a project from the Interpretive Reading Advanced Manual  gave a reading from the “Orson Well’s Mercury Theatre ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells” radio play. This was a very hard project as Ken had to play all of the different characters. The evaluations were given by Barbara Cusack for Paul speech,  Ken W., who asked for help from his fellow Toastmasters to give some tips for Ken B’s speech and Dennis Gola, ACS, CL who commented on Ken W’s reading. Ben Jackson bravely filled in as our Vote Counter, Debra Carr was the AH Counter and rounding out the functionaries were Susan and Mike Deichen as our timer and Grammarian respectively. All and all this was a stellar meeting. The best news of this meeting was that Derek Green and Ben Jackson both joined our club! It looks like our club will live long and prosper.

The September 20th 2007 “Your Money or Your Life” themed meeting took place at the Herndon Public Library as the rain came down and the lighting flashed. Club #28 members did not let that deter them from coming together to have an amazing session. Even with going a few extra miles and fighting the unruly weather, Club #28 had a very good turn- out for the meeting. Good thing too as it was a typical Club #28 triumph. Thanks first to Eddie Selover who did a superb job of guiding our meeting as Toastmaster. He brought a wealth of facts on money management which, if our club members follow his advice, should make us all rich. Thanks also to our Table Topics Master Paul Hagge, who asked some challenging questions on the subject of money, and life: “Can Money bring happiness?” was the question put forth to Barbara Cusack. She answered in the affirmative. “A little more income would make me happier.” she said. “Has Anyone ever loaned you money and never paid you back?” was asked of Ken Blake, ACS, CL. Ken said he had a simple solution to this dilemma and told us how not be taken again. “Has anyone ever been more interested in your money than you?” was an easy question for Eddie Selover. “Being as I have no great wealth”… started Eddie, “I still cannot rule out my charming personality and good looks.” Another question, this one asked of Ken Walley, ACG, CL was “Ever have something offered that was ‘just too good to be true’, and find out that it was just that?” Ken told about how he was saved from looking into an internet scam. Sarah Stack had an impressive answer for the question: “Have you ever won something that was greater than the reward?” The last question went to our guest Joe Cannizzaro. “Have you ever been tempted by a ‘get rich quick scheme?” Joe told about an opportunity to invest in manufacturing merchandise in South East China that did not work out as well as he had hoped. We had two speakers who also gave very different performances of two very different speeches. Ken Walley ACG, CL gave a speech from the Toastmasters Leadership Excellence Series on “Goal Setting and Planning“. In the 10 to 15 minute speech, Ken used his audience instead of a Power-point projector and covered the basics of how set goals and plan for the future. Our second speaker was Dennis Gola, ACS, CL  who’s speech “Burlap is a Man’s Best Friend” gave a very theatrical presentation of how not to give police K-9 shows, at least not with a temperamental dog named King! Our General Evaluator for the evening was Dennis as well and he introduced Ken Blake, ACS, CL who gave a tremendous evaluation of Ken W’s speech. Barbara Cusack bravely gave her first Toastmasters evaluation of Dennis’s speech and it was every bit as good as most seasoned evaluators would have given. Barbara by the way did double duty as our Grammarian.  Rounding out the functionaries were Sarah Stack as timer, Debra Carr as our AH Counter and Joe Cannizzaro as our vote counter. All did excellent work! Rich Hasgood another guest, was pleasantly surprised with our meeting saying “he was much more impressed that he thought he would be!” Also returning to the club after a long absence was John Bonowitz -Coffey. The best news of the night was yet to come: Debra and Joe joined to become our newest members!!! Welcome Joe and Debra!

It was a great idea to attend the September 13th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Great Ideas!” themed meeting. The only problem was that not enough Toastmasters attended and they truly missed out. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started out the meeting with a inspiring Invocation and Pledge and then, as the acting Vice President of Education, became the acting President as well. Once the club business was covered,  Ken became the Toastmaster for the night explaining that he was going to “rely on those present for the ‘great ideas’.” After all, said Ken, “There is nothing more powerful than human ingenuity. With time, all obstacles that plague mankind, be it poverty, hunger, disease or crime will be solved.” Ken had some compelling questions to ask as our Table Topics Master. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked “What was the greatest idea that you’ve ever heard of?” Dr. Princess Anita was asked the question “Who has inspired you?” She mentioned that her greatest influence was her father. Ken then turned to our guests from some answers. “What great ideas do you see coming from the future?” was handled very well by Derek Green. Returning visitor Debra Carr spoke about “great ideas from the past.” The last question was a call for guest John Ekins to speak about “What is a great Idea in general?” All of the answers tonight were thought provoking, even enlightening.  So were our two featured speakers for this evening. Speaking first was Ken Blake ACS, CL who spoke about a seminar he had attended earlier in the day. Titled “What I Saw Today” he told about two speakers. The first speaker did not give a presentation worthy of an audience and the second speaker gave a dynamite performance. The difference was that the second presenter was a member of Toastmasters. It was interesting to see why one succeeded and why the other one failed. Our next speaker was Eddie Selover who gave an astounding speech (Titled “Windows on the World“) about being in New York City during the 9/11 attacks. It was simply amazing hearing an eye witness account of history. Ken Walley ATMG, CL again filled in also as the General Evaluator and while he was still at the lectern, Ken gave an evaluation for Eddie’s speech. Eddie himself excelled with an top-notch evaluation of Ken Blake‘s (ATMS, CL) speech. Besides being the Sgt. at Arms, Invocation and Pledge presenter, acting President, Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, General Evaluator and evaluator of a speech, Ken Walley ATMG, CL also filled the position of AH Counter. Not to be outdone, Eddie Selover was Speaker #2, evaluated a speech and served as our Grammarian. Filling out the technical table was Dr. Princess Anita who served as our Timer and guest Tom Razzano who bravely stepped in as our Vote Counter! We also had another guest Robb Zeiser who made the comment that he “Didn’t think that the club would be able to pull this off”  but said Robb, “I was impressed with the teamwork and the ability of the club to produce such a good meeting.” Almost all of our guests stated that they wanted to join! That is good news when our guests outnumbered our members this meeting 5 to 4! Better yet, it was a great idea to come to this meeting!

When Vice President of Education Cathy Goonen announced the date for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest on September 6th 2007, she could not have known that Club #28 would be producing two contest worthy of it history of 1st class club contests that are often the envy of other clubs in the Area. “It took the effort of the entire club to make these contests a success.” said contest organizer Ken Walley ATMG, CL. “This year, Club #28 had a wealth of talent both from established members and our newer members who have recently joined the club. Thanks to everyone working together, we had two of our bests contests ever!” From the start of the first contest, The Evaluation competition which was held in our regular meeting room, the Palm Room at the Orlando Public library, guests and visitors were treated to some truly brilliant displays of oratory. Contest Master Sarah Stack got the festivities underway with an enthusiastic welcome and a brief reading of the rules. She then introduced our Chief Judge for the evening Luvenia Hart who has been a past contest judge at many of our contests. Luvenia is a member of our sister club Orange County Toastmasters Club #129. She announced the speaking order and proclaimed the start of the contest. In order to have an evaluation contest, a speech must be given for our contestants to evaluate. Tonight’s “test” speaker Tom Jamieson gave an excellent speech that was perfect for the theme of the evening. Tom, who is from the “Let’s Talk” Toastmasters Club #4413 gave a speech titled “Laughter Matters” . Tom’s speech dealt with the healing properties of humor. He told a story of a man who literally “laughed himself well.” Contest Master Sarah Stack then had the Sgt. at Arms lead the evaluation contestants from the room to a place where they could prepare their evaluations. They were given only five minutes and the one by one she had them brought back to give their reviews of Tom’s speech. All four contestants gave enlighting and helpful advice while encouraging the speaker to reach his Toastmasters goals. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL; Bob Blaydes, Eddie Selover and Dennis Gola, ACS, CL all gave such remarkable evaluations that the judges must of had a tough time deciding on a winner. Coming in second in the contest was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and taking the first place trophy was Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. The Humorous Speech Contest was worthy of a Toastmaster Club many times the size of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. All who were present can attest that every single humorous speech given on this wonderful night was hilarious! The real winner on this contest was the audience who were laughing so hard at times that they were holding their sides or clapping until their hands were beet red. Going first was Dr. Michael Deichen who’s speech “She Screams For Ice Cream!” told of not being able to come through on a promise to his 3 year old niece in a restaurant and ending up having to drag her screaming and clinging to his leg out of the place and down the block! Speaker #2 was Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who gave a speech titled “My Curse: Inanimate Objects That Talk Back” in which he told of car alarms, telephone answering machines and computers that seemed to be plotting against him. Speaking next was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who gave a very funny speech titled “Please Don’t Stop” about ways to raise money for Club #28 that included extremely far-out ideas to bring in the green. Our last speaker, Eddie Selover, brought down the house with a speech reprised from a regular meeting a few weeks ago simply titled “Dry“. Eddie’s speech was about how to make a martini. Eddie’s humor was as “dry” as the martini that he spoke about. Four very funny speeches and each of them were a lot of fun. Later many members and guests said that this was the highest quality Humorous Speech contest that they have ever heard on a club level. Again it must have been a tough decision for the judges. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL however came out on top with Eddie Selover taking the second place award. Besides Luvenia Hart, Club #28 was visited by other dignitaries of the local Toastmasters scene. Helen Joseph, DTM from the “Let’s Talk” Club #4413 was there as well as Richard Arden who is the President of Orange County Toastmasters Club #129, Past Distinguished Club #28 President Ed Carmona, ATMB was also present as well. We had one guest, Ben Jackson, who had many great things to say about our contest and promised he would return soon as well! The contest could not have been a success without the help of our club members who stood in as functionaries. Our Vote Counter was Helman Romero, our timer was Susan Deichen and our Raffle Master was Dr. Princess Anita  We give a sincere “Thank You” from all of Club #28 to those who made these contests possible.   [The rest of this article will be added later.]

The August 31st 2007 “Trash or Treasure” Themed meeting Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was all “treasure” and no “trash”! What a great meeting this turned out to be thanks mostly to our Toastmaster for the night Ken Blake ATMS, CL.   Ken reminded us that sometimes treasures can turn out to be trash in an instant. Using Barry Bonds‘s home run record baseball as an example, he pointed out that the taxes from owning the ball were more than the “lucky” guy who caught it could get from selling it at auction! Another treasure was our Table Topics Master Bob Blaydes, CC. Bob gave some of us a few things to think about and we even found some ‘gems’ in the process. “What “treasures” would you leave with if your house was on fire?” was asked of Susan Deichen. She said irreplaceable family mementos and pictures.  “What most would you like to find at a flea market?” was asked of Eddie Selover who dreams of finding a mint condition 007 mini-car set. “What trash do you think has sold for treasure?” Was the question that Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who mentioned some over-priced Mustang parts sold to collectors. “What would be only treasure to you?” had Ken Walley, ATMG, CL explaining his Christmas Music collection. “What is something special  that you would never part with?” Was asked of Crystal Faulk, our guest. Our other guest Debra Carr was asked “What would you bring to the Antiques Road Show Program?” Everyone gave excellent answers and it amazing the variety of interests among our club members. Both of our speeches were exceptional tonight! Helman Romero gave his second speech titled “Columbian Traditions” about life in his homeland. He painted a remarkable picture of Columbia as well as telling a very scary story about when his son was missing and the police had to be called to find him. Next was Eddie Selover who gave a Humorous Speech that won another Toastmaster’s Club Humorous Speech contest last week. “The Efficiency Expert” was a remarkable piece of humor that worked on many different levels. The speech, about working in a K- Mart deli for an overachieving and hyperactive boss. Eddie had everyone laughing. Ken Walley ATMG, CL filled in as our Master Evaluator as well as giving Eddie’s evaluation. Bob Blaydes did another wonderful effort as the evaluator for Helman Romero. It was not a packed room but the meeting was a great success because all of the Toastmaster present who came together to make it work. Susan Diechen was our AH Counter, Mike Deichen was our Timer, Dennis Gola ACS, CL worked as our Grammarian and even our guest, Debra Carr helped out as our Vote Counter. Thank you to everyone for showing such praiseworthy teamwork! As I said before: this meeting was a Toastmasters treasure!

[Editor Note: From this point on, the new Toastmasters awards designations will be used CTM (Competent Toastmaster) will be CC (Competent Communicator), ATMG (Advanced Toastmaster Gold), will now be ACG (Advanced Communicator Gold), ATMS (Advanced Toastmasters Silver), will be referred uniformly as ACS (Advanced Communicator Silver), etc.]

The theme for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 23, 2007 meeting was “Confidence!” and I am confident that our meeting was one of the best meetings that many Club #28ers have ever experienced. Confidence was not only the theme but was on display thanks to Ken Walley ATMG, CL who was our Toastmaster this evening. “Confidence is the brother of courage. The power that is in Confidence is surprising. That power multiplies by taking on challenges and defeating fear.” Said Ken. A man unafraid of challenges is Dennis Gola ACS, CL who took on the role of Table Topics Master. Paul Hagge was challenged with Dennis’s first question about the Consumer Price Index! It was hard for Paul to paint a confident picture of that. Mike Deichen answered the open ended question of “No matter what, I am confident that I can…” His answer was to  “succeed in Toastmasters!” Bob Blaydes, CC, got the Table Topic of  “I have a NO-Confidence vote for…” Bob picked the mortgage Industry. Eddie Selover was next with the question of “Just between us, in confidence…” Ken Walley ATMG, CL answered the question of having confidence that the quality of movies past will return. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked what a “confidence man” was. Throughout Table Topics we had some wonderful answers. We also had three truly impressive speeches. First came an inspiring Ice Breaker by Mari Chumley in which she unfolded her story (“Coming to the USA“) about coming to America to enter graduate school and overcoming language barriers. This was followed by Susan Deichen‘s first speech that had everyone laughing as she told about a road trip (“Lost and Found“) to Tallahassee that ended up somewhere in Georgia. Both Ice Breakers were simply awesome! Congratulations Mari and Susan!!! But wait! There was more: Barbara Cusack also gave a yummy speech about how to bake Hungarian Foldover Cookies…in which she brought samples for everyone! There were excellent evaluations by Ken Blake, ATMS, CL (for Mari), Eddie Selover (for Barbara) and special guest evaluator Helen Joseph, DTM for Susan’s speech. All were excellent evaluations. Ken W. doubled as the General Evaluator. Helman Romano filled in the role of AH Counter, Bob Blaydes, CC was the Grammarian and Mike Deichen was our vote counter.  Rounding out the technical table was Paul Hagge as the timer. We had four guest all of which said wonderful things about our meeting…with confidence! Our guests were Dixia Martinez, Karen Hartner, Yolanda Emmanuel and Maria Vargas. This meeting was not only a meeting about confidence but a good example of it as well.

He was “in the building” for the August 16th 2007 “Elvis Presley” themed meeting. With the rumors that he’s still alive, I was hoping that Elvis would show up in person but we had the next best thing to rock the house: Eddie Selover as our Toastmaster! Eddie put on a show that would have made “The King of Rock and Roll” envious. He told us how he became an Elvis fan upon hearing “Heartbreak Hotel” and many other great Elvis facts as well. Ken Walley ATMG, CL filled in as our Table Topics Master and brought back Elvis for a encore with a few Table Topics questions. Ken asked returning Club #28 Toastmaster Russell Russ, CTM why Elvis had been so popular for so long. Susan Deichen was given the question of what her favorite Elvis song was and why. “Love Me Tender” was her answer. Ed Carmona, ATMB spoke about the multi-million dollar business of merchandising celebrities who have died. Our guest, Marlin Castor was asked how he would explain Elvis to a seven year old child asking “Who was Elvis Presley?” The last question asked was of Alexandra Rene who answered “If you were Elvis, how would you spend your day off?” Our two speeches were also #1 hits: returning to the club lectern after a long absence was Paul Hagge who gave an awesome speech titled “Stealing Time” which was about time management which was not only full of great organizational tips but was entertaining and fun as well. Mike Deichen provided another club highlight with his Ice Breaker Speech that painted a great word-picture about being a “Child of the 60’s” growing up in Clearwater with a Short Wave Radio set and an antenna as long as his house! Congratulations to both Paul and Mike! The two evaluations were both worthy of  gold records. Introduced by our Master Evaluator know himself as “The Elvis of Club #28″ was Dennis Gola ATS, CL who reminded us that he is a “General Evaluator”. The two Kens, Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave the review of Paul and Mike’s speeches. Both gave good advice and encouragement. Speaking of encouragement, Mike daughter, Megan Deichen not only brought her boyfriend Reid Shelton to cheer on her dad, but served as our vote counter as well. Yes, her dad won the “Best Speaker” ribbon! Russell was our AH Counter, Susan was our timer for the first time, Ed rounded out our Technical Table as our Grammarian. We had another guest who said some wonderful things about our meeting, Vicky Kreiger and Alexandra Rene who not only said she was joining but signed up to do an Ice Breaker Speech next week! This meeting was no “Hound dog” it was a great success! Elvis has left the building.

