Past meetings 2012 – 2014

The December 18th 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Holiday Party and Installation of Officers and the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony was a jolly affair featuring holiday songs, candy canes, nutcrackers, Christmas trees and tons of beautiful sparking lights! The room was alive with a happy festival spirit! Acting Sgt. at Arm Barbara Cusack ACS, CL started the meeting with a meaningful and moving message of having a fresh start and hope in life. As he has done throughout his term, Club #28 President Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was introduced to welcome everyone to this special evening and then Eddy introduced the traditional Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley ACG, ALB. Ken wore a bright red tie to go with his green vest and Santa cap… and he left no doubt that he was in a celebratory mood! “Ho! Ho! Ho!” he bellowed. Ken pulled four Christmas Table Topics questions right out of his sack. We found out that new member Kevin Phillips looks forward to going home and being with family over the holidays and that Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM loves most hearing about the “old family folk tales” during the season. We also found out that Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB once prized a Cabbage Patch Kid doll she really wanted but realized that the best gift of all was being with her family and Angela Abreu CTM shared some past Christmas memories of her children. With everyone in a cheerful mood, we heard our featured speaker for the evening, Julie Remington give her second speech from the Basic Manual titled “Yes! You Can Do Yoga!” Julie, a yoga instructor, listed the three most popular reasons people say that they can not do yoga: They are not flexible enough, it’s to boring or they might pass gas. With a little help from Ben Quiroz CC she showed that we are more flexible than we think we are. She also showed that yoga is far from boring and  we won’t be the first… or last… to pass gas. The speech was fun, entertaining and we learned a lot about yoga! Giving the gift of knowledge was Jack Wharton CC, CL who’s evaluation of Julie’s speech was excellent. It was a present filled with helpful hints and wrapped up with a ribbon of praise. We started our tribute to our outgoing officers with the “Farewell Address” of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President Eddy Cezailen CC, CL. This speech also earned Eddy his Competent Communicator Award! It would be a speech both uplifting and inspirational. Eddy thanked each of his fellow officers by name and praised their accomplishments. He also told of his experience coming into Toastmasters, fearful and feeling alone. “Warren Buffet told me to come here” said Eddy explaining why he first joined Toastmasters. He soon came to find that he could challenge himself and replace those fears with confidence. “It was the push I needed.” He said. After the speech, Ken W. called for a standing ovation to honor Eddy’s past service as President and to acknowledge his CC award! Congratulations Eddy! Our Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM was at hand to induct our new officers with the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony. Gov. Ashby did so with a professional flair for the dramatic that kept even this dry ritual exciting and interesting! Our new leaders that were sworn in are:

Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington, Secretary Kenneth H. Walley DTM (Pending); Treasurer: Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Vice President of Public Relations Betsy Carvajal, Vice President of Membership Angela Abreu CTM, Vice President of Education Ben Quiroz CC and President Marie Loeffler DTM.

Giving her “Inaugural Address” Incoming President Marie Loeffler DTM rallied the club to continue the impressive results of Eddy’s administration. Marie mentioned that her term would be the first to have Ken W. as a DTM and she praised the support given to the club by Steve Wood CC and Ken Blake DTM. She set goals for the club to put the focus on leadership and quoting motivational speaker John Maxwell, Marie asked that we “develop the leader within you!” She pledged to carry on with her club mentorship project as well as define how this club can help us to reach our individual communication goals. She has planed a special “Moments of Truth” meeting, our first meeting of the new year, to see if we can better meet the needs of our members and improve as a club. If this speech is any indication, our club is headed for the most productive year in its long history! Marie was given a standing ovation at the end of her speech. Before this special evening and the year drew to a close, we also heard from Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM who told us about the upcoming Toastmasters Leadership Institute officer training and the 2015 District Conference. She too praised Club #28 highly saying that as a district officer she “never has to worry about Club #28.” Before closing the meeting, Ken thanked our only functionary, timer Betsy Carvajal for her brilliant work.  The joyfulness was apparent throughout the room and it is hoped that the spirit of this evening will last throughout 2015. Ken Walley DTM (Pending) wished all of those in the club, past members, their families and their friends, A very happy holiday season!

The December 11, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Mushroom” theme meeting mushroomed into one of the best meetings we have ever had! Before leading us in the pledge to the flag, Steve Wood CC started the meeting with a phrase by an unknown author of profound insight: “If there was nothing wrong in the world, we would have nothing to do.” There were no “spore losers” with our subject because Toastmaster Angela Abreu CTM covered the many different varieties of mushrooms from the eatable to the poisonous. She told us what mushrooms are, the importance of the use of mushrooms as a medicine and their historic background. She chronicled the different types of related funguses, including truffles which are often valued higher than gold per ounce in some places! She noted that fungi, grouped together to form a “super-organism” known as Armillaria Ostoyme, is the largest life form on Earth. Angela made us aware that mushrooms are much more than just a healthy addition to a meal. Putting a “cap” on our knowledge of mushrooms and “stemming” the tide of extemporaneous speaking, was Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal who somehow picked a few choice questions about mushrooms for us to savor. Her first question was for Marie Loeffler DTM: “Smurfs lived in mushroom houses, what is your dream house? Marie described an idyllic dwelling with lots of glass, a cozy loft and a spacious underground living area. “There are many mushroom dishes to make, what is your favorite?” was offered to Kenza Wilhite. She said that she likes Portobello mushrooms with garlic and spices. She also told an amazing story of when she worked in a pharmacy in France and the townspeople would bring her mushrooms and ask her if they were poison or not! Guest Kevin Phillips was asked if he would pay $800.00 to $1500.00 dollars to eat truffles and where would he eat them. He said he could not afford that meal right now but he would eat them in a “warm, lavish place” perhaps aboard a cruise ship. Steve Wood CC was asked if he ever used mushrooms as a medicine. He spoke about their medicinal properties saying that he recently learned that fungi are eukaryotic and don’t have circular DNA like bacteria do and also spoke some about his “ideal house” with solar panels and an observatory and no trees to block the view of the sky with a “landscape of dirt.” Ken Walley ATMG, ALB was asked about his experiences with hallucinogenic mushrooms. Ken remembered (somehow) while in college he and his friends would pick mushrooms (purple rings only) from the manure in a cow field and take them home (clean them off) and eat them (with steak sauce). “Be prepared to trip for about 8 hours after you throw up” said Ken, “It did open some ‘doors of perception’, but I would not recommend this to anyone.” Later in the meeting James Armburst was asked about his favorite mushroom experience. He noted that the NES Super-Mario Brothers game which he plays whenever he can, has mushrooms with powers and points that will help you reach the next level.  Sprouting from the rich soil of this meeting were three remarkable speeches. Our first speech was very special indeed as it was Christine Abreu’s Ice Breaker speech. The speech, titled “Don’t Call It ‘A Gift’” told about Christine’s love for art and expression in drawing, multi-media and colored ink. She brought samples of her amazingly striking art work but warned us not to say that she had a “gift.” She told us about the hard work and devotion that she put into something that she loved to do. She spoke about how she was sometimes put down and criticized for her style or her subject but that did not stop her from working with her passion. Christine said that her speech was recognition of all artists who put in “serious dedication” to their craft and that it was not just “a gift.” This was a truly rewarding and entertaining 1st speech! Barbara Cusack ACS, CL gave a speech from the Toastmasters International Better Speakers Series titled “Selecting Your Topic”. Barbara tackled this subject that many Toastmasters can relate to with humor and a great deal of good advice! “Taylor to your audience”, “What is the occasion?”,  “revisit your Ice Breaker”, “Research an interesting topic, “Find inspiration in the mundane”, “reflect on your personal abilities and experiences” were just a few of the helpful ideas Barbara offered. With this speech Barbara officially earned her ACS! Congratulations Barbara! Walk Jones DTM, working on the Advanced Interpretive Reading Manual full-filled the project of “Storytelling” with a reading of Donald Davis’s book “Listening for the Crack of Dawn”.  A Christmas story from Appalachia during the 1950’s, Walk wove a joyful feeling in the air with the tale of two boys who discover Santa’s presents in the trunk of their parent’s car. Walk’s storytelling definitely put a festive mood in the room! Another fungi… I mean fun guy, Ben Quiroz CC commanded the rank of General Evaluator leading a crack team of speech reviewers Eddy Cezalien CC, Ken Blake DTM and Jack Wharton CC, CL. All of the evaluations were right on target. The Technical Toadstool Talk Team (TTTT) also added to the evening with delicious insights and flavorful reports thanks to Grammarian Kenza Wilhite, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; Meeting ‘Shroom Video Cultivator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Marie Loeffler DTM and Vote Counter James Armbrust. We had two guests including the delightful Lidia Carvajal, Betsy’s mother who simply charmed everyone in the room and Kevin Phillips who joined our club after the meeting! Welcome Kevin! This meeting just mushroomed with wonderful things and went by so fast:  ‘SHROOM! ‘SHROOM!

The December 4, 2014 Orlando Toastmaster club #28 “Soccer” theme  meeting  was like watching a Bicycle kick right into the center of the net! The meeting started with Sergeant- at- Arms elect Julie Remington opening the meeting and also giving a power thought on the subject of renewal and reflection. During the business part of the meeting, President Eddy Cezalien CL confirmed the nominations of our new officers for the January-June 2015 term.  We had a ball with the subject of “Soccer” thanks to our “team captain” for the evening Betsy Carvajal! Betsy scored liked Germany did against Brazil with interesting tidbits about the history of the game, the inside scoop in pro soccer, the world cup, stories of the crazy, fanatical soccer fans and the teams, leagues and players! By the end of the meeting she had us lining up for Orlando City SC season tickets! You could say she scored a goooooooaaaaaaallllll Ken Walley ATMG, ALB was sent in as a replacement Table Topics Master and brought some interesting questions to kick around. His first question was for Betsy Carvajal asking her to explain how soccer is played. Somehow she managed to make her one minute time requirement! Julie Remington was asked why the sport was so popular worldwide. Julie told of being in an English pub during a game and feeling a little worried for her safety due to the exuberance of the patrons rooting on their respective teams. When asked about “the thrill of victory”, Toni McIvor CC, CL remembered the great rivalries between teams that played in her homeland of Scotland and of the passion of the fans there. On the other hand, when speaking about the “agony of defeat”, Eddy Cezalian CL remembered losing a wrestling match in High School and just missing out on going to the State competition. “It sucks to lose” he said “but you learn from it.” Steve Wood CC was asked what he thought was the most tedious and boring sport to watch. Steve admitted that Tennis is fine to play but hard to watch. He said he could be a pro if he could just learn to do two things: serve and return the ball! Rodney Higgins ACB said that he would gladly sell his tickets to the World Cup instead to watch a Heavyweight boxing championship. Marie Loeffler DTM was asked if Orlando should have spent millions of dollars on a new soccer stadium. She said that the money could have been used for better purposes else where and said that “Orlando is trying to be a big city but is not ready yet.” The last question was for our guest Timothy Laffy asking if he could name a soccer player and who was his personal “sports hero”. Timothy could only recall the name of Orlando player Kaka (Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite) because of the money he was making but told about a deep respect for his hero, boxing legend Muhammad Ali who “stood true to his beliefs, no matter how unpopular they were at the time.”  It was also a memorable night of awesome speeches and a few Toastmasters goals being scored as well. Speaking first and giving her Ice Breaker speech was Kenza Wilhite who impressed everyone with her remarkable story titled “Multi-cultures”. Her journey took us from Morocco and a loving and large family to the United States to “follow her heart” and her husband. It was a path that eventually and luckily brought her to us. Another milestone was reached as Ben Quiroz CC earned his Competent Communicator Award with another extraordinary effort, this speech titled “Shine Bright“. Ben inspired us with the story of Nick Vujicic a motivational speaker with no arms or legs who has inspired thousands to achieve what they once thought impossible. Nick was quoted as saying “I don’t need hands to hold your heart.” Ben also told of the dehumanization of a homeless man and our responsibility to see the humanity in each of us. It was a meaningful speech that had an impact on all who heard it. Karen Climer ACS, CL added to this inspirational evening with a speech titled “To Cause More Happiness Share Yours!” Her message brought joy to the room with an idea that everyone needed to hear: that we have it within ourselves to create happiness for others. “We have a moral obligation to be happy.” said Karen, “We should not interfere with anyone’s right to the pursuit of happiness!” It was one speech that everyone was happy that they were able to hear. Led by the steady guidance of General Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CL, Club #28 offered three evaluations by Ken Walley ATMG, ALB, Ken Blake DTM and Rodney Higgins ACB all of which were both exciting and helpful. Mr. Higgins’s evaluation of Karen’s speech especially stood out as one of the best evaluations ever given at Club #28. The Language Footbal Referees (LFR) did a fabulous job of officiating the meeting thanks to Grammarian Marie Loeffler DTM, Timer Angela Abreu CTM, Booking Linesman Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL and Vote Counter Julie Remington. Our only guest for the evening, Timothy Laffy was very outspoken in his praise of the meeting and pledged to return. A standing ovation was given to both Kenza Wilhite for giving her Ice Breaker speech and to Ben Quiroz CC for earning his CC Award. Congratulations to both of you! If this meeting were a soccer game, Club #28 would be holding the World Cup Trophy over our heads.

Everyone was thankful for attending the November 20, 2014 “Thanksgiving” theme The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Let’s count our blessings: 1. Julie Remington was on hand to start the meeting with the Pledge to the Flag and with an inspiring thought. 2.  Ken Walley ATMG, ALB was the Toastmaster and he told us about the history and traditions of Thanksgiving. Said Ken, “It is a day of parades, football, songs, charity, feasting and being with family and loved ones… but most importantly its about giving thanks.” He said that “No matter what religion you belong to, or even if you belong to no religion, reflecting upon the blessings in your life can only be a good thing.” 3. Allen Monroe ATM provided a truly different and really fun Thanksgiving Table Topics session. Using stories from the National Inquirer, Allen asked us about our favorite celebrity’s Thanksgiving plans! Some of the answers turned out to be truly insightful and even moving! His first question was for 4. Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who was questioned as to what she thought that Bill and Hillary Clinton’s plans were for the holidays.  Barbara mentioned that there would be a lot of joy in the Clinton household as Bill and Hillary enjoy their newfound status as grandparents with the birth of Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky’s first child Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, besides trying to figure out if Hillary will run in 2016. 5. Noting that National Inquirer had mentioned Kim Kardashian’s nude photo shoot for Paper Magazine, Allen wondered what a Kardashian Thanksgiving would be like. Christine Abreu answered that the Kardashians seem to “make their own problems sometimes and find problems even when they don’t have to find them.” She also observed they did not look like a family that would eat much on Thanksgiving.6. Allen’s attention was drawn towards an advertisement for the “Jacked Up pill” to help boost testosterone, lose weight and increase energy and metabolism. He wanted the opinion of Steve Wood CC on the supplement. Steve said that one of the things he is thankful for is that he knows that these types of drugs “don’t work.” He also explained that they could be harmful, even causing heart attacks or other problems in some people. 7. Johnny Deep was reported to have allegedly been publicly drunk while introducing the winner for an American Music Award. Allen wondered if drunkenness was a problem at Thanksgiving. Kenza Wilhite preferred to focus on the good things about Thanksgiving, namely food, gratitude and being with friends and family. 8. It was reported in the National Enquirer that racecar champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. was getting “cold feet” about marrying longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann. Guest Kevin Phillips commented that Dale has “everything to be thankful for” and although not knowing the couple’s personal circumstances, they should be happy for the many blessings that they have right now. 9. Julie Remington answered a question about singer Carrie Underwood who was described in an article as “starving her baby”. Jenny did not believe that was really true and told about Thanksgiving having “lot of food” and a story about how someone forget to get the turkey one Thanksgiving and everyone ended up having a wonderful vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. 10. Bruce Jenner’s plastic surgery “butt job” article gave way to a story by Jesuen Quyan about being new in America and having never cooked a turkey before, after having researched the recipe and making detailed preparations… his only problem was that his oven was too small for the turkey! 11. The last question was for Dr. Jenny Quyang which had to do with Tiger Woods and the 5th anniversary of the infamous “Thanksgiving incident” which led to the end of Tiger’s marriage. Jenny said that both Tiger and his ex should look at all that they have and be thankful for where they are “right now.” Good advice! 12.  We were blessed with three wonderful speaker starting with Angela Abreu CTM gave a speech titled “Life Quality” which warned us of the dangers of a “soft life” and how through creating good habits such as watching the foods we eat, exercising and dealing with stress, we can add quality years to our life. Angela said “Make your mind your master not your servant.” 13. Betsy Carvajal in her speech “How to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!” gave us detailed and specific ways to stop the un-dead in their brain-eating tracks. Telling us that the Zombies are “on their way”, she gave us a strategy: “Out run them, play dead or kill them through their brain.” Taught us ways to prepare our psychological state of mind with colorful pictures and descriptions of the mutants and even showed us an “emergency preparation kit” that came complete with “military grade food”. Betsy said that “They only have a 1% mental capability. This should be easy! ” Bring em’ on! This was better than watching any movie! 14. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB gave a 2nd Ice breaker speech titled “My Life” to introduce herself to her new club. It was a powerful as well as an entertaining speech that told of the triumphs and tragedies of Kara’s life and the life lessons that she learned from those who had passed on before her. It was a highly meaningful and riveting performance. 15. Speakers this amazing had three of Club #28’s best evaluators to mentor them: Walk Jones DTM, Ken Blake DTM and Jack Wharton CC, CL. We were even blessed with Ben Quiroz as our General Evaluator who gave an impressive meeting review! 16. The Grateful Servers of Language Gravy (GSOLG) also brought to the table a feast of generous reports which delighted the palettes of all, great appreciation to Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACS, CL, Timer Marie Loeffler DTM, Image Carver Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Christine Abreu and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. 17. We had three returning guests Jesuen Quyan, Jenny Quyan and Kevin Phillips, all of whom were most kind in their comments at the end of the meeting. 18. It should also be mentioned that due to an emergency our Sgt. at Arms was unable to arrive with all of our equipment but thanks to Marie Loeffler DTM and others we were still able to have our meeting complete with ballots, lectern, timer cards, etc., without missing a beat! 19. As we gathered together we were truly thankful for this opportunity to share with each other another wonderful evening of Toastmasters fellowship. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was cleared for the run way to a high flying November 13, 2014 meeting with the theme of “Airplanes!” As the wheels went up Ken Walley ATMG, ALB got the seats in an upright position by leading us in a power thought and the Pledge to the Flag.  With “Captain” Walk Jones DTM at the controls as our Toastmaster, the meeting took off into the wild blue yonder of fun aviation facts, personal tales of flying travel along with some airplane anecdotes and stories. He showed us pictures of 747’s and 737’s, read us Wright Brothers trivia and revealed some amazing details of the aircraft industry.  Walk also told us a moving story of how his grandmother’s life changed dramatically from a chance encounter with a passenger in the seat next to her! Prof. Christopher Fama ACB, ALB was on hand with some wonderful Table Topics questions for our members… as well as his students! The first question Christopher asked was of Ken Walley ATMG, ALB “If you could fly your plane anywhere, even into the past, where would you go? Ken said that he would go all of the way back into pre-historic times and see the dinosaurs! Brandon Duncan replied with descriptions of sloppy jelly bean eaters, seat kicking children and other airborne pests to the question “Have you ever had someone annoying sit next to you in a plane?” He remarked that “A long flight takes a lot out of you.” This led into the next question for Kameka Davis-Northington: “Who would you like to sit next to on a four hour fight?” Kameka choose President Barrack Obama. Has your luggage ever been lost and how would you handle that situation? Was given to Walk Jones DTM who said he had been lucky so far with his luggage even though he has done extensive traveling. Instead Walk told us how he survived a 17 hour flight thanks to the use of a sleep aid “You may or may not get to sleep, but you will not remember half of the flight.” Kathleen Holm told about the worst flight she ever took that featured a 16 month old with pink eye in a 4 ½ delay due to a snowstorm. When questioned about where he would fly to if he could, Malcolm White expressed a desire to visit the Bahamas. Great choice! “What tags would you have on you if you were a bag?” challenged Marie Loeffler DTM who instead told a tale of her lost luggage that when recovered after two days, was found locked in a room that no one seemed to have the key to!  We had two brilliant speeches. John Kirchner and Ben Quiroz both gave inspiring 9th speeches. John spoke with eloquence in a speech titled “Quality”. He told how his search for quality led him to succeeding in business as well as finding a higher quality of life itself. John said “If you put quality first, everything else falls into place.” Ben spoke on a very different subject in his speech titled “On My Terms”. He addressed the question of the right to die in light of the recent Brittney Maynard events in the news. His speech looked at both sides of the issue. Ben remarked that “It is not the years of your life but the life of your years.” These powerful and enlightening speeches were reviewed with the same level of excellence by Angela Abreu CTM (for John) and Ken Walley ATMG, ALB (For Ben) under the guidance of General Evaluator Marie Loeffler DTM. It cannot be said that the Functionary Attributes Attendances (FAA) did not earn their wings with great reports from Grammarian Eddy Cezalien CL, Timer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Target Navigator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Betsy Carvajal and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. We had many guests who all gave high praise to the meeting with their closing remarks. Thanks to Kameka Davis-Northington, Chuck Barr, Brandon Duncan, Kathleen Holm, Cindy Romero, Joan Schoen, Theresa Self, Malcolm White, Jesuen Quyang and his wife Dr. Jenny Quyang and son Richard Quyang! Thank you for attending. We hope to see you all again soon! It was good to see the room packed and the energy level high as we came in for a smooth landing for one of our best meetings ever! Who would not want to fly the friendly skies of Club #28?

The November 6th 2014 Orlando Toastmasters “Heroes” theme meeting was filled with many amazing stories, inspiration, and even more. Valiantly starting the meeting with a message to inspire and leading us in the Pledge to the Flag was Julie Remington. The true hero of this meeting was Toastmaster Ben Quiroz who told us of the heroic exploits of a brave cat defending a child by attacking a dog, baby Jessica McClure being rescued from a well, a firefighter reviving a kitten with an oxygen mask, a two-time medal of honor winner who took on a whole army and other heart-stopping acts of courage! It was thrilling! “Thrilling” could also describe the Table Topics session by Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who had some exciting questions that were fearlessly answered by our members! The first question was for new member Kara Newcomb ACS, ALB which was “What is your favorite super-hero movie?” Kara admitted that she is not a big super-hero fan but did admit to watching Spiderman. Kara said “I admire the real-life heroes in our daily life, those who are my mentors and those who inspire me.” Ken Walley ATMG, ALB spoke about “Superheroes vs. Heroes.” Ken said that a lot of what superheroes have such as endless courage, superior intelligence, tremendous strength, etc. our “everyday” heroes do not possess which make real life heroes even more amazing. Kenza Wilhite spoke about an “everyday hero” in her life, her father who worked hard and saved for her family and helped her brother in tough times, a man who built a business from scratch and many other selfless acts.  Steve Wood CC answered the age old question of who is the better superhero Batman or Superman? Steve answered emphatically that Superman would “crush” Batman as Batman is a “mere human.” “What superpower would you choose?” was the question for Jack Wharton CC, CL. Jack would love to be able to fly at will with amazing speeds! He also mentioned “seismic-kinesis” the ability to control the earth’s core as a possible super-power. Christine Abreu was asked “What she would put in a hero sandwich?” She admitted that she did not know what a hero sandwich was so instead she told us about the incredible superpower of “Captain Hindsight” from the TV show “South Park” who has the ability to tell you what you did wrong after the fact! Betsy Carvajal when asked what costume she would wear as a super-hero, decided on Wonder woman’s costume! She also told about her favorite superhero Spiderman and her favorite real hero, her father.  We were blessed with three super speeches including an impressive Ice Breaker speech by Julie Remington who told an amazing story of her life and even made us nostalgic for the ABC lounges of the 1980’s in her speech titled “Chapter One: I am Born.” Eddy Cezalien CL opened up our eyes to the “Four Cures to a Lean Purse” with some solid and wise financial advice and Marie Loeffler DTM brought back her hand bells in a speech titled “Connecting the Notes” for a completely entertaining “2nd Ice Breaker” which ended in an emblematic inspirational song! Almost as electrifying as the speeches were the brilliant evaluations by Allen Monroe ATM (for Julie), Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Eddy) and Kara Newcomb ACS, ALB (for Marie). General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, ALB remarked in his meeting review: “Inspiring and informative, this meeting is as close to perfect as you can get.” It would not be fair to leave out the bold efforts of the Intrepid Defenders of the Grammatical Universe (IDOTGU) and their daring exploits to save us from UMs, AHs and going overtime! Thank you Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACS, CL, Time-Distance Verification Specialist Steve Wood CC, Timer Christine Abreu, AH Counter Angela Abreu CTM and Vote Counter Betsy Carvajal. This meeting showed that on this night with Club #28, at the Herndon Branch Library… there was a hero in every seat.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 30, 2014 “Scary Things” them meeting took place in an abandoned shell of a church building, formerly The Center for Spiritual Living built in the 1920’s. In this eerie place, Nothing could have prepared us for this spooky-tastic / fantastic meeting. Facing the specter of the lectern for her first time our newest member, Julie Remington started the meeting with some words of wisdom and the Pledge to the Flag. She did excellent!  Karen Climer ACS, CL reminded us of things that go bump in the night and other scary stuff such as clowns, ghosts… death and public speaking… of which she said “If people think that public speaking is scarier than dying, wouldn’t the guy giving the eulogy really want to be the guy in the casket?” Karen had lot of simply wonderful “scary stuff!” Ken Walley ATMG, ALB was the Table Topics Master with questions that gave some a fright. Ken asked ten questions the first was “Tell us about a time you were really scared?” It was answered by Allen Monroe ATM who told in detail the frightening details of an ancient Druid Mass. “What is good about being scared?” was a question that Steve Wood CC replied  to brilliantly “You need fear to survive. Don’t live your life like each day is your last!” said Steve. When Kenza Wilhite was asked “Tell us about the scariest place you have ever been?” told us of a haunted house at a theme park she once went to that left her shaking. When asked about ghosts in general, we got a true-life ghost story from Julie Remington about objects moving on their own and strange noises from a REAL haunted house by Lake Monroe. The question was “What things in this world really scare you the most?” and Rosalyn Porter ACG found an answer that many of us would agree upon: “Not knowing what is coming next.” Eddy Cezalien CL was asked about Vampires and said that the monsters were now loved because of the “Twilight Saga” and other romantic vampire movies. Eddy also told a story about when he had been the most scared in his life, when he witnessed a robbery. Asked if she had ever been “really lost”, Angela Abreu CTM said that she had never really ever been lost but in her youth she  had gone to some very dangerous places. Rev. Walk Jones DTM was asked about his scariest movie that he had ever seen remembered the classic scene from the movie “Alien”. From his description, his spoiler alert will not even help to ease your terror. As a side-note, on the night of the last official meeting at the Center for Spiritual Living, Walk told us some very interesting history about the building’s past. Ken Blake DTM when asked about how to survive a Zombie attack instead told us a story about being so lost that he called a friend in Texas to help him find his way to where he was going in Florida after driving about 150 miles out of his way. The last question for Karen Climer ACS, CL was asked “What was the scariest costume that you have ever seen?” Karen said that she once went to clown school and her costume was more scary than funny. We had two astounding speeches. Ben Quiroz told a chilling tale of undying love (titled “Undying Love”) about a man who “loved beyond death”. Believe me, it was a perfect story for a night of scary yarns. Walk Jones DTM also gave a compelling and inspiring speech titled “Facing Our Fears” about how to deal with the uncertain and unknown with bravery and grace. “We need to have faith in ourselves, what equipment that we have available and in God” said Walk.  Our General Evaluator Angela Abreu CTM gave an especially high-quality meeting review. The evaluations by Ken Blake DTM and Rosalyn Porter ACG were also first-rate. The Spirits of Time and Sound (SOT&S) gave some terrific reports! They were Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Eddy Cezalien CL, Psychic Detective Steve Wood CC, first time AH Counter Julie Remington and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. Everyone did superior work! Both Kenza Wilhite and Julie Remington joined our club on this night! Welcome! What a treat! The only really scary thing about this meeting was just how good it was!

The fantastic Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 23, 2014 meeting had the perfect theme: “Toastmaster’s 90th Anniversary”! Christine Abreu’s inspirational message to start the meeting was Patricia Morse’s quote of “If there is no light at the end of the tunnel go down there and turn it on yourself.” TM’s 90th was celebrated by Club #28 and Marie Loeffler who was the life of the party as our Toastmaster. She told us many wonderful things about the history of Toastmasters International and its founder Ralph Smedley! By the end of the meeting Marie had inspired us all with by Dr. Smedley’s “Four Principles”. Eddy Cezalien served as the Table Topics Master and gave our illustrious organization a human touch with his questions. What historical figure could have benefited from Toastmasters? Was asked of Toni McIvor CC, CL. Toni offered up Scottish comedian Billy “The Big Yin” Connolly known for his … salty language, colorful past and really humorous personality. Yes, he would definitely liven up any Toastmaster meeting! The second question, asked of Betsy Carvajal was centered on what good friend or family member that she knew might benefit from Toastmasters. Betsy said that her nephew Drew is a great speaker and would probably become even a better one through Toastmasters. Barbara Cusack ACS, CL was given the query of how had technology changed speaking in 90 years. Barbara said the advancements were simply astounding to the point of having an I-phone attached to your shirt could literally do all of your talking for you while 90 years ago, loud speakers were just coming into use. When asked what need that Toastmasters had met for him, Ken Blake DTM said that it gives him now a “chance to give back” to the community. He remembered that he wanted the room empty when he first gave his Ice breaker and now he hope the room is full whenever he is giving a speech. Our guest, Julie Remington was asked what would influence her to join Toastmasters? She said that even as Table Topics was being described to her, she felt her heart start to pound. She looked forward to learning in a safe environment. Steve Wood CC was asked what he would say at a 90th Anniversary Toastmasters dedication event. He said that it was good to see that the Toastmasters program keeps one sharp and that he was “waiting for his new lack of proficiency to kick in.” Karen Climer ACS, CL was asked who she would invite, living or dead to a Toastmasters meeting. She said that she would have professional speakers like politicians, religious leaders, motivational speakers and others who “think that they are good speakers but do not even know that they are really neophytes.” Many of the answers that Eddy drew from us were encouraging and motivating. This was a wonderful Table Topics session! We had two speeches, the first being an Ice Breaker Speech from Angela Abreu CTM  We got to know about Angela starting with her childhood in the Dominican Republic, coming to America and living in New York City, earning educational and eastern-medicine degrees and making a life for her family in Orlando! What an impressive life! Ken Walley ATMG, ALB gave a humorous demonstration speech about wasp removal. While making everyone in the room very nervous, Ken explained how to get rid of wasps and their nests. No actual wasps were used. Allen Monroe ATM did an impressive job as General Evaluator with Eddy doing double duty as an evaluator along with Ben Quiroz. The 90th Anniversary Toastmasters Functionary Celebrators (T90thATFCs) applauded our speaker with reports from Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Historical Lensmen Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Barbara Cusack ACS, CL and Vote Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL. At the end of the meeting Julie Remington joined out club! Welcome Julie! This was a tremendous meeting that was truly worthy of TI’s 90th birthday! With meetings like this, there will be many more to come!

Because of the success of the Millennial Generation theme of the week before, Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 and Toastmaster Betsy Carvajal decided to focus on her generation: Generation X for the October 16, 2014 meeting. It was sooo much better than watching MTV all night! Christine Abreu led the club for her first time in the Pledge to the flag and inspired us with some words of wisdom: “The secret of genius is enthusiasm.” Betsy gave us a ton of fantastic facts about “Xers” including a number of examples of Gen X leaders of today dominating the world stage. Also matching the brilliance of Betsy’s work as Toastmaster was Table Topics Master Monica Walley CC, CL who had some astute questions which brought out some very clever answers. Monica’s noted that most Gen Xers grew up in the 1980’s and asked Ken Blake DTM if he could describe living in the 1980’s. Ken described a time when you could pick up a Ford Mustang “for a song” but did not realize their potential future value. He also spoke about his son who is doing DNA research. Monica’s second question Steve Wood CC. Noting that generation X is often called the “MTV Generation” she asked Steve if he watched MTV and what rock band was his favorite. Steve did not name a rock band but did say when he was younger he did indeed watch it. He said he misses the Music Videos they used to play. Monica, only in her early 20s asked Generation Xer Ben Quiroz what a mid-life crisis was and how he plans to survive it. Ben had some great advice. “Embrace it! Ride a motorcycle, wear neon pants, grow a Mohawk!” said Ben. “What would you say is Generation X’s greatest accomplishment of the past 20 years?” was the question offered to Angela Abreu CTM. Who answered that computers have made a massive impact on society. Monica noted that she watched “Friends” and “The Simpsons” as she was growing up, Monica asked guest Kenza Wilhite what her favorite TV show is. She admitted to watching the current classics “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thorns.Christine Abreu was asked if the world was a better place before or after the internet? Christine admitted that she was too young to know the world without the internet but said it was probably a better place because people had to get out more into the “outside world.” “What do you think that the most pressing challenges that those in their 30’s and 40’s are facing today?” was asked of guest Julie Remington. She said it would be to “disconnect from the technology” and to relate more as a human community. This Table Topics session provided many wonderful insights into this amazing generation. Our three speeches had wildly different subjects but all of them had some things in common: wisdom, entertainment and speaking excellence. Eddy Cezalien CL told about his dearly beloved “Uncle Lou” who gave Eddy wise advice such as “Trust in yourself. Otherwise, everything else is useless.”  And “Life is hard but if you work hard, it does not have to be that way.” And other wise counsel. Ben Quiroz’s speech “The Nuts and Bolts of Frankenstein” was an in-depth look at the classic novel by Mary Shelley which we learned was centuries ahead of it’s time! Club #28 was also spellbound with a humorous and whimsical speech by Toni McIvor CC, CL. Full of wild tales from a small Scottish village with plenty of local colour, Toni’s speech titled “Skeletons in Your Closet” happily left us all with that “Labrador puppy” look! Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB did wonderful as well serving for her first time as General Evaluator at Club #28. Three of Club #28’s best evaluators Angela Abreu CTM, Marie Loeffler DTM and Ken Blake DTM all shined giving great advice. The No Longer Teenage Or Mutant Ninja Teachers (NLTOMNT) also played an important part in making this meeting such a success. They were Grammarian and AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; Timer and Solo Paparazzi Steve Wood CC and guest and first time Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. We also had some wonderful comments from our guests Julie Remington, Kenza Wilhite, Vicki Sumagpang and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. All of our guests tonight expressed a desire to join the club! If you were looking for a fantastic meeting, you would not have had to look anywhere else… our “Gen X” meeting marked the spot!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 took a look at the leaders of Today: The “Millennial Generation Y” Generation at the October 9, 2014 meeting! Starting the meeting off with a quote from “Greatest Generation” member Catherine Ponder and then serving as Toastmaster was Ken Walley ATMG, ALB. Ken, a member of the “Baby Boomer” generation, gave us many facts about the dynamic and upcoming Generation Y or “Millennials”. Ken also pointed out some of the daunting challenges that they face and paid tribute to the Millinnials progressive ideals and innovative abilities. Table Topics Master Eddy Cezalien CL was “talkin’ bout’”* his generation with some excellent questions that got everyone reflecting on the future ahead. Eddy asked Ken Blake DTM about his views on comparing the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. Ken reflected upon his father’s generation and how he saw the progression from one generation to the next. Christine Abreu was asked “what was the best advice that she ever got from her parents?” She said that at first she didn’t want to listen but now realizes that her parents life was “no cakewalk” and the advice that she is given is precious first hand knowledge and wisdom. Guest Hunter Strickland was asked about mistakes he made and he admitted to making quite a few “millennial mistakes” but said that he had wished that he had listened to advice more when he was younger and now will go back and ask again. Errica Jamil gave a demonstration of how to sell a smartphone to a baby boomer played by Ken Walley ATMG, ALB. Responding to the question“Do Gen Y really have a sense of entitlement?” Steve Wood CC answered that we should not divide up people into groups based upon the years that they are born. Angela Abreu CTM was asked “what was the most annoying aspect of the Millennial Generation?” She said that with the profusion of tech devices that there is not enough human connection and that it is important to take the time to understand others. Monica Walley CC, CL was asked what the most annoying thing about her parent’s generation. She said having to explain to her father even the “simplest of hi-tech gadgets!” We had two simply amazing speeches that also captured our imaginations. Karen Climer ACS, CL had everyone hanging on her every word with a speech titled “Ring My Bell!” Karen described why the AH Counter position was so important in Toastmasters as well as challenging us to improve ourselves and not shy away from “the bell.” It was a wonderful speech… with very few ah’s and um’s! Revisiting and improving on a speech that she is giving for the Division E Humorous Speech contest, Marie Loeffler DTM had us holding our sides with laughter with her speech “Welcome to the Country!” Her speech even featured a rendition of the theme song of “Green Acres” as well as a cat and mouse story that turned into hilarious havoc. These two excellent speeches were given wonderful evaluations by two first time evaluators, James Armbrust and Ben Quiroz. They made it look easy! General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACS, CL led the session and gave an excellent meeting review. The Trans-generational Guardians of the Spoken Word (T-GGOTSP) also helped to make this meeting a timeless treasure thanks to Grammarian Errica Jamil, First time Timer Christine Abreu, Chronicle Event Principal Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Monica Walley CC, CL. At the end of the meeting Angela Rivera CC was given a chance to speak and said that she was really happy that she had made it to the meeting tonight! This was echoed by our guests Hunter Strickland, Kara Newcomb and Vicki Sumagpang. This was a meeting that bridged any generation gap in Club #28 and gave us hope for even more future meeting perfection! *If you are a baby boomer, you will get this reference.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 rolled the dice and came up big winners at the October 2, 2014 “Las Vegas!” theme meeting! We had a number of returning Club #28 toastmasters who had been away for some time including Brian Wheeler ATMB who started the meeting with a quote from Simone de Beauvior that “One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius.”  Barbara Cusack ACS, CL was on her game as she dealt out some mind-boggling facts and trivia about the history and lore of Vegas, starting with a struggling town of only 22 people in the desert to the glamorous jewel of a city that it is now. Hitting the jackpot with Table Topics questions was Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal. Betsy’s first question was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, ALB “What Kind of wedding would you have if you got married in Vegas?” Ken described getting married by the Incredible Bellagio Hotel Fountains and then taking a carriage ride down the strip at night. Ken said that there would be “no drive-thru or Elvis impersonator wedding for us!” Karen Climer ACS, CL when asked to describe her “dream trip’ to Vegas, she included seeing shows with lions and tigers as well as magic acts because “I love magic acts!” When asked to create a “Vegas ride” Brian Wheeler ATMB told us of a roller coaster ride at the “Wheeler Hotel”. Toni McIvor CC, CL created a vivid picture of territorial old ladies manning slot machines and said that Vegas would be last place she would start a business. Steve Wood CC when asked about any crazy trips that he had taken said that he had lived in Vegas for over two years and that he would take trips out into the desert at just to get away from a place that had slot machines in the grocery stores. Marie Loeffler DTM was asked what she would do with the winnings if she hit the jack-pot. She said that she would “leave Vegas right away so that she would not be tempted to gamble it away” and then she would pay off her debts. Ken Blake DTM told about how he accidentally took a side trip to the Hoover Dam not knowing he was on the “dam bus”.  When asked at the end of the meeting what she would do if she went to Vegas, Christine Abreu said that she was still to young to go into the casinos but she would love to work with some of the animal acts that they have there. Another sure bet were our speakers. Ben Quiroz spoke about the anthropology of language and the evolution of speech through history in a speech titled “I Have a Goose, Not a Chicken, Let’s Talk P.I.E.”  Ben amazed us with his depth of knowledge on the subject. James Armbrust spoke about a completely different subject taking us to a minor league baseball game (and Tubby’s Tank House after the game) with his crazy friends in a speech titled “Thirsty Thursday!” We learned not to wear a pink shirt to a Sandnats vs. Riverdogs game. Allen Monroe ATM gave another awesome and enthusiastic speech about college football in a speech titled “The Desert”. He described the painful wait of 239 days until football season and then acted out some great highlights (and lowlights) of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Marie Loeffler DTM served as our General Evaluator and gave a sterling meeting review which included the three wonderful evaluations given by Eddie Cezalien CL, Angela Abreu CTM and Ken Blake DTM. There were no snake-eyes when it came to playing by the rules because luckily we hit the jackpot with our Functionary Pit Bosses (FPB): Grammarian Toni McIvor CC, CL; Timer Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; Security Camera Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Karen Climer ACS, CL and 1st time Vote Counter Angie Mazeres. It was wonderful to see some long-missed returning Club #28 Toastmasters Brian Wheeler ATMB, Jim Ocque DTM and Stokley Gittens ACB! Another visiting Toastmaster, from the Uptown Toastmasters Club #6304 Deborah Louver CC also joined us. Everyone had very positive comments on the meeting and joining officially tonight were Christine Abreu and Stokley Gittens ACB. Welcome Christine and Stokley! Like Vegas, it was “winner takes all” as we were all winners and we took home some great memories.

The September 24, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “World Travel” meeting had everything you needed for a great trip! Ken Walley ATMG, ALB started off the meeting with a quote from author Leo Tolstoy. The immediate past Club #28  President Jack Wharton CC, CL awarded our current President Eddy Cezalien CL, and the club with the President’s Distinguished Award ribbon. Our 12th highest Toastmasters club award! Our Toastmaster Jack Wharton CC, CL took us on a journey around the world! We visited such foreign ports as China, Rio de Janeiro and Italy! Jack even dressed for the occasion in traditional attire! It was a whirlwind tour and a lot of fun! Table Topics Master Walk Jones DTM as well had us spanning the globe with intriguing questions that took us on some exciting adventures. “Where is the most amazing place that you have ever visited?” was asked of Marie Loeffler DTM. Marie told us about a visit to New Zealand and the beautiful natural hot springs and undeveloped landscapes. Walk asked “Have you ever been somewhere unique in Florida?” Ken Blake DTM who described SCUBA diving in underwater caves. Once Ken barely escaped death! “Where would you go as a tourist if you visit anywhere back in time?” was the challenge given to Steve Wood CC. Steve deicide that he would go back in time and see the dinosaurs he also thought about flying over Antarctica! Karen Climer ACS, CL told us about the “darkest place that she ever visited” in a cave. She also told us about working with a lion relocation project. “There are more lions and tigers in people’s backyards than there are in the wild.” She said. Toni McIvor recounted a tale of stumbling upon a restaurant in a country castle somewhere between Holland and Spain. Ken Walley ATMG, CL described a Disney cruise to Castaway Key that got attacked by a giant squid and swimming to safety. “Not everyone made it, I saw Mickey’s head dip below the water…” Our three speeches were all exciting, adventuresome and entertaining… like a wonderful voyage. Starting with Jeremy McCall’s Ice Breaker titled “Finding my Path” It started with growing up in Central Florida, then studying at UCF and ended with having to choose between the iphone or an android. An excellent 1st speech, Congratulations Jeremy!  It would be almost impossible to find a better Competent Communicator Graduation speech than the one that Angela Rivera CC gave titled “A Journey of Happiness”. Club #28 has been spoiled by a series of wonderful speeches from Angela and this speech was the best yet. She led us on a path to reaching the heart of happiness. I can honestly say that Angela has brought nothing but happiness to us in her journey to her CC. Congratulations Angela! The ever- electrifying Barbara Cusack ACS, CL brought new life to The Successful Club Series “Creating the Best Club Climate” presentation. Barbara gave us a number of great ideas to making our club a more (if possible) welcoming, warm and inviting place. General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, ALB piloted the evaluation section of the meeting. The speeches were all given 1st class evaluations by Karen Climer ACS, CL, Toni McIvor CC, CL and Eddy Cezalien CL. The Language Travel Bureau (LTB) was the agents who mapped a smooth meeting itinerary! Thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer and Tour Film Consultant Steve Wood CC and Vote and AH Counter Marie Loeffler DTM This meeting did prove that no matter how far you travel there’s no place like… Toastmasters Club #28!

The September 18th 2014, The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Books: Great Reads and Stories of Our Lives!” themed meeting was as rewarding as perusing a thrilling manuscript! Marie Loeffler DTM started the meeting with some excellent words of wisdom, a quote from an anonymous source about how we should challenge our own beliefs as an honest measure for seeking truth and sincerity. Toastmaster Ben Quiroz took us on a fascinating tour of the world of literature and great books. We also learned the many reasons why reading improves our lives far beyond mere entertainment. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, ALB had some wonderful questions about books and reading that our well-versed guests and members answered extremely well. The first question was very simple and asked of Toni McIvor CC, CL: “Why read books?” Toni listed many reasons including educating ourselves and keeping an open mind. The next query, “With social media are libraries becoming obsolete?” was answered with a surprising “I sure hope so!” by Steve Wood CC who explained that holding whole libraries within a cell phone or tablet is an example of great strides in technological progress. Errica Jamil was posed with the question “Is reading to young children important?” Errica said a resounding “yes” and that she reads to her son because it encourages him to want to learn and read books himself. She also said it helps create a bond between parents and their children. “Whose biography or autobiography would you make a movie of?” was the challenge for Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who said that TV legend Oprah Winfrey would be a good candidate because it would be interesting to see her rise from being unknown to such enormous fame. Betsy Carvajal was asked who she thought was the “Greatest author of all time?” Betsy said that it would be impossible to pick just one person as each field of writing was unique as is every work of literature. Ken used Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451” as a book that highlighted the dangers of censorship and asked Marie Loeffler DTM her views on the subject. Marie explained that the freedom of speech is important and that there should be no censorship in a free America. Our guest Hunter Strickland was asked what was the best fictional book that he had ever read. He admitted that due to the technical nature of his work, that he read mostly non-fiction manuals, but that he plans on reading more novels in the future. “Have you ever been inspired by a book?” was asked of our guest Susan Roncal who said that she was inspired by the book “Failing Forward” by John C. Maxwell, a self-help book that helped her deal with the inevitable problems that come up in life. The last question of the Table Topics session was for another guest, and visiting toastmaster from the Casselberry Weekend Toastmasters Club, Michael Carroll: “If you were going to write a book what would it be about?” Michael answered that he would like to write an inspiring book about “facing fear and overcoming challenges.” We had three excellent speeches starting with Karen Climer ACS, CL who gave us a lesson in sales techniques in her speech titled “The Worst Pick Up Line Ever?” that featured the basics of how to sell almost anything! Walk Jones DTM delivered his High Performance results presentation, a speech titled “Producing an Evening of Humorous Entertainment for a Retirement Center”. It was his last step towards earning his DTM!! Congratulations Walk Jones, DTM! Giving us an inspirational message in his speech titled “You are Not A Zebra!” which included his own version of a Beatles song; Allen Monroe ATM recounted the power of love as a tool to defeat rejection and isolation. Errica Jamil fulfilled her obligations as General Evaluator showing a sense of solid responsibility and a flair for being entertaining while rendering excellent introductions and a perfect meeting report. Moreover we had memorable evaluations by Ken Blake DTM (for Karen), Eddie Cezalien CL (for Walk) and Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Allen).  Also presenting some lessons in improvement were the Well-Read Educators of Knowledgeable Advice (W-REOKA) who guided the meeting thanks to Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Barbara Cusack ACS, CL; Research Videotape Creator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Michael Carroll and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. We had some wonderful comments as well from our guests Susan Roncal, Hunter Strickland and Michael Carroll. This meeting was good enough to be a great novel! I am glad on the other hand, that it was non-fiction.

Held on the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s September 11, 2014 “Modern Phoenix: Renewal, Resurrection, Resurgence and Recovery” theme meeting commemorated that momentous occasion. James Armburst appropriately started the meeting with two quotes from that infamous day by then New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and President George W. Bush. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, ALB put a spotlight on the healing that can take place after a devastating event. Ken told stories and read quotes of hope and restoration. He recounted a number of keys to overcoming difficult times. Table Topics Master Allen Monroe ATM asked for some personal memories and raised the question of what positive things that had come out of 9/11. Toni McIvor CC, CL remembered the feeling of unity in the aftermath and remembered while not being allowed to travel to her native Scotland she still she felt a kindred spirit with those here in the United States. Steve Wood CC, told how scientists discovered that while all of the planes had been grounded, it was found that the vapors from the air traffic had significantly blocked sunlight over certain parts of the US. Angela Abreu CTM, spoke of a renewed appreciation for those serving in our military. Guest Christopher Fama, who was from NYC, told how he had visited the World Trade Center in 2000 and the impact on him seeing how the country came together for the victims. Betsy Carvajal told of the relief it was to find that her friend who lived in lower Manhattan, was OK.  Ken Blake DTM, Remembered a trip to Hawaii where he visited the memorial to the USS Arizona and watched the faces of the visitors as they read the names of the fallen. He hopes someday to visit the 9/11 memorial as well. James Armburst remembered that he felt “numb” and that “time had stopped.” He felt like that day had brought him closer to his family. Guest Naomi Mills was watching TV when the first plane hit the WTC, later she felt that the experience of that day had “made her stronger.” Another guest, Tim Conners, said that the national unity and the outpouring of support made him feel that there was a “hope for the future” and that there was a “power in the present.” The answers were astounding, and moving! Ben Quiroz gave an excellent speech titled “You Pointing at Me?” which focused on how different cultures perceive body language differently, often with some amusing results! Angela Rivera offered a powerful and important speech about the destructive emotion of shame. Titled “I Thought it was Just Me” Angela told us the “ingredients of shame” and a simple “cure” for it.  It was a speech which was both entertaining and meaningful. The same could be said for the Evaluation session led by General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACS, CL and the two evaluations by John Kirchner and Karen Climer ACS, CL. Inspiring as well were our Language Recovery Team (LRT) composed of Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer James Armburst, AH Counter Angela Abreu CTM, Film Journalist Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL. In her Grammarian report, Betsy made note that we should not just focus on those we lost in New York, but remember also those who lost their lives at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. We heard from many of our guests at the end of the meeting including a number of students visiting with Professor Christopher Fama from Southern Technological College. Those commenting were David Moss, Joshua Mare, Kenza benSouda, Angie Mazeres, Naomi Mills and Phil Washington and his wife. Also visiting were Toastmasters Tim and Diane Connors from the Orlando Conquerors Toastmasters Club 1066. Angie announced that she was joining our club! Welcome Angie! This meeting had a little of everything. It was moving, poignant, inspirational, and helpful. It also gave us much to think about after we left.