The August 9th 2007 “Chocolate” themed meeting was very sweet indeed! Cathy Goonen brought plenty of Chocolate kisses for everyone and told a history of chocolate that dated back to the Aztec Indians of South America. We also learned that eating dark chocolate everyday could help us to live longer! I’m all for that! Eddie Selover conducted one of the most imaginative Table Topics sessions in recent memory. Using the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  Eddie asked questions based on the quirks of the Characters. Dr. Princess Anita was asked if there was a time in which she got greedy and it did not work out. Barbara Cusack if someone had a habit that drove her crazy (one of her friends chewed her nails). Paul Hagge was asked if he ever had spoiled a child. Mari Chumley was asked if TV had ever effected her in a bad way as a kid. Guest Adam Dudley was asked if his biggest dream had ever come true. Our two speeches were both delicious as well. Bob Blaydes, CC gave his 10th speech from the Basic Manual and became our first new Competent Communicator of the new Toastmaster year! Bob told how he had attempted the Toastmasters program with another club before coming to Club #28 but this time he found in himself the confidence to achieve his goal. The speech, titled “This Was Not the First Time” was inspirational and Bob was simply dynamic. Congratulations Bob! Our 2nd speech, titled “Changes of Club Protocols” by Dennis Gola ACS, CL, was a speech designed to be “bad or unpopular news” and then followed by a “mini-press conference”. Dennis told of some not-so-great ideas to increase membership mostly by levying fines on the existing membership. Dennis did a great job of inciting those present and handling the questions that followed. Ken Blake ATMS, CL as our Master Evaluator had the pleasure of introducing two of Club #28’s best evaluators, Ken Walley ATMG, CL for Bob’s speech and Eddie Selover who gave feedback for Dennis’s presentation. Both gave exceptional, constructive, fair and entertaining reviews of the speeches. Ken W. doubled as our Timer and Paul Hagge served as our AH Counter. Mari Chumley jumped in as our Vote Counter and our Grammarian Barbara Cusack. All preformed their duties extremely well! To paraphrase Forrest Gump: “A Club #28 Toastmasters meeting is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Tonight we got something really yummy.

The special “Family Reunion” meeting of August 2nd 2007 was a grand success because many of our old friends returned home to Orlando Toastmasters Club #28!It was a very wonderful experience to see so many familiar faces again.  Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was our host of the evening and he remembered some outstanding moments in Club #28’s past such as the night Club #28 had a meeting on Ralph Cowell’s (ATMB, CL) boat, the “Best of Club #28″ Meeting, some great contests and even the “Backwards meeting” in which the club did the agenda backwards. Sarah Stack did an awesome job, again as our Table Topics Master. It was nice to be able to showcase our best before so many returning toastmasters and guests.  “What are the best things about a Family Reunion?”  was the first question asked of Bob Blaydes. “What makes a Family reunion special?” was answered by returning past Club #28 president Helen Joseph, DTM. “Tell us about a family reunion” was the question given to Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL and “Why do we have family reunions?” by another club #28 legendary toastmaster Dr. Ross Thomson, ATMB, CL. We had three magnificent speeches. Our Area 49 Governor Bruce Gould, ATMS, CL introduced himself to the club and gave an inspiring speech titled “Never Give Up!” in which he urged toastmasters to stay with the programs because the rewards just get better. Our second speaker was Helman Romano who also introduced himself to the club by giving an impressive Ice Breaker speech. Helman’s first effort  showed again that we some excellent new talent coming into the club. Dennis Gola ATMS, CL gave a dynamite speech titled “Melodies and Memories” about why Club #28 is special and the importance of remembering those who have made it great. Our three evaluators were introduced by Master Evaluator Cathy Goonen who did a tremendous job holding that position for her first time. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL had the honor of reviewing Area Gov. Gould’s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the evaluation of Helman’s Ice Breaker and Michael Joseph DTM returned to the lectern to give an eloquent overview of Dennis’s speech. Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL gave the Grammarian report, Mike Deichen was our AH Counter and he returned again this week with his wife Susan Deichen but this time as new members! . Also returning after a long absence was Paul Hagge who served as our Vote Counter and brought two guests Mari I. Chumley and John L. Striano as well! Two time Club #28 President Adam Scoggins, CTM was another returnee from our fabled past. Dr. Princess Anita was also present for the festivities as well. President Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL was overjoyed at the success of the evening and pledged to have another “Family Reunion” in six months or so. I hope that the success from this meeting spills over into many meetings to come.

It was no surprise that Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 had a fantastic July 25, 2007 meeting but with the theme of “Surprise!” there were lots of surprises as well…all of them good ones! The first surprise happened when our Toastmasters came in the door and they were instructed by the Sgt. at Arms to pull from a hat what their meeting roles would be for the night! Luck was on the side of Club #28. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL  was both our Toastmaster and Table Topics Master for the evening and did a spectacular job doing double duty. Dennis said of the Table Topics questions, “This is almost as much a surprise to me as it will be to you as I don’t have any idea what I am going to be asking!” It turned out that Dennis did wonderfully with the questions: Ken Blake ATMS, CL got the first question which was “What auto mechanic problem has surprised you the most?” His next question of Bob Blaydes was “What surprised you most when it comes to money?” Bob replied that it was how money can turn a family against itself so quickly sometimes. Dr. Mike Deichen was given the question “What was the best surprise of your last vacation?”  His wife, Susan Deichen was asked about the “Bad Karma” of the same vacation. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about food surprises. Dr. Princess Anita was given the chance to answer “What surprised you most about America?” She answered  “general culture shock” from her native India.  To Cathy Goonen he asked “What surprising things have left you ‘white knuckled’?” Lastly, Dennis asked guest Helman Romano what was the most surprising thing about his native country of Columbia. Another surprise about this evening was the truly excellent quality of our two speeches. Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave a speech from the Specialty  Speeches Advanced Manual in which he accepted an award presented to him by a charity organization. Ken not only accepted the award with grace and dignity but did it with a bit of flair as well as presenting the award giver with a check for his organization as well! It was a speech that was a lot of fun! Cathy Goonen gave another brilliant effort with her speech titled “A Dose of Reality” the speech told about overcoming the fear and worries of an unknown future. It was “acted out” in a tour-de-force performance that won everyone over in the audience! Cathy’s speech was worthy of an International Speech contest. Bob Blaydes handled the Master Evaluator duties and also showed how he has become an exceptional evaluator as well with his review of Ken Blake’s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL has the pleasure of evaluating Cathy’s speech and he gave a performance of his own! Dr. Anita, The Kens and our guest Susan Deichen served as Grammarian, AH Counter, Timer and Vote Counter,  respectively. At first, everyone was worried that with just a few Toastmasters we would not be able to even have a meeting. The surprise was that this turned out to be a wonderful meeting!

The July 19th 2007 had a theme of “Things that Motivate Us” and one thing was certain: Club #28 was motivated to have a tremendous meeting! Ken Blake ATMS, CL was our Toastmaster and he spoke about the things that made us start our day with “either jumping out of bed to get a head start or throwing the alarm clock out of the window.” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was on board as the Table Topics Master asking some good questions about motivation. Ken asked Barbara Cusack “What motivates you to do a great job at work, besides money?” Ken B. was asked to give an example of a soft drink commercial that would motivate us to buy it. Barbara Lott CTM was asked “How do you motivate a 10 year old to study for school?” Angela Abreu, CTM was asked what are the elements of a motivational speech. Dennis Gola ACS, CL was asked to give a half-time speech to get the team winning! It was another evening of excellent speeches. Since the theme was on Motivation, Dennis Gola ACS, CL gave the perfect speech : “How to Motivate Your Employees” It was a fact filled speech about motivating that motivated! Returning to the lectern after a long absence was past club president Ed Carmona, ATMB! Ed’s speech titled “Sail, Rudder and Keel” was simply awesome. Using the different parts of a ship, Ed gave a powerful speech about facing life’s situations and overcoming the storms that face us. Ed reminded us of what an amazing speaker he is and how much we have missed hearing him speak. Angela Abreu, CTM also returning to us after her vacation,  and was back as our Master Evaluator. Angela also provided the evaluation for Ed Carmona‘s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the evaluation for Dennis’s speech. Dr. Princess Anita filled in as our AH Counter and Hamdi Yesilyurt filled in as our vote counter. Even better news was that Hamdi signed up to be our newest member! Welcome Hamdi! If this meeting did not motivate you to come to the next meeting, nothing will. I cannot wait for next week!

July 12th 2007 saw a group of Toastmasters not much larger than the rock group Pearl Jam show up for the “Rock and Roll” themed meeting. Still Club #28 pulled off a meeting worthy of a stadium crowd holding up lighters and cell phones screaming “More!” MORE!”…Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster who guided us through the history of Rock, at least through the 1960’s because we ran short on time. That was enough to however to reminisce about Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane and many others. Also dropping a few names (like Jerry Garcia dropping, well something else) was Eddie Selover who rocked as our Table Topics Master! His first question was directed at Barbara Cusack; “Who is your favorite Rock Artist?” Bob Blaydes was asked about his favorite Rock concert that he has attended. Bob who a  big country music fan had to admit that he has not attended many rock concerts. Instead, we heard about an awesome Conway TwittyLoretta Lynn concert from his past! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to pick between the Stones or the Beatles. Ken went with the Beatles. Our returning guest, Paul Arnold commented on the worst Rock group of all time. Dennis Gola ACS, CL talked about the impact of Rock Music in our culture. We had two excellent speeches starting with another super Club #28 Ice breaker speech by Barbara Cusack titled “Stead Past“. Barbara did an awesome 1st speech telling about her life and how she came to arrive at Toastmasters. Congratulations Barbara! Next was Bob Blaydes who was giving his 9th speech in the basic manual titled “The Credit Union Difference” the speech used humor and fact to convince us to use a Credit Union over a Bank. Bob’s speech as again very insightful and a lot of fun. He even gave away a present to all who attended. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL handled the Master Evaluator duties as well as giving the evaluation for Barbara’s speech. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL did the honors for Bob’s speech. Everyone chipped in to cover all of the functionaries positions. Even Paul Arnold who served as our Vote Counter! This turned out to be a truly rock and roll meeting1 I enjoyed ever minute of it.

On July 5th 2007, Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s “Milestones” themed meeting was packed full of memorable events from the past thanks to Toastmaster Dennis Gola ACS, CL. Dennis returned to the club after taking a week off to recover from surgery. Dennis reminded us of Milestones from the month of July such as Independence Day in the US (July 4th, 1776) and the death of Kenneth Lay (July 5th, 2006). Indeed, Dennis reminded us that it was not only the 4th of July that was important but the 5th of July as well! After all, the first cloned sheep, named Dolly, was born, ah… produced, on that day in 1996. One of the best Table Topics Masters in all of Toastmasters, Sarah Stack was on hand and she did not disappoint asking some brilliant queries on the subject of Milestones. Eddie Selover was asked if he could  “go back in history and pick out a milestone to celebrate, what would it be?” He picked out celebrating the career of Arthur Conlan Doyle and the creation of Sherlock Holmes. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked to speak about a future milestone that our country was approaching. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about “A milestone from the future.”  Ken said he looked forward to the day when everyone on Earth had plenty to eat and when there was no homelessness or war. Sung Ho Han when asked about a personal milestone in his life told about becoming a father when his daughter was born 14 months ago. Bob Blaydes told how his family celebrated the milestones in their lives. It was an uplifting Table Topics session. Our speeches tonight were both political in nature. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave a speech titled “Scooter and Mr. Bush” in which Ken reflected upon the reduction of  Lewis “Scooter” Libby‘s sentence by President George W. Bush. Ken comparing Libby’s crime to a litany of abuses by the Bush Administration itself. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL stayed on the political scene with a speech about the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election. Dennis touched upon the candidacy of Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and others of both parties while painting a wide picture of what is in store for the next 16 months. “It looks like quite a ride!” said Dennis. Bob Blaydes jumped in as Master Evaluator for the first time in his storied career as a Toastmaster and did an excellent job. He had help from Eddie Selover who reviewed Ken W.’s speech. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL did the honors of evaluating Dennis’s speech. As Bob said during his meeting review that this was another example of how Club #28 produces a high quality meeting with not a lot of members present. Our three visitors Keith Gale, Paul Arnold and Hamdi Yesilyurt all had very positive things to say about the meeting. I hope they come back and experience many more milestone meetings like this one was.

On June 28th 2007, Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 celebrated July 4th with an “Independence day” themed meeting. We had an awesome meeting that had some fireworks of its own! Meeting in the very large Albertson Room at the library, even though we only had a few members present… we still came up with what I believe was one of the best meetings so far in 2007. Angela Abreu, CTM was on hand as Toastmaster and came very prepared with a lot of facts about how our country declared its Independence from in England in 1776. It was her personal thoughts about the blessings of being free however that provided one the brightest and the most meaningful highlights of the meeting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL returned as Table Topics Master with the “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show!”  for the first time in over a year! The show featured Ed Carmona ATMB, CL interviewing Ken Blake, ATMS, CL as George Washington! They covered every “father of our country” cliché ever thought of, including cherry trees, throwing coins and places he slept! It was a wonderful tour-de-force! Not to be outdone, Barbara Cusack interviewed Eddie Selover who played the part of Abe Lincoln and Cathy Goonen interviewed Angela Abreu, CTM who was none other than Susan B. Anthony. Everyone did a wonderful job. One of the best things about the show was that the true champion of the “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show , Diana Walley ATMG, CL was on hand to see her husband attempt to play the host. Diana also served as our timer. We had two very different types of speeches. Eddie Selover gave one of the wittiest, funniest and most informative speeches (titled simply “Dry“) in our club’s history. Believe it or not on the subject was:  “How to Make A Dry Martini”! It was worth coming to the library just to hear Eddie’s speech alone! Eddie showcased an incredible sense of dry (get it?) humor. Ken Walley ATMG, CL followed with an informative speech titled “Evaluations” which had to do with the art of giving an evaluation. Ken’s main point was that evaluations are more to encourage the speaker than to point out flaws, although it is important to help the speaker improve. It was good that Ken gave a speech about how to give an evaluation, because Cathy Goonen gave her first evaluation of Ken’s speech! Cathy did a stellar job! Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who was also acting as our Master Evaluator, did a competent job as well with an evaluation of Eddie’s speech. Dr. Princess Anita was at the meeting and filled in the role of Grammarian doing her usual good work. It must also be noted that Cathy Goonen filled the shoes of Club #28’s President Dennis Gola ACS, CL while he was recovering from surgery. Cathy announced that Dennis plans to return next week. Cathy also did a perfect job as our acting President. George Washington would have been proud.

On June 21, 2007 Toastmaster Club #28  presented a very special meeting: Its 2007 Summer Celebration and Installation of Officers. After the call to order by Sergeant-at -Arms Jack Nguyen, and the Invocation and Pledge led by Cathy Goonen, our outgoing president Angela Abreu, CTM welcomed the attendees and introduced our Master of Ceremonies, Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken introduced the first “featured speaker” of the evening Dr. Princess Anita whose speech titled “I will not be Alone in this Wild World!” stressed the importance of human contact. “We are born to speak” said Dr. Anita “We depend on each other and it is the others around us that give our life meaning. That is why God gave us a mouth to speak with.” Next up, with a “hip pocket” speech on the spur of the moment was Cathy Goonen, giving her fourth speech titled “Never Say Never“. The speech told the story of how she met her husband Tom Goonen, who was present as a guest. Cathy did a great job of extemporaneous speaking. Later in the meeting the featured speakers were evaluated by Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Eddie Selover. As in the past, both delivered exceptional evaluations. Ken also had some time to spring a couple of Table Topics questions on Sarah Stack and Bob Blyades asking Bob “What meeting over the past six months did you find exceptional?” Bob remembered our very successful International Speech Contest (March 8, 2007). Sarah was asked what speech impressed her the most over the past six months. Sarah remembered Eddie’s Ice Breaker speech (Feb. 22, 2007) recalling the 9/11 attacks in New York City.  Our outgoing President Angela Abreu, CTM gave a touching “Farewell Address”. She thanked her fellow officers and club members for their help in achieving many of the club successes during her term.  She  received a standing ovation for her hard work for the club. The meeting’s highlight was the induction of our new club officers: Sergeant at Arms Jack Nguyen, Treasurer Bob Blaydes, Secretary Eddie Selover, VP of Public Relations Sarah Stack, VP of Membership Ken Blake ATMS, CL; VP of Education Cathy Goonen and President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL. Ken W. performed the “Passing of the Gavel Ceremony” to induct our officers in place of our Area 49 Governor Bruce  Gould, DTM who was unable to attend at the last moment. Upon taking the gavel, Incoming President Dennis Gola, ACS, CL; gave an outline of the opportunities ahead for Club #28. He mentioned starting a youth program, achieving the club’s 7th President’s Distinguished Award and celebrating our 60th anniversary of the club’s TI charter date. Dennis also received a standing ovation at the end of his speech. Ken W. also called upon our guest for some feedback as to this special meeting and received some high praise from Meena Pradham and Jessica Zuniga as well as Cathy’s husband, Tom. The meeting was a great summary of the Club’s accomplishments and an exciting preview of things ahead!