In what could only be described as one of the most successful and entertaining THE ORLANDO CLUB #28 HUMOROUS SPEECH AND EVALUATIONS CONTESTS ever presented was held at the Herndon Branch Library on September 4, 2014. The library meeting room was completely packed with the most Toastmasters attending a #28 event in memory and including such local Toastmasters luminaries as the Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM, Area 30 Governor Michael Tufarelli ACS, ALB and Area 31 Governor Robert Fischer ACS, ALB. It was also good to see the return of some past Club #28 members such as Toni McIvor CC, CL and James Waters ACS, CL along with numerous guests and visitors from other Toastmasters clubs. Contest Sgt. at Arms Errica Jamil called the meeting to order. Her help during the contests assured us of a remarkably professionally managed affair. Sebastian Guinard started the meeting with a quote from William Davis on the subject of humor. Kudos go out to Contest Master Betsy Carvajal who did an amazing job of running the show on time and pulling off this intricate production! Throughout the evening she entertained us with style, grace, humor and wit, producing a seamless evening of fun and amusement. The first contest the Evaluation contest which featured Area 30 Governor Michael Tufarelli ACS, ALB who was on hand to provide the “test speech” for the evaluators. His speech, titled “Do You Believe?” was so good that it provided a real challenge for the contestants. Taking on the challenge were Allen Monroe ATM, Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; Angela Rivera and Ken Blake DTM. All of the evaluations were incredibly first-rate! Every one of the speech reviews had excellent insight and was beautifully delivered. Allen Monroe ATM came away with the 1st place trophy and Ken Walley ATMG, ALB finished as the runner up. In the Humorous speech contest, laughter reigned supreme thanks to Ken Blake’s (DTM) ode to Chinese take-out titled “Woo Who?”. In Milka Derisma’s (CC, CL) speech “Tips From Success” we met the dysfunctional family of “success”. John Kirchner’s speech “Rolling Along” included a freeloading, or should I say free-flying pet dog and Barbara Cusack’s (ACS, CL) new and improved classic take on housekeeping was in her speech “The Queen of Clean”! These were all perfectly given, with wonderful timing and creating waves of laughter from the crowd. It was impossible not to have a fabulous time! John Kirchner came in first place and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL was 2nd in the humorous speech contest. Helping to award the trophies and announce the upcoming Area, Division and District 84 Contests was Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM.  She announced that Allen, Ken, John and Barbara will all be competing at the Area 31st Contest on September 27th at the Park Lake Towers at 4:00pm. You will not want to miss seeing them again! Thank you to all of our functionaries who were Timers Eddy Cezelian and Ben Quiroz as well as our Ballot Counters Angela Abreu CTM and Diego Fuentes. The Cinematographer and back-up functionary was Steve Wood CC. Without them, these contest triumphs could not have taken place. A great deal of gratitude goes out to our Judges and especially to Chief Judge and Contest organizer Marie Loeffler DTM for making this such a fantastic evening! Even though Club #28 is known for it’s spectacular contests, the 2014 edition of the Humorous Speech and Evaluations contests will stand out and be treasured for many years to come.

It was no wonder that the August 28, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Wonders of the World” was such an amazing meeting. Club #28 President Eddy Cezalien CL led us in the Pledge to the Flag and quoted some words of inspiration from the silent screen actress Mary Pickford. He also introduced many guests,  Ken Berrell,  John “Kahuna” Kirchner Sr., Rock Johanason, Nicole Hwa and Marcus Reid. The room was packed with 25 members and guests to celebrate our return to the Herndon Branch Library on a Thursday night! Taking us on a tour of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World was Toastmaster Angela Rivera. Angela gave us a plethora of fascinating information about the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the great Mausoleum at Mausolus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. We learned among many other great facts that you could build 30 Empire State Buildings with the masonry of the Great Pyramid and that Lighthouse of Alexandria was the prototype for all lighthouses to follow and that it used smoke to guide ship in during the day. Table Topics Master Walk Jones ACG, ALB had some excellent questions about ancient, modern and personal wonders of the world. His first question to Jack Wharton CC, CL was “If you could go back in time what wonder of the world would you like to see?” Jack chooses to see the Great Pyramid of Giza in its pristine state and the Egyptian empire during its zenith. Karen Climer ACS, CL was asked what she would pick to be a great wonder of the world today. She said “any tall building” while admitting that she was not “architecturally blessed” she admitted to being amazed by the abilities of the modern world to build incredibly tall structures. Rosalyn Porter ACG was asked what natural wonder of the world she would like to see. Rosalyn said that she would like to visit the Grand Canyon as she sees it in almost every calendar she buys! Our guest, Rock Johanason was asked what person that he would consider a “wonder of the world?” He replied that many have inspired him including Dr. Martin Luther King, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Deepak Chopra, Barrack Obama and Wayne Dyer. “Is there a person who has inspired you personally?” was asked by Walk to Marcus Reid. He told of a loving, brave, insightful and person of valor who was his mother. When asked to provide us with a “mechanical wonder of the world”, Ken Blake DTM of course answered “The 1964 Mustang with a 200 hp (150 kW) “C-code” 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine with a two-barrel carburetor as the base V8.” John “Kahuna” Kirchner when asked of a wondered that he had seen in his lifetime mentioned that he had seen many while traveling with the TV show “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” in the 1960’s and 70’s. Sebastian Guinard was asked what he thought was a true architectural wonder. He replied that the Taj Mahal was an amazingly beautiful building. Asked what great wonder that she would like to visit Milka Dersima CC answered that the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai that features a butler in every room and the use of a Rolls Royce. When asked where in the world that would be a hidden wonder for her to see, Angela Abreu CTM gave us a tremendous response, that “In your mind can visit anywhere. You can go anywhere and see anything.” We had three excellent speeches again this week with a wide range of diversity of subject. Ben Quiroz’s fourth speech was titled “Smelly Cat”. It was a descriptive speech that explained how a owner of a cat might face personal challenges in the commitment to the owner-pet relationship. It had a happy ending. “The Commish” by James Armburst was about the care and planning that goes into creating a Fantasy Football league team. We learned how to “smack talk”, wheel and deal as an owner and that it can get expensive even at the fantasy level.  The last speech by Marie Loeffler DTM titled “Magic of Mentoring: The Results” was the completion of her High Performance Leadership Program and the last step towards her Distinguished Toastmasters Award! Marie explained how mentoring went beyond just teaching. “Mentoring fills the need for human interaction.  Mentoring is worth the effort of the extra time. Along the way you also reap the rewards of learning about yourself.” Congratulations Marie on your DTM! The evaluation part of the meeting was in the able hands of General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM . Ken was impressed with the high quality of mentoring that came from his skilled staff of Allen Monroe ATM, Betsy Carvajal and Jack Wharton CC, CL. Also impressive was the work of the Wonders of the Toastmasters World (WOTTW) whom delivered wise guidance thanks to Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACS, CL; Timer Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; AH Counter Erica Jamil, Wonderment Witness Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Diego Fuentes. We had excellent feedback from our guests and members at the end of this meeting  It was tremendous to see so many returning toastmasters, guests and members all 25 of them! They are all listed here. This meeting was truly one of the wonders of  the Toastmasters world!

The Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Mind” theme meeting at the Center for Spiritual Living was one of the most brilliant gatherings this club has ever had. Jeremy McCall started the meeting with some words for us to contemplate from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The Toastmaster for the evening Eddy Cezalien CL opened the doors of perception about the mind and told us that “Free will is just an illusion” as 98% of our time is “controlled by the subconscious mind!” We were aware however that we had four speeches that were exceptional! Because of the extra speaker we changed the agenda order so that the speeches could go first. James Armbrust Told us of a Hawaiian paradise in his speech titled “Hawaii: Escape to Paradise”. Karen Climer ACS, CL gave a controversial speech (that was her project) titled “Sex Offender Laws Do More Harm Than Good” about the flaws in the sex offender laws and she made some truly impressive points. Angela Rivera gave us some tips on protecting our credit scores and made it into a “big production!” in her speech “The Bodacious Borrower!Barbara Cusack ACS, CL came through with a humorous speech titled “Fatcat!” that was about cats and hot sauce. She made being a “cat-lady” into a good thing! General Evaluator Walk Jones ACG, ALB headed an evaluation team with some deep and enriching evaluations given by Marie Loeffler ACG, ACB, Ken Walley, ATMG, CL, Angela Abreu CTM and Jack Wharton CC, CL. Returning to the lectern, Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB also had some wonderful Table Topics questions about “the mind” that got us thinking about using our imagination. Diego Fuentes was asked why he should be hired as a “professional sleeper”? Jeremy McCall had to convince us he was the man for the job of “Google Tricycle mapper”. He said he could “get up the big hills.” Next, Steve Wood CC commented on being a “face feeler.” He insisted that expensive shaving cream is worth it. Christine Abreu sold us on her skills as a “water slide tester” vowing to become a member of the Polar Bear Club. Ken Blake DTM told us about a real-life “Fake Executive” he once knew.  We never would have made it through this meeting without the help of the Intelligence Think-tank (ITT) directed by Grammarian Errica Jamil, Timer and Media Monsignor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Christine Abreu.  We gave a standing ovation to Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who earned her ACS Award! Congratulations Barbara! This was one of those meetings that everyone will remember for a long time, this meeting simply blew our minds!

The “Bonus meeting” on Thursday, August 14th 2014  was held at the home of John Kirchner in Winter Park, Florida with the theme of “Pop Culture” and was one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s long, storied history! Due to John being temporarily bed-ridden we brought the meeting to his bedroom! The room was set up as if the meeting was in our regular meeting room complete with lectern, technical table, banners, etc. but this time, thanks to Errica,  we even had snacks! The meeting started off with the introduction of Ben Quiroz leading us in the invocation and the pledge. Picked at random to be the Toastmaster was Allen Monroe ATM who did an amazing job without any prior preparation and poetically sang the praises of rock n’ roll and other pop cultural icons of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Ben Quiroz had Table Topics questions ready that invoked many legendary pop icons. Ben told us about the media frenzy that happened when Elvis Presley was seen dancing in concert with the wild gyrations of his hips and he asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL what her most memorable concert experience was. Barbara remembered going to a Flock of Seagulls concert that turned pretty rowdy. In his next question he brought up Marilyn Monroe asking Ken Walley ATMG, ALB if he ever had a “celebrity crush” Ken said when he was much younger that he thought Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick was really beautiful! Remembering Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie Casablanca, Eddy Cezalien CL was given the question of what movie had most impressed him with special effects. Eddy could not think of one but he did think of a movie that did not impress him, the newest Superman movie, “Superman Returns”. Christine Abreu was asked if she had a favorite Saturday morning cartoon show. Christine said she was not much of a “cartoon-type of person” but she was briefly entertained with the “Ben 10: Alien Force” action animation films because she “likes films with aliens in them.” Ben commented that pop culture is commercializing almost every holiday into lengthy advertisements and he asked returning past Club #28 member Diana Walley ATMG, CL if she had a special “unforgettable holiday”. She remembered a February which her husband bought her a Jazz tape every day leading up to Valentine’s Day and then roses on that day as well! How romantic! The last question was for Monica Walley CC, CL who was asked if she had a most memorable movie. She named “Burlesque” starring Cher and Christine Aguilera and also the movie “Sharknado”! “If you could combine those two films, you might have a really awesome movie!” said Monica. Our two speeches were both unique as they were delivered from a bed (Yes, you read that correctly.) We started with a brilliant speech by motivational speaker John Kirchner who told us about “How to PET Someone Today!” which translates as “Positive Energy Transfer”. John’s views on the “power of attitude” were truly inspirational. His speech was a guide to bringing your inner joy out to those around you.  Also meaningful was Errica Jamil’s 3rd speech in three weeks about her son Brian Boyle titled “My Son Brian. We learned that he had a gift for art, the courage to perform at the SAK comedy lab, plays the drums but most of all inspires others… especially his mom! Eddy Cezalien CL served as the General Evaluator and was rewarded with two top-tier evaluations by advice masters Ken Walley ATMG, ALB (for John) and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Errica).  The Bonus Meeting Wisewomen (BMW) did excellent work with their insights of the evening and giving their reports thanks to Grammarian Monica Walley CC, CL; Timer Angela Abreu CTM, AH Counter Christine Abreu and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACB,CL. There were also a number of guests attending: John’s father John “Kahuna” Kirchner, past club #28 member Sarah Miranda and her boyfriend Ken Dueshay as well as past Club #28 President Diana Walley ATMG, CL. We cannot overlook attending future Toastmaster Brian Boyle who enjoyed hearing his mom’s speech. All of our guests had wonderful statements about the meeting! The best testimonies were the unspoken ones about a Toastmasters club that would go out of it’s way to see that one of it’s homebound members would feel included. That statement was made by everyone who attended this meeting.  Thank you to all who came to this well attended meeting! This was a joyful, happy event and a huge success!

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In picture: Monica Walley CC, CL Angela Abreu CTM Eddy Cezalen CL and Diana Walley ATMG, CL.

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In picture: John Kitchner, Errica Jamil, Angela Abreu CTM and Christine Abreu.

The Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 meeting was called off at the last moment due to the library having double booked the meeting room. Plans were made to re-schedule the meeting next week at the Center for Spiritual Living and re-book the speakers and functionaries for then. We sincerely thank all who showed up.

Last week: The Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Lessons from the Playground” theme meeting was a chance for the club to talk about memories and experiences learned from our younger school days. Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB was the Toastmaster of the evening and told us some important lessons from the playground that included: everyone is a potential friend and getting your hands dirty is a good thing! Ken Walley ATMG ALB provided questions for Table Topics that was almost as fun as being on a playground! Barbara ACB, CL told an entertaining story about boys being bad and chasing her around the swing set yelling “Barnaby Jones”. “Little boys are so obnoxious” she told the crowd. Next, Jeremy McCall told us how he loved his days at recess and how his playground was like a battle field. Slides with nails and splinters were only one hazard he had to overcome! Steve Wood CC told us about the wonderful swear words he learned on the playground and how other kids from other districts also learned these magical words with power!  James Armbrust told us the importance of PE. He reiterated that Phys. Ed develops life skills that we all need in the future work place. Said James, “Teamwork and competition are necessary to push us to our full potential.”  Ken Guzman CC, CL said “Run Run Run!” is the best way to get away from a school bully.  You don’t want to end up in the toilet or stuffed in a locker do you? More advice was that “Your parent’s car is the safe zone.” Guest Travores Boyd played Pee-wee football all the way up to college and learned teamwork that has led to success in the work place as well. Returning guest and past Club #28 president Angela Abreu CTM finished the final question with memories of her daughters at the playground.  It was an opportunity to be free and run with a smile.  We can all relate to good times and bad on the “battlefield” that is recess! We had three completely amazing speeches! Errica Jamil’s speech tonight was called “3 Questions.”  Do you know who you are?  Do you know your purpose?  What kind of Legacy do you want to leave?  Errica went on to talk about each of these topics and how spreading the word of the Lord is the main focus in her life. Ken Walley ATMG, ALB gave a rousing speech on his least favorite Florida Governor titled “Rick Scott: The New Scrooge!”  Ken went on to give us in great detail the problems with many of our governor’s policies and much more! Ken drove home the message that “Rick Scott does not care about you!” Speaking last was Angela Rivera with a speech titled “Who Tipped my Cow?”  Her speech began with a wonderful fable of how a town relied only on a cow and a stranger comes and pushes the cow off a cliff!  The town had to learn innovation to survive after this!  Angela brilliantly told how innovation is important as we move into the future.  Eddy Cezalien CL led the evaluation session as well as doing “triple duty” by also serving as club president and giving the evaluation for Errica’s speech. Ken Blake DTM gave the evaluation for Ken W.’s rebuke of Gov. Scott while Barbara Cusack ACB, CL did the honors for Angela’s presentation. All of the evaluations had good learning points and much encouragement. Without the help of the Toastmasters Playground Monitors (TPM) this meeting never would have been so swinging, it would have teeter-tottered on the brink of disaster but fortunately they were there to stop the slide. Thanks to Grammarian Angela Abreu CTM, CL; Spymaster and Timer Steve Wood CC, Vote Counter James Amburst and 1st time AH Counter Jeremy McCall. Our three visitors Angela Abreu CTM, Christine Abreu and Tarores Boyd all spoke highly of our club at the end of the meeting! There was no “monkey barring” around, this meeting it was packed with slides, ladders, cow tipping see-saws, spinners, important personal questions and Playground fun for all! What a fantastic meeting! Weeeee! [KJW/JA]

Last week: The Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Lessons from the Playground” theme meeting was a chance for the club to talk about memories and experiences learned from our younger school days. Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB was the Toastmaster of the evening and told us some important lessons from the playground that included: everyone is a potential friend and getting your hands dirty is a good thing! Ken Walley ATMG ALB provided questions for Table Topics that was almost as fun as being on a playground! Barbara ACB, CL told an entertaining story about boys being bad and chasing her around the swing set yelling “Barnaby Jones”. “Little boys are so obnoxious” she told the crowd. Next, Jeremy McCall told us how he loved his days at recess and how his playground was like a battle field. Slides with nails and splinters were only one hazard he had to overcome! Steve Wood CC told us about the wonderful swear words he learned on the playground and how other kids from other districts also learned these magical words with power!  James Armbrust told us the importance of PE. He reiterated that Phys. Ed develops life skills that we all need in the future work place. Said James, “Teamwork and competition are necessary to push us to our full potential.”  Ken Guzman CC, CL said “Run Run Run!” is the best way to get away from a school bully.  You don’t want to end up in the toilet or stuffed in a locker do you? More advice was that “Your parent’s car is the safe zone.” Guest Travores Boyd played Pee-wee football all the way up to college and learned teamwork that has led to success in the work place as well. Returning guest and past Club #28 president Angela Abreu CTM finished the final question with memories of her daughters at the playground.  It was an opportunity to be free and run with a smile.  We can all relate to good times and bad on the “battlefield” that is recess! We had three completely amazing speeches! Errica Jamil’s speech tonight was called “3 Questions.”  Do you know who you are?  Do you know your purpose?  What kind of Legacy do you want to leave?  Errica went on to talk about each of these topics and how spreading the word of the Lord is the main focus in her life. Ken Walley ATMG, ALB gave a rousing speech on his least favorite Florida Governor titled “Rick Scott: The New Scrooge!”  Ken went on to give us in great detail the problems with many of our governor’s policies and much more! Ken drove home the message that “Rick Scott does not care about you!” Speaking last was Angela Rivera with a speech titled “Who Tipped my Cow?”  Her speech began with a wonderful fable of how a town relied only on a cow and a stranger comes and pushes the cow off a cliff!  The town had to learn innovation to survive after this!  Angela brilliantly told how innovation is important as we move into the future.  Eddy Cezalien CL led the evaluation session as well as doing “triple duty” by also serving as club president and giving the evaluation for Errica’s speech. Ken Blake DTM gave the evaluation for Ken W.’s rebuke of Gov. Scott while Barbara Cusack ACB, CL did the honors for Angela’s presentation. All of the evaluations had good learning points and much encouragement. Without the help of the Toastmasters Playground Monitors (TPM) this meeting never would have been so swinging, it would have teeter-tottered on the brink of disaster but fortunately they were there to stop the slide. Thanks to Grammarian Angela Abreu CTM, CL; Spymaster and Timer Steve Wood CC, Vote Counter James Amburst and 1st time AH Counter Jeremy McCall. Our three visitors Angela Abreu CTM, Christine Abreu and Tarores Boyd all spoke highly of our club at the end of the meeting! There was no “monkey barring” around, this meeting it was packed with slides, ladders, cow tipping, Ebenezer Scrooge, see-saws, spinners, important personal questions and Playground fun for all! What a fantastic meeting! Weeeee! [KJW/JA]

It was a hot, hot, hot Wednesday July 30, 2014 “August” theme meeting at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Monica Walley CC, CL started off the meeting with a motivating message and led us in the pledge to the flag. Toastmaster Walk Jones ACG, ALB told us many amazing facts about the month of August! Did you know that the Roman Emperor Augustus took 3 days from February and added them to August so he would have as many days in a month as Julius Caesar? We also learned about the flamboyant Budweiser Beer Czar and St. Louis Cardinals owner August Bush & many more insights into “all things August!”  Allen Monroe ATM provided a challenging story-based Table Topics session and possibly a future movie about the adventures of Jennifer and Billy two stoned kids on the beach. Monica Walley, CC, CL continued the story with Jennifer and Billy going to the club and having a ball!  The drinks were flowing and the bass was kicking in da club!  Ken Blake, DTM next let us know however that Jennifer was a stalker of poor Billy and had a knife.  Little did Billy know Jennifer had met him long ago and had plotted his demise for years. Marie Loeffler, ACG, ALB added the hidden info that the two of the were secret mermaids-type-beings who needed marijuana to keep their fins from appearing. Ken Walley ATMG, ALB discovered the truth of Jennifer and Billy. They were really “undercover mermaids” that had met by fate and now would travel back to the sea together. Stoned form the dark streets of LA to the city of Atlantis they go! Jeremy McCall concluded our story with Jennifer and Billy returning to Atlantis where they couldn’t reconnect with their mermaid friends. So they left and went back to the beach to smoke more pot and magically their legs turned into stone.  I can’t wait for the movie! James Armbrust gave a comparison speech called “Often Imitated, Never Duplicated” in which he compared Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James. James gave us eye-popping stats on how MJ dominated the NBA landscape and how he is the true King of the NBA. Lebron is good but not up to the standard of the Greatest!  Next, Alan Brents gave a compelling speech that started with a countdown to destruction!  Alan told us with great insight how Star Trek was a break through series that tackled public perceptions far ahead of its time. Live long and prosper fellow Toastmasters! The instructional section of the meeting was presided over expertly by General Evaluator Steve Wood CC. Evaluators Errica Jamil (for James) and Angela Rivera (for Alan) both gave fantastic reviews of the speeches! This evening would not have been the success it was without the help of The August Instruction Festival Ensemble (AIFE) which was comprised of Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, ALB; Timer Ken Blake DTM, AH Counter Monica Walley CC, CL and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien CL. We also learned that Jeremy McCall joined our club to kick off August on a high note for Club #28! Welcome Jeremy! This meeting was packed with sizzling facts about August, adventures with stoned undercover mermaids, Michael Jordan slams, Star Trek explosions, and summer time fun for all!

The Thursday, July 24th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Pets” theme was a chance for the club to talk about our furry friends and their amazing abilities! Ken Walley ATMG, ACB started off the meeting with a message about “being fearless” from a quote by Oprah Winfrey.  Betsy Carvajal was awesome as the Toastmaster. Throughout the evening she provided “fun pet facts” about dogs and cats.  Did you know some dogs can detect seizures?  Dogs sweat through their paws and cats have more than twice the memory of dogs? We learned many amazing things about our Pets! Ben Quiroz provided “Pet” questions for the group as Table Topics Master.  Steve Wood CC was asked what where the benefits of having a pet? He said that there may be other reasons that account for us living to longer and healthier than just our furry friends companionship.. Marie Loeffler, ACG, ALB when asked if her cat was plotting to kill her said that since her cat had lost its other cat friend, she plotted behind her hand-bell case!  The horror of grew as the cat stalked Marie in her home and unleashed a razor sharp attack on her face!  This cat was out for blood!  Allen Brents ACG, CL  when asked what was the most exotic pet that he had ever met  told of a Boa Constrictor he knew in the past,  but loved his cat named Grace Kelly much more.  Grace would not allow any other cats to be around Alan! Visitor Jeremy McCall was asked what did “Lassie said to Timmy in the well?.” Jeremy said Lassie complained “I need better pet benefits man!”   He then described his crazy cat his girlfriend had that terrorizes him at night by pouncing on the bed and jumping on his face.  Visitor Drew Pelletier, when asked to tell us of the worse pet names he had ever heard told the story of the cat named “Ass” that liked to run and attack unsuspecting visitors all the time. Visitor Olivia Walker gave a fun example of what it would be like to be a dog.  As a pug Olivia wouldn’t be able to breathe very well and couldn’t win any races with her short legs. Oh to be a Pug! At the end of the meeting Rodney Higgins ATMB was asked if he could be an animal what would he be. He, surprisingly answered “Buzzard!” because “Someone needs to keep things clean.” Ewww. Both speakers for the night were equally fantastic! Errica Jamil told us to speak up when you are uncomfortable or if you feel in danger in a speech titled “Why You Should Speak Up!  She gave us some great examples of why it is important to “speak up!” including passing out while giving blood and almost flying off the back of a motorcycle! Next Ken Walley ATMG, ALB gave a very structured speech on “Vision vs. Mission” from the Toastmasters International’s Leadership Excellence Series titled “The Visionary Leader”.  Ken gave us important points how to craft a vision statement.  He told us all to get “Fired up” about our long term goals for our jobs. General Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL did a masterful job of leading the evaluation part of the meeting with help from Walk Jones ACG, ALB (for Errica) and Ken Blake DTM (for Ken W.) who provided some perceptive insights with their evaluations. This meeting was packed with great stories about the benefits of pets and the wonderful companionship they provide to us all! Thanks to Advanced Society for the Protection of Correctness to Articulators (ASPCA): Grammarian James Armbrust, Timer Karen Climer ACS, CL, Image Catcher Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Monica Walley CC, CL and Vote Counter Allen Brents ACG, CL. We received excellent feedback from our guest Alan Brents ACG, CL, Drew Pelletier, Jeremy McCall, and Olivia Walker. After the meeting, Alan Brents DTM even decided to re-join our Club! Welcome back Alan! This meeting was packed with great stories about the benefits of pets and the wonderful companionship they provide to us all. It was a Purrrr-fect meeting… the cat’s meow, a real howl…! [KHW/JA]

The Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Winning and Losing” theme was a chance for the club to talk about Victory and defeat and how not quitting was the key!  Steve Wood CC delivered the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag with a thought about the theme of the meeting. Club #28 President Eddy Cezalien, CL started off the meeting with greetings and introduced our distinguished guests including new visitor Scott Timmons as well as Let’s Talk Club #4413 Toastmasters Marjorie McCauley ACB, ALB and Diana Estremera ACG, ALB and our new Area 32 Governor Theodora Uniken Venema ACG, ALB. The Toastmaster for this evening was Ken Walley, ACG, ACB who started the meeting with a “Tale of Two Cities” or, the story of Miami and Cleveland and winning the heart of Lebron James. .Ken also gave us a Vince Lombardi “pep talk” on winning and quoted many giants on the subject including Zig Ziglar, Leo Tolstoy, Michael Jordan and John Wooden among others. Eddy Cezalien, CL provided some winning questions for the group as Table Topics Master. Diana Estremera ACG, ALB was asked about what valuable lessons that she had learned from losing. She said after you lose there’s nowhere to go put up! Work on your character and don’t quit.  Steve Wood CC said it doesn’t matter if you win or lose but he would like to win the Lottery so he can play Xbox all day!!  Visitor Scott Timmons was asked “if you couldn’t fail what would you do?”  He said failure was important to grow and that it is OK to  “fail forward” , Said Scott, “the greater the failure the greater the success!!”  James Armbrust was asked “when you should quit.”  He said that, “When there is physical or financial loss. If you try MMA and are beaten to a pulp…it is time to quit!” Returning Toastmaster Angela Rivera when asked to convince us to work for free gave an inspirational story about not spending money because “life is about the memories. You only need to spend $100 and you can still have the adventure of your life!” said Angela to a skeptical audience. Our speakers for the night were all winners as well with three very funny speeches!  Errica Jamil gave a speech titled “So you want to know?” with great advice for the men in our audience and a little reminder of Lorena Bobbitt… so we all better listen up.  Next, Ken Blake DTM gave his personal story about his addiction to “Pot”.  He blamed his involvement in Club #28 and his research on the topic.  He even leaves his wife at night for this addiction!  What is in the bag Ken??  It’s Harry Pot-ter movies!!  Ken is a big fan we were finally told.  Allen Monroe ATM gave the final speech of the night.  Titled “Time is on Our Side”… but is it? As Allen told, and sang to us… maybe not so much. His humorous speech had everyone laughing as he relayed the not- so- subtle ways we are reminded that life is a wonderful journey but time in NOT always on our side. General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, ALB who was doing “double duty” and he had three excellent leaders to assist him: Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Errica), Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB (for Allen) and our visiting Area 32 Governor Theodora Uniken Venema ACG, ALB (for Ken B.)! The Complete Counselor Champions (CCC) were composed of Grammarian Angela Rivera, Timer and Visual Rendering Developer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter James Armbrust and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalein, CL. At the end of the meeting we heard nothing but wonderful things from all of our guests: Area Governor Theodora Uniken Venema ACG, ALB; Diana Estremera ACG, ALB; Marjorie McCauley ACB, ALB and Scott Timmons.  This meeting was packed with great quotes and words of wisdom on “Winning and Losing” .but in the end, everyone in Club #28 is a winner because we all take the challenge to improve ourselves through Toastmasters!

The July 10th, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “World Travel” theme took us on a voyage of adventures around the world.  New President Eddy Cezalien, CL started off the meeting with greetings and introduced our distinguished guest Billy Charles.  Ben Quiroz was introduced as the Toastmaster of the evening. Ben took us to places exotic and far away and gave us many tips on how to get there. Ben who enjoys traveling, also told us a number of stories of his travels. Ken Walley ATMG, ALB provided “world travel” questions for the group as Table Topics Master. Ken Guzman CL was asked what trip was the most memorable for him.  Ken G. had visited Honduras and talked about the narrow streets and fun visits with family.  How it was a totally different world than the US.  Betsy Carvajal was asked how she prepared for travel.  She made a check list and also did research to find unique places to go outside of the norm.  Ken Blake DTM next discussed how his car was the best way to travel. Sebastian Guinard next used the word of the day “truculent” 4 times when describing his idea travel experience.  He used Hawaii as his perfect place and the movie “The Beach” as his motivation… minus the sharks!  Steve Wood CC told us next he likes to travel first class and had 40,000 frequent flyer miles on his trip to Israel.  He had a taxi ride that took him off road and he feared for his life!   Thankfully Steve is still around.  Next distinguished guest Billy Charles talked about his trip to Thailand as a musician and how the devil was there with the sex trade.  He saw elephants and people spitting fire on this trip that he will soon never forget! Lastly, President Eddy Cezalien, CL spoke about his trip to Iowa State and meeting championship wrestler Dan Gables in a small farm community. Our speakers for the night were next on our travel agenda!  James Armbrust gave a wonderful Ice Breaker speech titled “Enough to Break the Ice!” that followed him from his birthplace in Nebraska through eight different states, every Chicago sport team and a career in communications! Congratulations James! Ryan Popovic had us swimming with the Manatees and coming “face to face” with the gentle giants in his speech titled “In Deep Shallow Water”. Jack Wharton (CC, CL)’s speech “Beyond Winning!” was a winner itself describing negotiation tactics that cannot fail. His speech had three helpful steps that were useful and inspiring. The Evaluation session was led by General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, ALB. “Perceptive, insightful, helpful and imaginative” were just a few of the descriptions of our evaluators Errica Jamil (for James) and Karen Climer ACS, CL (for Ryan) and Allen Monroe ATM (for Jack). Our Journeymen to Vocalization Perfection (JTVP) trekked us to the land of high quality, our appreciation to Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, Travelogue Creator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Marie Loeffler, ACG, ALB  and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalein, CL. Our only guest, Billy Charles, was in awe of this meeting, commending each part of the meeting. This meeting was a trip in itself with great insight on World Travel, it was really the only place to be! [KHW/JA]

The July 3, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “America!” theme meeting was truly worthy of the greatest country on earth. Errica Jamil started the meeting with a message about Enthusiasm. Her message must have got through because the rest of the meeting was highly charged.  Toastmaster Karen Climer ACG, CL entertained us throughout the meeting with stories of Americana, including one about a politician who took a “firm stand” on both sides of the subject of whiskey! Table Topics Master John Kirchner provided another wonderful Table Topics session asking how we would celebrate July holidays other than the 4th such as national “video game day” “cow appreciation day” and “nude beach day”, among others. Here are the holidays:

“National Video Game Day”: Ken Walley ATMG, CL said he would spend it calling up friends and talking with them about their favorite video games.

“Nude Beach Day”: Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB said she might check into making a reservation for a nude beach, but would not necessarily visit there.

“Cow Appreciation Day”: Errica Jamil said she would spend it hugging a cow.

“Ugly Truck Day”: Ken Blake DTM remembered a 1965 rusted orange Ford Econoline that was so ugly he could not give it away.

“Rat Catchers Day”: Jack Wharton CC, CL remembered a camping trip in which you had to protect yourself with a knife.

“Vanilla Ice Cream Day”: Betsy Carvajal told about how “rats as big as cats” were near her old house in New York City and that she likes Vanilla Ice Cream on Banana splits.

“Take Your Pants for a Walk Day”: Eddy Cezalien CL had a number of spectacular ideas to use your pants for on this day including flying them as a kite.

 Other highlights included three incredible speeches! Ryan Popovic’s speech titled “My First Batch” told of the complexities of making a homemade brew. The speech actually made us thirsty. Milka Derisma  speech, “The Blue Fifth” told of her national speech competition experience and the importance of having confidence in what you do. Allen Monroe gave another memorable performance as he promoted road kill as a way to save on grocery bills in a speech titled “American Exceptionalism”. Dressed in a chef’s apron, Allen gave a culinary demonstration of how to prepare dead animals found on the side of the road. New Club #28 President Eddy Cezalien CL lead the evaluation part of the meeting as our master Evaluator. We had three brilliant evaluations by Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB and Ken Blake DTM. The American Federation of Functionaries (AFF) also added their fireworks to the show thanks to Grammarian Ben Quiroz, Video Display Monitor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Betsy Carvajal and Jack Wharton CC, CL who did double duty as the Vote Counter and Timer. We also had a guest, Bob Thomas who said he was most impressed with the meeting and he pledged to return next week! This meeting was a star-spangled example of American ingenuity.

The Thursday, June 26, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Summer Celebration” included the installation of our new officers and the Passing of the Gavel ceremony.  Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President Jack Wharton CC, CL, started off the meeting with by welcoming our District 84 Governor – Elect Mary Carol Holbert DTM. Other notables who were visiting the club for this special meeting were Past Area Governors Helen Joseph DTM, Jerome Kalisz, DTM and Diana Estermera ACG,ALB as well as young visitor Brian Jamil.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Master of Ceremonies and included some table topics before we went to our featured speakers of the night. Sebastian Guinard was asked what he liked about summer.  He enjoyed the warmth and being able to wear sports clothing.  Also his excitement of the World Cup was a factor. Jerome Kalisz DTM was asked the same question and being from Michigan he talked about enduring the heat and being afraid of hurricanes!   Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB was asked about Leadership and Toastmasters. Marie said that leadership, integrity, consistency and flexibility were the keys to officer success. Our two featured speakers of the night include an Ice Breaker from Anthony Davis called “MAD” Which stood for “Make A Difference”.  Anthony described his upbringing in a homeless shelter and how this had a big impact on his strive for success.  Anthony played football at UCF and later met his wife there.  He also carries in his backpack pictures of his family as motivation.  He has younger brothers that he mentors and tells us all to “get MAD” and pass the torch. John Kirchner gave his fifth speech next called “It’s All Your Perspective.”  John asked us how we view our own glass…Half empty or half full? He urged us to look at it half full and then went into 5 points about how being in a wheel chair had its advantages: 1. “Great Parking” 2. “Never having to wait in line at amusement parks.” 3. “Your shoes never get worn out.”  4. “No property taxes.” and 5. “It is easy to get a girlfriend!”  Said John, “Most women want a guy they can push around!” John’s speech made a great point while keeping everyone smiling! The Evaluation session was started by Barbara Cusack ACB, CL for Anthony’s speech. She was very impressed with his energy and powerful personal story.  She pointed out that “If this was just his first speech then watch out because God has a purpose for your story!” Barbara also had a couple of expert suggestions for Anthony. She elaborated that this was a very impressive first speech! Next Ken Blake DTM (for John) asked John to please get a manual for his speeches as the crowd all laughed.  Ken B. said once again the performance was very inspirational and how John “talks in 3D” commenting on how John makes tough situations funny. Ken said that, “John’s speech was as close to perfection as we can get here at Toastmasters.” The “Farewell Address” was next on the agenda with outgoing president Jack Wharton, CC, CL. Jack thanked all the officers that had worked with him the past 6 months and went over the awards our club recently received. “Toastmasters has been one of the few stable things in my life” he shared and also was touched that other members referred to him as a motivational leader.  Jack also premiered the new Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmasters Awardwhich will be given out every year to an outstanding Club #28 Toastmaster. Eddy Cezalien CL was the first member to receive the award and have his name on the distinguished plaque. The introduction of District 84 Governor-Elect Mary Carol Holbert DTM followed with her speech and the installation of Officers and the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony. New officers included:

Sergeant at Arms: Errica Jamil, Secretary: James Armbrust, Treasurer: Betsy Carvajal, Vice President of PR: Ken Walley ACG, CL, Vice President of Membership: Ben Quiroz, Vice President of Education: Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB, and President: Eddy Cezalien CL gaveleddie

The inaugural address by Eddy Cezalien CL was very inspirational and gave the club a new direction for the upcoming months.  This included increasing our membership and getting more involved in the mentorship program.  The value of teamwork, taking steps to better ourselves is what we should strive for in Toastmasters. “Here in Toastmasters is where you will find  people who wish to improve themselves… we can be all we can be here!  Focus on your books and learn from each other!”  Eddy’s speech gave energy and excitement to the group as we move forward into the second half of 2014. In closing, we had a few remarks from Governor-Elect Mary Carol Holbert DTM and adjournment by Toastmaster Ken Walley ACG, CL.  The “Passing of the Gavel” celebration was a time for all of us to reflect on the past and to get ready for a promising future with a great new group of officers!

The Thursday, June 19, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Change” theme was a chance for the club to look at changes in their own lives and how we adapt to the unexpected. President Jack Wharton, CC, CL, who was our Toastmaster for the evening started off the meeting with a personal story of how “stuff happens” in life and that often you do not expect that your plans can change so quickly. He gave good advice on how to deal with life transitions such as “keep moving forward, use support systems, be productive with your time and be generous with yourself. “  Errica Jamil provided a fun and entertaining Table Topics session with Fortune Cookies!  She told the group they would open the Fortune cookie and discuss it.  Jack Wharton CC,CL (“Your ideas will take a philosophical turn”) told us about the origins of Chinese food in America and how some of it was originally exported from the US. What came first…the chicken or the egg?  Chicken feet are also exported from Savannah, GA which was another fun fact. Karen Climer ACS, CL  (“It is easier to resist at the beginning than to resist at the end.”) told us how she would push for change for school children if they tried to resist doing their homework.  Eddy Cezalien picked one (“If you think you can… you can!”)   and told a personal story about not being afraid to fail and his journey in Toastmasters Diego Fuentes had the next table topics question  with a fortune (“You will be spoken well of by someone you look up to.” ) by commenting to the group how his dad is the person he looks up to and that we all need mentors in our lives. Milka Derisma CC discussed (“Your tactful nature avoids needless quarrels.”)  how she didn’t like to argue or fight with people that  she believed isn’t worth her time and gave a great example of Kanye West’s attitude and how confident he is. “Start with 3 problems and work your way up to completion.” Allen Monroe ATM drew the saying “Seize your destiny” and told us to be all we can be. Be all you can be and seize the moment!” said Allen. Our three featured speakers did not disappoint either! Betsy Carvajal gave her fifth speech “Entomophobia” the fear of insects.  Betsy described stories from her life that included bees, spiders and a big roach she sprayed to death in her shower. Ben Quiroz gave his third speech the “how to Say it” project from the basic manual he  titled “Ain’t Nothin’ but a Peanut” which was very motivational involving weight lifting and how to focus using fun quotes such as “ain’t nothing but a peanut”, “Yesterday + today = tomorrow”, and “life will bring you to your knees.”  Said Ben, “We need to hone in on our focus and keep moving forward for success.”  John Kirchner gave his fourth speech next called “Lay Your Claim!”  John did a great job helping us visualize a happy joyful life with a description of the beach, a brand new Mercedes, and hotels around the world. “Live a selfless life!” he told us, “Less is more and look for those opportunities to help others in your daily life. Be happy with what you have!” In all three speeches we saw all presenters incorporate personal stories and much humor. The Evaluation session was led by General Evaluator Eddy Cezalien. Again, the brilliance of learning and knowledge were poured out upon Club #28’s guests and members with the keen intelligence of evaluators Ken Blake DTM (for Betsy) and Ken Walley ATMG, CL (for Ben) and Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB (for John). Wisdom flowed also from our Truth Is Change Observers (TICO) Allen Monroe ACG,ALB, Timer Diego Fuentes, Celluloid Spectator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Karen Climer ACS, CL  and Vote Counter James Armbrust. Our guests, Diana Estermera ACG, ALB; James Crimm CC and Anthony Davis were positively ecstatic about the results of the meeting. Anthony not only announced that he was joining the club this very night but also that he was giving his Ice Breaker speech next week! Welcome Anthony!  This meeting was a wonderful example itself of change and how we can all change to make this world a better place. [KHW/ JA]

The Wednesday, June 11, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Diversity” theme meeting was a perfect reflection of the club itself. Monica Walley CC, CL started the meeting with a quote that “Being different is one thing that we have in common and we should cherish and celebrate each other. Strength is in the variety of our talents and in the abilities to solve our challenges.”  Monica’s father Ken Walley ATMG, CL led the meeting as the Toastmaster. He pointed out that a supreme example of diversity in action is Club #28. “Although different, we have worked together to achieve goals, better ourselves and the community around us. We have improved many lives and have looked beyond our differences, built upon those and succeeded… If only the rest of the world were more like Orlando Toastmasters Club #28!” Ken also gave us quotes from a number of astute truth-seekers such as Anne Frank, James Ellison, John Lennon and John and Robert Kennedy, Ken W. also praised a recent newspaper article by one of Club #28’s own members Karen Climer ACS, CL. She wrote about the Young Pine Community Park becoming the first park with an inclusive playground for children with disabilities. He quoted Karen’s article: “When we handicap children with disabilities, we handicap our entire community. Conversely, when we empower children as they are, their inherent strengths and talents can be appreciated by all.” John Kirchner provided an amazing and completely entertaining Table Topics session! He told how he traveled throughout the world and “just happened to run into” Club #28 members doing various things. John started in Tijuana, Mexico where he met Ken Walley ATMG, CL selling oranges from a fruit stand. Ken told how hard it was to get oranges and instead wanted to sell more traditional fare such as tacos and burritos. “I need to get indoors; maybe I’ll open a Tijuana Flats here!” Next, John went to Jamaica where he saw Barbara Cusack ACB, CL selling baskets and hats that she had been weaving. Barbara said that she was not good at bartering and although she not good at weaving either, you have to pay what they are marked.  In London, John met Diego Funetes driving a cab on the wrong side of the road. Diego said it was very hard to adjust but he loved hearing the stories of the tourists. Monica Walley CC, CL was in Paris where she told about being a street mime in front of the Eiffel Tower. “Very hard to ask for tips when you cannot talk!” said Monica. In Rome, John “ran into” our guest Anthony Davis playing the part of a gladiator in front of the Coliseum. He told us of a harrowing experience wrestling with a lion! Allen Monroe ATM just happened to be in Egypt as an archaeologist and he told John about his struggles with scorpions, mummies and King Juan Carlos of Spain (?). Next, Eddy Cezalien was found selling statues in front of the Taj Mahal. He said that he sold enough to statues to buy a motorcycle, to get a job, to buy a business and now he is a millionaire… his own version of “Slumdog Millionaire”!  Ken Blake DTM was spied in Moscow sleuthing as a KGB agent. The last question was for James Armbrust who was told that John found him in Australia living in the “outback”. James said that he too ran into Barbara, Eddy, Allen, Ken W., Ken B., Monica, Diego  and Anthony all dressed up strangely and being chased by a lion! What a fun and imaginative Table Topics session! Our two featured speakers did not disappoint either! Ryan Popvic gave his third Club #28 speech titled “The Three Step Process To Getting Out of Debt!” Ryan who is a professional financial advisor, gave some very down-to-earth and logical ways of attaining freedom from credit card debt using a “debt snowball” strategy and incorporating an emergency fund to help guard against surprises as you work towards becoming debt free. Ryan made this not only useful but an enjoyable presentation for everyone! Speaking second was Marie Loeffler ACS, ACB. Marie presented an introduction to a seminar that she will be hosting in the near future about empowerment and self-confidence techniques. This speech was adapted from a past speech and was titled “Symphony For Your Soul: The Sequel”. She covered four basic questions: “Who are you?”, “What are you made of?”, “What do you want to do?”, “What’s stopping you?” and “Are you ready?” using the music of hand bells to make her point that the answers can come together as a “symphony for success.” Marie gave us yet another melodic speech. The Evaluation session was led by General Evaluator Monica Walley CC, CL. It turned out to be a shrewd and meaningful 20 wisdom-packed minutes thanks to the perceptive insights of evaluators Allen Monroe ATM (for Ryan) and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Marie). More phenomenal coups were achieved by the “We Are The World, We Are The Functionaries” (WATWWATF) who lifted us up by their reports. Thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Diego Fuentes, AH Counter James Armbrust and Vote Counter  Eddy Cezalien. We had one guest, Anthony Davis who praised the meeting highly and vowed to return and join the club! This meeting was a wonderful example itself of diversity: by celebrating our differences and working together, by using inclusion and input and by adapting diverse ideas and viewpoints; we created something special.

The June 5, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Power of Sleep” was a dream come true! Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB started the meeting off with a remembrance of D-day, the 70th Anniversary coming tomorrow. With a quorum present, club President Jack Wharton CC, CL called for a vote to confirm the new slate of officers for the July-December 2014 term. It was passed unanimously. Eddy Cezalien who had just been confirmed as the next Club #28 President was the Toastmaster this evening . Eddy gave us many different insights into the (dream) world of sleep. He answered questions about why we sleep. Some of the reasons were restoration, memory consolidation, creativity enhancement and even saving calories. Among the interesting facts we learned was that teenagers are not lazy at all, they truly need more sleep at that age! Said Eddy “If you don’t sleep, you will never learn to fly!” Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL also awakened us to the vision of extemporaneous speaking with some questions for our members. .Ken first asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL of the strangest place that she had ever fallen asleep. Barbara recalled falling asleep under a beehive as a baby and had to be rescued by the fire department! When asked to tell about a weird dream Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB could not think of a crazy dream but instead spoke about falling sleep in the shower and one time on her washing machine. Monica Walley CC, CL discussed having insomnia and the things she tried to overcome it. Betsy Carvajal talked about the importance for her to get 8 hours of sleep. Steve Wood CC told about having a nightmare once where he was in a fist- fight and woke up when he hit the wall with his fist! Milka Derisma CC given the question about how you stop someone from snoring instead told us a weird dream with vivid, stream of consciousness dialogue that involved easy access automobiles, feats of super-human heroism and Beyonce singing just like an alarm clock. Ken inquired of Diego Fuentes when the longest time was that he had gone without sleep. He remembered studying for finals in college and noted that staying up does not help with grades. “A good night’s sleep is really better for taking tests.” Diego said. Our guest, Rhonda Craig told us that she does not take naps but instead is just the opposite, a big fan of coffee and high energy drinks! Michael Whittaker was asked to comment on a dream that he had had. He thought that he dreamed of giving excellent speeches and that he hopes that dream will come true here! We had three memorable speeches given this evening starting with Ben Quiroz’s 2nd speech titled “My Two Cents!” Ben gave an imaginative speech about real “meat and potatoes” ways of self-improvement. Ben then proceeded to tell us wonderful ideas such as: be active in the community, be true to your moral values, volunteer, use resources such as YouTube tutorials, have a fashion style, be consistent and learn to adjust. “Bring your true self to the forefront!” said Ben. Tremendous advice! The second speaker was Allen Monroe ATM who‘s speech titled “Why?” asked that question of a seemingly senseless death that happened less than a month ago in a tragic car accident. Allen remembered Andrew Kline a young man with a bright future cut down far too early in life. After scrutinizing the effect that his death had upon family and friends, he came to the conclusion that it was the legacy of love that remained important. The only answer to the question ‘why’ deemed Allen, was to “love one another.”  The last speech of the evening was by Rodney Higgins ATMB who, giving a hip-pocket speech titled “More than Just Speaking” Rodney drove home the fact that Toastmasters as an organization is about supporting others and learning from helping others to succeed. Rodney’s speech was even more impressive because it came from the heart and without any preparation. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, ALB was the Master Evaluator of an evaluation session that featured two veteran speech coaches in Rosalyn Porter ACG and Ken Blake DTM as well as Yazan Moghrabi who was giving his first Toastmasters evaluation. Walk praised the work of all of the evaluators in his General Evaluator meeting report. Others deserving praise were the Vocal Dream Makers (VDM) who were not asleep at the wheel but gave fantastic reports from Grammarian James Armbrust, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Awake Video Canvas  Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Vote Counter Jack Wharton CC, CL. At the end of the meeting our guests Rhonda Craig and Michael Whittaker both had super positive comments on the meeting. Indeed, this meeting was so good I had to pinch myself to make sure that I was awake!