“This was a really remarkable meeting!” said a jubilant Ken Blake ATMS, CL  of the June 14th 2007 “Ideas!” themed meeting. The club returned to The Center for Spiritual Living for the first time in quite a few months. The meeting excelled  for a number of different reasons. First of all, Bob Blaydes did a wonderful job as Toastmaster. Having Bob lead the meeting it could be said was the best idea of the night. A close second was the brilliance of Table Topics Master Venky Allensky. Venky asked some wonderful questions such as the first one asked of Eddie Selover “What would be some good ideas on how to solve the hunger problem in the world?” Ken Walley ATMG, CL, thankful he did not have to solve world hunger was asked about simple ideas that have changed the world. Ken mentioned the toothbrush, the can-opener and the disposable razor. Jack Nguyen gave us some far reaching ideas on the future of the cell phone. Maybe the best answer of the night came when returning guest Kathy Quillinan answered the question of what kind of reality show she would offer on TV. “A show that would solve real problems, like world hunger, the environment and bring about lasting peace around the world.” Dennis Gola ACS, CL was able to address his ideas for fighting childhood obesity and health problems. We had another three interesting and inspiring speeches. Cathy Goonan gave her third speech about the joys of taking a cruise in a speech tiled “To Cruise or Not to Cruise“. By the time she was finished everyone in the room was thinking about getting away from it all on a cruise. Sign me up. Sung Ho Han was up next with a poignant and riveting Ice breaker speech tiled “Proud to be a Failure” His speech told of his trials chasing the dream to be a professional golfer but ending up a proud husband and father. There is nothing that is a failure about Sung Ho. Congratulations on completing your Ice breaker! It would not be a Club #28 meeting without a speech by Dennis Gola, ACS, CL and on this night he did not disappoint. His speech from the Advanced Public Relations manual titled “The Three R’s” was given as an information speech and thanks for support from the Florida Literacy Coalition. Three great speech also had three great evaluations Jack Nguyen, Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL all gave very good advice and encouragement to our speakers. Dennis was working overtime on this evening also acting as our Master Evaluator. President Angela Abreu, CTM served as our timer and Eddie Selover did double duty opening the meeting leading us in the invocation and pledge as well as being our AH Counter. Our guests Mike and Susan Deichen gave some very positive feedback on the evening a pledged to return. This meeting was packed with great ideas, not the least of which was was having such a great time tonight.

The theme of the June 7th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was “Friendship!” Club #28 brought a number of friends together and came through with a very interesting meeting. We started out the meeting with a “1st” as Sung Ho Han gave the Invocation and led us in the Pledge to the Flag for his first time. Eddie Selover was impressive while serving as our Toastmaster for his first time as well. Eddie was very prepared with many thoughts, and some advertising facts, about friendship… including one that had to do with men wearing “Dockers” pants. Taking on the job as Table Topics Master was returning Toastmaster Sarah Stack. She did a super job with some very intriguing questions such as the one she asked of Sung Ho: “If Friendship were a recipe, what would be in yours?” Sung’s recipe included honesty, trust and forgiveness. Bob Blaydes was asked if he had made any good friends from a chance encounters. Ed Carmona, ATMB was asked on how he would be a great friend. Venky Allensky was questioned with: “If friendship is a mirror how would your friends describe you?” Venky did indeed see himself as we see him. Dennis Gola ACS, CL told a story of how baseball umpires support each other when faced with 20,000 hostile fans when given the quote: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” We had two speakers give two very different speeches: Jack Nguyen told a story of adventure in China while escaping the rage of an angry taxi driver. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech from the Toastmasters International “Successful Club Series” on Membership Building. Ken also acted as our Master Evaluator and introduced Dennis who gave the evaluation for Jack’s speech.  C.J. Jackson was our 2nd evaluator bravely attempting his first evaluation. He did a very good job reviewing Ken’s speech.  Another first of the evening was Barbara Cusack‘s excellent work as the AH Counter. Venky was our Grammarian and Angela Abreu, CTM as timer rounded out the evening’s Technical Table. Kathy Quillinan was our guest tonight and had some very nice things to say about Club #28 and thus became our club’s new best friend. Barbara Cusack joined the club tonight as well! Welcome Barbara!

The theme of the May 31st 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was “Favorite Places!” and Club #28 put together a meeting that made the Downtown Orlando Public Library truly the favorite place to be on this Thursday night! Starting off the meeting was none other than returning Toastmaster Andrea McManus, CTM! It was great to see her back and she also served as our Master Evaluator without missing a beat. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was his always impressive and entertain self as our Toastmaster. Ken took us to a number of exotic and wonderful places as did the other members of the club throughout the evening. Eddie Selover transported us to distant and not-so-distant ports of call via Table Topics. As our Table Topics Master for the first time Eddie had some great questions for our members; Asking Dr. Princess Anita where would she be if she could be anywhere in the world? Dr. Anita remembered her hometown in India and painted a picture of a peaceful and loving place. Jack Nguyen was asked to sell Eddie’s old house located under a busy freeway and next to a power plant! Jack made it sound dreamy. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave advice on what to bring to Orlando for a vacation. Our guest, Barbara Cusack bravely tackled a question about the place where we “spend time in our head”. Andrea McManus remembered a place that changed her as a person: Colorado. We had three speeches well worth traveling to distant lands to hear: Ryan Viloria came through with a very funny and yet serious speech titled “The Best Thing About Disney World” which about the bitter-sweetness of leaving home to work in a far away city. C.J. Jackson was magnificent in his Ice Breaker titled “My Introduction“. He told a tale of a life in the Military and finding a new life in music. C.J. later received a standing ovation for his 1st speech! Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL who told a heart-string-tugging tale last week gave a completely different speech, a Public Relations speech about upcoming changes to our educational system, that was every bit as captivating. Andrea introduced three excellent evaluators: Angela Abreu, CTM, Jack Nguyen and Eddie Selover all of whom gave very good reports on their speakers. Jack gave his fist evaluation of C.J.’s Ice breaker and was just as impressive as his speeches have been. Andrea praised our meeting in her review and we hope she will be able to return to more meeting in the future. Sung Ho Han gave a great AH Counter report, also for his first time and our guest Barbara Cusack had noting but high praise for our club as well. She even signed up for a position for next week’s meeting! This was a meeting that was out of this world…about the only place we didn’t visit..

“Television!” was the entrancing theme of the May 24th 2007 meeting and Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 put together a meeting that was just as interesting as any reality show, soap opera or comedy on the little screen. Ken Walley ATMG, CL our Toastmaster for the evening, told many facts about the history of TV, some remarkable tube trivia and revisited some of his most beloved (and hated) shows. Ryan Viloria, CTM did an exceptional job as the Table Topics Master asking some questions that would have stumped any quiz show contestant but our “panel of experts” handled them all with ease! Scott Waechter answered a question about Children’s programming and if their has been a relaxing of the ethic guidelines  recently. Scott thought so saying that he was surprised at some of what he saw even while he was growing up as a kid. “How would you define your life if it was to be fitted into a TV program formula? Soap Opera? Comedy? Quiz Show or something else?” was asked of Eddie Selover. “Which decade had the best TV shows?” was asked of Cathy Goonen. Returning Toastmaster Mike Masur was asked if it would be a good idea to have a “Toastmaster Idol” where speeches were judged by Randy, Paula and Simon! “Not unless you do not mind seeing Toastmasters running from the room in tears after a snarky Simon Cowell evaluation!” said Mike. Our visitor, Michael Wilson was asked a question about talking animals. He answered the question even better than the amazing Mr. Ed could have. We had another three expert speeches on this night. The first speaker was Bob Blaydes who gave a very impressive speech (titled: “Come on a Journey“) about a family escaping the rising waters of Hurricane Katrina. To Bob’s side was marked off up on the wall the distance that the water rose during the storm. Bob painted a harrowing picture of escape from certain death. Our Second  Speaker was Jack Nguyen who took us on a journey of discovery via the internet. His speech title, “Why You Should Stay Informed in the Information Age”  defined the goal of his speech. Jack gave us some ingenious pointers on how to use the internet (and Pod cast/ MP3) that including some advice to visit www.reddit.com and www.digg.com. Jack was as usual, informative as well as expressive. Dennis Gola, ACS, CL told a heart-string-tugging tale of a little boy who found a dime in the speech “Great Wealth” . A florist with a sympatric soul sold the poor young lad a dozen roses saying only “They are on sale today for just a dime!” The street urchin gave the roses to his mother not knowing it was the same day her husband had died years ago. Our three evaluators were… I am happy to say… the good,  not the bad of Randy, Paula and Simon combined. Playing the part of Ryan Secrest was Angela Abreu, CTM as our Master Evaluator. Ken Blake ATMS, CL, Scott Selover and Scott Waechter all gave useful and meaningful evaluations which sometimes cannot be said for the American Idol crew. It was truly great to see Mike Masur return to us after almost two years away! Welcome back Mike! Sadly, we said goodbye to Toastmaster Scott Waechter who is moving to Tampa. We wish you the very best Scott and we thank you for the seemly endless effort and dedication you have given our club! Michael Wilson has some very nice things to say as our guest and he plans to return in the near future. This was another example of how a Toastmaster meeting should be: Interesting, informative and fun and…better than sitting in front of the TV!

The May 17th 2007 “Odd Jobs” themed meeting was another triumph for Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 but it almost didn’t take place at all due to the pouring rain and howling wind outside. Indeed, our Sgt. at Arms Scott Waechter arrived drenched to the bone from bravely bringing our equipment through the deluge. Just as we thought that we might have to cancel the meeting, one by one… Club #28’s dedicated members started to arrive and we ended up having an exceptional evening that made the trip to the library well worthwhile. Scott was also our Toastmaster and Table Topics Master for the evening. Scott told us about some rather dangerous and some well, rather silly jobs he did while making money to put himself through college. As Table Topics Master Scott was looking for the strange and the odd jobs our members had experienced. “What is the worst job you have ever had?” was his first question to Bob Blaydes. Bob recounted being a dishwasher at a Bonanza Restaurant when he was 16. Yikes! That was a tough job. “What is your dream job?” was asked of Jack Nguyen who said that his current job as a research engineer was perfect for him. “My boss checks on me at the end of the month and asks ‘So what have you done?'” Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was asked about jobs that burned both ends of the candle. Ken remembered working two full time jobs in which he only got two to three hours a night to sleep. Both jobs had the same days off so he slept most of that time. He could not keep that up for very long. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL was asked what job he would encourage his children to do. Ken proudly told of his oldest son who got a doctorate in computer engineering but went into other fields to help others. Ryan Viloria, CTM was asked about the worst job he had ever heard of. Ryan said it must be the thankless job of working custodial at a large theme park and picking up after thousands of people. It was a great job to listen to our three speeches tonight. Speaker #1 Venky Allensky gave a speech titled “Human Behavior and the Stock Market Bubble” . This speech could have been a data-filled droning of the stock market but Venky made the speech interesting and fun. He even drew a parallel to the 16th century Tulip market! Our second speaker Ken Blake ATMS, CL announced that it was his birthday and that he was going to give us a present. He did by presenting us with an exceptional speech titled “If There Were Only a Pill” about how to save gasoline by using a pill…that’s right. He gave each of us a sample of this amazing product at the end of his speech. Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL gave a powerful speech based in history titled “Warwick Creek” about a courageous hero during the Civil War who dragged his fellow soldiers from the line of fire. We found out at the end of the speech this hero was a 12 year old fife player! This was Dennis’s fourth speech in four weeks. Our three evaluators did excellent work tonight as well. Dennis, Bob and Ken W. who also doubled as the Master Evaluator, were all on target with some brilliant advice and a ton of creative encouragement for our speakers. Angela Abreu, CTM served as our Timer while giving the Invocation and Pledge and Ryan and Jack filled in the rest of our functionary roles. This was a fun and exciting meeting truly worthy of Club #28. If I had to pick a “dream job” it would be going to Toastmaster meetings like this one, every day.

The theme was “Superheroes” for the May 10th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting and the real superheroes were the Toastmasters who showed up for the meeting that night. Superhero #1 was Eddie Selover who started out the meeting with an brief “History of the Pledge of Allegiance”. He gave a great presentation (that should be expanded into a speech someday) that was insightful, humorous and captivating. Superhero #2 was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who  courageously stepped in as acting President and guided our club through the treacherous waters of club business. Superhero #3 was Bob Blaydes who came prepared with tons of facts about caped crusaders out to rid the world of evil and wrongdoing!. Bob kept us entertained throughout the meeting and asked many trivia questions about our indestructible friends. Most of the trivia questions were answered by Superhero #4 of our Toastmaster Justice League: Jack Nguyen, also known as a mild-mannered Table Topics Master. The first question delivered like a fine line of silk from Spiderman’s wrist was towards Superhero #5 Sarah Stack. “What superpower would you want to have the most?” was asked. Sarah chose wisely: “To be able stop time!” Next, Jack asked Bob Blaydes “What was the best Superhero movie ever?” He went with the second Superman movie “But it would have been better with Marlon Brando in it, like the first Superman.” he said. “Who was the best Batman ever?” was asked of Superhero #6 Scott Waechter. Scott was torn between Michael Keaton and George Cooney. He decided on Cooney because he felt that he could beat up Keaton himself!. The last question asked was of Superhero #7 Jamie Waters. Jamie was asked who was indeed the greatest superhero of all? “Superman” said Jamie “He has endured all of these years and we have related to him all of this time.” Three speeches, each more powerful than a locomotive in their own way were reveled by our brave and trusty speakers. First up was Scott Waechter with his eighth speech titled “Should We Arrange It?” Scott looked into the reasons why marriages worked over 90% of the time in India and only 50% of the time in the United States. The reasons were a real eye-opener. The second speech was given by Superhero #8 Cathy Goonen, only her second speech and her second in four weeks titled “An Exercise in Opposites” which was an inspiring speech about why people look at things in a negative or positive light. “Our perception of our world shapes our reality of our world.” said Cathy. Superhero #9 Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL, who is in the middle of a “speech marathon” made good on his 3rd speech in three weeks titled “The Captain and the Stormy Sea”  again from the Advanced Storytelling manual. Dennis came through with a powerful tale that held the room spellbound. Master Evaluator (Superhero #10) Ken Walley ATMG, CL had the joyful role of evaluating Scott’s speech and then introducing Eddie Selover and Ken Blake ATMS, CL who did the honors for Cathy and Dennis’s speeches. Ken W. also gave a magnanimous review of the the evening’s triumphs. Ken said: “This was a night of nobleness, of jobs well done! This was a deservedly sublime evening of joy for all who came.”  Also sharing in the light of Toastmaster goodness and justice were Superhero #11 Dr. Princess Anita our AH Counter and Superhero #12 C.J. Jackson our Grammarian. This was a meeting that made the world safe for Superhero Toastmasters everywhere!

There were some that thought that the theme of “Oils and Fats” might be a tough topic to keep things interesting for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 8th, 2007 meeting. They would have completely underestimated our Toastmaster Angela Abreu, CTM who brought with her a vast array of facts and data about two things we take for granted but have a great impact in our lives. Angela made the subject not only interesting but even kind of fun. Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Table Topics Master admitted that he was challenged to come up with questions on the subject but he also did pretty good: “How do you use oils in your everyday life?” was answered by Jamie Waters. “What do you prefer to cook with? Butter, Bacon fat, soy sauce, Canola oil?…or something else?” was answered by Venky Allensky. “You have heard the phrase: ‘They get along as well as oil and water’ Dou you know of an ‘oil and water’ relationship?” was handled by Bob Blaydes. “What colors would you paint your house and how would those colors make you feel?” was answered by Sung Ho Han. Blue, by the way was the main color that Sung picked. “What advice would you give someone who came to you to lose weight?” was asked of the rather thin Eddie Selover. Our guest, the Rev. Horace Kittzer was asked the question “How can we solve the oil crisis?” The club showed that it was capable of handling a number of diverse questions and coming up with some remarkable answers. We had two speeches that were worthy of any speech contest tonight. Jack Nguyen and Dennis Gola ACS, CL gave two speeches that were so good they will be remembered for a very long time. Jack’s speech simply titled “Pi” was about the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter with an infinite decimal expansion. Jack’s speech covered the definition, the history and some of the folklore surrounding Pi. It started with Jack writing on the whiteboard from memory: the number “3.14159265358979323546264338327950”  and then standing in front of the whiteboard facing the audience and reciting it back by heart! Jack gave the prime (not the irrational)  math speech ever given to Club #28. Dennis Gola ACS, CL gave a speech that was just as amazing in its own way. He told the story of watching the Detroit Tigers play a game in 1969 while a riot raged just outside the stadium. He brought to life the sights and sounds of both the baseball game and the riot as well. Our evaluators were introduced by guest Master Evaluator and former Club #28 President Ed Carmona, ATMB. Ed was rewarded by two excellent evaluations by two very good evaluators: Bob Blaydes and Scott Waechter. Ed also gave one of the finest meeting evaluations ever given before this or any other Toastmasters club. Using humor and keen insight, Ed remarked on how the room was packed, the high quality of the speeches and the creative Table Topics and Evaluations. He gave some pointers to the Toastmaster as well as poking a jibe at the “tradition” of starting our meetings late. His meeting review was one of the most entertaining part of the evening. Jamie Waters became our newest member and served as our AH counter. Also joining the club was Sung Ho Han who was the Vote Counter tonight. Venky Allensky did a great job as our timer and so did Cathy Goonen who was our Grammarian as well as giving our Invocation and Pledge. We had a number of visitors Dr. Princess Anita brought her friend Rev. Horace Kittzer who said he was coming back and bringing more people with him! Visitors Erica Ellrich and Richard Skinner had as number of great things to say about the Club and the meeting. The only one who was pretty quiet for once was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who we will have to get talking more at next week’s meeting!  This meeting showed that no matter what the subject, Club #28 is up to the task of creating a great evening of learning and fun.

Before the April 26th 2007 meeting got underway, two of our newest member were inducted into Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Vice President of Membership, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL inducted Cathy Goonen and Jack Nguyen…The vote for both of them was unanimous! Congratulations to Cathy and Jack! The theme for the  meeting was “Going Green: Becoming Eco-Friendly.  Ken Walley, ATMG, CL was our Toastmaster for the 2nd meeting in a row filling in at the last minute. Even though he was not very prepared, Ken still came up with a lot to say on the subject and came up with a number of ways to save our resources and save our planet at the same time. Also coming up with some great questions about our planet was environmentally friendly Scott Waechter who brought out some great ideas from our members asking Ken Blake ATMS, CL “What can you do to make your world more Eco-friendly?” Ken answered maintenance your car, use synthetic oil and put a brick in your toilet. Jack Nguyen came up with an excellent answer to the question of “If money was no option what would you buy to conserve energy?” He chose an electric car. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked “What will it take to get people involved in creating a better world environmentally?” Ken said that people would have to be personal effected before they act. Dennis Gola ATMS, CL told about what he would do personally to improve saving energy: getting his roommate to turn off the Air Conditioner & Lights. His bill doubled since his roommate moved in! C.J. Jackson told us why he was “Eco-friendly” and Cathy Goonen also came up with a fear that we all share when asked “What worries you the most?” “That by the time we do something about the environment, it will be too late.” We were blessed with two excellent speakers Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL and surprise guest speaker Ed Goddard, DTM for our prepared speeches on this night. Dennis started off with a speech from the Advanced Toastmasters “storytelling” manual. His speech titled “Um Um Good!” Told the story of hungry soldiers who got a village to make “stone soup” In the end, the soldiers had the villagers work together and everyone had plenty to eat.  Dennis is a remarkable storyteller and he had everyone mesmerized.  Ed Goodard, DTM did a project from the “Interpretive Reading” Advanced Manual. Ed read Robert Service‘s poem “The Shooting of Dangerous Dan McGrew“. Ed did a very good reading of this famous poem. We had two excellent evaluations from Ken Blake ATMS, CL (for Ed’s speech) and Angela Abreu, CTM who reviewed Dennis’s speech. This was a great meeting even though we did not have a great turnout” said Ken W. during his meeting evaluation while also filling the role of Master Evaluator. “I wish we could have had more members here to have enjoyed, and learned from, this meeting!” The experience of  this meeting would make anyone want to return next week for another superb Toastmasters Club #28 meeting!

The theme of our April 19th 2007 meeting was “Courage” which turned out to be a very appropriate subject with the valiant action by the students, teachers and emergency personnel during the Virginia Tech. tragedy. New member Linette Thompson gave an invocation in memory of those events. Ken Walley ATMG, CL as our Toastmaster brought out numerous examples of  bravery throughout the meeting including those serving in our armed forces, those who have sacrificed to help others in danger and even those who face their inner fears on an “every day” basis. Sarah Stack returned to our club and served as Table Topics Master and came up with some excellent questions on the subject of “Courage”. “What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?” was asked of Angela Abreu, CTM who remembered once stopping a shoplifter. “Who is the most courageous person you have ever known?” was asked of Dr. Princess Anita, who praised her father for taking unpopular and even dangerous stands. “What does courage mean to you?” Was answered by Scott Waechter. “What was the most courageous thing that you could see yourself doing?” was answered by our guest Toastmaster from sister club Orange County Toastmasters Club #129, Jimmy Waters. Linette Thompson answered the question “What is the opposite of Courage?” and C.J. Jackson told us about the “Most courageous things that he had ever heard about.”  Our two speakers tonight gave very different but very inspirational speeches. The first speech was by Ken Walley ATMG, CL which was simply titled “Courage” . Ken spoke about overcoming the three “universal fears” of death, meaninglessness and change. “Courage is the outcome of having nothing to lose and everything to gain.” said Ken. Our 2nd speaker was Jack Nguyen who gave an enrapturing account of his life in his 1st speech titled “Jack’s Ice Breaker” Jack’s speech told about he had traveled throughout the world to end up in our club in Orlando. Jack told a number of exciting stories that we look forward to hearing more from him in future speeches. Angela Abreu, CTM served as our Master Evaluator and introduced our evaluators for this evening: Dr. Princess Anita who gave a very well thought out evaluation of Ken W’s speech and Scott Waechter who delivered one of the best evaluations ever for Jack’s Ice Breaker.  Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our Timer, Angela as our AH Counter and Grammarian and Linette Thompson provided wonderful service as our  Vote Counter. C.J. Jackson joined the club at the end of the meeting to become our newest member! This meeting was just another example of what Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 can do with the courage that they have to overcome their fears and improve their lives. This was a wonderful meeting!

“Fast Foods” hit the menu as the topic for the April 12th, 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting and it turned out to be more delicious than a hot apple pie from McDonalds! Our Toastmaster for the evening was Andrea McManus, CTM who came prepared with all kinds of fascinating facts on the good, bad and ugly of fast foods. Also being a major part of the meeting’s diet was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who put together some truly fatting questions for his turn as Table Topics Master. “What is your favorite fast food restaurant?” was asked of Venky Allensky who endorsed Burger King but also gave some warning about eating there too much. Ken Walley ATMG, CL revisited the fast food existence of his college days when answering the question “What is the longest you waited in line for fast food?” Eddie Selover had the question of what kind of meal he would take into space. Scott Waechter was asked to make a “weight gain commercial” for a fast food restaurant. Hot dogs, charred pizza and garlic bread were just some of the items Andrea McManus, CTM included in her recipe when asked “What would you put in a pot pie?” Lynette Thomson, one of our guests on this night had an excellent answer for the question “How do you get children NOT to eat fast food?” she suggested making “Health food hip!” and our newest member Jack Nguyen, took on the question of how much he would pay for a double-cheese burger. “Depending on how hungry I get, if necessary, everything I have!” The main part of our Toastmaster meal tonight was the prepared speeches and they were truly magnificent! Venky Allensky started with a speech (“The Indomitable Human Spirit“) about a man named Gene D. Bobbie who overcame tremendous obstacles to write a book only by blinking his eyes because the rest of his body was completely paralyzed. The speech was very inspiring. Cathy Goonen was next up with her Ice Breaker titled “ Chain of Thoughts” that was inspiring as well. Cathy told how she did not stop at accomplishing her goals because a professor told her she would not succeed.  Her 1st speech showed a wealth of hidden speaking potential. Congratulations Cathy! Cathy was given a standing ovation after her speech. Scott Waechter acted as our Master Evaluator and introduced two excellent evaluators, Eddie Selover and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Eddie’s evaluation was full of great ideas and advice. Ken had the members shout “You Rock!” to Cathy whenever he mentioned what she did good. There was a lot of “You Rock’s” shouted out during that evaluation. Scott’s evaluation of the meeting rocked as well! Our Timer for tonight was Angela Abreu, CTM, Ken W. doubled as our AH Counter and Ken B. did a great job as Grammarian. One of the best parts of the meeting was our guest comments. Jack said he was joining the club! Lynette said she was joining as well and C.J. Jacksonn also said that he was going to come back and he give some really positive feedback for the meeting. This was a tasty meeting! But without the cholesterol and fat.

“Easter” was the theme  for our April 5th 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. The theme was appropriate this Thursday night being one day before Good Friday and the 8th of April being Easter Sunday. Club President Angela Abreu, CTM took us through the history of the Easter holiday along with the many different aspects of non-religious traditions that have become popular, including chocolate Easter eggs which she brought to the meeting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also came up with some excellent questions about Easter as our Table Topics Master: Ken asked of Eddie Selover:  “What were some of your childhood memories of Easter?” .  “Easter is often spoken as a time of renewal. How is ‘renewal’ important?” was the question asked of our newest member, Cathy Goonen. Returning from a couple of weeks absence, Venky Allensky was asked where the best place to hide an Easter egg would be. Another returning club member, Ryan Viloria had the tough question of “How would you explain the meaning of the Easter holiday to someone of a different culture?” Given only two minutes, Ryan did an admirable job. The last question was asked of Dr. Princess Anita: “What are some good things to give up for Lent?” All of the questions had some very insightful answers! Our speeches were also 1st rate! Our first speaker was Scott Waechter who returned from vacation and once again he gave an awesome and stellar speech. Wow! “Don’t Eat the Marshmallows ” was Scott’s 7th and it fascinated and inspired us with how we can improve our lives through self discipline and tenaciousness. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL gave his 4th speech from the “Advanced Communicating on TV ” manual. Ken really showed us how tough owning a business can be when unpredictable events take place. Andrea McManus, CTM acted both as our Master Evaluator as well as giving a brilliant evaluation of Ken Blake‘s speech and Ken Walley, ATMG, CL, came through with a very good evaluation of Scott’s speech. Although he was hard pressed to find improvement, Ken did suggest that he “Grow a distinguished beard like Ken Blake‘s!”  One would also be hard pressed to find improvement from Cathy Goonen who served as Vote Counter, Ryan Viloria as Timer, Dr. Princess Anita as Grammarian and Eddie Selover as our AH Counter. Returning guest Jack Nguyen gave a review of the meeting that was heavy with praise! We are hoping Jack will be our next “newest member”. This meeting was even better than eating a chocolate Easter bunny!

It was ironic that the theme for the March 29th 2007 meeting was “Transportation” as a number of our members were unable to get to the meeting due to the traffic congestion around Orlando. Even though we did not have a large turnout and some got there a bit late, the meeting turned out to be another in a long series of excellent meetings for Club #28. Ken Walley ATMG, CL volunteered to be the host for the evening and brought up a number of transportation issues along with some thoughts about his own favorite ways of getting around: “Magic carpet would be at the top of my list. I just cannot find one that will fly on e-bay.”  said Ken. The other part of the Club #28 “Kens club”,  Ken Blake, ATMS, CL served as our Table Topics Master and relied upon his background as an Auto Mechanic to come up with a few of the questions. “When did you last check your tire pressure and oil?” Ken asked of Bob Blaydes. Bob gave a wonderful answer for the importance of regular car maintenance. “Is High Speed Rail a good idea?” Visiting Toastmaster Ed Goddard, DTM was asked. Ed did not like the idea and gave some very compelling reasons why.  Eddie Selover picked the town of Ithaca, New York, as his favorite place for a vacation when asked. Another guest, Cathy Goonen, came through with a great answer to the question “If you could go back in time and get your ‘Dream Car’ what would it be?” Cathy would come back with a baby-blue ’57 Thunderbird! Ken Walley ATMG, CL told us that the answer to the fuel crisis was “steam” ! He envisioned cars fueled by water in the near future. Sungho Han said that it was reasonable to get a ticket for driving too slow in the fast lane. Lastly, Angela Abreu, CTM was very open to the idea of having a Toastmaster Cruise! Our two speeches tonight were very different and extremely entertaining. First, Bob Blaydes gave a tremendous speech that brought awareness to a subject that could strike anyone of us without warning: Heart Attacks. Bob’s speech titled “A Matter of the Heart” gave answers that could save lives. Even better, Bob gave this speech a healthy dose of humor and charm that made it compelling and entertaining. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave a humorous speech titled “Bracketology” that told how we could use the same way that we chart NCAA Basketball tournaments for other things, like ordering dinner and picking the most important world event of our lives. Using the votes of those attending, the events of 9/11 beat out the Moon Landing to win in the finals. Ken W. also served as the Master Evaluator and had the pleasure to introduce Eddie Selover who gave his very 1st evaluation of Bob’s speech. Eddie did a great job and brought up some wonderful points during his presentation. Andrea McManus, CTM gave another excellent evaluation for Ken’s speech. Ed Goddard, DTM doubled as our AH Counter and Andrea did the same as Grammarian. One of the best parts about this meeting was hearing the fantastic reviews of our meeting from our guests. Guest Jack Nguyen said he was “extremely impressed” with the meeting and plans to return soon. Sungho Hun returning for the 2nd time, said he wanted to join the club as did Cathy Goonen! Cathy said that she has visited a number of clubs and this was the club “that she has been looking for!” Welcome Sungho and Cathy!

The March 22nd 2007 “March Madness” meeting was one of the most informative meetings that Club #28 has ever held thanks to the evening’s Toastmaster Dennis Gola ATMS, CL. “Did you know that March 1st is ‘National Pig Day’? and that March 25th is ‘National Waffle Day’?” said Dennis amid a myriad of facts about the month of March. Like Alexander Graham Bell who was born in March as well as making his famous 1st phone call in March, Dennis called upon Sarah Stack to handle the duties of Table Topics Master. Sarah asked a number of questions about this time of year. Daniel Ashworth was asked to remember some memories of Spring Break. Dr. Princess Anita spoke about Rebirth and Renewal. Angela Abreu, CTM told us what she like to grow in a garden. Ken Walley ATMG, CL answered the question of “What is Bracketology?” He even showed how you could figure out what to have for dinner using brackets! Eddie Selover returned to the club serving tonight as Grammarian, proved that he was still a master at Table Topics with his answer of the question “What takes your mind off of work at this time of year?” Eddie did not answer “love” but “e-bay”! Our two speakers both reached two wonderful milestones for our club. Andrea McManus has waited to give her CTM speech for almost a year to the day that she first visited our club on April, 6th 2006. During that time she has served as our Sgt.-at-Arms and Vice President of Education. She has also given nine great speeches but tonight’s speech titled “Touching Lives” was as inspiring a speech as one could ever deliver. Andrea spoke about the friendships and inspiration that she has gained from her year at Club #28. When she finished, she received a standing ovation. Our next speaker was Daniel Ashworth who was just starting on his Toastmaster path with his Ice Breaker speech titled “My Journey!” Daniel gave a strong speech about how he came from the very-different-from- Florida background of Columbus, Mississippi to be the first in his family to earn a college degree. He found a love of gardening (even after surviving a meal of ‘Poke-salad’) and turned it into a career in Landscape Architecture with Glatting-Jackson Inc. here in Orlando. He praised highly his wife, Tonya who has been his inspiration as they start their new life in Florida. Daniel’s first speech was a great success, leaving his fellow club members looking forward to his next projects in the basic manual. Also handing two jobs on this night was Angela Abreu, CTM who served as our Master Evaluator as well as giving the evaluation for Andrea McManus, CTM. Our resident evaluator of Ice Breakers, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL once again came through with another excellent review of Dan’s speech. At the end of the meeting our Timer and AH Counter, Ken Walley ATMG, CL awarded Andrea her new CTM Toastmaster nametag. “CTM” (Competent Toastmaster)  is being retired in place of the new designation of “CC” (Competent Communicator) so Andrea is one of the last of the holders of this proud standard. Congratulations to both Andrea and Dan! No madness here, we are just MARCHING towards excellence!

Club President Angela Abreu, CTM started off the meeting as our acting Sgt.-at-Arms, being just one of a number of our Toastmasters tonight to juggle more than one job. Even though we started the meeting with a number of positions still up in the air, tonight turned out to be a fantastic meeting! The theme was very open-ended for the March 15th 2007 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meeting: “Pot Luck”. It turned out that Toastmaster Andrea McManus picked a great theme as surprises kept the meeting very lively. Subjects that were covered in this meeting included everything from cooking to politics. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL incorporated the theme into the Table Topics session by putting a number of different questions, on all kinds of subjects, and having the members draw their question from a basket! Bob Blaydes got the question “The thing that I am most proud of is…?” He spoke about his family, of course. Daniel Ashworth spoke on a subject completely different: he drew “Anna Nicole Smith“.  Then Ken Bake ATMS, CL spoke on “Is there life on other planets?” Dr. Princess Anita answered the question: “What would be a perfect day for you?” Our guest on this evening, C.J., drew the question “If I was President of the United States, here is what I would do…” Andrea spoke about “A great movie that everyone should see!” We had three speakers tonight but the first speaker was giving a speech that many of our members had waited to hear for a long time. Sarah Stack gave her Ice Breaker speech (“My Story“) and made us wonder why she had waited so long. Perhaps the most polished 1st speech ever, Sarah told about growing up in South Hampton and then moving to Florida where she she earned a degree in Nutrition and a Master’s in Urban & Regional Development from Florida State University. Her path has lead her to being a private sector planner. Her speech was laced with sharp humor and some very interesting stories. Sarah received two standing ovations for her speech. Congratulations Sarah! Ken Walley, ATMG, CL presented a project (“Role Playing: Communication with Teenagers on the Dangers of Drugs“) from the Advance Speaker’s Manual “The Discussion Leader” in which he had Andrea and Dan role play as a parent and teenager discussing the dangers of drugs. Andrea and Dan were so good they had everyone convinced we were spying on a real family discussion. Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave his contest speech “If I could Just Remember to Breathe” for the club to get a group evaluation. Our two evaluators tonight stood out with excellent advice and encouragement. Andrea McManus came through with a contest-level evaluation of Sarah’s Ice Breaker and Bob Blaydes gave his first evaluation, ever of Ken W’s. speech which was every bit as competent as some Distinguished Toastmasters! Great job by both. The entire club helped with Ken B’s speech to get him ready for the Area 49 contest next week. This entire meeting was fun and interesting and if this was “Pot Luck” then it was the club that was lucky and I’m going back for seconds.