“This will be the best meeting ever!” was one positive affirmation that came true during the May 29, 2014 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Positive Affirmation / Self-Talk” theme meeting. The meeting started with an encouraging quote from Scottish author Sam Smiles: “He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery!”  Read by James Armburst. Our Toastmaster Errica Jamil gave us much to think about, saying that positive affirmations not only help to encourage us but also define us and put into perspective the world around us. Errica choose the mantra “I’m in charge of myself and how I feel… and I choose to be happy!” Everyone was happy with Ryan Popovic’s excellent Table Topics session. His first question of Ben Quiroz was “How has a positive affirmation had an effect upon your life?” Ben pointed to the story of the “The Little Engine That Could” as a running theme in his life and liked the simple quote of “Why not?” James Armburst was asked about the law of attraction. He said that if he pursued “materialistic, swimsuit models that spend all of my money” the ultimate outcome might not live up to the original dream. Karen Climer ACS, CL spoke highly of motivational speaking legend Dale Carnegie when asked who her favorite developmental speaker was.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL powerful weapon’.” Milka Derisma CC was asked if there was a defining adage in her life. She said she was once told by a 16 year old earning her GED in prison that “Discipline + consistency = success.” The girl got out of prison, went on to graduate from college and overcame the problems of her youth. “The saying stuck with me.” Said Milka. We had two excellent speakers for the prepared speech segment of the meeting. When requested an upbeat motto to share Yazan Moghrabi said “Shake off the dust and stand up!” So he did with his speech “The Four Markers!” Yazan attempted to sell us four dry erase markers by describing why each color is special, the various features (“They erase like magic!”) and appealing to our sense of value (“Buy one get three free!”) as Yazan would say: “These markers could change your life!” Yazan made us want to go out and buy a white board. The second speaker who said his favorite positive saying was “Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today!” was Sebastian Guinard.  He came prepared with a speech titled “How to Present a Speech without Doing Any Preparation!” This carefully researched project deftly offered a 3 step plan to survive a 5 to 7 minute speech. Sebastian’s plan is to 1.) Make up 3 points. Can be anything, anything at all; 2.) State random facts: they do not necessarily have to be true and 3.) Talk for a long time and ask questions of the audience like “You believe me, right?” This minutely crafted labor of contemplation, humor and wit, truly enthralled his audience and achieved high praise. 1st time General Evaluator Betsy Carvajal did a masterful job of directing the evaluation session. She had help with the admirable instruction to our speakers from Allen Monroe ATM (for Yazan) and Rosalyn Porter ACG (for Sebastian.). The perfect example of “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect” was the Positive Affirmation Educators (PAE) with their wonderfully upbeat reports. Credit goes to Grammarian Karen Climer ACS, CL; Timer Ben Quiroz, Optimistic Declaration Testimony Provider Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Rev. Walk Jones ACG, ALB.  Called upon to give us some final words of wisdom to close the meeting was Ken Blake DTM. Ken noted that Club #28 Toastmasters meetings, such as the one we had tonight were “exercises in positive affirmation” and the Mission Statement of a Toastmasters Club says it all: “We provide a positive and supportive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.”     

The May 22, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Expatriates” theme meeting was worth moving to from anywhere! Newly Phd’d and new Club #28 member, Dr. Annie Chau led us in the Invocation about remembering to “take care of yourself as well as taking care of others.” Our Toastmaster was Betsy Carvajal who gave an entertaining and remarkable overview of the theme of “Expatriates” which Betsy defined as mostly professional workers who have moved from one country to another due to career reasons or retirement or lifestyle changes. She noted that there are over 7.2 million US “ex-pats” living abroad. Often they receive favorable tax treatment. She also read a list of famous expatriates including Albert Einstein, Marlene Dietrich, Jodie Foster, Angelina Jolie, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin and Benjamin Franklin; among others. Karen Climer ACS, CL who moved to the Table Topics Master role for her first time at Club #28, traveled with some excellent questions for our members and guests. Her first question was for Marie Loeffler ACS, ACB asking “What was a time that she first experienced ‘culture shock’?” She said that the time that she moved from the city to country and had an impossible time of trying to gain the trust of the townspeople. Milka Derisima CC was asked if there was a place she had visited where the local politics did not make any sense. Instead Milka spoke about her amazement of visiting a relative in Haiti and seeing how she lived without any modern conveniences. Yazan Moghrabi when asked if he supported Gov. Rick Scott’s law to allow for the children of immigrants to attend Florida colleges said that he approved of the law. “There should be compassion in our laws.” said Yazan. Steve Wood CC was challenged to argue the other side of Yazan’s reply but declined to do so, instead speaking about how conversations in the workplace actually increase production. Karen pointed out that a movement has begun to have Justin Beiber deported back to Canada and she asked guest Zelda Jones who she would like to get kicked out of the United States. She answered that Arnold Schwarzenegger should go because of the way that he treated Maria Shriver… “But just for a few weeks.” She added. Our newest member Diego Fuentes was asked if the US government should get involved with the punishments of other countries if American citizens are involved. He said yes, because the United States should lead by example against cruel and unusual punishments. Karen wondered what Joy Inzitari ACG, CL thought of seeing bilingual signs everywhere. She said it was a good thing and that Americans should be more bilingual and that we need to embrace other languages and cultures, like in Europe and other parts of the world. The last question was for another new Club #28 member James Armbrust : “Where would you move if you could move to another country?” James answered “Australia” because of the interesting wildlife, big country and cosmopolitan cities. .We had two impressive speakers, both of whom presented “performances” more than speeches starting with Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken preformed a one man original play titled “Why I Killed Abraham Lincoln”  This was a project from the “Interpretive Reading” Advanced Manual  in which Ken played the part of John Wilkes Booth reenacting the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The performance was both disturbing as well being incredibly compelling. Next and equally entertaining was Rev. Walk Jones ACG, ALB with a travelogue (“England and France“) from a recent trip to England and France where we were able to visit historic churches, Museums and even tour some fantastic Bicycle routes. The best part of his trip was greeting the wonderful people Walk described on his journey. The evaluations were led by a very able and respected mentor, General Evaluator Allen Monroe ACG, ALB. Allen was honored to introduce two communication experts Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Ken) and 1st time evaluator John Kirchner (for Walk) both of whom gave brilliant evaluations of our speakers. Allen’s meeting evaluation was also highly perceptive and uplifting! The “Have Advice, Will Travel Expatriates” (HAWTE) also added to the meeting with their super reports thanks to Grammarian Eddy Cezalien, Timer Adam Winter, Camera Obscura Savant Steve Wood CC,  AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and 1st time Vote Counter James Armbrust.  At the end of the meeting because one of our members had not spoken during the meeting, President Wharton asked Monica Walley CC, CL to give a brief review of her father’s performance. Monica said that we should have charges admission and recalled that Ken had a background in theater and as a mime. Ken vigorously denied ever being a mime. It was announced that Diego Fuentes and Dr. Annie Chau joined Club #28! Welcome Diego and Annie! Our two guests, Zelda Jones and Joy Inzitari ACG, CL were ecstatic in their praise of the meeting a both hoped to return soon.  You could move to another country if you wanted to but you would not find a better Toastmaster meeting than the one we had here on this night!

At the May 15, 2014 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, “Bill of Rights” theme meeting, you have the right to a rewarding evening and the right to remain entertained! The meeting started out with a great quote from famed activist and folksinger Joan Baez read by Ben Quiroz who also led us in the Pledge to the Flag. Our Toastmaster on this evening was Allen Monroe ATM. Allen expertly led the meeting with an insightful review of the Bill of Rights starting with its creation from the pen of James Madison as an instrument to protect the populace from the power of the government. He covered as well many interesting facts, ideas and back-stories of the amendments to our constitution. He noted how time and advancements often make some “rights” seem antiquated (when commenting on the 10Th Amendment, Allen reminded us that our Social Security numbers were at one time ONLY were meant to be used for Social Security purposes.) Sighting the aftermath of 9/11 and the 4th Amendment, Allen mentioned how events and the attitudes of our population have eroded some of our rights and the need to remain vigilant. Allen’s perceptive on the Bill of Rights was both illuminating and important. The Table Topics Master Eddy Cezalien brought up many different opinions and views about the Bill of Rights and our freedoms with his discerning questions on the subject. Steve Wood CC got the ball rolling with his belief that citizens indeed need protection from the government when answering the question “Did these basic rights even need to be included in the constitution? Steve rightfully pointed out that no freedom is truly safe from forces within or beyond the government. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about the right to appeal and not to be tried twice for the same crime. Ken pointed out that other countries do not have double jeopardy rights we have in America using the Amanda Knox trial in Italy as an example. He pointed out that endless re-trials do not produce ‘true justice’ but weaken the legal system. Monica Walley CC, CL was asked to give her views on the death penalty. Monica said she opposed it, saying that innocent people have been put to death and that even in countries with public hangings and other forms of executions, that capital crimes still happen. Our guest Spencer Lenk was asked if there should be a limitation to freedom of speech   Spencer emphatically stated that there should be no limitations on freedom of speech and that America serves as a beacon of freedom and compassion to the world. Spencer said “America makes the world a better place.” The next question put forth was “Should the Bill of Rights be amended?” When given to Rick Kneeland CC he said that there are important needs for the government to regulate laws and there must be a balance between government and lawlessness. When asked what he would add to the Bill of Rights, Club #28’s newest member, James Armbrust said he would like to see “No work on Friday” added. Wouldn’t we all?  Sebastian Guinard when asked what his favorite amendment to the constitution was, he answered “The right to bear arms.” He pointed out that without arms… we would not be able to pick anything up! Our three speakers this evening did everything “right” starting with Yazan Moghrabi who gave a delicious speech titled “My Two Favorite Dishes!” Yazan described two meals from his native country Jordan which he admitted that his mother made better than he did. Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, is made of calf meat, yogurt, salt, spices and peppers. Traditionally eaten with the hands, Yazan said that the “The trick is to use your hands and not get messy.’ The second meal, Sacahan is made with olive oil, chicken, liver, spices, pepper, salt and onion; and has been a Moghrabi family favorite for year. Sound good! Speaking second with a humorous and yet motivating speech titled “Supervisor or Stupidvisor?’ was Milka Derisma CC. Upon learning that the new Walmart CEO Douglas McMillian worked his way up to the top from being a stocker, Milka suggested to her boss that she might like to be a supervisor some day. Her wish came true that very afternoon as they let her try a shift as a manager. She told of many challenges (“No sir, you cannot get a refund without a receipt or product. No, we cannot reimburse you with just anything you want in the store…”) While the experience convinced her that there was a lot more to being in charge than she had thought, Milka did  learn patience, humility and even some compassion… for her fellow supervisors! The last speaker, John Kirchner, already giving his fourth speech titled “You Can Do It!” Told how a positive attitude can make a giant difference in your life and those around you. “Appreciate your blessings by blessing others” said John as he told about how encouraging others had helped him to build a meaningful, fulfilling and even successful life of his own. “Many focus on the things that we do not have,” said John “We should focus on the things that we do have.” His message that by encouraging others often leads to encouraging yourself to try new experiences and achieve more, was both profound and enlightening. The General Evaluator Jack Wharton CC, CL had double duty also serving as an evaluator for John’s speech, but was not any double jeopardy thanks to his fellow evaluation team members Betsy Carvajal (for Yazan) and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Milka). It should be mentioned that these were all superb evaluations for our speakers. Our rights as speakers were resolutely guarded by the Congress of Freedom to Speak (COFTS) patriotically populated by 1st time Grammarian James Armbrust, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Minute Movie Man Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Rick Kneeland CC and Vote Counter Ben Quiroz. We had a number of visitors including Rick Kneeland CC, a toastmaster from the Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 who was “filling in for Ken Blake DTM” and returning guests Gigi French, Diego Fuentes and Spencer Lenk. All had excellent comments about the meeting. It can only be said that this meeting on the Bills of Rights was “right on!”

The May 8, 2014 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Broadway: Then and Now!” theme meeting was a smash hit! Entering from stage left to begin the meeting was Errica Jamil with a reciting of a piece on the subject of wisdom. Next, Ken Blake DTM was awardedf a plaque for earning his DTM as well as a standing ovation! Congratulations Ken! The star of the show was our Toastmaster for the night Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB. Marie turned the spotlights on the history of the Great White Way from it’s humble beginnings to those who made Broadway famous like Florenz Ziegfeild and George M. Cohan to the plays and musicals like “Grease”, “Camelot”, “Hair” and “Cats” Also putting on a command performance was the 1st time Table Topic Master Yazan Moghrabi. Yazan’s first question was for Errica Jamil asking her if she had been to recent play or movie. Errica told how she had been to see “The Lego Movie” taking five kids with her and surviving!  Ben Quiroz when was asked “What would be your favorite snack to take to a Broadway show?” immediately answered “Twizzlers!”  Ben then told a story about a man who ate a whole rotisserie chicken in a move theater! He also asked if beer and wine could be included as a “snack?” Given the money and talent of producing a play, Sebastian Guinard said he would produce a show based upon the Batman character the Joker before he became the Joker. Fantastic idea! Returning (and awfully missed) Toastmaster Angela Rivera was asked if she had a favorite humorous Broadway show. She had had the good fortune of seeing the recent hit production “The Book of Mormon” which Angela said had also opened her mind to “why we do the things we do.” She noted that tickets on Broadway were selling for $500.00 each! Aman Jamor said that if he had to bring someone to a showing of “The Loin King” that he would bring his friends and make a wonderful time of it.  John Kirchner was later asked what his favorite Broadway play or musical was. He admitted to seeing “Grease” as a young man after being forced to see it by his sister…and ended up liking it! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL responding to the query “Have you ever been in a production or a play?” She said that being in Toastmasters was her favorite theatrical performance and that by giving speeches, being in contests, making YouTube videos, commercials and much more; that she has been entertaining us for years! Eddy Cezalien made known that his favorite city in the world was not New York, but Orlando! Which he said is becoming more of a cultural center than ever before. Brian Jamil gave his opinion that “Shrek the Musical!”  is the best Broadway play ever. But is Shrek really on Broadway?  James Armbrust was asked what his favorite Broadway musical was. He remembered being mesmerized by all of the theatrical effects of the hit “Phantom of the Opera” but was even more amazed that his grandmother could have slept through it all! We had two speakers for ACT II of the program: The Prepared Speeches. Allen Monroe ATM spoke first with a speech titled “The Matrix”. Using the popular 1999 movie “red pill/blue pill” scene as an allegory between acceptance and rejection; Allen compared abortion procedures in the southern United States with Hitler’s Nazi genocide during WWII. This highly controversial speech was an excellent example of the use of powerful persuasive speaking with polished propaganda techniques. Speaking second was Rosalyn Porter ACG with a brilliant speech titled “Don’t Jump the Gun: Connect and Communicate!” Rosalyn, a professional speech coach, told us how to use the “CPC” method of successful public speaking: (1.) Finding Common Ground, (2.) speaking with Passion and (3.) how to Connect with your audience. This speech was packed with helpful, insightful and easy to use speaking advice! Also adding insightful and wisdom-packed advice were the evaluators led by General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Meaningful lessons were imparted by Walk Jones ACG, CL for Allen’s speech and Ken Blake DTM for Rosalyn’s speech. The “Nothing to Hit But the Heights Troupe” (NTHBTHT) had everything coming up roses thanks to Grammarian Betsy Carvajal. Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Actor Motion Master Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Eddy Cezalien and Vote Counter Jack Wharton CC, CL . Also adding to the high praise of this resplendent evening were the comments from our guests Eddie Panetta and Aman Jamor. The announcement was also made that James Armbrust had become our newest member of Club #28! Welcome James! If this meeting had been a hit Broadway production, it would be impossible to score a ticket!

No matter what country you are from, if you attended the May 1, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Countries” theme meeting it was well worth the trip! Errica Jamil started off the meeting with a quote from Charles Swindoll about determination. Like Errica last week, this meeting featured a first time Toastmaster Yazan Moghrabi. Yazan took us on a fabulous journey packed full of interesting facts about the many (242) very different countries throughout the world. From the largest country, China (pop. 1,364,280,000) to the smallest, Pitcairn Island with only 56 people; Yazan covered the country with the highest elevation (Nepal) to the country with the lowest (Jordan) and much more, even the country with the most Toastmasters Clubs: Malaysia with over 300 clubs! Also traveling to other exotic places was our Table Topics Master Allen Monroe ATM who added the extra feature of taking his questions from articles from the most recent National Enquirer tabloid! Asked if Hillary Clinton was going to choose Bigfoot as her running mate in 2016 returning Toastmaster Ken Guzman CL elected instead to talk about one the most beautiful countries in the world to visit: Honduras. Dr. Annie Chou was asked to comment on the plastic surgery (or not) of Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian. Annie said that it is not important if anyone has implants or not that what is important is if it make them happy and adds to their self-esteem. Allen’s next question was for Steve Wood CC who was asked if Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi should adopt even though Portia is insistent on a child and Ellen is not. Steve said no couple should have a child unless both partners want to be parents. Steve also talked about visiting Germany. It was mentioned by Allen that Chelsea Clinton was expecting so he asked Betsy Carvajal for her thoughts on the matter. She said that it was wonderful news and that it also might be a good political move as well! Reading a story about how the family of recently deceased Mickey Rooney was fighting over his body, Karen Climer ACS, CL was asked how the conflict should be solved. She said to divide up the body into parts for each family member to bury where ever they would like to. Ken Blake DTM when told that the National Enquirer reported that Michelle Obama was being a “terror in the White house” over alleged affairs of the president. Ken B. said that in France it is common to have affairs and if you get caught, just make sure that your partner is “a pretty one.” Citing a new reality show that “tricks” women into thinking they might be dating bachelor Prince Henry “Harry” of Wales, he asked Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB if the show would be a hit. She thought that it was just another crazy reality show and that no self-respecting woman would be fooled unless they were complete idiots. The last question featured celebrity Marie Osmond asking if she should be a judge on the show Dancing With The StarsErrica Jamil responded “Who is Marie Osmond?” showing a celebrity gap between millennials and baby boomers. She then spoke about the county of Lebanon from where her family was from. Our three featured speakers were some of the best from any country! Ryan Popovic giving only his second speech, proved a sensation with his offering titled “Orlando Doesn’t Suck!” Ryan told us about many alterative leisure options available that many residents are not even aware of. From marvelous restaurants, to lively clubs and just fun outdoor experiences to remember, all in Orlando! He made Orlando sound like a magical place to be… even without the theme parks! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was a delight with her humorous speech “Queen of Clean: Part 2” hilariously spotlighting the hidden dangers of the house cleaning business. From families that like to play pranks on the cleaning lady (“See, it’s not real poop!”) to hippies offering brownies, streakers and the “Addams family disguised as the Partridge family”; Barbara had us in tears of laughter! Our third speaker was John Kirschner who gave an inspiring speech titled “What If?” John asked “What if you could start each day positive, upbeat and in the best emotional frame of mind possible?”  John pointed out that “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to that.” He gave us some optimistic and constructive affirmations to use each day and reminded us to keep in mind what we can and what we cannot control. His speech left us with not only a sense of encouragement but also an empowerment to improve our lives. Jack Wharton CC, CL was the General Evaluator and later commented on the evening’s evaluations in his meeting report. Jack said the evaluations by Ken Walley ATMG, CL (for Ryan); Eddy Cezalien (for Barbara) and Walk Jones ACG, CL (for John) all were “impressive examples” of how evaluations should be done. Other talented toastmasters who made this outstanding assembly such a hugh success were the members of the Word Monitors of Nations (WMON) comprising of Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Secretary Filmmaker General Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Karen Climer ACS, ALB and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler ACS, ACB. At then end of the meeting, Club #28 President Jack Wharton CC, CL gave Milka Dersima CC a chance to speak on the theme asking her “What country would you like to visit?” Surprisingly Milka picked Malaysia saying that she would love to attend the Toastmasters International Convention in Kuala Lumpur (August 20-23, 2014). It was announced that Ken Blake DTM earned his Distinguished Toastmasters Award, the highest individual award in Toastmasters. Congratulations Ken! It was also make known that Karen Climer ACS, CL had joined our club! Welcome Karen! All of our visitors Ken Guzman CL, Annie Chou, Garfield Blain, Susan Conway and Chalise Jackson were remarkably cheerful in their acclaim for the meeting during their closing comments. That is not surprising as you could travel to many countries and still not find a Toastmasters meeting quite as good as this one!

One of the best ways to have found a road to self-improvement was to have attended the April 24, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Self-Development” theme meeting. Acting Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL launched the meeting with a quote about building upon a belief in oneself. Leading the group to better self-perception and growth was first time Toastmaster Errica Jamil. Errica spoke about the power of finding ways that your interests should build upon your health and happiness. Errica’s sharp insight throughout this evening made it a very rewarding experience for everyone. Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal in addition delivered a deep understanding of the subject with her very perceptive questions. She started with one for Eddy Cezalien: “What are your short term goals” Eddy said he was looking into defining his future career path. Ryan Popovic was asked if he had an example of when positive thinking created a positive outcome. He said that while the positive thinking alone might not have created the outcome, positive thinking gives you a clearer ability to see the opportunities to succeed. Steve Wood CC was asked about a self-development goal of his. He explained that expanding knowledge was an ongoing goal and that he had a “love of learning.” Steve plans on pursuing more courses through the Teaching Company as well as making You Tube education videos. Karen Climer ACS, CL was questioned about which affirmations most inspired her. Karen chose the saying that “When I act enthusiastic, I will feel enthusiastic!” A thought she said that often gives her energy and adds excitement to her life. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about his long-term goal setting. Ken noted that he could not work at Disney World forever and that he should start thinking about his retirement years “now, before it is too late to plan for my golden years.”  Betsy inquired of our guest James Armbrust as to a challenge that he had that helped him on the path of self-improvement. James told how his father had challenged him to finish graduate school with the promise of paying half of his tuition. When he graduated, his father reimbursed the entire amount. Out two speakers tonight also enhanced the theme of the evening with uplifting speeches laced with wisdom. The first speaker, Marie Loeffler ACS, ACB  gave a true performance titled “Faith and Courage”. Marie played the part of the wife of Moses, the Old Testament leader of the Exodus from Egypt. She dressed in the modest costume of those ancient times and led us through the trials of the plagues, the fleeing of the Egyptian army and the parting of the Red Sea! She stayed in character and painted a living portrait of a loyal wife, as well as bringing Moses’ biblical legend to life. This should have been on a stage! Speaking second was Yazan Moghrabi giving his second speech titled “Toastmaster!” Yazan asked the question “What is Toastmasters about?” He spoke about how toastmasters strive to improve themselves with self- reflection, balanced perspective, true self- confidence and genuine humility. “It is” said Yazan “important to realize that no one is ‘better’ than anyone else in Toastmasters and that by ‘putting ourselves in the shoes of others’ we learn from other toastmasters how to improve.” These two entertaining but very different speeches received two equally excellent evaluations. The General Evaluator Rosalyn Porter ACG introduced two of the club’s finest evaluators, Allen Monroe ATM (for Marie) and Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Yazan) who both exceeded their reputations with brilliant craftsmanship and counsel. Also succeeding with self-help advice was our How to Win Friends and Influence People Instructors (HTWFAIPI) featuring Grammarian Ben Quiroz, Timer Eddy Cezalien, Likeness Reproduction Engraver Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Karen Climer ACG, CL; and Vote Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL, all of whom produced magnificent results. Our three guests, Karen Climer ACS, ALB; James Armbrust and Michael Whittaker all expressed high praise for the meeting and promised to return! If you wanted to find self improvement, this meeting was definitely the place to be!