When Vice President of Education Andrea McManus announced the date for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests as Thursday, March 8th, 2007, she could not have known that the date would become a part of Club #28 fabled lore. “Both contests were awesome!” said VPE Andrea McManus. “Club #28 has a history of producing contests that are the envy of other clubs in the area. These contests were a good example of that!” This year the club’s Table Topics and International Speech Contests turned out to be some of the best it has ever  produced. The quality of the present members, including the newer members that have recently joined the club, show a tremendous wealth of speaking talent. From the start of the first contest, the Table Topics Competition at the Center for Spiritual Living, guests and visitors were treated to some truly brilliant displays of oratory.  Because the crowd was to large for the regular meeting room, the contests were moved to the spacious sanctuary. Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL got the festivities underway with an enthusiastic welcome and a brief reading of the rules, Chief Judge and past Area 49 Governor Diana Estremera, DTM  announced the speaking order and proclaimed “Let the Contest Begin!” The question that was answered by all of the contestants was “This was my most triumphal moment…” First to speak was Andrea McManus who spoke of hiking to the top of a mountain. Angela Abreu, CTM spoke of the accomplishments of her family. Venky Allensky spoke of overcoming his fear of speaking in public and having the courage to compete in a speech contest. Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL  remembered a winning lottery ticket and Dr. Princess Anita spoke about coming to America and helping the poor. Everyone spoke extremely well and showed very impressive skills in extemporaneous speaking! The vote was so close it took the vote counters almost twenty minutes to declare the winners! Coming in second place was Andrea McManus and the first place trophy went to Venky Allensky. The International Speech contest was worthy of a club many times the size of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. All who were present can attest that every single speech given on this glorious evening, was in and of itself capable of winning a speech contest. Every speech was deserving of a trophy and had the rules allowed that, each speaker would be taking home hardware. Indeed all of the speakers this night were winners. The real winners however was the audience, who were treated to sheer Toastmaster Excellence.  Ken Blake ATMS, CL reprised a speech titled “I Can Finally Remember to Breathe!” Ken’s speech, was also presented at the 2005 “The Best of Club #28″ special celebration a few years back. In the speech Ken told about how he had been on an ocean diving trip and had thought that he had left two divers stranded when he returned to shore and they had never been heard from since…until…well I don’t want to ruin the ending. The second speaker was Bob Blaydes who nailed a speech about his best friend (titled “My Best Friend”) who seemed like a wonderful person until we found out it was his dog! The speech had everything: surprise, humor, emotion and joy. Brian Wheeler ATMB, proved that he was one of the best inspirational speakers in Orlando as he weaved a tale titled “It Can’t Be That Bad”  about his daughter’s tender feeling when faced with defeat and pro football’s Mike Marshall’s wrong-way 60 yard safety! This speech was masterful! Well written, beautifully delivered and deeply meaningful. Brian came through with a work of art. So did Scott Waechter. Scott’s speech was a speech that was given only a couple of weeks ago at a regular Club #28 meeting. Titled “What’s Your Price?” is about a college student, like Scott was when he was younger, and what he would do find money to support himself. The speech, while rich in humor, also had the listener asking “Just what is worth it…for a price?” I do not believe that I would have done some of the things that Scott did for any amount of money, even if they were legal! The last speech of the contest was by past International Speech Contest winner Dennis Gola ATMS, CL who switched to a completely different subject: Little League Baseball. Dennis told about how the founder of Little League baseball ended up being ostracized from his own creation. Dennis, his speech  “Uncle Tuck in the Nick of Time” used a profound knowledge of the English Language, painted scene after scene with words that gave his story a life of its own. It was almost like watching a movie in your head. There you have it, five great speeches. The judges came back with the following verdict but what will be remembered is the high quality of the entire evening. Any of these speeches would be an honorable representative to the Area 49 contest.  Third place in the contest went to Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL. The second place winner was Ken Blake, ATMS, CL, and (drum-roll please) our winner for the 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech Contest is…SCOTT WAECHTER!! This was Scott’s first contest! Speak about a man with a bright Toastmaster’s future! This was also Table Topics Champion Venky Allensky’s first contest as well. Bob Blaydes also highlighted the new talent of this club. Club #28 President Angela Abreu, CTM  gave a very warm Thank You to all who attended and adjourned the contests until six months from now when we will have our Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests.  Many dignitaries came to the Club #28 contests including current Area 49 Governor Barbara Bergstrom, DTM who also helped hand out the winner’s trophies. Former Area 49 Governor Rev. Lani Wynne-Hampton, DTM; The “Let’s Talk” Toastmasters Club #4413 Contest winner Michael Joseph, DTM; Former Club #28, Let’s Talk #4413 and Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 President Helen Joseph, DTM; Former Uptown Toastmasters Club President Barbara Bess; Distinguished Toastmaster Al Cumberbatch, DTM; Orange County Club #129 representative Luvenis Hart, CTM; and former Club #28 President Ed Carmona, ATMB. A dignitary himself, two term distinguished club President Adam Scoggins, CTM volunteered to serve as one of our timers. Helen Joseph, DTM also helped as a vote counter. Past President of Orlando Club #28 and the Orators Club #2423 Diana Walley, ATMG, CL also served as a Vote Counter. Scott Weachter served double duty as our Sgt. at Arms and Dr. Princess Anita did a great job as our Raffle Master! The Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contest scored an amazing triumph on this memorable night.

Even before the March 1st 2007 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting started, Club #28  treated early arrivers to a speech that was as picturesque as it’s subject. Bob Blaydes, gave the first of two speeches on this evening about his hometown of Westport Connecticut. In the speech (titled “My Hometown“) he created beautiful words pictures about growing up in a place as idyllic as any painting. This speech, along with Bob’s other speech tonight qualified him for next week’s International Speech Contest. The theme of tonight’s meeting was “In My Next Life”  and it brought out some of the best in our club member’s imaginations.  Leading the way with a great imagination was our Toastmaster Sarah Stack. Sarah had us thinking about what it would be like if we could do it all over again. She came prepared with facts about the different religions that believe in reincarnation and stories of “soul recycling”. As usual, she did a masterful job as Toastmaster. Andrea McManus was every bit as amazing as our Table Topics Master. Andrea wasted no time picking the brain of Toastmaster Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL.  Remembering that the ancient Egyptians brought goods with them for the afterlife, she asked Ed what he would bring with him. “A beating heart would be the first thing…” started Ed. “If you could come back as an animal what would it be?” Andrea asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken said he would like to fly in the next life and wanted to be an Eagle. “Although the food would take some getting use to.” Sarah Stack when asked what she would teach future generations answered that she would want them to learn to “See themselves as a global community.” Other questions asked were “What good things from this life would you like to remember in the next? (to Angela Abreu, CTM); “Have you ever felt you had a past life?” (to Russell Russ, CTM) and “Do you believe in an afterlife?” was asked of Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Our speeches were out of this world. Bob Blaydes gave his 2nd excellent speech in the same night this one a more prepared speech titled “Juror #308”  about what it was like to serve on a jury. His over-all judgment  of the experience and the process was a very positive one. “Our founding fathers would be smiling ear to ear” said Bob. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the audience a choice: would you like to hear a prepared speech or one off the ‘top of my head’?  It was unanimous. Ken gave a speech about the upcoming Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests next week… and made it up as he went along. The speech turned out pretty good. “Hopefully everyone here will show up next week. I don’t think that I scared anyone away!” said Ken. Ken Blake ATMS, CL served as our Master Evaluator and had the pleasure of introducing Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL  to give his first evaluation at club #28 in some time for Bob’s speech. Ed showed that he had not lost his touch at giving astute evaluations. Ken B. himself gave the evaluation of Ken Walley’s speech (“Evaluation number 2000, is it?”) praising him on his ability to inform with passion. The Grammarian role was handled by Dr. Princess Anita and Russell Russ, CTM served as our AH Counter. Even our guest, Neil Buchanan, held the position of Vote Counter and did a solid job. This was a wonderful meeting in this, or any lifetime!

Club #28 may not have had the same number of people in the room as last’s weeks’ meeting but the February 22nd, 2007 “Colors” themed meeting was just as interesting and twice as colorful. Toastmaster Angela Abreu, CTM gave us the ‘Meaning” of colors (throughout history and as we interpret them with feelings), Angela can really prepared for this meeting! Our Table Topics Master, Sarah Stack also added immensely to the theme of the meeting with another great table topic session. Her first question “What is your favorite color and why?” was answered by Dr. Princess Anita (Red was the answer and she extolled the many good reasons but mostly because red stands out like she does!). “Cobalt Blue” was the answer Andrea McManus gave to the question “What color can improve your mood?” Our newest member Scott Kizer answered the question “Do you ever judge anyone on the color of their eyes or the color of the clothes they wear?” One of the most interesting questions was “Does color effect taste?” which was answered by Scott Waechter. Scott said that his taste would be effected “If the Banana was brown!” Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL truly gave a powerful answer to the question “What is the most Stereotypical color?” “Red! I see red when someone says red is the color of passion!” Said Dennis. Also colorful were our speeches. The first speaker was Eddie Selover who gave his Ice Breaker Speech (“My Experience at Ground Zero“) who spoke about being in New York when 9/11 happened and the effects that it had on his life afterward. Eddie’s Ice Breaker was one of the most memorable first speeches ever given at Club #28. Our second speaker was Ken Blake ATMS, CL who awarded a trophy for coming in last place, that’s right, last place to Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL. “Ken is the last one who would not show up, he is the first to arrive and the last to leave, the last time Ken gave a speech was when he was the last person left to give one…” The speech titled “Last Place is the Best Place” ended with Ken W. giving a Grammy award style acceptance speech while receiving a one-legged man trophy with “Last Place” engraved on it. Not to be outdone, Scott Waechter came through with a wonderful speech titled “Who is a Role Model?” about his High School Basketball coach, other close friends and, most important, his wife Whitney Waechter. Whitney had come to the meeting tonight to hear Scott speak! Evaluations tonight were handled by Andrea McManus, Scott Waechter and Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL  who all did remarkable jobs of extolling the virtues of our speakers. Scott Kizer gave an excellent report as our Grammarian for his first time and Ken W. who was doubling as our Timer, gave the AH Counter report. Our guests Jessale Rodriquez and Glen Fleuer both gave very positive and upbeat reviews to our meeting as well! This was a meeting that was a bright as the colors that we talked about!

Club Sgt-.at- Arms Scott Waechter called the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, February, 15th 2007 “Relationships” themed meeting: “Probably the best meeting I have been to since I have started coming to Toastmasters.” What was there not to like? It started with a thoughtful Invocation by Andrea McManus who also did a perfect job as our Timer. We had a Toastmaster doing a stellar job as Toastmaster for the first time in Bob Blaydes. We has one of the best Table Topics sessions in memory thanks to Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL. We had two excellent speeches provided by Venky Allenky and Scott Waechter. The evaluations were also exceptional by Ken Walley ATMG, CL  and Russell Russ, CTM . Did I say Russell? Yes I did! Russ even revived the 50/50 raffle! Russell Russ, CTM was just one of many Toastmasters attending that have been missed for a while, including past club president Ed Carmona ATMB, CL and Sarah Stack! Another familiar face who returned to us was Mi Hoshino. We also had two other visitors: Matt Russ and Scott Kizer. Scott even became our newest member at the end of the meeting! I am getting ahead of myself. First of all,  as I said Bob came prepared to be an excellent Toastmaster and kept the meeting on time and added many observations about Relationships including everything from Husband and Wife to Customer and fast food employee. Dennis expanded on the theme with an exceptional Table Topics session. Here are the questions he asked and every single answer to these questions was simply superb: “What did you not get for Valentine’s day?” (Sarah Stack answered “Flowers”) “What Valentine’s day gift would you take back?” Ed Carmona, ATMB, CL said “Valentine’s day itself” because now that he’s celebrated it, he will have to keep celebrating it in the future!) “If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, what is your favorite restaurant?” (Ken Blake, ATMS, CL revisited his favorite Chinese Restaurant.) “Something that you would never part with no matter what?” (Eddie Selover told us about a really cool James Bond car) “Can you tell us about your relationships with inanimate objects” (Ken Walley ATMG, CL said he had a tough time with phone answering machines & car alarms) “Name a Broken sports relationship” (Scott Waechter told about his last High School Basketball game.) “What’s the difference between Apples and Oranges” (was explained by Russell Russ CTM) “What kind of candy is given to a Valentine in India?” (Was answered by just one of our India experts, Venky Allenky) and “How much would you pay for a teddy bear?” (Scott Kizer even took us through a teddy bear factory!). It truly was a memorable Table Topics session! Our two speeches were also top notch. First, was an entertaining and very, very funny speech by Scott Waechter titled “What’s your Price?” The premise of the speech was: what would a college student do for fifty bucks? The speech led Scott into a hospital to volunteer for medical experiments, and later… eating bugs. The speech was a huge hit! Venky Allenky also gave a speech that was interesting in a different way. Titled “Mother Nature’s Miracle Cure for Diabetes” Venky’s speech was as important as it was surprising. The “miracle cure” was found by scientists in the skin of the Gila Monster, a giant lizard! Both speeches were presented with excellent form and style. The two evaluators for tonight were introduced by Master Evaluator Angela Abreu, CTM. The first evaluator, Russell Russ, CTM had not stood behind the Club #28 lectern for almost a year but it was apparent that he had not lost any of his observational prowess. He gave a very good evaluation of Scott’s speech. Club veteran Ken Walley ATMG, CL had the pleasure of evaluating Venky’s speech. Also encouraging was the highly positive evaluation of the meeting by Angela. Dr. Princess Anita also gave a wonderful epilog to this magical evening when she spoke about how this club was a wonderful relationship to her. “A relationship with Toastmasters” said Princess, “that has changed my life for the better!”  This was one of those meeting in which everything seemed to “click”  as Scott Waechter said: “The enthusiasm and energy seemed to be on a high level from beginning to end, and the Table Topics session was excellent. I know you guys pour a lot into the club, so I hope you can see the fruits of your labor.” Thank you Scott, we can see it in meeting like this.

Club President Angela Abreu, CTM volunteered to take the helm as our Toastmaster for the February 8th 2007 “Volunteering” themed meeting and provided a tremendous example how important it is to be able to make a difference! She gave some great examples of what it means to be a volunteer, giving of your time and labor to help others. Providing another excellent example of Volunteering were are Table Topics “volunteers” lead by Table Topics Master Bob Blaydes. Bob sets an example of volunteering, along with his entire family by helping serve the Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando. He came with some ruminative questions such as the one asked of Andrea McManus: “Has a crisis ever spurred you into action to volunteer?” (“Volunteering brings joy from a source of passion. [That] you are doing something from the heart and making a change for the good within you and around you.” said Andrea) Another question was “What is your ‘dream volunteer job’?” which was directed at Venky Allenky. Another question answered by Eddie Selover was “Why should we teach our children to volunteer?” (Said Eddie: “Passing on to our children what is important includes giving of ourselves and establishing a good moral example.”) Our guest Debra Breland gave a perfect example of a “volunteer memory” with a heartfelt answer from her experience while working for the Legal Aid Society. Guest Scott Kizer also came through with a story about grooming pets in a pet shelter. Table Topics went beyond just helping us to ‘speak from the cuff’ this week, the session also inspired our club to take positive action in our community!  Also inspiring our members to take positive action was our only featured speaker Ken Walley ATMG, CL who working from the Advanced Manual “The Discussion Leader“. Ken  led a “brainstorming” round robin project to answer the question “What can we do to lower the crime rate in Orlando over the next two years?” Using everyone in the room, Ken got plenty of great ideas including using the media to educate parents and children to be more aware of violent crime, Providing recreational areas and events that would create a place to keep future offenders off the streets and help reduce gangs and drug use, having law enforcement more visible, establishing new leadership with new ideas and many other ways of improving our crime rate in Orlando were brought up. There were far too many ideas to list here. Andrea McManus acted as our Master Evaluator as well and although she only had one evaluator to introduce, he gave a typical command performance. Ken Blake ATMS, CL highly praised Ken W’s project and encouraged him to do more with the advanced manual he was working from. Our Grammarian for today was none other than Scott Waechter who also doubled as out Timer for the night and Venky Allenky was our AH Counter. This was as moving and creative a Toastmaster’s meeting as any club could have. This night Club #28 took on an important topic and gave it insight and practicality towards improving our world and ourselves. This was an evening well worth attending!

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, the February 1st, 2007 meeting of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 the “Sports Heroes” theme was a perfect choice. Eddie Selover started out the meeting with a quote from Jackie Robinson. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was on hand to do the honors as Toastmaster and regale us with many inspiring tales of sports nobleness. Great names such as Payton Manning from the Indianapolis Colts, and his brother Eli Manning from the New York Giants, Dante Wesley of the Chicago Bears, tennis great Arthur Ashe, baseball legend Roberto Clemente, football star and war hero Pat Tillman as well as many others, were mentioned. Also helping out with our theme was our Table Topics Master Andrea McManus who has a sport hero of her own in long distance runner Julie Brown. Andrea asked some very insightful questions on the subject, such as the one she asked of Angela Abreu, CTM: “Why should girls have sports heroes?”  Angela spoke of many great examples in sports to challenge girls to excel in life. Scott Waechter remembered Gator quarterback great Danny Wurrfel as a good example of persistence in reaching one’s goals. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL remembered Arnold Palmer as a man who’s private life was as much as an example to others as his sports heroics on the golf course. Daniel Ashworth spoke on the “traits of a sports mentor”. Tony Betts, CTM did not believe that David Beckham was going to revitalize soccer in America, if others who had come before him had failed so badly. Ken Blake ATMS, CL spoke about his love of the Daytona 500 and his admiration of driver Bill Elliott. “If you can count race car driving as a sport, he is a sports hero” said Ken. We had two truly excellent speeches for main part of our meeting starting with Ken Blake, ATMS, CL who did a mock Television show interviewing Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL about “What is this Toastmasters Thing?” Ken made us feeling like we were in a TV studio and had many thinking maybe he should think about a career on the small screen. Brian Wheeler, ATMB, returned to the club after a long absence to deliver a very memorable speech titled “Facing the Storm“. This speech had everything! The story of Brian bringing his family back from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina not only inspired us to help others, but brought to life the personalities of his family and had a healthy dose of humor as well. Ken W. acted as the Master Evaluator and was helped out by two brilliant evaluations. Club President Angela Abreu, CTM evaluated Ken Blake‘s TV interview and Scott Waechter did a wonderful job with his very first evaluation of Brian Wheeler‘s speech. New positions abounded at our meeting: Dan Ashworth tried his hand at Grammarian, newest member George DeJesus was wonderful as our Timer and Eddie Selover did a superb job with our Invocation and Pledge. Even more delightful was seeing the return of so many Toastmasters who have been away for a long time: Brian Wheeler, ATMB; Tony Betts, CTM; Jim Stitt and Diana Walley ATMG, CL all returned this week. This turned out to be one of the best meetings of the new year so far and with a great expectation of success of the rest of the year! Although not everyone attending tonight was a sport hero they were heroes each and every one.

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 did not have to worry when it came to the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” Themed meeting of January 25th 2007. The meeting had about the best Toastmaster possible at the helm  with Andrea McManus doing the honors. She came well prepared even quoting Richard Carlson who wrote the series of books with the same title as our meeting theme. Andrea brought great advice on how to overcome stress and tension throughout the night. Bringing some anxiety however was our Table Topics Master Angela Abreu, CTM who had a number of probing questions for our members. Angela  asked Ken Walley ATMG, CL “How can we conquer fear?” Ken’s answer was to confront your fears and live in the present. Bob Blaydes was asked how his family is a support during stressful times. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL spoke on “Living peacefully in a stressful world”  Our guest Eddie Selover, spoke on the importance of being flexible. George DeJesus had a compelling, and convincing, answer on why we should “practice kindness”. The club did not have to “sweat” our two speeches tonight because they were “big stuff”. Speaker #1 was Bob Blaydes who spoke about a man with a wonderful life philosophy in a speech titled “A Special Ray of Sunshine“. Said Bob, “If you can control the thoughts in your mind, you make make those thoughts positive ones.” Also striking a positive note was Scott Waechter with a speech titled “Know Thy Self“, an International Speech caliber presentation about how we all fall into a certain personality type that can be compared to a particular animal such as a lion, monkey or beaver. The speech had plenty of humor but a lot of truth to it as well.  The “two Kens” acted as our Evaluators with Ken W. covering the role as Master Evaluator. Both gave interesting evaluations filled with great ideas. Ken W. was also our timer as well. Angela Abreu, CTM doubled as our Grammarian and George DeJesus stepped in to cover the spot of AH Counter for his first time at that role. Even our guest Eddie Selover worked a meeting position as our Vote Counter. Everyone was very happy when Eddie made the announcement that he planned on joining our club! Welcome Eddie!

Fond memories of our youth came to life in the January 18th, 2007 “Childhood Memories” themed meeting of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 at the Center for Spiritual Living. Appearing for the first time as a Toastmaster was Scott Waechter who gave a truly excellent effort complete with deep insights and memories of his own on the subject of childhood. Scott did such a great job as Toastmaster that many of us did not realize that this was his first time at the position. The club was double-blessed with a Table Topic Master, Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL who was able ask some great questions that brought out some moving and interesting answers from our members on the subject as well.  Venky Allenky told about growing up in a small town in India. Ken Blake ATMS, CL remembered being a make-believe Superman. Scott Waechter told of his favorite toy: Building things with tons of Lego’s. Andrea McManus remembered running track in High School. Ken Walley ATMG, CL told of rediscovering his childhood though his daughter’s childhood. This table topic session brought to life many wonderful memories! Our speeches created two new wonderful memories. The first speech was by Angela Abreu, CTM titled “Mysterious and Miraculous Cures of Non-Traditional Medicine” Angela gave us a detailed and fascinating glimpse into the world of Oriental Medicine including Acupuncture and Herbal medicine. At one point she even stuck some acupuncture needles in her hand! Our next speaker was Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL who gave a speech at the last minute in replacement of one of our scheduled speakers. Dennis came through with a wonderful speech aimed at any guests interested in joining Toastmasters titled “Conquering Fear“. Dennis told how facing down your fears was the first step to overcoming them. His speech was not only inspiring but just watching Dennis speak was a great example of how the well the Toastmasters program works. Andrea McManus held the position of Master Evaluator as well as delivering a tremendous evaluation of Dennis’s speech. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave the evaluation for Angela’s speech. Ken wore two hats also being our AH Counter. Venky served as Grammarian and gave a brilliant report at the end of our meeting. It should also be noted that Ken B. did a great job as our timer, a position he had not covered for quite some time. Once again Club #28 proved that even though we might be small in numbers that we still could have a great meeting. Our guest Eddie Selover was impressed with the meeting and said that he looked forward to returning to next week’s meeting. I believe that the best thing this meeting brought out was that no matter how old we are, the members of Club #28 are still very young at heart.

The theme of the January 11th 2007 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meeting was “Married vs. Being Single” and our Toastmaster for the evening was none other than the very married Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken came prepared with all kinds of different views on the institution of marriage and the frustrations of being single. “I’ve been single and I’m married and I would tell you which one liked better but I’m afraid it might get back to my wife…” said Ken. ” I asked some single women about advice they would give about men” Ken remarked, “What I got was this: ‘Don’t imagine you can change a man unless he’s in diapers.’ and ‘If you want a committed man, look in a mental hospital..'” Being a little less droll was our Table Topics Master Princess Anita. Dr. Anita asked the first question of our returning guest Michelle Brown.  “What did you expect from [dating & marriage] when you were growing up?” Michelle had a more level-headed view of the romantic dreams than most kids envision. Venky Allenky gave an excellent answer to the very open ended question: “What do you think of ‘that part’ of life?”  Scott Waechter answered the question of how it had come to pass that he got married so young. Scott, who married at 23, gave the answer, summed up… that he had simply found the ‘perfect girl’ for him. Ken Blake ATMS, CL answered the question of “How many years have you been married?” Ken is celebrating his 30th year of happiness with his wife Sheffie Blake! Although he said he heard the ” ‘F’ word a lot during that time, as in “Fetch me this and Fetch me that!” Our two speeches dealt mostly with Toastmasters inter-workings and even Club #28 business. Andrea McManus was our first speaker who delivered with an excellent speech (‘The Pledge!”)  about her future plans while serving as our Vice President of Education. She looks forward to, among other things, improving our club Mentoring program and charting our progress as we try to reach our individual goals. Ken Walley’s ATMG, CL speech was a Seminar project for the Advanced Manual “The Discussion Leader” It had the long title of: “Brainstorming Public Relations & Membership Options: Seminar Solutions”. Ken divided up the attending guests and members into three groups to come up with ideas on how to answer three questions: 1.) How can we bring more visitors to our meetings?” 2.) How do we make our visitors want to join our club? and 3.) How can we become a better Toastmaster club? The group leaders Angela Abreu, CTM, Andrea and Ken B., came up with many great ideas for helping club membership. T shirts, fliers, setting goals of each member to bring a friend, name tags, creating a light hearted and inviting/ safe environment were just some of the ideas brought forth! Our Master Evaluator was Angela Abreu, CTM who had the great pleasure of introducing two wonderful speakers Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and long time missing but returning Toastmaster Dennis Gola, ATMS, CL. Both toastmasters but on an “evaluation clinic”. Dennis showed he had not lost any of his skills as a toastmaster over his absence from the club.  We had three returning guests: Michelle Brown, Adam Holden and George DeJesus and a first time guest, Eric Deo. The guest comments were all very positive and George even joined the club tonight! Welcome George!

If the January 4th 2006 “New Years Resolutions” themed meeting is any indication, 2007 is going to be a banner year for Orlando Toastmasters #28! Starting off the meeting was our new president Angela Abreu, CTM who quoted Mother Teresa for our Invocation and introduced our Toastmaster for the evening Andrea McManus. Andrea, as usual, presented a a highly entertaining and resourceful evening as our Toastmaster. Andrea gave us a history along with the TOP 10 Resolutions for this year. Staying healthy seems to be the #1 concern. Ken Walley ATMG, CL brought forth some resolutions of his own as our Table Topics Master, the first being to ask some tough questions. Ken’s first question was to Brian Lewis which was “Was is your New Year’s Resolution?” Brian just hired a new CPA to help him take on the tasks of a growing, successful business. So “work smart” was his new pledge. Sarah Stack was asked “Have you set any goals for the new year?” Her goals were to “Eat more healthy foods” and “Plan better for the future” Great ideas! Dr. Princess Anita said that setting goals are important because it helps us to see the future more clearly and keeps us organized. Andrea McManus came through with a good answer to the question “Why do we fail to reach our goals?” Even one of our guests, Sheryl Bower came up with an inspiring answer to the question of “Why should we feel hopeful about the future?” The club should make a resolution to have three speeches every meeting because we had three very good ones on this night! Our first speaker was Venkat “Venky” Allenky who was giving his Ice Breaker Speech. Although the speech (titled “How the Internet Can Help You“) was not your typical “Ice Breaker” because it was not about Venky as much as the subject of the Internet, the speech did tell us a lot about him. We also learned that Venky has a lot of natural talent as a speaker. Our second speaker was Bob Blaydes gave another great speech (his 3rd) titled “How About Doing A 5K?” which told about how to prepare for running a long 5 K race and the different levels, and people who participate. It was a fun speech that made you want to jump up, and go out and run a half marathon! Our last speaker was Scott Waechter who delivered another thoroughly entertaining speech titled “Lasting Impressions” in which he told us some of the things that have happened in his life that were not the best impressions and yet he still somehow overcame them. It was a speech that had everyone laughing! We had three excellent evaluations by Ken Walley, Ken Blake and Brian Lewis. In Ken Walley‘s review of the meeting he commented on the high quality of every part of the meeting, Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations ! Also our guests Sheryl, Michelle Brown, Chris Hallemeir, George DeJesus and Eric Kingsley all agreed that tonight was productive and enjoyable! We should resolve to keep these high standards. We had five guests who all seemed impressed with our meeting. I hope their New Year’s resolutions include joining Toastmasters!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Installation of Officers Celebration and Holiday Party  on December 14th 2006 brought so much Holiday joy that it spilled out into the library. People from the other meeting rooms came in to see our beautifully decorated room that was festooned with holiday cheer by Bob Blaydes and Andrea McManus! There was lights and trees and ornaments everywhere. It was a wonder that anyone at all would show up for this meeting. Traffic was crazy, downtown at a standstill and the rain was coming down so hard that you could not see out the windows of the library as the clock struck 7:00 pm. But one by one, these dedicated toastmasters arrived in rain-soaked clothes yet warm with Christmas cheer! Andrea called the meeting to order and wished everyone holiday joy in her invocation. Ken Walley ATMG, CL welcomed everyone as well including our guest Darrin Koltow and thanked everyone for their determination to get to this special meeting. One of the reasons that this meeting was special was because of the entrancing holiday magic of our Master of Ceremonies Sarah Stack. Sarah brought a style and grace to the lectern while still keeping the meeting  running smoothly and on time. She even asked some great Table Topics questions throughout the meeting. The first one was to Venky Allenky about his favorite holiday memory and he told us a story of India. Ken Blake ATMS, CL was asked his favorite Christmas memory. Ken, who is Jewish, had one of the most poignant stories of the night. He told about how he learned the meaning of giving because his mother was born on December 25th and like the Christian children he wrapped presents during the season, only his said “Happy Birthday”. To him, the holiday was truly about giving. Another table topics question brought tears to the eyes of Andrea McManus and everyone else in the room when she was asked “What was her favorite Christmas present?” She remembered the Christmas that she first had a family to call her own and the presents under the tree. The real present that Christmas was love. Bob Blaydes was asked what his favorite charity was. Bob’s family helped the homeless get back on their feet at a local center in Orlando. We had two feature speeches this special night: the first was by Dr. Princess Anita titled “Holiday“. The speech gave an overview of the different religious celebrations at this time of year. It was a speech that was rich in meaning and covered a number of different customs and beliefs making one wonder why we cannot all celebrate together at this time of year. Our second speaker, Scott Waechter gave a speech titled “The French Got It Right” about the effect of red wine on the health of “man and mice”. Scott made a scientific study actually sound fun and interesting! The next part of the festivities was the Installation of our Officers. First, outgoing club President Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave his Farewell Address. Ken’s speech had many positive things to say about the new members who have joined this club and a lot to say about the stubborn nature of Club #28. “This Club does not, will not GIVE UP!” Said Ken. “This tenacious club is a truly unique and a very special organization that is worthy of the highest praise.” President Walley also thanked his fellow officers who served with him. He said they were the reason that he was made to “look so good” as president. Area 49 Governor Barbara Bergstrom DTM was introduced to perform the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony and inducted our new officers for the January – June 2007 term. Sgt. at Arms Scott Waechter, Secretary Bob Blaydes, Vice President of Public Relations Sarah Stack, Vice President of Membership Ken Blake, ATMS, CL; Vice President of Education Andrea McManus and President Angela Abreu, CTM were duly swore in. Treasurer Brian Lewis was unable to attend tonight but will return as well at his current post. After the ceremony ended, Angela Abreu, CTM took the lectern for the first time as Club #28’s president. Her Inaugural Address was an admission that when she first joined Toastmasters she “did not feel ready” but challenged herself and found that she could improve and even surprised herself with her own progress. She admitted that she feels the same way but is willing to take the challenge and to take the “risk to improve.” She pledged to make the club grow and improve in any way that she could. At the end of her speech Angela was also greeted with a standing ovation! Sarah Stack asked our guest Darrin Koltow for his thoughts on our celebration. Darrin was impressed even though this was not our “typical meeting” he promised to return to our next meeting and asked for an application to re-join. Sarah, after being applauded for her excellent performance as our Master of Ceremonies, brought the meeting to a close but everyone stayed around to listen to the Christmas music, eat the treats that Andrea had brought and wish each other a Merry Christmas. This night was a wonderful, magical holiday memory for everyone.

“Words of Wisdom” was not just the theme of the Dec. 7th 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting at the Center for Spiritual Living, many of our members brought their own deep musings along with visits (via quotes) from Mark Twain, Confucius, Charles Dickens, Homer, Solomon Ibn Gabriol, William Penn and Berthold Auerbach among others. Our Toastmaster/ guru was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who enlightened us with the various tidbits of wisdom. Table Topic Master Darryl Stephens our guide though the Table Topics part of this think-fest, challenged our members to come up with their own excavations of knowledge. Darryl asked first of Sarah Stack what quote she had heard recently that had inspired her. Sarah came up with a number of deep thoughts but settled on “Its all good!” Andrea McManus was asked on who she would go to for a good quote. Dr. Princess Anita was asked who she would to for guidance when she needed help. Bob Blaydes was asked to give a “quote that had changed his life”. Bob used the quote “There is not a way to happiness. Happiness is a way.”  Scott Waechter found wise words from his baseball coach when he was asked about unexpected wisdom. Scott quoted his coach as saying “Ducks quack, Eagles fly!” Venky Allenky was asked what advice could he give for others to live by. His words to live by were “Success is 99% Perspiration and 1% inspiration!” We had two speeches that were both very inspirational. Andrea McManus placed the audience on a nature trail in the wilderness for a speech titled “Bird’s Eye View” that was as much a performance as a entertaining and educational oratory. Dressed in Bird-watching gear complete with binoculars, she used spectacular illustrations of our feathered friends to bring across the fun and enjoyment of birding.  Emilia Soto gave her first speech since January and reminded us what a talented speaker she is. Her speech titled “Happy Place” was on the subject of massage. It was not only informative but because of a generous use of humor, the speech was also entertaining as well. Sarah Stack did another excellent job as our Master Evaluator and she had help from Ken and Darryl who both delivered exceptional reviews of our speakers. Darryl’s evaluation of Andrea’s speech was noteworthy in that it was his first evaluation in a long time. Darryl did a tremendous job using a number of very insightful ideas. Even our technical table reports by Grammarian Venky Allenky and AH Counter Scott Waechter  were both wonderful examples of how the crafting of short reports should be done. In the words of Robert Browning: “If you get simple beauty and naught else, You get the best thing God invents” The same could be said for this meeting.