One did not have to be overly optimistic to know that the April 17, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Optimism vs. Pessimism” would be a brilliant evening! After all, our guest Annie Chau started the meeting with a wonderful invocation. With that magnificent start, it was easy for Ken Walley ATMG, CL to work his magic as the Toastmaster. Ken told how he had tried “an experiment” in preparation for the meeting by going through the day and being as optimistic as possible. “The results were amazing” said Ken, “Things did not always go my way, but I had a truly fantastic day!” Ken also used quotes from Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Frederick Langbridge, Peter Ustinov, Oscar Wilde and others to illuminate the choices we make between hope and despair and optimism and Pessimism. Another confident optimist was Table Topics Master Jack Wharton CC. He started the Table Topics session with a quote from Winston Churchill who said “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” and asked Steve Wood CC for his comments. While Steve believed that “you can not change things by simply believing that they are different from what they should be. On the other hand, we have to start somewhere to improve and it is usually with an idea.” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked if she sees Club #28 as optimistic. Barbara said “absolutely!” and pointed to the many accomplishments of the club that could not have happened without a positive “can do” attitude. Yazan Moghrabi was read a quote that “An optimist created the airplane and a pessimist the parachute.” Yazan noted that sometimes a pessimist is needed and that optimism is only good up to a certain level. “For example, a safety director should have a little pessimism in him!”  Jack asked the classic question “Is the glass half empty or half full?” of Sebastian Guinard. He said two really existential (or Zen-like) statements: 1. “It depends on what is in the glass.” and 2. “Fullness is the idea of having something as opposed to nothing.”  Well done Sebastian! Monica Walley CC, CL was given a quote by Walt Disney “I always look on the optimistic side of life, but I am enough of a realist to know that life is a complex matter.” Monica commented that life is all about perception and that like Disney; living your life with a positive attitude will eventually equal into a positive result. The last question was for Annie Chau which included a horrible pun: “What is your ‘attitude blood-type’: A-Positive or A-Negative?”  Anne said it was “A-positive” and that throughout her life people have told her that she could not do something only to have her prove them wrong. We had three completely encouraging and affirmative speeches with three very optimistic speakers. Betsy Carvajal’ s 4th speech titled “Job Interview” was an imaginative way to prepare for a job interview that she was facing the next morning as well as giving us tips on how to approach such a meeting. She told us how to highlight your accomplishments as well as how to set the tone of the interview and even gave us a “closing statement”. She is sure to do well tomorrow! The second speaker, Robert Morgan with his speech “It’s Going to be a Beautiful Day!” humorously told us how with a lot of courage (?) and a very optimistic attitude, you could have a beautiful day on the ski slopes even though you might get beaten up pretty badly. Through it all, bloody nose, bad ski jump landing and the rescue by the ski patrol; Robert was determined to have fun! Speaking last and with another memorable speech titled “Memories” was John Kirchner. John gave us a eulogy of his mother and recounted the wonderful memories that he had shared with her. Meaningful and moving but with a gentle humor, John introduced us to an amazing life and a very special person. These three speeches deserved three excellent reviews. Thanks to the evaluation staff led by Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB we had some excellent evaluations and even a surprise evaluator. Allen Monroe ATM (for Betsy), Eddy Cezalien (for Robert) and guest Karen Climer ACS, CL who was returning to the lectern after almost 6 years, gave John’s evaluation. Everyone did supreme quality evaluations! So did our Most Optimistic Ever Procedural Officials (MOEPO) made up of Grammarian Adam Winter, Timer Yazan Moghrabi, Movement Beautician Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Sebastian Guinard and Vote Counter Annie Chau; all of whom carried out some brilliant reporting. We had two guests who also played major roles in our meeting as well: Karen Climer ACS, CL and Annie Chau. Both of them said they were impressed with the meeting and confidently expressed a desire to join the club! Optimistically I say “Welcome!” You would have had to have been the darkest of pessimists to have thought that on this evening Club #28 could not have had anything but an amazing meeting. As it turned out was the best! So it pays to be an optimist! And… we are even more optimistic about our future meetings!

The April 10, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Weird Florida” theme meeting had elements of both the strange and the wonderful much like Florida itself. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting with an inspirational quote about courage noting that the meeting featured 3 Ice Breaker speeches. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was the evening’s Toastmaster, she took us down a path of the strange and bizarre in Florida that most tourists do not see, including a police station the size of a phone booth in Carrabelle, Florida. Another place in Rockledge called Ashley’s Tavren has excellent food and active ghosts! We were told the myth of the panhandle half man and half deer  who is seen on a full moon night (and maybe under the influence of some  “grapefruit wine”.) One of the more interesting personalities Barbara mentioned was Morgan Bonaparte “Bone” Mizell a colorful cow hunter made famous in Frederic Remington’s “Cracker Cowboy” artwork. Ken Blake ACG, ALB was the Table Topics Master and had in store a visit to some more places of Florida interest. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was called on first to comment on a local hero. He picked Arnold Palmer the golf legend who has given back immeasurably to the community. Jack Wharton CC, CL was asked how the University of Central Florida was having an impact in the state. Jack has noticed where it used to be all “’Gators and Seminoles’, now you see a lot more ‘Fighting Knights’ t-shirts and bumper-stickers” Ken asked Steve Wood CC about “Spook Hill” in Lake Wales, Florida. Steve said it was an optical illusion where you feel as if you are traveling uphill when you are really going downhill but that it is “not really spooky.”  Remembering that Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was looking for the Fountain of Youth in Florida, Ken B. asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL what was her fountain of youth? Barbara said it was good food like her salsa and good friends like those found here at Club #28. Returning visitor Annie Chau was asked to tell us about an amazing trip that she had taken. Annie told us about a trip to Asia with her brothers where she visited among other places, Taiwan and Japan. She was impressed with how different cultures find ingenious ways to solve problems and live together. Eddy Cezalien somehow talked for over a minute on Florida’s no state income tax laws. Chuck Wharton, guest and our club president’s father, who also happens to be a lawyer; spoke about Florida’s weirdly wide-open gun laws. The last question was for returning past member Jody Rousseau who told us about a reading that she had once had in the spiritualist town of Cassadaga Florida. She noted that while some believe genuinely in spiritualism, “spiritual readings” themselves have the “potential for abuse.” She told us of a particularly strange reading that she had once received there. This meeting was one of those rare Toastmasters gathering where the club’s future is on display, featuring three Ice Breaker Speeches! The first speech by Ryan Popovic, titled “Rock and Roll to Rock and Loan” was full of joy and surprises. Ryan told about how he had grown up in Pennsylvania and had become a rock musician! He attended Penn State studying in the Arts but became convinced that more traditional career fields might be able to pay the bills. He move to Florida to avoid the winters and ended up a loan officer here in Orlando! Florida has been good to him. He said he met the “love of his life”,  Meredith at a local book club and also feels blessed finding Club #28! The second Ice Breaker was by Yazan Moghrabi who joined only a week ago, titled “Cities”. Yazan’s speech moved like a flowing poem across many different landscapes. His life started in Jordan growing up in a caring and devoted family. Yazan told us how he won $10,000 in a basketball shooting competition before coming to the United States.  He arrived in Miami alone, really alone as his ride did not get the message that he was coming. He studied at Georgia Tech earning a degree in Civil Engineering. His first job was in Casagrande, Arizona but found there was “nothing to do in that town.” He came to Orlando to work at Trust Steel construction. He also spoke about his Muslim faith and the supportive people he has found here. The last Ice Breaker speech was by Robert Morgan who’s speech “A Life of the Possible” was both inspiring and inventive. Robert told of an early life that was a mosaic of foster care, orphanages, and adoption. He became self-taught in many areas but focusing on ideas on self-improvement. He worked in the water damage business but was always thinking of ideas that would make him a “supplier of resources”. Robert said the focus of America should be on “Financial Literacy” which would give our youth the “tools to succeed”. Said Robert, “Let them study Robert Kiyosaki, Susy Ormand and Napoleon Hill and learn to read by understanding finance!’ He looks forward to inspiring others on how to reach their supreme visions of financial achievement. The Evaluation session of the meeting was led by Jack Wharton CC, CL who was backed by a worthy and talented group of evaluators: Rosalyn Porter ACG (for Ryan); Betsy Carvajal (for Yazan) and Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB (for Robert). All the evaluations, including the meeting evaluation by Jack were truly excellent. They were helpful and insightful as well as being entertaining. The Weird Florida Word Council (WFWC) was led by Grammarian Eddy Cezalien, Timer Allen Monroe ATM, Spirit Trapper Steve Wood CC,  AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Annie Chau. All gave very positive input to the meeting. Also attending were members Ben Quiroz, Sebastian Guinard and Adam Winter who were promised larger speaking roles in future meetings. Our guests Nombi Santos, Jamalin Mallet, Arrenn Feliciano, Chuck Wharton and Annie Chau each presented tremendous feedback to the meeting and voiced a strong desires to return! There was nothing weird tonight in Florida, this Club #28 meeting was, as usual the best ever!

Herndon Branch Library meeting room was packed for the April 3, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Heroic Feats / Acts of Bravery” theme meeting. Included with a good club membership turnout was a visiting University of Central Florida engineering class. One of our newest Toastmasters, Yazin Moghrabi started the meeting with some thoughts about courage and by leading us in the pledge to the flag. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Toastmaster for the evening and told us of many acts of bravery including two by animals; a World War I carrier pigeon named Cher Ami and a sled dog named Togo. He told tales of a brave teen who rescued a driver from a truck hanging off a cliff, a wheelchair- bound hero that thwarted a robbery, a fireman in an amazing rescue, ordinary people pulling a man from a rapidly sinking car and the heroic exploits of Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy! It was an exciting evening! Just as heroic were the answers Ken heard from his questions while doing double duty as the Table Topics Master. Ken asked Ryan Popovic if there was a heroic act of bravery that inspired him. Ryan said that from time to time he sees some amazing acts of audacity and daring on Youtube. Another new member, Robert Morgan was asked if there was something in his life that took him a great deal of courage to attempt. He remembered as a young adult in Boy Scouts, he was left in the woods at night to find his way back to the campsite. Rosalyn Porter ACG when asked about who was a hero to her, suggested that Oprah Winfrey has the qualities of a hero to many. Yazan Moghrabi could not think of a fictional hero to give as an example but instead talked about how Toastmasters was giving him the courage to speak in public. When asked why policemen, firefighters and those in our armed services knowingly take jobs that might place them in danger, Allen Monroe said that they were compelled to serve others. Ken asked one of our many guests Chad Denhard what he would do if someone near him had a massive heart attack. He was helped in his response by another one of the UCF students Clint ______  who described how such an event had actually happen to him! The last question “Who do you think is the bravest person that you have ever known?” was answered by Milka Dersima CC. She said her grandmother three times tried to escape the poverty of Haiti by boat resulting in two shipwrecks and then finally succeeded in reaching America to bravely raise a family in a foreign country in a different language amid strange customs. The theme of the meeting could not have been more perfect for the first speaker, John Kirchner giving his Ice Breaker speech titled simply “Imagine”. John’s powerful and memorable speech told how in 1988 he was involved in a horrible car accident and lost the use of his arms and legs. While in the hospital recovering, he witnessed another tragedy, the death of a fireman. “I realized” said John, “that I was here for a reason, that God was not finished with me.” The second speaker, Jack Wharton CC, CL gave a completely different type of speech, a project from the “Interpersonal Communication Manual” titled “Conversing with Ease!”  Jack had a conversation with Yazan Moghrabi in which he discussed coming to a Toastmasters meeting for the first time. Then Jack described how he managed the talk and what was involved making the conversation work well. Jack even had a question and answer session to finish the project. These two dynamic speeches were reviewed in the Evaluation session by the team of General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACB, CL along with Ken Blake ACG, ALB (for John) and Allen Monroe ATM (for Jack). All did extremely well. The Super Functionaries Courageous Word Avengers (SFCWA) were on hand to keep the world safe from evil grammatical and time lapses thanks to the tireless efforts of Grammarian Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB; Timer Rosalyn Porter ACG, Ruler of Historic Opportunity Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Yazan Moghrabi and Vote Counter Chad Denhard. A great thanks to all of our guest students from UCF: Chad, Kristin, Cory, Evan, Dave, Mike, Clint, Nombi and Stephanie, as well as returning guest Allen Monroe ATM. This meeting was a typical success because this club is full of brave men and women looking to conquer their fears and better themselves. There was a hero in every seat here tonight.

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 took it’s own road trip to the Center for Spiritual Living for the March 27, 2014 “Road Trip” theme meeting that was full of new experiences, excitement and wonderful memories… just like a real awesome Road Trip! This journey started with Acting Sgt. at Arms Eddy Cezalien calling the meeting to order and introducing Ken Walley ATMG, CL to impart some inspirational words from a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. Our driver, tour guide and toastmaster for this trip was none other than Club #28 President Jack Wharton CC, CL. Jack told us of some amazing adventures that he had experienced as well as reminding us that road trips are great educational opportunities, that bring families and friends together and often provides some thrills adding life and color to the gray, every-day world. Adding enthusiasm to the Table Topics session was Table Topics Master Eddy Cezalien. Starting his question and answer trip was Toastmaster Rodney Higgins ATMB. Eddy asked Rodney about a memorable road trip that he had taken. He told us a wild story of being in charge of four college pledges drunk, dressed in women’s clothing and left in the dead of night in Cassadega, Florida to find their way back to campus. When asked about his all-time favorite road trip song, we received instead another great story from guest Alan Monroe ATM about a bad decision on which way to turn that led to  becoming stuck on the road in a brutal snowstorm in Amarillo, Texas! Ken Blake ACG, ALB when asked what he takes on the road for a trip instead answered the question about the favorite road trip song, It’s “One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall” which served him well on trips throughout the East Coast. Steve Wood CC was asked what would he do if he hit a deer. Would he “leave it or take it home and eat it?” Steve thought he probably would leave it although he noted that he took his early road trips on a tiny, little motorcycle taking with him only a light jacket. He told us of one trip he took like that from St. Petersburg to Las Vegas! Rosalyn Porter ACG had a quick answer for the question of if she would pick up a hitchhiker with a broken leg on the side of the road. “No!” she said, “He could be faking it. It would be a better idea to call 9-1-1.” Guest John Kirchner was asked about creative ways to pass the time on a road trip. John remembered when he was younger and while traveling with his sister, they would look for out- of -state license plates… and fight with each other. Ben Quiroz was later asked where he would like to go on a road trip and what would he get to eat along the way. Ben commented that soft drinks and twizzlers were high on his list of things to eat and that he once went on a road trip to Woodstock! Our two speeches were also amazing, starting with Errica Jamil’s second speech in two weeks this one titled “Goal Setting and Decision Making” Like her Ice Breaker last week, this speech also impressed. Errica spoke of “following your heart and not wasting your time with extemporaneous things. Goals are reached by knowing what is important and being positive to you!” The speech had much wise advice and was a truly helpful guide to reaching your goals. Speaking second and giving a humorous speech was Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB. Her speech, titled “Welcome to the Country!” told her own version of “Green Acres” when her husband decided to move to the countryside of New Hampshire from New York City. “To him it was ‘peaceful’. To me, it was like moving to a mass-murder’s burial site.” Her exploits with moving, pets, wildlife and her mouse-befriending spouse, had everyone in tears with laughter. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the Master Evaluator for the evaluation part of the meeting which featured two excellent speakers. James Waters ACB, CL did the honors for Errica’s speech and Toni McIvor CC, CL also gave a 1st rate appraisal of Marie’s speech. Ken W. noted in his meeting review that all three parts of the meeting: table topics, the prepared speeches and the evaluations were all exceptional. He also praised the Jack’s work as Toastmaster. Ken could have added to that list the efforts of the Word Mechanics Crew (WMC) which consisted of Grammarian Rodney Higgins ATMB, Timer Ryan Popovic, Motion Detective Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Betsy Carvajal and Vote Counter Monica Walley CC, CL. Club #28 also had a number of guests attending, Lavanya Atkuri, Marlon West, Allen Monroe ATM, John Kirchner and Robert Morgan who all gave uplifting and super- positive comments at the end of the meeting! Robert, Jon and Monica all joined the club! Welcome! As in a legendary road trip, this meeting moved along like a top-down convertible on an open highway stopping at the most amazing places along the way!

It should be all over the internet that the March 20, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Social Media” theme meeting was the best one ever. Starting the meeting was Ryan Popovic who led us in the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag for his first time.  Eddy Cezalien returned to the lectern from recently serving as the club’s Contest Master for the International Speech and Table Topics Contests. This week, Eddy provided us with a myriad of amazing facts about the scope and influence of today’s social media. Eddy pointed out that if Facebook was a country it would be the world’s 4th largest. He also noted that Ellen DeGeneres has more twitter followers that the entire population of Ireland, Norway and Panama combined. He illuminated to us that due to social media, “we no longer search for the news but instead it is the news, that now finds us.”  Also surfing the web of Table Topics was Table Topic Master Milka Dersima CC. Her first question “What was your first real social media experience?” was asked of Ryan Popovic  who answered that he used MySpace while in Middle School and High School but soon graduated to Facebook.  Milka used Ryan’s answer as a bridge for a question for Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; “What pictures did you post on your MySpace page?” Barbara said the only “’my space’ that she had, her cats kept sleeping in” and she “couldn’t get anything done!” Betsy Carvajal answered the question “If Mark Zukerberg had offered to get you in on the ground floor of Facebook, would you have said yes?”  She said it is easy in hindsight now to say that you would, but she would definitely say yes to any business idea that he might offer her now! The next challenge was for Sebastian Guinard, as Milka inquired what “world movement” would he like to direct via social media. Sebastian said that social media could be used to feed millions of people and fight world hunger. “300 million people giving only $1 each month could feed a lot of hungry people.” Sebastian said. Finally Milka asked what Steve Wood CC would put into a 6 second Vine video. He said that six seconds is not enough time to put any real idea into anything. “The future of social media” Steve said, “is to find a way to meld our minds into the internet.” The three speeches that were offered tonight were all very different projects but all excellent presentations. Errica Jamil stepped up to give her Ice Breaker speech titled “A Brief History of Me!” She told about how she overcame a life of trials and confrontation at an early age to see that these lessons could make her a more positive and stronger person now. She spoke about a love of her son as well as a desire to use public speaking to help her succeed. After this excellent speech, we have no doubt that she will. Ken Walley ATMG, CL spoke second. Ken’s speech was a reading of a Reader’s Theater presentation by Carol Montgomery titled “Moon Talk – from Apollo 11” for a project from the Advanced Interpretive Reading Manual. Ken played the parts of a Narrator, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Mission Control and even President Richard M. Nixon. Ken gave a truly remarkable performance of this historic event. Following that was Jack Wharton CC, CL who gave a speech from the Advanced Entertaining Speaker Manual titled “Work, Do Not Worry!” Jack remembered his Organic Chemistry professor Dr. Delbert H. Miles who taught his students much more than just chemistry. Jack told of many life lessons he learned not the least of which was that worry is useless and as Dr. Miles would say: “work your way out of worry.” Jack’s speech was inspirational and enlightening. The same could be said for the three evaluations of the speeches. General Evaluator Angela Riviera gave an evaluation of Jack’s speech while also conducting the session and introducing evaluators Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Errica) and Area 31 Governor Dr. Hari Aturi CC (for Ken). All of the evaluations were vigorous, supportive and meaningful. A great job was done by the Public Message Consultants (PMC) assembled from Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Sebastian Guinard, Video Blogger Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Monica Walley CC, CL and Vote Counter Ryan Popovic. We also had some great feed back from our guest Dr. Luchano Dezeo at the end of the meeting.  If you are reading this on our website, or if it was tweeted to you or you are seeing this on Facebook, radio or TV… it is still not as good as being there. This was a fantastic meeting!

On March 13, 2014, for the second week in a row, the Herndon Branch Library was the scene of International Speech and Table Topics Contests, this time Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 hosted for the Area 32 contests. It was a great turnout for the contests and all of the technical roles were provided by members of Club #28. Again, the room was packed to capacity with visitors, dignitaries and Toastmasters from all over District 84 and the four clubs from Area 32: The Orange Country Toastmasters Club #129, The Turnpike Toastmasters #2362, the Let’s Talk Toastmasters #4413, The Florida Hospital Toastmasters #4823 and the Uptown Toastmasters #6304. The festivities started with Contest Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who also gave an Inspirational thought as well as introducing fellow Club #28 member and “host” Area 32 Governor Walk Jones ACG, CL. Walk warmly welcomed all to this special night of speeches and introduced the Contest Master for the evening Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken immediately commenced the Table Topics Contest, establishing the rules and declaring “Let the Contests Begin!” The question that was asked of each contestant was “Realistically, using the best case scenario, where will you be five years from now?” Speaking first was Herb Weiss DTM followed by James Waters ACS, CL, Becky Bolan DTM and Ken Blake ACG, ALB. The answers include everything from retirement to travel to even winning the Toastmasters International Speech World Championship in 2019! Coming in first place was Becky Bolan DTM and in 2nd place Ken Blake ACG, ALB. After a brief intermission, Ken introduced a number of dignitaries that were attending including the Presidents of three clubs, Let’s Talk’s Al Cumerbach DTM, Orange Country’s Jamaal Tatum ACS, ACB and 28’s own Jack Wharton CC, CL along with past Area Governors Diana Estermera ACG, CL and Helen Joseph DTM. Also recognized was the current Area 32 Gov. Walk Jones ACG, CL and the past District 84 Governor Scott Hoehn DTM along with his wife and the current Division C Governor Nancy Hoehn DTM. Once the rules had been explained the International Speech Contest was started. Speaking first was Bob Burns CC with his speech titled “Keys” Bob told about an experience he had while getting some keys made at a hardware store that had provided a “key” to living a better life and finding success. Speaking second with a speech titled “Metamorphosis” was Ken Blake ACG, CL. He told about how he was given the responsibility of keeping a secret even through it caused him to be bullied and persecuted. Speaking third was Mary Beth Mottern who’s inspirational speech “Sink or Swim” told how she was inspired by a chance meeting of an Olympic athlete and how she redefined the limits that she had once set for herself. The fourth speaker of the evening was James Waters ACB, CL. His speech “My Path in Toastmasters” was both motivating and encouraging as he told how Toastmasters is much more than just a program for improving communication and leadership skills. The last speaker, Royce Gomez, stirred her audience with a speech titled “Your CEO: The Horse” in which she told us that what she had learned with working with horses have given her a better understanding of working with people and that people can learn a lot about themselves from being with horses. All five of these speeches could have been worthy contenders at the next level, the Division C Contests next month but only our winner can represent Area 32. The 2nd place winner was Bob Burns CC and the Area 32 International Speech contest winner was Mary Beth Mottern, who became a contest speaker for her first time at the Florida Hospital Toastmasters Club contest last month! Our Division C Governor Nancy Hoehn DTM herself presented the awards to our winners! Congratulations! Ken also thanked the many people who made this Area 32 contest possible: Chief Judge Jamaal Tatum ACS, ALB; Area 32 Governor Walk Jones ACG, CL Contest Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Timers Steve Wood CC and Toni McIvor CC, CL; Vote Counters Ryan Popovic and Sebastain Guinard and backup functionary Monica Walley CC, CL. Thanks also go out to Nancy Hoehn DTM, Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL and of course to all of our judges. See you at the Division C contests in April!

The 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests were an incredible triumph! Both of the contests surpassed even the preeminent achievements of this club’s legendary past competitions. The contents drew a wealth of local Toastmasters celebrities including past and current Area Governors such as Helen Joseph DTM,  Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB; Ken Walley ATMG, CL Walk Jones ACG, CL and the current Area 31 Governor Hari Atkuri CC. The room also boasted 5 past Club #28 presidents as well as the top of the regional Toastmaster elite. Just as important as the dignitaries were a number of guests and returning past Club #28 members including Yazan Maghrubi, Annie Chau, Lygia Arcaro and Monica Walley CC, CL. This special evening started with a brilliant reading of the Nancye Sims poem “Every Day is another chance to be a Winner!”  This was read beautifully by Errica Jamil. Next, keeping our meeting running on time and smoothly was contest Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who introduced the Contest Master for this night, Eddy Cezalien. Eddy did an absolutely fabulous job of both hosting the contests and keeping us entertained. It was his first time as the Master of Ceremonies and Eddy brought an upbeat and positive experience to the lectern! In the first contest, the Table Topics Contest there was truly exceptional responses to the query: “If you have to help someone in need, is a duty or a favor?”  Jack Wharton CC, CL, Angela Rivera, Milka Derisma CC, Ben Quiroz and Ken Blake ACG, ALB all gave very distinctive and outstanding answers to the same question. “It is both and neither of the options”, “A duty to make things better”, “not an obligation but a compelling desire”, “defining how you live” and “why don’t we talk to others about Toastmasters?” were just some of the themes introduced in the answers. Milka won the first place trophy and Jack came in second. In the International Speech Contest we had four strong, poignant and inspirational speeches by Jack Wharton CC, CL (“The Foundation of a Life of Compassion”), Rosalyn Porter ACG (“The Power to Survive Pain, Loss and Heartbreak”), Milka Dersima CC (“Change Your Shoes”) and Ken Blake ACG, ALB (“Metamorphosis!”). Jack spoke about building on compassion and forgiveness as a foundation for realization and living life. Rosalyn gave us four steps to rebound from personal catastrophe and upheaval. Milka gave us a story about the value of preparing ahead and Ken spoke about the hard lessons that he learned from keeping secrets. Rosalyn won her first Club #28 International Speech contest and Milka came in a close second. It was an inspiring evening of remarkable speeches. Other highlights of the evening featured table topics by Mike Heidmann CC, CL; Ken Guzman CC, CL and Monica Walley CC, CL answering the question “Where have you been lately?” as well as Ken Walley ATMG, CL answering the banned Table Topics Contest question “What is a perfect day?”  Area 31 Governor Hari Arkuri CC also addressed the club and presented the awards. You can hear our winners speak at the Area 31 International Speech and Table Topics Contests on March 23, 2014 at the Doc’s Street-side Grill (3rd floor) S. Orange Ave. (across from the Hospital) at 5:00 PM. A sincere “thank you!” to everyone who made this very special evening possible: Contest Master Eddy Cezalien, Chief Judge Jaamal Tatum, ACB, CL Invocation and Pledge Errica Jamil, Contest Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Timers Betsy Carvajal and Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Vote Counters Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB and Sebastian Guinard as well as backup functionaries Steve Wood CC and Walk Jones ACG, CL. Also big thanks to all of our judges! See you all at the Area Contest!

“Yum!” It was a delicious February 27, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Food” theme meeting as the club returned back home to the Herndon Branch Library. The appetizer started with a course of Invocation and Pledge to the Flag by Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB. We were surprised to hear that this was Marie’s first time starting the meeting. The main chef for tonight’s extravaganza was Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who cooked up some tasty treats including the “12 hottest food trends”. Upscale comfort foods, chicken wings, super pizza, gluten free meals and locally sourced restaurant menus all made the list. 1st time Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal had some scrumptious questions for all those standing in the extemporaneous speaking kitchen. Her first question was have you ever had an experience eating that reminded you of your childhood? Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB found a restaurant that actually served the food the same way that her grandparents did! Ben Quiroz was asked about a dessert that he would die for. He said he liked cake and remembered a cake he ate in Asia where the recipe called for cherries but the baker made it with cherry tomatoes! Returning Toastmaster Adam Winter was asked about something he ate that was “out of the ordinary” Adam spoke about the new- flavored Oreo cookies which got a mixed review. Guest Yazan Moghrabi was asked about his favorite food. He spoke about the food from his native Jordan made by his mother, especially a bread, cheese and yogurt dish that he loved. Sebastian Guinard told us about his favorite restaurants, which included Chipotle, Red Lobster and Texas de Brazil. The last question was for Steve Wood CC. “What would you eat if you had to, in order to survive?” Steve told about ordering the most expensive thing on the menu while he was in Germany because he could not read German! He ate some very odd things there so it would be easy for him to eat a raw snake if he had to! The main entrée was the prepared speeches served up by Angela Rivera and Eddy Cezalien both 6th speeches from the Basic Manual. Angela found a winning recipe for a great speech with a speech titled “My Life in Quotes”. She told about how her family and her Columbian culture often talked in quotes and folk-sayings that had “Little pieces of wisdom for every life situation.” One of the many she quoted was one from her impatient father: “In times of war, there is no time for sermons!” It was a fun and resourceful speech with a lot of wisdom. Eddy’s speech was about focusing on the now, titled “Living in the Present.” Eddy spoke about how we do not know what is to come but we can only improve what we have here. “There are two things you can not change, “said Eddy “the past and the future.” That life must be savored was the point of his message and his speech was truly enjoyed by all. The dessert of this Toastmaster meal came in the form of some delectable evaluations. Working two ovens was Master Evaluator Jack Wharton CC, CL who also baked up an evaluation for Angela’s speech. Ken Walley ATMG, CL threw together a feast of praise for Eddy’s offering. No meal would be complete without the ingredients that bring out the sweetest of flavors, in this meeting it was the Word Tasters (WT) made up of Grammarian Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB, Timer Sebastian Guinard, Film Salad Tosser Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ben Quiroz and Vote Counter Yazan Moghrabi. Yazam was also our only guest for the evening and he gave some mouth-watering praise of the meeting. Had this Toastmaster meeting really had been a meal, there would have been no need to send the dishes through the dishwasher having been licked so clean!

“Lights! Camera! Action!” The Center for Spiritual Living became a set for the February 20, 2014 Orlando Toastmaster’s Club #28 “Movies” theme meeting. This blockbuster toastmasters meeting had everything you could want: action, comedy, drama and romance! The opening scene featured guest Andrew Nash with the invocation, a quote from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Introduced nest was the Director of our show Toastmaster Jack Wharton CC, CL! Jack thrilled us with tales of movie lore from the early “moving pictures” times to “nickelodeons” to the “talkies”. He spoke of great cult classics like Caddyshack, Rounders and The Rocky Horror Picture Show as well giving us some insight into the action behind the scenes. Our “script writer” and first time Table Topics Master was Ryan Popovic who scored a hit with all of his questions. Up first was Errica Jamil who was asked what type of movie that she liked to watch. She admitted to romantic comedies and Lifetime Channel TV movies. Andrew Nash was asked who his all time favorite villain was. He selected crime lord Keyser Soze from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects. Toni McIvor CC, CL was asked who should portray her in a movie. She selected Michelle Dockery who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the Downton Abbey TV series or the American Actress Sandra Bullock, in a pinch. Steve Wood CC was given the question of Star Wars or Star Trek? He quoted the TV character Penny from The Big Bang Theory who asked “What’s the difference?” and Steve noted that Star Trek director J.J. Abrams has trouble resolving time travel problems. When asked what his favorite movie snack was our guest Don Carr emphatically said “Popcorn!” It just so happens that Don collects popcorn machines as well as informing us that it is best popped with coconut oil. Another guest, James Crimm was asked later in the meeting what his favorite movie was. He loved the film Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith as a powerful and hopeful film. Our stars for the evening were featured speakers Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB and Barbara Cusack ACG, CL! Marie, who’s last smash speech was only a week ago brought raving reviews with her this project titled “Mentors Make A Difference” to earn her High Performance Leadership Award. She explained her idea for having a website to match mentors with Toastmasters in order to help them reach their Toastmasters goals. It was an genius idea! Barbara’s speech, “Magic” was a project from the Advanced Storytelling Manual and told the true story of Basketball legend Magic Johnson. She told how his life after his Hall of Fame career was even more important, and amazing than the one he had on the court! It was one of Barbara’s best speeches, and she has had a lot of brilliant performances. The “critics corner” was headed by General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG,. CL and featured reviews by evaluators Ken Blake ATMG, ALB and Rosalyn Porter ACG who both gave two thumbs up for our speakers. The technical staff of the Stars Admiration Group (SAG) were played by Grammarian Toni McIvior CC, CL; Timer Errica Jamil, Camera #1 Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Don Carr and handing out the Academy Awards was Vote Counter Andrew Nash. Without them this production never would have taken flight! All of our guests, James Crimm, Andrew Nash, Marquette Rodriquez and Don Carr had high praise for the meeting. One could only say about this meeting:  “That’s Entertainment!”

At the Center of Spiritual Living on February 13, 2014, for the first time at an Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting, the club had a “First Times” themed meeting! We have to do this again soon because it was a fantastic evening! First, Jack Wharton CC, CL started the meeting by giving the Invocation and Pledge and introducing the Toastmaster Ben Quiroz. Of course, this was Ben’s first time as a Toastmaster and he did a brilliant job of leading the meeting. Ben spoke about how doing new things was essential to expanding our worlds and conveyed to us many of his own personal “first experiences” and how they led to new opportunities, such as being Toastmaster. Ben also gave us quite a few examples of historic firsts including one that was not really a “first” at all: the printing press. Ben divulged that it was a concept lifted from Chinese inventor Bi Sheng almost 400 years before Johannes Gutenberg stole the idea for his European printing press! Table Topics Master Milka Derisma CC noted that a typical person will have well over 12,000 different “first times” in their lifetime. She asked Steve Wood CC about the first time that he ever got pulled for a traffic ticket. Steve told how after getting a speeding ticket he went to court, but was “too honest” to beat the ticket. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was asked about his fist day in High School. He related how rumors of how tough the teachers were at Catholic school (“They would just as soon kill you as look at you!”) really scared him on his first day. He later found out it was not true at all. Guest Andrew Nash was asked about his first time getting into trouble at school. He told about how shocked he was to find that pitching quarters was “really a form of gambling” and how it could be misconstrued that getting into fights over the winnings might send you to a new place called “detention”. We were happy to find out that his school life of crime would be a very short one. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL spoke about her first crush in High School, a boy named James. Barbara admitted that she even “chewed tobacco” just to earn his approval! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to speak about his “first failure”. He spoke about being dumped by a middle school sweetheart who left him for another guy. Said Ken, “The good thing was that I learned a valuable lesson: That I know nothing about women!” Jack Wharton CC spoke about his first car, picked out by his grandfather, a 1999 Chrysler Cirrus. “He would not let me get a Kia because he thought it stood for ‘Killed In Action!”  We had three spectacular speeches starting with an Ice Breaker speech by Sebastian Guinard titled “The Most Infuriating Question” . The title came from the movie “Anger Management” in which Jack Nicholson asks Adam Sandler “Who are you?” Sebastian’s answer to that question about himself was that its not what you do in life but how you react to your circumstances. He saw himself not as a loan officer or as a product of any time, generation or place but as a cautious person with heart and optimism. It was an excellent Ice Breaker! The second speech was an advanced manual project by Marie Loeffler ACB, ALB who presented “A Roast of Walk Jones!” Marie bestowed upon Walk a very good natured review of his bygone days which included highlights of his Tennessee past, visions of his future (when Walk thought about running for public office he saw a sign that said “Walk Don’t Run” !) and wrapped it up with pictures from his Facebook page. She had everyone laughing with her, even Walk! Walk’s roast was a lot of fun!. The last speech was the 5th speech from the Competent Communicator Manual for Dr. Angela Guzman titled “The Beauty of Life”. An emotional speech that was set at the funeral of Angela’s aunt which sparked a reconnection with her family and the realization that healing old wounds opens new doors of communication, relationships and love. Both powerful and moving, the speech started and ended with a quote from Helen Keller: “The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt.”  Having the daunting task of reviewing these speeches fell to the General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, ALB and his staff of evaluators Betsy Carvajal (for Sebastian), Eddy Cezalien (for Walk) and Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL (for Angela). All of them were up to the challenge, each having a unique perspective of the speeches and some very useful ideas. The New Direction Advisors (NDA) pioneered untested advances in functionary reporting thanks to the work of Grammarian Ryan Popovic, Timer Jack Wharton CC, CL, Creative Recording Visionary Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Andrew Nash. At the end of the meeting our guest Andrew Nash expressed a wish to join our club! Welcome Andrew! It should be noted that we had a number of “firsts” on this “First Times” theme meeting: Ryan Popovic as Grammarian, Andrew Nash as Vote Counter, Betsy Carvajal as an Evaluator, Ben Quiroz as the Toastmaster and a standing ovation was given for Sebastian Guinard for his Ice Breaker speech! Congratulations to all and to the entire Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 as well!

If there was a world record for “Best Toastmasters meeting”, the February 6, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “World Records” theme meeting would have set it. The meeting, held at the Center for Spiritual Living, started with Errica Jamil giving a quote from US President Theodore Roosevelt who by the way, held the World Record from 1907 to 1977 for the most hands shook in a single day: 8,510! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL set the record for “most world records mentioned in a Toastmaster meeting” using the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records, among the records quoted were: Costliest Natural Disaster, Fastest recorded wind speed, Largest cat, Most venomous snake, the Largest Jellyfish, Shortest living woman, Highest altitude jump, Chainsaw juggling on a unicycle and Legos used in building a house… among many others. One record not in the book that Ken mentioned was the more than a year spent adrift at sea by the recently rescued Jose Alvarenga. Table Topics Master Jack Wharton CC, CL was also on hand to present some questions for Club #28. He started with new member Sebastian Guinard. Sebastian was asked if there was a world record that truly impressed him. He noted Usain Bolt’s incredible world records in the 100m and the 200m. Betsy Carvajal was asked if she had any “weather event” stories to tell. She told about surviving Hurricane Charley in Ocoee at a hurricane party in 2004. Ryan Popovic gave his opinion on if some world records were simply dangerous and absurd. He agreed that many were pointless and hazardous. Ryan thought that only those that required some talent should actually be recorded. Steve Wood CC was given the topic of competitive eating to speak on.  Steve noted that some world records can end up killing you but also noted that extreme eating of almost anything will cause harm. Angela Guzman was asked to speak about the oldest person that has impacted her life. She told about a man of 93 who still plays tennis regularly and her great-grandmother who often gives her wise advice. Errica Jamil was asked if there was a record that she was proud of. She told about climbing the outside of a building in New York! That was impressive to her because she proved to herself that she could do it. The last question, for Eddy Cezalien was “What was your favorite Toastmaster meeting?” Eddy could not think of one but did say that whenever Jack is the Table Topics Master, it is his favorite meeting! That received some “Awwws” and even more groans…We had three speeches, and speakers;  each being remarkable in their own way. Returning to the club after an absence of over a year was Sarah Peerani who gave an excellent speech titled “The Power of Choice”. She ruminated about the choices that we make even on a daily basis that can have a profound effect upon who we are and what we will become. Learning from our past choices and controlling our emotions said Sarah, “do not define you but they can improve you!” It was a great choice for a speech. Welcome back Sarah! Speaking second was Angela Rivera giving her 5th speech, titled “A Visa to Success” which related how our self-branding through non-verbal communication and body language is like advertising for a business. This speech was brilliant. She gave an example of a Visa credit card ad that showed the power of business branding while at the same time reflected how to display our own unique individual qualities. The third speaker Ken Blake ACG, ALB who presented a speech titled “The Man is Golden”. This told the story of a past Olympic gold medal winner, Jimmy Shea Jr. who overcame extreme dyslexia in order to become a professional motivational speaker. His story was inspiring. Showing that the evaluation section of the meeting could be both educational as well as entertaining was the job of General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACG, CL. Barbara succeeded spectacularly but she had help from evaluators Milka Dersima CC (for Sarah), Marie Loeffler ACG, ALB (for Ken B.) and guest evaluator Helen Joseph DTM for (Angela R.). Also making history with their efficiency and ability were the Keepers of the Record (KOTR) made up of Grammarian Angela Guzman, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Color /Action Collaborator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Eddy Cezalien and Vote Counter Sebastian Guinard We had two guests, Diego Fuentes and Carlos Hernandez both of whom gave genuine and excited tributes to the meeting. Along with the world record for the longest meeting recap, this gathering should make the Guinness Book of World Records for “Best Toastmaster Meeting Ever”!

Here is a fun fact: The January 30, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Fun Facts” theme meeting was really fun! Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the acting Sgt. at Arms introduced Ben Quiroz who started the meeting off with the Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. Milka Derisma CC served as our Toastmaster and had tons of fun facts to tell us about. Did you know: 1. The cartoon TV show Ed, Ed & Eddie was a running studio joke until someone thought to actually make it into a show. 2. Sam Adams Utopia Beer cost more than $150.00 a bottle. 3. Your thumb is the same length as your nose. 4. Fruit Loops are all the same flavor, just different colors. 5. “Twerk” is now an official word, recently added to the dictionary. 6. You would have to eat 400 lbs. of chocolate in order to overdose. 7… and many, many other fun facts Milka left us to ponder… including that the Table Topics Master was none other that “Mr. Fact” himself, Steve Wood CC.  Noting that the US Interstate system was designed so that airplanes could land on it; Steve then asked Dr. Angela Guzman “What fun facts did you learn on the longest trip that you’ve ever taken by car?”  Angela noted that her husband learned that she had a tendency to doze off at the wheel. Another fun fact Steve pointed out was that a “jiffy” was an actual time measure (1/100th of a second) Steve wondered to guest Emerson Bielen what his thoughts on time travel were. Emerson mentioned that to go back and kill his grandfather would mean that he would not exist and he admitted that he could not really kill his grandfather anyway. Steve mentioned that a cat has a better chance of surviving a fall from a 20 story building than just from the 7th floor he asked Errica Jamil “What kind of person would do such a study and is she a cat or a dog person?” She said that cats were less maintenance than dogs but that she did not have any pets at the time. Steve had another fun fact: You are more likely to die on your way to buying a mega-lottery ticket than you are to win the lottery. He then asked our other guest, Alicia Evan what she would do if she won the lottery. She said that she would travel, work less and give to charity, of course. Citing that it took only $7 million dollars to make the actual ocean-liner Titanic and over $200 million to make the movie, the next question, for Ryan Popovic was what was his favorite movie of all time. Eric spoke highly of The Terminator series. He liked the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned from a villain character into a good guy.  Having to answer a “yes or no” question in Table Topics always stumped Steve and he wanted to know if Ken Blake ACG, ALB had the same problem. Ken B. said he did but he still spoke for well over a minute answering this yes or no question. The two speeches tonight were both remarkable. We started with an Ice Breaker speech from Ben Quiroz. Ben’s speech titled “Me: A Brief History of Compassion and Connection” chronicled Ben’s calling to relate to and understand others. He told how as a child his imagination soared when he first saw a World Atlas. “People naturally look to see how they are similar to others so they do not feel alienated.” Said Ben as he spoke about his love for traveling: “’Connection’ is a powerful message. It leads to understanding and compassion.” The second speaker was Betsy Carvajal who’s speech “How to Travel without Staying in a Hotel” was full of insight, humor, great advice and wonderful travel stories. In her world travels she has avoided hotels by staying in hostels, sleeping at bed & breakfast lodges and even renting apartments. On one trip she shared a room with 12 people… but saved hundreds of dollars. She also spoke of “Craig’s list Joe” traveling and even “couch surfing”! Her speech was really fun and interesting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as the General Evaluator and he was supported by two of the club’s future evaluation contest contestants Toni McIvor CC, CL (for Ben) and Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Betsy). Ken W. spoke highly of every aspect of this meeting in his meeting review. It was however the unheralded people behind the scenes, those Troubadours of Recording and Reporting (TR &R) that truly excelled in making this meeting magical. They were Grammarian Angela Rivera, Timer Eddy Cezalien, Reality Solidifier Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Errica Jamil and Vote Counter Ryan Popovic. All of our guests George Acosta, Emerson Bielen, Sebastian Guinard and Alicia Evan were highly positive with their comments about the meeting. One of our guests, Sebastian Guinard announced he was joining the club! Welcome Sebastian! One more fun fact about this meeting: it was one of our best meetings ever!

A good habit to form would be attending Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 gatherings like the Wednesday, January 22, 2014 “Habits” meeting! Starting a new habit of starting Toastmaster meetings was Errica Jamil, our newest member who gave the invocation on the appropriate subject of “growth”. Serving as the Toastmaster for the evening was Eddy Cezalien who defined habits as “those things we do that are triggered automatically by our subconscious.” Eddy pointed out that “Our habits often define who we are and what we will become.” Eddy did a first-rate job of toastmastering, actually a habit for him. Becoming an excellent Table Topics Master is something that Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL has long achieved. He has a tendency to ask outstanding questions like his first one for Steve Wood CC: “What is a reading or teaching habit you have developed?” Steve responded that he spends some quality time learning each day; rather it be reading or taking a study course of some kind. Steve Hoel CC was asked if he could give us a healing habit for us to work on. Steve H. said that he has made progress on eating more healthy foods and walking between 5 and 6 miles a day! This was even more amazing since Steve came to the meeting using crutches. Walk wondered if Toni McIvor CC, CL, who originated from Scotland, outside of the United States found any American habits irritating. Toni said that the practice of Americans using Styrofoam plates and plastic utensils drives her crazy. Said Toni, “Styrofoam? Even at a special meal, like Christmas dinner, for god’s sake? A beautiful setting with real silver makes a statement about the meal you are about to eat as well as your host or hostess!” Ben Quiroz was asked what his “favorite habit” was. He said that he does not really plan his meals but he does have a protein shake that he “bookends” with his workouts. He also loves a good cup of coffee now and then but warned to be careful of the caffeine. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked about his “bad speaking habits”. Ken said that one habit he had that even had a name: “The Walley-hop” because of a reflex motion he does during his speeches. Ken said that it was good for Toastmasters to point out these quirks because often the speakers are not even aware of them. Errica Jamil explained her “sleeping habits” by saying that she either “literally jumps out of bed in the morning or she will go back to sleep and be late to work.” Ken Blake ATMG, ALB was asked about a habit that he had tried to stop. Ken B. admitted he had some health challenges that not eating sweets was a little tough but he said with a good diet and better exercise that he had lost 20 pounds and had his blood-sugar levels under control. The two speeches this night showed that Club #28 was continuing its practice of excellence, a habit the club is unwilling to shake. The first speech by Jack Wharton CC, CL was titled “Building a Founding Tradition”. Jack spoke about the “prestigious” Mr. Weenie Open, a half disk and half real golf “tournament “ played between Jack and his brother Charles and their two uncles Steve and Doug. The prize is a meal at the Peru, Indiana Mr. Weenie “restaurant”. Jack’s speech had everyone laughing at the goofy-ness of his family, and himself… but he also painted a wonderful description of a close and fun loving family. It was a beautiful speech! Next, Gurinder Virdi gave a very interesting speech titled “The Power of Language” in which he spoke, in both Spanish and English about the advantages of being bilingual. He told us that it was easier to book a reservation in another language, learning a different tongue is the only way to really understand a different culture, that you might eat better food and receive better service and not to mention understanding what others are saying about you when they don’t think you can understand them. It was an informative and entertaining speech! As is the custom of Toastmasters meetings, a General Evaluator; being this evening, Ken Blake ACG, ALB introduced two able speech assessors Toni McIvor CC, CL (for Jack) and Angela Rivera (for Eddy). Both of the brilliant speeches were reviewed with grace and wisdom. They sincerely honored their subjects. The same could be said for the entire meeting because of the work done by the Good Grammar Habit Forming Foundation (GGHFF) which boasted first-time Grammarian Ben Quiroz, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Visual Motion Sculptor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Steve Hoel CC and Co-Vote Counters Angela Rivera and Jack Wharton CC, CL. The only visitor, returning guest Steve Hoel CC was most gracious in his meeting ending remarks. It was also joyfully announced that Errica Jamil was going to join the club! Welcome Errica! I hope that we have many more meetings like this one as they could become truly addictive!