The “Emotions and Feelings” themed November 30th 2006 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meeting produced many emotions & feelings: joy and happiness mostly for being at such an uplifting gathering! Angela Abreu, CTM throughout the meeting as our Toastmaster explained the effects of extreme emotions on our health and well-being. “The difference between the two is like this,” said Angela “Emotions are from the head and Feelings are more physical, from the body.” Also enlightening us about emotions and feelings was our Table Topic Master Dr. Princess Anita. She gave us an overview of how we “see” our world through emotions and how that effects how we react to all that is around us. She asked three very challenging questions of some of our members: to Scott Waechter she asked “What produces the strongest emotions of Joy?” Scott talked about being aware of the beauty in the world around him. Returning club member Darryl Stephens spoke on how to keep your emotions in balance. Daniel Ashworth spoke on how to have courage while facing life’s challenges. Our two speeches this evening both were exceptionally rewarding experiences to hear. Scott Waechter presented his Ice Breaker speech titled “I’ve Always Dreamed of Being A Gator” in which Scott told how he grew with University of Florida fever. He gave a Blue and Orange view of life and told how he met his wife through a love of UF sports! It was an imaginative  Ice Breaker that Scott presented very well.  Our second speaker, Bob Blaydes giving only his 2nd speech. Wowed us with a insightful history of how the world wide web was created in a speech titled “What A Tangled Web We Weave“. “The Armed Services used the spider web as as model to create a new communication system that would not break down if one part was destroyed.” Said Dan, “The web now has over 2 million computers caught in it.” Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Master Evaluator and also gave the evaluation for Scott’s Ice Breaker. Ryan Viloria, CTM excelled with his first Club #28 evaluation on Bob’s speech. In Ken’s evaluation of the meeting he praised the club for filling open positions so well: Ryan doubled as Grammarian, Andrea McManus as Timer and Ken Blake ATMS, CL did an amazing job as our AH Counter. Even returning member Emilia Soto served as our Vote Counter. The club gave a standing ovation to Scott for his excellent 1st speech. Ken also praised Emilia Soto and Darryl Stephens for returning and told them that they have been missed. The best thing was that Emilia is re-joining the club and that Dan signed on as well!  With all of these great things happening for Club #28…I get so emotional…I could cry…

It was a blessing just to be at the November 16th 2006 “Blessings, Thanksgiving and Family” Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. At the start of the meeting Ken Walley, ATMG CL as club president inducted two new members, Bob Blaydes and Scott Waechter! Congratulations to both of our new members!  Brian Lewis was our Toastmaster on this night and he found that he had a natural talent for the position. Brian did an outstanding job mixing Thanksgiving history, stories and personal memories. This was Brian’s first time as our Toastmaster and he was flawless throughout the night! Also in the holiday spirit was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who presided as our Table Topics Master. Seeing that we had a good number of new members present as well as a guest, Ken directed his attention in their direction and he received some wonderful, even inspiring and moving replies to his queries. Ken had Dan Ashworth “Count his Blessings”. Among them, of course was his family, friends and his home. Vanka “Venky” Allenky was asked to comment on the importance of family. Scott Waechter delved into “The meaning of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it”. Kelly Uyak gave us a quick introduction of her family. Next was Bob Blaydes who gave one of the most beautiful answers to a Table Topic question we have had all year. He was asked to “paint a picture with words a Norman Rockwell painting of Thanksgiving”. Bob started off with “A gentle snow is starting to fall around the cabin in the woods…” Our guest, Kevin Johnson, also gave a profound and inspiring answer to the question “What important lessons have been passed down to you from your parents and grandparents?” The answers from this night’s Table Topic session gave us a rich mosaic of Family Love and Thankfulness for countless blessings. We had two speeches of  very different natures this evening. Ken Walley ATMG, CL filling in for a speaker again at the last moment, subjected the club to another “informative” speech titled “The Two Paths of Toastmasters“. Ken explained the new Leadership and Communication programs of Toastmasters and unraveled some of the alphabet soup (ATMG, CTM, CL, ALB,…etc.) Ryan Viloria, CTM returned to the lectern with a speech from the Advanced Special Occasion Speech manual in which he was to accept an award. He pretended to receive a Disney service award and thanked God, his family and Walt Disney himself!  He also won the award for “Best Speaker” as well! It was a night for “firsts” besides Brian Lewis as Toastmaster, Venky tried his hand at timer, Scott as our AH Counter and Kelly as our Grammarian! Even a bigger surprise was that Andrea McManus had never served as Master Evaluator and she did another highly polished performance this evening in that role!  She had help from Ken Blake ATMS, CL and Angela Abreu, CTM who gave the evaluations tonight. The entire meeting was a joyful experience and left a warm feeling as we left the room headed toward Thanksgiving week. More than one toastmaster said that they were “thankful to have Club #28 in their lives.” Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

The November 9th 2006 “Planes, Trains and Adventurous Modes of Transportation” was one of our best meetings among a long string of exceptional meetings. Toastmaster Andrea McManus came prepared with an endless assortment of fascinating facts on the world of Transportation including the Segueway, Rocket Packs and other exotic means of getting around. Ken Blake ATMS, CL as our Table Topic Master also came prepared and asked questions about the odd and the extreme forms of transportation. Ken asked Ken Walley ATMG, CL about the Segueway, a two wheeled device for use around the neighborhood. He asked Daniel Ashworth about Sky Diving. Another question directed at Kelly Uyak was about her preference of Ice-skates or Roller-skates. Angela Abreu, CTM had a choice between riding a Camel, Elephant or Mule! Scott Waechter was able to tell about Wakeboarding, Snow Skiing and Surfboarding. He hurt himself doing each one! Our guest Emile ____ answered a question on off road vehicles while giving some warnings about 4-wheelers. Our speeches also were 1st class: Bob Blaydes gave a wonderful Ice Breaker Speech “Thank God, I’m A Country Boy!” which told of a love a country music while growing up in the city. Bob’s 1st speech had a lot humor and a very interesting story to tell. Bob was given a standing ovation for his speech! Also coming through with an interesting speech was Ryan Viloria, CTM who told a story “Frozen Hearts” that had intrigue and danger that kept us on the edge of our seats. Brian Lewis did an outstanding job for his first time as our Master Evaluator. Brian’s deft introductions of the evaluators and his superb evaluation of the meeting added greatly to the success of the evening. Both of the evaluations were also inspiring: Ken Walley‘s (ATMG, CL) gave the evaluation of Bob’s Ice Breaker and Angela Abreu, CTM also triumphed with an impressive evaluation of Ryan’s speech. We had a lot of “1st timers” who gave “beyond-competent” performances at their new positions. Besides Bob and Brian, Dan Ashworth was our AH Counter, Scott Warchter was our Grammarian and Kelly Uyak took on the duty of Vote Counter. Great job by everyone! Rounding out our functionaries was Dr. Princess Anita as our Timer. I learned a lot about transportation tonight, be it by donkey, car or spaceship although this meeting seemed to go by at warp-speed!

The November 2nd 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Autumn” themed meeting got the club off to a great start for the new month! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our host for this Fall evening and told some stories about history of Autumn. He mention the season’s close ties to Harvest and Football among other things. In one of the best Table Topic sessions of any season, Sarah Stack had some magnificent questions that brought a touch of cool air and turning leaves into the meeting: Starting with Andrea McManus she asked what Andrea liked most about the Autumn. “No humidity” and “no bugs” were just part of Andrea’s answer. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave an “Ode to Pumpkin Pie” when asked of his favorite Fall food! When Ken said that pumpkin pie came “directly from God” Sarah answered that she would have to “check the Bible on that one.” Guest and future member Scott Waechter, told of some heartwarming Thanksgiving memories. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL commented on the difference between the season changes in Florida and elsewhere. He noted that summer lasts for 9 months in Florida! Kelly Uyak, another guest bravely answered the question about “Fall fashions.”  Kelly did an astonishing job as well. Ryan Viloria, CTM tried to give a storytelling speech but was thwarted by a sore throat. He is going to tell the story next week. Andrea McManus gave a speech that  Ken W. later said was “like looking at a post card”. Titled “The Seasons of the Fall” it compared the Florida’s “Fall” to an Autumn in Colorado. The speech painted a vivid picture of what the changing of the season not only feels like, but its deeper meaning to those who experience it up north. This awe-inspiring speech was impressive with the use of humor and word pictures. The Evaluations were also a triumphant success as well. Andrea returned to the lectern to give another wonderful performance, this time as an evaluator. Ken Blake ATMS, CL who was also serving as our Master Evaluator gave another well balanced and helpful evaluation of Andrea’s speech. Dr. Princess Anita wore two hats while serving as both our Grammarian and AH Counter. Scott Waechter handled the duties of vote counter as if He had been an experienced Toastmaster for years. Bruce Hall, one of our guests, summed up many of our member’s feelings about the meeting when he said that he was very impressed with how much we accomplish in an hour and a half. I think we amaze ourselves each week as well!

One of the best things about Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 is that ANY meeting can turn out to be extraordinary and the Oct. 26th 2006 “The World of Spices” themed meeting was an excellent example of just that. Here are just some of the reasons that this meeting turned out to be such a success: 1.) The meeting started out on a very inspirational note with a moving invocation by Dr. Princess Anita. 2.) The Toastmaster for this night was Angela Abreu, CTM who came prepared with a wealth of information about spices and flavors that had everyone hungry before the end of the meeting! 3.) Because the turn out was small tonight, Angela served double-duty as our Table Topics Master and she also excelled in that! Angela asked interesting questions and the responses by Ken Walley, ATMG, CL; Ken Blake, ATMS, CL; Dr. Princess Anita; and our guests Scott Waechter, Parker Humbert and Clint Aiello were all impressive. Everyone showed a pretty amazing knowledge of spices! 4.) Our two prepared speeches were both mesmerizing and Disney World related. Ryan Viloria‘s  (CTM) first speech in front of Club #28 was a winner! The speech gave a humorous view of what it was like to work at a Disney Theme park, complete with silly questions asked by the guests. Ken Walley‘s  (ATMG, CL) speech “Underneath the Magic Kingdom” gave us a tour of the tunnel system below the famous theme park, including the room where Walt’s body lay frozen. OK! Ken was just kidding! 5.) The Master Evaluator for tonight was also Ken W. and he gave an evaluation of Ryan’s speech that had a number of excellent ideas but it was Ken B’s evaluation that was truly inspiring and will be remembered for its wit, humor and sage advice. 6.) Clint Aiello took on the job of AH Counter and gave a perfect report at the end of the meeting! Andrea McManus also deserved great praise for her work as both Timer and Grammarian! 7.) There were many more reasons this meeting was so much fun and worthwhile but I think the best part of the evening were the wonderful comments our guests said at the end of the meeting! The best of those was that Clint was going to become the newest member of our club! Welcome Clint!

The October 19th 2006 “Our Community” themed meeting was a tremendous success and the main reason for that was our Toastmaster for the evening: Sarah Stack. Sarah was trying her hand at the role for her first time but you would not have known it. She brought interesting facts and ideas about improving our communities while she guided our meeting effortlessly. Also achieving brilliant marks was Table Topic Master Ryan Viloria, CTM who led a very lively discussion on how to improve our local communities. “Are Theme Parks part of the Community?” was asked of 28- year- Disney World veteran Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken’s answered was that indeed yes, but they had to take responsibility for their impact upon the social, financial and environmental situations they create. Andrea McManus was asked her opinion of the question “Should Spanish be a mandatory subject taught in our schools?” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked the equally tough question: Should sports be required in school? Bob Blaydes handled the question: “What kind of a ‘community’ is Orlando?” Bob summed his answer up in one word: “Home” said Bob, “Orlando is a great place to raise kids, go to work and enjoy life.” Angela Abreu, CTM spoke about “Community Events” and Dr. Princess Anita spoke about what her vision of an ideal community would be. The main event of the evening, the prepared speeches were both an interesting lesson in how prepared speeches differ in theme and how much preparation is need for a subject. Ken Blake‘s (ATMS, CL) Speech “Did You Get Enough Last night?” was about the importance of sleep and it was filled with tons of information on sleep habits and abnormalities. No one fell asleep during Ken B’s speech because it was captivating and interesting all the way through. Ken Walley‘s (ATMG, CL) speech titled: “I’ve Run Out of Topics to Talk About” was a “speech about nothing” but really it was about how many different things you can learn about in Toastmasters. “With all of the speeches I have heard in Toastmasters, I have gained an education a Harvard graduate would be jealous of.” Said Ken. One of the highlights of this meeting was Diana Walley‘s (ATMG, CL) absolutely perfect rendering of the role of Master Evaluator. In a position that usually is overlooked, Diana was impressive with her introductions and insights into this meeting. Her husband Ken, returned to the lectern to give a review of Ken B’s speech and Andrea McManus came through with another magnificent evaluation of her own as well. “From all aspects, this meeting was a success,” said Diana in her review of the meeting. We still had even more good things left: Bob Blaydes 1st AH Counter Report as well as Angela’s Grammarian Report were both excellent and worthy of mention. Bob became an official member of the club tonight as well making this even more of a success of a meeting! Welcome Bob!

The October 12th 2006 “Friday the 13th and other Superstitions” themed meeting was blessed with the good luck of finding a four leaf clover! The meeting started with the official induction of two new members: J.P. Grace and Sarah Stack who were awarded their Toastmaster pins. Congratulations Sarah and J.P.! Our Toastmaster for the evening Andrea McManus came prepared with “the History of Friday the 13th” telling how the infamous date gained its feared notoriety: Once thought to be the date that Judas hanged himself after betraying Jesus. She told how street numbers, hotel floors and elevators all are missing the number 13. Table Topics Master Sarah Stack avoided the “black cat” with her excellent Table Topics session. Some of her questions had those who were not called upon knocking on wood. “Name a thing or person that you consider lucky?” Was asked of Ken Blake ATMS, CL who told of his lucky puppy Princess. Angela Abreu, CTM told about her children’s costumes at Halloween. “Special Superstitions before a Big Event” was the theme of Ryan Viloria‘s (CTM) question. Andrea McManus named some things that she would put in a haunted house. Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked about her irrational fears. “Pretty much everything” said Diana. For the second week in a row Sarah performed splendidly as our Topics Master. We did not need a rabbit’s foot or horseshoe for our prepared speeches because J.P. Grace and Ken Walley ATMG, CL were behind the lectern. J.P. gave his Ice Breaker speech (titled: All About Me)  which not only told us a lot about J.P. but also showed that he had a wealth of natural speaking abilities! We learned that J.P. is into learning about music, art and culture. J.P. also likes to travel and is a UCF grad who just started a new career. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech (“The Master Evaluator“) about the role of the Master Evaluator, as he called it “The most misunderstood and abused role of any Toastmasters meeting.” The evaluations section of the meeting was handled expertly by our own Master Evaluator, Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. Ken B. also re-introduced Ken W. to give the evaluation of J.P.’s Ice Breaker. Then Ken B. gave an evaluation of Ken W.’s Master Evaluator speech while being the Master Evaluator. It all came out splendid! Ryan Viloria, CTM  a guest Toastmaster took on the role of being our AH Counter and did a smashingly praiseworthy job! Diana Walley ATMG, CL as our Grammarian also excelled. We had tons of wonderful guests attending. Terry Strickland from the Trane Company brought in Jason Hite, Tammie Carter and Wilbert Arroyo. He was so impressed with the meeting that he pledged to bring everyone back next week. Yaslynn Mack also returned again for a second time! She was so confidently upbeat about our club in her comments at the end of the meeting that she seemed to inspire everyone in the room. Thank you Yaslynn! Clint Aiello also had good things to add as well. Many of our guests expressed a desire to Join Club #28! So someone must be kissing the blarney stone for us somewhere! What a super (not superstitious) meeting indeed!

The October 5th 2006 meeting had the theme of “Our Children’s Children: 100 year from Now” and it was hosted by a fearless prognosticator: Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken Made the following predictions: 1.) “Super strands of Rice, Corn, Wheat and other food staples will produce enough food to feed the world and eliminate hunger. 2.) Most people on Earth will view themselves as being part of a “global community” and war will be almost a thing of the past and 3.) Maybe we will have anti-gravity shoes. Other predictions were brought out by our Table Topic Master Sarah Stack who returned to us after a long absence. She asked Angela Abreu CTM to speak about the education of our children in the distant future. Another returning veteran of Club #28, Laurie Heintiz, CTM had a tough question on what we will wear in the year 2106. She came up with plastic clothes and super-retro Mohawks. Yet another returning Toastmaster, J.P. Grace, spoke about wearing protective suits to fend off the effects of global warming. Andrea McManus gave us an insight into the High Tech world of tomorrow although she “does not want a computer chip inside her hand.” Brian Lewis spoke about the House in which we will live 100 years years from today. We did not have to go far into the future to hear two great speeches! Brian Lewis started things off with a speech titled “Marketing for Boring Professionals” which was anything but boring. He spoke about being able to use Google search methods to improve on line marketing. His speech had some good advice and some positive words for a persistent secretary who wanted to bring Brian into the modern advertising landscape. Next we heard yet another great speech from Andrea McManus who gave a compelling speech titled “The Addiction” which dealt with the pro and cons of coffee drinking. Her speech was packed with insightful information about coffee that made it hard to tell if this addiction was a good or a bad one! Master Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL introduced two excellent evaluators who both did brilliant work: Angela Abreu, CTM and Laurie Heinitz, CTM. The true and insight advice of their evaluations were right on target. Also right on target were the AH Counter and Grammarian reports from J.P. Grace and Dr. Princess Anita. Our timer, Diana Walley, ATMG, CL gave a stellar performance throughout the meeting as well. This night did hold some magic when we saw Laurie, Sarah and J.P. return to us again. They have all been missed and it was very good to see them back. This week we only had one guest, Reina Stewart who was impressed with our meeting. “What impressed me the most,”  she said “was how you all work together to make all this happen.” We do it every Thursday and hopefully we will be having great Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meetings even 100 years from now!

You never know what to expect when you attend an Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 meeting but the club members who attended the September 28th 2006 “Technology” themed meeting were in for a surprise when they found out that 10 visitors had taken time out of their schedules to see what a Club #28 Toastmaster meeting was all about. “We have more future members than members!” tonight said Club President Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Our visitors tonight were: Lori Blanch, Pat Ayala, Daniel Ashworth Jr., Genick Blaise, Mario Blaise, Brooke Birkey, Andre Omari, Bob Blaydes, Tara Rice and Dustin McCoy! They made this one of the best attended meetings we have had in months! Another surprise was the return of Toastmaster Diana Walley ATMG, CL who took on the role as timer. After the club sang Ken W. “Happy Birthday” he said that Diana being able to attend after being in critical condition only 3 weeks ago was “his best birthday present ever!” Tonight’s Hi-tech Toastmaster was Andrea McManus, who like most of the  Toastmasters present was able to fill more than one role. Andrea herself was on a roll tonight as she did a great job of being the Toastmaster and  interjecting her thoughts about living in a Techo-world. Also bringing the world of Technology to the forefront was Table Topic Master Angela Abreu, CTM. Her first question found President Walley in a time-warp: “How has the cell-phone changed your life?” Ken had to admit that he does not have a cell-phone (a gasp went up from the audience!) “I am from the horse & buggy age,” said Ken, my phone calls come from a phone that is attached to a wall!” Fate was better for our next Toastmaster who had to answer the question “What invention would you create for the future?” Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave his answer as a fuel inverter for a car that would get unlimited miles on a drop of gasoline… or something like that. Andrea McManus spoke about having to keep up with Technology. A very brave guest, Brooke Birkey, took on the question “Has Technology improved your life, has it improved the world?” We had three speeches tonight but only two of them were given evaluations. First was Dr. Princess Anita who gave a speech called “Medical Missionary, Medical Research” . The speech however was an “off the cuff” speech that had to do more with our Technology theme and the roadblocks that can divert us from the more important “reality” issues. “Video games, take away our focus from the human experience,” said Princess, “we do not see what is ‘real’.” Ken Walley, ATMG, CL gave the next speech which was a review of the Trenton Duckett story about a missing 2 year old and the suicide of his mother, Melinda Duckett. In the speech titled “Is Trenton Alive?” Ken gave a number of reasons he had come to the conclusion that Trenton was probably dead. “I hope I am wrong.” was the last line of his speech. Ken Blake ATMS, CL gave a eulogy for a friend of his named Mike (Eulogy for Mike) who was the founder of a classic Mustang club. and told a touching story of a man who taught life lessons often using his dedication to show cars as a way of example. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL served as the Master Evaluator and got two very good evaluations from Angela and Andrea. Their evaluations were perfect examples for our guests of how we try to “improve by encouragement.” I must also give credit for the success of this meeting to another one of our guests who served as our Vote Counter, Tara Price. She did a superb job for her first time in that role! A number of our guests had high praise for the meeting Bob Blaydes found the meeting helpful and said he plans to return as did Genick Blaise and Lori Blanch. After the meeting, I talked with every guest who visited and every guest who attended had an uplifting and positive comment! I hope they all join!

We were back again at the Center for Spiritual Living for the September 21st 2006 “Food” Themed meeting. Everyone came hungry for a great Toastmaster experience because we had a feast of wonderful Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations. Our “Head Chief” for the meeting, and Toastmaster, was Darryl Stephens who served up a sumptuous buffet of meal time memories. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL jumped on board the gravy train with some delicious questions that he cooked up on his own. To Brian Lewis he served the question “What is your favorite food?” Brian has a soft spot for cheeseburgers. Andrea McManus gobbled up the question “What is Health Food?” Dr. Princess Anita gave a professional opinion on “Do diets work?: What is the best way to lose weight?” Area 49 Governor Barbara Bergstrom, DTM told about some of the most exotic meals that she has ever tasted and our newest member Ray Ramsey spoke on how his eating habits had changed as he grew older. We had two “yummy” speeches as well for the meeting: Our first speech was special indeed as Ray Ramsey gave his Ice Breaker Speech titled “Me, Myself and I“. We learned that Ray is a Fire Inspector and a dedicated family man. He traced an event-filled  life from Harmon Indiana to Orlando and showed a lot of natural talent as a speaker in the process. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL stepped up to the plate with a speech titled “Keep It Simple!” where he pointed out ways of reducing stress and keeping life uncomplicated. “Remember what is truly important” said Ken…”Turn off the background noise of your life. The ‘white noise’ of our culture fills our minds with an endless string of ‘gobbygook’. Family, Health, Safety and Security, Caring for those in need, Love…these are important things! Turn off the static!” We were also blessed with a supreme dessert: two delectable evaluations dished out by our Master Evaluator Angela Abreu, CTM.  She was assisted by Barbara Bergstrom, DTM and Brian Lewis‘s first evaluation ever. Barbara not only gave some great tips of how Ken’s speech could have even stronger but she also used her vast experience to help the club improve as well. Brian Lewis gave an evaluation was upbeat, informative and truly encouraging for Ray’s Ice Breaker! The meeting was like a meal fit for a King. I hope that it will be just a taste of great things to come in the future meetings of Orlando Toastmaster Club #28!

Everyone agreed that the September 14th, 2006 “Money” themed meeting was “right on the money’ for a great meeting. even though our resident CPA & Treasurer Brian Lewis was called away at the last minute. Ken “Moneybags” Walley, ATMG, CL stepped in as the Toastmaster to run the show, and what a show it was! Ken introduced Angela Abreu, CTM as our Table Topics Master who touched upon the concept of money with some very enlightening questions. Ken Blake ATMS, CL answered the question of “How do you keep yourself out of the poorhouse?” Andrea McManus talked about the fine line between “Charity and Savings”. “Trusting Yourself with Money” was a subject handled by Darryl Stephens. Our guest, Ray Ramsey spoke about “The Power of Money” and Dr. Princess Anita mused upon the question of “Will I ever have enough money?”  It was a truly enriching Table Topics segment. For the first time in a long while we had three speeches for a regular meeting! Andrea McManus gave one of her very best speeches titled “Pet Peeve” which covered the subject of having consideration for the other people around you and, our world in general. Dr. Princess Anita bravely gave a speech titled “Money Matters” about our theme: the power that we have over money or the power money has over us. Ken Blake, ATMS, CL gave a very interesting speech (“We Expect Perfection”) using bananas as a prop, he pointed out how people look for the imperfections in others instead of looking for the things we do right. Three excellent evaluations were delivered by Darryl Stephens, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL and Ken Blake, ATMS, CL time was running out (we went far overtime) but I am glad we got them all in because this meeting really hit the jackpot!

The 2006 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest was held on September 7th and lived up to the hype that had preceded it and was a smashing success! Club Vice President of Education Angela Abreu, CTM; club Vice President of Public Relations Darryl Stephens and Sergeant at Arms Andrea McManus joined club President Ken Walley ATMG, CL to compete in the 1st contest the Evaluation Contest. All contestants had to evaluate former club President Barbara Lott‘s (CTM) speech titled “An American Nightmare” which centered on the subject of financial responsibility. Her speech was so good that it was really a challenge to find material for her to improve upon. All of the evaluations were different, but each one still showed an excellent grasp of how to encourage and give helpful advice at the same time. Diana Walley ATMG, CL, a long time member of Club #28, was impressed with all of the evaluations. “You learned something different with each one!” she said. Ken Walley ATMG, CL captured the 1st place trophy and Andrea McManus came in a very close second to win her 1st trophy of what will be many more trophies in the future. The Humorous Speech contest pitted Ken W. against Ken Blake, ATMS, CL and Brian Lewis. To start the Humorous Speech contest Ken Blake‘s speech titled “Don’t Call Me Kenneth” was an adapted “roast” of Ken Walley! It got plenty of laughs, mostly because of such a wealth of material. Ken remembered a time when Ken W. had so many “ums” and “ahs” that they could have collected enough dimes and nickels in toastmaster fines to “Pay for a new wing of the Library!” Brian Lewis gave a hilarious speech titled “This is Serious Business! So Don’t Laugh!” Brian delivered the speech in a dead-pan voice and it was anything BUT serious! Brian, a CPA in Maitland told some crazy stories of people with creative tax loopholes…like writing their dog in as a dependent! Ken Walley‘s speech, “Mickey Moo the Dog from Hell” told of a puppy with teeth like a great white shark in the movie “Jaws” and an appetite to match. “Mickey ejected teeth like a machine gun spitting out bullets!” Ken W. added the Humorous Speech 1st place trophy to his Evaluation Contest award. Warren Lakhan, ATMS, from the Orange County Toastmasters Club #129 stepped in at the last minute to serve as our Contest Master and he did a truly brilliant job! Also worthy of note was our Chief Judge Roxie Steadman, ATMG of the Cassleberry Orators Club #8945 who took charge of all of the details of running our contests. At the end of the meeting we asked our guests what their impressions were of our contests and we received some very high praise. Yaslynn Mack, a toastmaster from Atlanta before moving to Orlando, commented that Club #28 showed “heart” and a “willingness to work together” to put on such a presentation.  Both contests proved that Club #28 has a wealth of talent and now has many wonderful new memories from this special evening. Others who made this extraordinary  night possible were Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Dr. Princess Anita who served as our timers. Helen Joseph, DTM from the “Let’s Talk” Toastmaster Club #4413 pitched in as our official vote counter! Thanks to everyone who made our 2006 Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contest possible!

The August 30th, 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Labor Day and The American Work Force” themed meeting was no work at all for Toastmaster Diana Walley, ATMG, CL. A steady hand at being the Toastmaster, she came prepared with a blueprint for a great meeting. She gave us many facts about Labor Day, Labor Unions and a Labor force that has changed the face of the world  forever. Working side-by-side with Diana was Andrea McManus who was the Table Topics Master. Andrea asked some truly great questions about how we view being “on the job”: To Ken Blake ATMS, CL, a man who has been know to “put in the hours” she asked “Are you a workaholic?” Ken said he could find a balance but sometimes it was hard. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if he ever had a truly demanding job. Ken answered that the job he hold right now was a very demanding job and don’t forget to give a generous tip to your waiter. Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke on the minimum wage and called it “a joke” making the observation that no one can actually live on that wage. Angela Abreu, CTM spoke about having to change her occupation and visiting Area 49 Governor Barbara Bergstrom, DTM spoke on the importance of Trade Schools. We went to work on two speeches. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was pushed into the spotlight at the last moment and gave a speech more from the seat of his pants rather than a “hip-pocket speech”! He pulled it off very well speaking on the subject of and titled: “Happiness” . The club was treated to a speech by our Area 49 Governor Barbara Bergstrom, DTM who gave an inspiring speech about how Toastmasters changes lives titled “Through the Door!Ken Blake ATMS, CL showed his workmanlike ethic by wearing two hardhats tonight when he was both the Master Evaluator and the Evaluator for Ken W.’s speech. Ken B’s evaluation was right on target. Also taking aim at a great evaluation was Ken Walley, ATMG CL himself who reviewed Barbara’s speech. Dr. Princess Anita and Andrea Abreu, CTM turned in good efforts as our AH Counter and Grammarian respectively. Three guests “came through the door tonight, Paula Taylor, Alex Trabekia and Eric Alan. They all said they were impressed with the meeting and speakers and hope to return next week as well. Club #28 went to work and built a great meeting!

The August 24th 2006 Orlando Club #28 meeting had the theme of “Sky Watching” to which our Toastmaster for the evening, Angela Abreu, CTM shinned like a star! Looking up to excellence, Angela telescoped the sparking jewels of the Club #28 heaven during the meeting and pointed out some winning constellations as the evening progressed. Also making our toastmaster sky bright was our Table Topic Master Darryl Stephens. Darryl touched on the subject of “hobbies”.  Darryl asked Andrea McManus if she had a hobby that was important to her. Andrea’s hobby fit perfect with our “sky watching” theme: Bird-watching! She told of travels to many far away places to enjoy her hobby. Sarah Stack listed the ways that hobbies can be harmful, namely being obsessed and taking time away from your family. Diana Walley, ATMG, CL told of her hobby of stamp collecting when she was a teenager, which was a hobby none of her fellow teens shared, but a few senior citizens related to. Dr. Princess Anita expounded on the question of how much time one should spend on a hobby. Angela Abreu, CTM told of many hobbies she would have like to have completed but never was able to do so because of her job and kids and “life”. It was a great table topic session! We had two speeches this star-studded evening. The first was by Ken Walley, ATMG, CL who spoke on the subject of “How to Change the World and Make It Look Easy” He gave some advice such as to volunteer, encourage others and keep a good sense of humor. Ken also played a part in the second project which was a TV interview. Ken interviewed Ken Blake, ATMS, CL. in an advanced manual  project titled “To Fix or Not To Fix” where he asked questions about the world of automobile repair. Ken B. gave some astounding answers that informed as well as entertained the club. Our Master Evaluator was Diana Walley ATMG, CL who also gave an evaluation of her husband’s Ken’s speech. Andrea McManus who doubled tonight as AH counters and evaluator, gave an excellent evaluation of Ken B’s speech. Our newest member, Alexandra Rene said that she was again impressed with the meeting …she even brought a guest with her who highly praised the meeting as well. This was yet another fun and interesting meeting with plenty of stars to look up to. See you next week!

The August 17th 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was held in the giant Albertson Room at the library .Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL borrowed from the movie Field of Dreams when he said “Build it and they will come”. Ken was only partly right. The meeting netted only five members but the good news was that it also drew Three guests! The theme was “Family Pets” which turned out to be a great theme and the meeting, even though sparsely attended, turned out to be another big Club #28 success. Everyone had to wear more than one hat. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  was our Toastmaster, Table Topics  Master, Speaker #2. Ken told a story about a puppy named “Mickey Moo”  that became the “Dog from Hell” to get the meeting off to a pet-story start. It would be the first of many stories tonight. Ken asked Darryl Stephens about his childhood pets in Table Topics and he told a story of a dog and part wolf named Spike who chased away bullies when he was young. Dr. Princess Anita commented that she wasn’t either a Dog or a Cat person but guest Ray Dominick told a great story about how a single stray cat ended up filling his mom’s house with 22 cats in no time at all! Angela Abreu, CTM gave great reasons why someone should adopt from the Humane Society. Guest Alexandra Rene answered her first Table Topic question: “Why do we keep pets in the first place?” She gave a thoughtful answer about companionship. Ken agreed saying that the “robot dogs” they sell in toy stores “can do almost everything a real dog can do except for the ‘unconditional love’ part”. Speaking first tonight was Brian Lewis who gave an exceptional speech titled “Stomping Grapes and Other Potentially Illegal Activities“. Brian gave us a recipe for making wine and told us step-by-step how the art of winemaking was accomplished. No samples however. Ken’s speech “My Ice Breaker Revisited”  told the story of his 1st Toastmaster speech and the lessons he learned from it. At last, Ken was able to relinquish the lectern to the Master Evaluator Darryl Stephens! Darryl also wearing two hats tonight gave the first evaluation, an impressive review of Brian’s speech. Our second evaluator was Dr. Princess Anita who gave her very first evaluation of Ken’s speech. Princess did a very good job for her 1st evaluation. Applause went out to Angela Abreu, CTM who handled the jobs of Sgt.-at-Arms, Invocation and Pledge, Timer and Grammarian! Also Brian Lewis filled the AH Counter position beside being a speaker and even our guest Alexandra Rene was our Vote Counter tonight. Incredibly, the meeting ran smoothly as if it had been planned that way! Best yet was the comments of our three guests,: Alexandra, Ray Dominick and Kevin McMahon. All were very impressed with Club #28 tonight! The best news of all was that Alexandra became our newest member! Welcome to Club #28 Alexandra!

The August 10th 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Aliens and Other Tales of the Unknown” Meeting was nothing to be frightened of but it was a lot of fun! Spooky ghost stories were told along with Aliens, ESP, Big Foot, and much more of the creepy that crept into our night. Being our guide of the Twilight Zone for this evening was Darryl Stephens who explained how he did not look forward to his first encounter of the “closest kind” but did wonder what was “out there”. Also curious was Table Topic Master Brian Lewis who had some questions of his own. His first question was to a toastmaster who had mysteriously disappeared only to return from the unknown tonight: Barbara Lott, CTM! Barbara had to answer the question of what planet would you be from if not Earth? Her pick was Mars. Angela Abreu, CTM was called upon to tell of the “creepiest” thing that ever happen to her. Ken Walley, ATMG, CL told a ghost story about “Grandpa Shoes”. Diana Walley ATMG, CL answered the question of life on other planets. Darryl told us about not having ESP but having a girlfriend who did. Our two speeches were both truly worth being beamed up to the library’s 3rd floor to hear them. Andrea McManus on short notice gave a very good speech that fit perfectly into the theme. Titled “The Human Obsession with Elusive Creatures”  Andrea looked into such legends as The Yetti, Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster, Area 51 and other imagination captivating beings and places. She herself captivated her audience like an alien spaceship beaming up a car on a deserted country road. Next up was Dr. Princess Anita who spoke about the title wave of Technological gadgets that has overwhelmed the public in a speech titled “Let’s Slow Down!” Dr. Anita showed remarkable improvement on her 5th speech. Our Master Evaluator Angela Abreu, CTM also gave the evaluation for Andrea’s speech and had the pleasure of introducing Ken Walley ATMG, CL to give the evaluation of Dr. Anita’s speech. Both were very good evaluations. Angela also had many good things to say about the meeting but she wished that more had been here to have heard all of the amazing things that we had done tonight. President Ken Walley ATMG, CL handed out to all of the members present long overdue Toastmaster pins that should have been presented when the members became first were accepted into the club. Ollie Emory was our other guest along with Barbara and both of them had truly excellent comments of the meeting. It was a extra-terrific Toastmaster meeting!

The August 3rd, 2006 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting centered on the concept of “Global Peace” and to lead us through the many roadblocks to reach that lofty ideal was our toastmaster for the night,  Dr. Princess Anita. Dr. Anita reminded us that we must put aside our differences and focus on what we have in common in order make world peace become a reality. Although, she admitted, that we seem a long way  from getting nations and religions to come together. Ken Walley ATMG, CL picked up that theme with the Table Topics session asking 1.) “Is world peace even possible or is the human race naturally destined to fight wars?” Angela Abreu, CTM handled that one.  Visiting past Club #28 President Helen Joseph, DTM was asked 2.) “What could mankind accomplish as a united world once we did achieve a lasting world peace?” 3.) “Can war bring about peace?” was a tough question asked of Sarah Stack. Sarah handled it like a professional debater with an insightful response. The next question was just as tough to answer: 4.) “Religious strife has been a ‘building block’ for war, how can we tackle this problem?” Bravely answering this question was Yulia Filippova. She noted that most wars are fought over material things, or land and religion is just used as a cloak or to deceive others into fighting for a more justifiable cause. Our two speeches also lived up to the highest standards of great Toastmaster fare: Speaking first was Brian Lewis who gave a speech with a rather misleading title: “How to be a Trained Killer“. He explained in the speech that he was talking about a group of CPA’s who tracked down “monster engagements”  and made them more profitable. Although on a “dry’ subject, Brian’s speech was made interesting and entertaining by his use of humor and wordplay. Another fascinating effort ( titled “Richard Pryo