On January 16, 2014 you did not have to go far to find an awesome Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Travel” theme meeting! You only had to go to the Herndon Branch Library. There you would have found Sergeant at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL organizing and opening the meeting with an excellent invocation, First time Toastmaster Betsy Carvajal took us on a tour of many destinations but especially France which she herself is visiting next month. We breezed along the Champs-Elysees, had a stopover at Nortre-Dame, viewed the Arc De Triomphe and saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. We did everything but have a meal at L’affriote’s! Betsy gave us many notable tips, including that American credit cards do not work in Europe. Another person who was along for the ride was Table Topics Master Ken Guzman CL. Ken came up with a few travel questions of his own starting with one for Milka Dersima CC.  Milka was asked to tell us the best place that she had ever visited. She remembered seeing Times Square in New York and going to California but her favorite place was returning to Florida and her home, sweet home. Steve Wood CC told us about the weirdest things he had seen while traveling. Besides Nevada in general, he mentioned hoping to find truly out of the way places in the future that will completely surprise him. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked where to get the best food from on the road. She suggested the City of New Orleans but warned us to stay away from Bourbon Street and look for an out of the way Italian restaurant. Ben Quiroz was given the challenge of describing the funniest thing that had happened to him on vacation. Ben remembered how he and his friend rented a motor scooter and promptly drove it into a ditch while in-between Bangkok and Chon Buri, Thailand. Ryan Popovic was confronted with the puzzle of which is a better way to travel: Car, Train, Boat or Airplane. Ryan chose to fly remembering a long grueling trip to New York once by train. Angela Rivera was asked to give us some travel advice. She recommended that you save up money and plan your trips well in advance because you never know what is going to happen on a trip. Good advice! We had two excellent speeches that took us on a voyage of wisdom and entertainment. Eddy Cezalien spoke first with a speech titled “Getting Positively High”. Eddy gave a strong performance and an inspiring message of how believing in yourself can open up new avenues of personal success. Eddy stated “I can not tell you the Physics of Black Holes or the neuron paths of the brain, but I can tell you that being positive will accomplish more and get you farther than being negative at anytime, in anyplace.” Also motivating and making us think was Toni McIvor CC, CL with another excellent offering titled “There But For The Grace” which told the story of two people, acquaintances of Toni’s; an actress who had her morality questioned and another, a man who had been charged with murder. They were wrongly accused, chastised and punished for things they were innocent of and yet were vindicated, recovered and even flourished in their lives. Her speech was a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It touched everyone who heard it. Powerful statements like these offered true challenges for the evaluation team headed by Master Evaluator Jack Wharton CC, CL and communication appraisers Ken Walley ATMG, CL (for Eddy) and Milka Derisma CC (for Toni). Excellent advice and reviews were given by each Toastmaster. This journey would not have been possible but for the reports and hard work of the Brotherhood of the Traveling Functionaries (BOTTF) who were Grammarian Gurinder Virdi, Timer Walk Jones ACG, CL; Time Framer Steve Wood CC,  AH Counter Ryan Popovic and Vote Counter Ben Quiroz.  It was also announced that our President Jack Wharton CC, CL had earned his CL award! Congratulations Jack! We had one returning guest, Errica Jamil who was again most gracious in her highly positive remarks about the meeting. I do not think that you could travel far enough to find another meeting quite as rewarding as this one!

If one of the goals of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was to have a superb meeting, then the January 9, 2014 “goals” theme meeting more than accomplished it! It all started with an invocation by Eddy Cezalien, reading a quote from Calvin Coolidge about persistence and determination. Our guide for the meeting was a very inspiring Jack Wharton CC who told us about how to make goals specific, manageable and positive. He also related some of his goals for the coming year, including entering medical school. Jack said “Making progress on your goals makes for a happier life.” Setting the bar high for a Table Topics session was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who came prepared with many goal-orientated questions starting with one for the club’s newest member, Ryan Popovic: “Why should we set goals for ourselves?” Ryan had many worthy reasons including being organized and improving self development. Eddy Cezalien tackled the subject of “What are your goals for the next five years?” He said he was determined to find a job that he loved doing and finding success in that field. “How can Toastmasters help you reach your goals?” was presented to Steve Wood CC who suggested visiting the www.toastmasters.org website for a full explanation. Club #28 president Jack Wharton CC was reminded of US President John F. Kennedy’s goal of reaching the moon in 10 years when he was asked “What goals would you like to see your country accomplish in the next decade?’ Admitting that the Obamacare roll-out was a disaster, Jack still believes that all Americans can be covered by health insurance by 2024. Betsy Carvajal was posed the question of what advice that she would give to somebody who was just starting out in the work force. Betsy said it would be to look and act responsible and never to “burn bridges” because you never know when you might need someone’s help. Ignoring the question of what accomplishment that she was most proud of, Toni McIvor CC, CL, spoke instead about how impersonal the world has become due to mass media. “It is still important to care what people think of you!” said Toni. Ken W. quoted the late Club #28 toastmaster Laval Brown CC when he said “Dreams don’t die, you just give up on them.” He then asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL if there was a dream or goal she would like to “revisit”?  Barbara said she had an idea, and a patent for a product called the “Bowl Bandanna®” that would be an easy way to clean and sterilize toilets. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked what advice he could give to those preparing for retirement. Ken spoke highly of investing in the bit-coin which has performed well as a new e-currency. Also performing well were our two featured speakers. Giving very different and yet highly entertaining speeches were Gurinder Virdi and Milka Derisma CC. Gurinder started with a speech titled “Keeping Things Straight” He told about the incredible complexities of planning a wedding. After days of visiting different venues and crunching figures, he lamented “how is it that any weddings get past the planning stage?” Then he discovered the free spreadsheet site www.Googledocs.com which helped him cut through all of the red tape and focus making beautiful memories. Speaking second, Milka gave an advanced speech from the Entertaining Speaker Manual titled “The Real Housewives of Walmart” where she told some incredible stories about how sometimes working at Walmart can resemble a crazy TV reality show. She praised the customer service associates that bent over backwards to please even the most troublesome and irrational customers. Both speeches were wonderfully amusing. The adjectives that could be used to describe the Evaluation section of the meeting could be: informative, funny, wise and moving. General Evaluator Toni McIvor CC, CL saw to that with a brilliant session featuring evaluators Ken Blake ACG, ALB (for Gurinder) and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (for Milka) and as well as an absorbing meeting review. Helping this meeting reach its lofty objectives and hitting its targets with bulls-eyes, the Goal Diggers of 2014 (GD14) also achieved all of their purposes with perfection. They were Grammarian and AH Counter Betsy Carvajal, Historical Motion Detector Steve Wood CC, Timer Eddy Cezalien and Vote Counter Ryan Popovic. Holding a meeting like this one can only assure Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 of reaching it’s goal of staying a legendary Toastmasters club.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was off to an unbelievable start to 2014 with the January 2, 2014 “New Beginnings” meeting. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL started the meeting with an appropriate and humorous invocation. “Last year, I mentioned I was going to set a goal to ride a 100 miles on my bicycle and the residents at the retirement center where I work made sure that I did not forget that resolution!” His story set our sights on a positive and hopeful new year. Jack Wharton CC stepped behind the lectern for his first meeting as Club #28’s new president and introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Toastmaster for the evening. Ken told about how 2014 New Year’s Eve was celebrated around the world visiting Walt Disney World, New York’s Time Square, Las Vegas, London, Dubai and Moscow. Ken Also told us his New Years resolutions and left us with some words of wisdom for the future. Also in the spirit was Table Topic Master Eddy Cezalien. His first question “What do you look forward to in the new year?” got Barbara Cusack ACB, CL thinking about getting her house and life in order after a busy and eventful holiday season. Jack Wharton CC had to come up with an answer to “Is brand new always better?” Jack said “not always”. Some things he related, like cars might be a little better new but would cost far more than a used car but other things, like clothes; he would rather spend the extra few dollars and get new. Betsy Carvajal was asked if there was a place that she would like to visit this year. She said that she already had a trip to France planned in February and looked forward to seeing Paris. Milka Derisma CC was asked if there were any films or movies she looked forward to seeing in 2014.  Milka was excited to see that “Rio 2” will coming to the theaters soon. And she also looks forward to more “Hunger Games” Sequels. “Would you choose China’s New Year date, the date we have… or another?” was presented to Ken Blake ACG, ALB who voiced his distain for daylight savings time and wondered why “everyone, everywhere could not celebrate the new year at the same time?” Ben Quiroz was given the question of what activities or hobbies he planned to pursue over next 12 months. Ben said that he will be working for his teacher’s certificate, learning a new language and going to the gym. That will keep him busy! Returning toastmaster and past Area Governor Elon Horsham DTM was asked what changes he plans to make in his life this year. Elon stated that he hopes to avoid procrastination and putting off things he want to accomplish. We had three wonderful speeches. Angela Rivera started off with an amazing effort titled “Don’t Think Pink Elephant”.  She explained why so many New Years resolutions fail in that the mind can not process the word “don’t”. “If you say ‘don’t picture a pink elephant’” said Angela, “you will picture a pink elephant.” Her premise was to think in positive terms such as “I will drink more fruit juice” rather than “I don’t want to drink soda.”  thus achieving a specific goal.  Also giving a spellbinding speech was Steve Wood CC who traced how the million dollar technology of the 70’s is now available to just about everyone in a speech titled “Jog of Technology. ” Steve said that he was going to title his project “‘The March of Technology’ but progress ended up being a jog and soon, it will be a sprint!”  Steve gave examples of ultra expensive NASA expertise that he can now re-create with his store bought telescope in his driveway. He showed us amazing photos and film he made of Mars and Jupiter that put to shame the blurry shots taken from NASA satellites of the recent decades. His speech showed that science with more powerful and changing technology is now available to the masses. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL gave another fascinating speech titled “The Three Wise Men” that dealt with the subject of the biblical Magi. Walk asked the question of “who these men were and where did they come?” He traced Christian traditions and theories about their identities. It was a skillful and intriguing look at an unresolved mystery from the Bible. Stepping into the role of Master Evaluator was Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Barbara had some high quality help with able  evaluators Elon Horsham DTM (for Angela) , Toni McIvor CC, CL (for Steve) and Milka Derisma CC (for Walk). All of the evaluations were excellent and it should be noted that Barbara gave a masterful meeting review as well. This meeting, and the year itself would not have gotten off to such a good start with out the help of the New Years Resolution Makers (NYRM) made up of Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, ALB; first time Timer Ben Quiroz, AH Counter Jack Wharton CC and Vote Counter (and guest) Errica Jamil. At the end of the meeting our guests Elon Horsham DTM and Errica Jamil both were most enthusiastic in their comments of the meeting! With a start like this meeting, there is no doubt that 2014 will be Club #28’s best year ever!

The December 19, 2013 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 Christmas Party and Installation of Officers was a joyful event with Christmas music filling the meeting room, garlands, stockings, Christmas trees and even a giant screen Computer-generated fire and other cheerful decorations that welcomed all that entered. Merriment was in the air.  Sgt. at Arms Angela Guzman called the last meeting of 2013 to order and started the meeting with a greeting of goodwill and optimism. Angela introduced Jae “Ben” Quiroz who gave an invocation remembering the legacy of Nelson Mandela who past away last week before leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. For the last time as Club #28’s President Mike Heidmann CL welcomed our guests this evening Ryan Popovic, Gary Hudson and Dennis Focus DTM  a Toastmaster visiting us from his club in New York. Mike explained that this would not be a “typical meeting” but a celebration and look toward the future. The traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” left no doubt that the Master of Ceremonies must be jolly ol’ Ken Walley ATMG, CL. With a FSU Seminoles Santa cap on his head, he let all to know there was nothing to dread. Away in a flash he asked three Table Topics questions right off! First, to her surprise Marie Loeffler ACB, CLB he asked about her favorite Holiday Memory. She told us of many sweet visions of Christmases past. Dr. Veronica Boaz CC was asked “What do you want for Christmas?” “Nothing material” said Veronica, she only desired just peace & acceptance for all and a world of healing and care for those in need. Ken requested Angela Guzman to tell us how she does her shopping. Her answer was that shopping was done in an unorganized fashion, unpredictably and sometimes, due to her busy schedule, not at all. All of them brought a little holiday cheer with their answers. Also bringing delight to the room was our featured speaker. Betsy Carvajal, giving her second speech from the Basic Manual she gave a “travel themed” speech titled “Trip of a Lifetime!” With projected pictures of her journey flashing behind her, Betsy told us of a vacation to the country of Chile where she visited her family in the remote back lands. She told us of Chile’s Andes Mountains, visiting the capital city of Santiago as well as some of the history that took place there. She also described the mixtures of cultures and ethnic influences well as the Chilean cuisine featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables! Her speech made you want to catch the next plane to Chile! Betsy’s speech was evaluated by one of Club #28’s best evaluators: Toni McIvor CC, CL. She gave Betsy an early Christmas present of expert instruction, an abundance of praise and a wealth of wisdom in her evaluation. As a bonus to her evaluation, Toni treated everyone to a reading of a poem she wrote titled “A Scottish Christmas Fairy”. This poem proved to be one of the highlights of the evening. It brought a merry mirth of laughter and good cheer… even at the expense of the poor Scottish fairy’s “bum”! 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 Mike Heidmann CL. Mike’s speech was encouraging both on an individual basis and for the entire club. It was one of the most significant President’s messages ever given at Club #28. The speech started with an anecdote of how Toastmasters helped Mike to land a construction contract at a golf-course maintenance facility in Waco, Texas, a place he had never seen, to clients that he had never met. Mike told how by using evaluation, Table Topics and “hip pocket” speech techniques that he learned in Toastmasters, he was able to win their trust and become successful. Next, he voiced appreciation for the help of his past officers and called for a special standing ovation in recognition of the support for the club from Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Steve Wood CC. He encouraged the club to reach the goals within reach and to set its sights to discover what new achievements that lie in the future. At the end of the speech, Ken Walley ATMG, CL called for a standing ovation for Mike! Ken Walley ATMG, CL invited Area 32 Governor Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL to induct the new officers with the ceremonial “Passing of the Gavel” observance. Gov. Jones expertly inducted the incoming officers:

 

 

Sergeant at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Treasurer Betsy Carvajal, Secretary Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Vice President of Public Relations Milka Dersima CC, Vice President of Membership Eddy Cezalien, Vice President of Education Toni McIvor CC, CL and President Jack Wharton CC

After the ceremony, to loud applause and cheers, new Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 President Jack Wharton CC approached the lectern and gave his Inaugural Address. Jack acknowledged the past president Mike Heidmann CL for his leadership and guidance and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL for stepping in and covering the Sgt. at Arms position when needed. Jack praised the club for it focus on creating a positive, warm and welcoming environment. He called for a new emphases on the mentoring program and as well as the Leadership program. Most of all he re-dedicated his efforts to achieving the President’s Distinguished Award. Jack’s speech was given a warm reception n from the audience. Ken Walley ATMG, CL called upon our guests for their comments on the meeting. Ryan Popovic, Gary Hudson and Dennis Focus DTM all had uplifting and positive feedback. Ken also asked to hear from two returning members Rodney Higgins ATMB and Michael Whittaker. It was great to hear from them again.  It should be noted that Ken Guzman CL served as the timer for the meeting.  Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL added announcements for the upcoming officer training and other holiday events setting a tone for Holiday merriment that will last throughout the New Year! Another gift to Club #28 was the announcement of Ryan Popovic was joining the club at the end of the meeting! Welcome Ryan! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL 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!

On December 12, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 celebrated a special birthday with the “Barbara Cusack turns 50!” theme meeting. Eddy Cezalien started the meeting with a quote from Helen Keller (who was still alive in 1963). Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, of course, was our Toastmaster as we looked back on her 50 fabulous years. She read us some Hallmark Card poetry marking the occasion, read a liost of whyat the AARP said you should do in your 50’s as well as revisiting some of the highlights of a world 50 years ago. Ken Blake ACG, ALB carefully navigated the subject as the Table Tropics Master. His first question was for James Waters ACB, CL was if he would like to stay in Toastmasters for over 50 years like the late legendary Toastmaster Earl K. Wood DTM? Jamie said he would love to be a Toastmaster for 50 years and beyond but he has to start staying in shape to live to be 103! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what he would be doing if he had not been working at Disney World for all of these years. Ken said he would probably be a social worker, and miserable. “It is important to me to love what I do.” Mike Heidmann CL was asked about the famous quote by President Kennedy from 50 years ago. He said protecting the environment was something he takes seriously and Mike also told a story about a switchblade his grandfather gave him. Steve Wood CC spoke about why it was important that we went to the moon. He said the space race was political and we had a good chance of beating the Russians there. He wondered how we might feel when the Chinese are the first to land on Mars. Eddy Cezalien was asked about the legacy of the “I Had a Dream” speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He said that progress had been made but there was still work left to be done. Betsy Carvajal spoke about Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state. She did not think that it would happen because of economic reasons as well as many in Puerto Rico are content with being a commonwealth. Toni McIvor CC, CL was asked which winter was better, Scotland or Florida. She said that “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.” She remarked that Scotland can be cold, damp and rainy. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was given the choice of 1960’s fads the mini-skirt, love beads or tie-dye tee shirts and asked which ones she would bring back. She said as long as she could wear tights, she would bring them all back! At the end of the meeting some other toastmasters were given a chance to speak Milka Dersima CC was asked how she spent her Thanksgiving holiday. Milka remarked that she relaxed after studying for her finials. Bekah Keyes CC when asked the same question spoke about a very interesting Thanksgiving dinner in which a family she was visiting feuded over the vegetarian menu. It might be 50 years before we find two more eloquent and inspiring speeches than the two delivered on this evening. Our first speaker was Jack Wharton CC, who was earning his Competent Communicator award with a speech titled “Pride”. The speech told about lessons he had learned in Toastmasters and how he used them in his relationships with others. Jack gave an example of two words in Chinese that described two different kinds of pride. One he noted was a negative word, an “arrogant” pride and the other, what he was feeling this night; a pride in accomplishment, in one’s self. He spoke of “self compassion” and of forgiving and learning from mistakes. He asked us not to compare to others but compare to what you know you are capable of. It was a powerful and inspiring and meaningful speech. The second speaker Angela Rivera also impressed her audience with a speech titled “Sprinkle A Little Kindness”. Giving great examples of little things that everyone can do to make the world just a little bit better, she challenged us to compliment others, smile and greet those around you with joy, take pride in yourself and see how the acts of caring and compassion can spread to others. The joyful task of having to review these two amazing speeches fell to Master Evaluator Mike Heidmann CL and his staff of worthy evaluators Jamie Waters ACB, CL (for Jack) and Ken Walley ATMG, CL (for Angela). Both gave worthy guidance to our speakers. This meeting could not have happened without the efforts of the Merry Mentors Menagerie (MMM) collected of Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Bekah Keyes CC, Matter Framer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien. A standing ovation was given to Jack Wharton CC for earning his CC award! Congratulations Jack! Also our new officers were approved for the next Toastmasters term: President Jack Wharton CC; Vice President of Education Toni McIvor CC, CL; Vice President of Membership Eddy Cezalien, VP of Public Relations Milka Derisma CC, Treasurer Betsy Carvajal, Secretary Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Sgt at Arm Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Congratulations to all! Our three guests, Armando Carvajal (Betsy’s husband) Zeezi Islam and Ben Quiroz were very generous with their praise of the meeting. Ben even became our newest member! Welcome Ben! It might be another 50 years (or maybe just next week) before we have another fantastic meeting such as this one!

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 started the new month with a magnificent December 5, 2014 “December” theme meeting to see out an awesome Toastmasters year! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL acting as Sgt. at Arms, called the meeting to order and Eddy Cezalien led us in the Pledge to the Flag and an invocation quote from Jean Dixon. Longtime Club #28 member Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster for the evening and he covered the month of December better than any calendar. Ken told us how the month was created, the birthstones, Zodiac signs, special holidays and observances as well as famous people born in December, some December quotes, even weather patterns! Also sledding in on the December theme was Table Topic Master Michael Heidmann CL with a few questions for our members and guests. Jack Wharton was first on his list with the query of “If you could re-arrange the calendar, how would you do it?” Jack said there should be two 15 day periods each year devoted to “rest.” Great idea! Betsy Carvajal painted a beautiful word-picture describing New York City and Rockefeller Center during the tree lighting ceremony while answering the question “What was your favorite winter holiday?”  Marie Loeffler ACB, CLB told us of the best way to shop during the holidays: by using mail order catalogues and doing it in August!  Our guest, Jim Justison told us that his New Year resolution would be different this year, instead of vowing to be “anti-lazy and accomplishing work goals” that he is going to get into shape instead! Eddy Cezalien spoke about his favorite day in December: December 25th and being with friends and family. Ken Walley ATMG, CL talked about the holiday season at Disney World and the traditions there for his family. “No matter how crowded the parks get, people seem to be kinder and more polite to each other at this time of year.” Tonight was a very special evening of speeches. One member returned to the lectern after a long absence, another was giving his Ice Breaker speech and yet another speaker was earning her Competent Communicator award! As with tradition, Gurinder Virdi’s Ice Breaker tiled “Breaking My Speaking Ice!” was the first speech. Gurinder told of a story about how, with no experience in food and beverage, he started and managed an upscale restaurant. He told of the incredible work it took to accomplish this feat. After breaking even, over time he realized this was not going to work out for him. He shared with us the lessons he learned from that experience. Not only was it a fascinating glimpse into the restaurant world but his speech told a lot about Gurinder himself. Steve Wood’s (CC) last speech was over a year ago, so it was good to see him return with a speech titled “How Does a Gyroscope Work?” Steve, known as our “resident Scientist” at Club #28 gave us an interesting speech of how the gyroscope works based upon Newton’s Second law of physics: F=MA or “Things do not always go in the direction that you push them.” Steve correlated that it is “More important to understand the ‘why’ instead of the ‘how’” with acceleration and motion. The last speech was Toni McIvor’s 10th manual and her CC Graduation speech titled “Life’s A Game of Whack-a-Mole!”  Toni related that life often resembles a seemingly never-ending series of crisis management situations. She described how she escaped the rut of being beaten down by having Gratitude, by being Authentic, by Meditating and by Excelling each day in at lest one thing… or having “G.A.M.E”. It was another inspiring and uplifting speech by Toni! Given the task of reviewing such brilliance at the lectern were General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, ALB and his fellow evaluators Jack Wharton, for Gurinder’s speech, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL with Toni’s magnum opus and Ken himself giving Steve’s speech appraisal. The evaluations were all worthy of such outstanding speeches. Also worthy of high praise were the Discourse Development Decembrists (DDD) which boasted such able directors as Grammarian Marie Loeffler ACB, ALB, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Image-Composer Eddy Cezalien, AH Counter Jack Wharton and Vote Counter Jim Justison. At the end of the meeting Club #28 President Mike Heidmann CL called for a standing ovation for Gurinder Virdi for giving his Ice Breaker speech and another standing ovation for Toni McIvoer CC, CL accomplishing her Competent Communicator Award as well as earning her Competent Leadership Award! Congratulations Gurinder and Toni! Our guest Jim Justison was highly positive in his feedback on the meeting and we hope to see him back soon. This meeting was a great way to start out the month of December!

Looking back, we all have many things to be grateful for and one of the blessings of 2013 was the November 20:”Thanksgiving” theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. We were thankful to have our Sgt. at Arms Dr. Angela Guzman return to us to open our meeting and lead us in the invocation and pledge. She reminded us of the hardships of the early pilgrims and yet, their resolve to give thanks for any blessings that they had. Eddy Cezalien was our Toastmaster and he reminded us of the history of the holiday, told us how the turkey became the favorite entrée as well as Ben Franklin’s great admiration for the bird and many other tasty bites of Thanksgiving lore. Also presiding over a feast of thought was Table Topics Master Ken Guzman CL. Ken asked his first question of Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL; “What was your most memorable Thanksgiving holiday?” Walk remembered as a child meeting his new blended family during one Thanksgiving and said he had many other great memories of other years. Dr. Veronica Boaz CC was the next to speak this time on the subject of her favorite Thanksgiving food. She said she had a recipe for stuffing (from England) that is hard to beat! Steve Wood CC gave an interesting answer to a question of Thanksgiving family traditions. He said un-requested fruitcake somehow always appears each year and Steve wondered if that would be a good gift to give visiting and/or invading space aliens. Mike Heidmann CL told us of his upcoming Thanksgiving plans. Mike and Robin look forward to a hearty dinner at a local buffet and just spending some quality time together. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked how he would avoid becoming the main dish for dinner if he was a turkey. Ken said that since he could not “outthink his captures” he would hide behind “a bigger turkey.” Gurinder Virdi was given the choice of turkey or ham. He said turkey hands down but it is best when you deep fry the whole thing. The speeches were another thing to be thankful for on this November evening. Speaking first was Toni McIvor with a speech titled “Enhance the Dance” she told of how ballroom dancing brought her not only fun and entertainment but also how it introduced her to new social circles and was excellent exercise as well. She gave examples of the many numerous benefits of taking lessons in ballroom dancing. The second speaker, also giving his 9th speech was Jack Wharton on the subject of immigration reform titled “Beyond Illegal”. His speech pointed out the often de-humanizing and dangerous life of undocumented immigrants. He gave insight from the view of the immigrants and spoke of using reason and compassion in dealing with the issues of border security, deportation and reform. Both were compelling and outstanding speeches on two very different topics. A first-rate evaluation session was led by General Evaluator Dr. Veronica Boaz CC with the help of her two evaluators Ken Blake ACG, ALB (for Toni) and Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB (for Jack). The Grateful Graders (GG) also aided our meeting with actuate reporting, they were: Grammarian Dr. Angela Guzman, Timer Angela Rivera, Super 8 Whiz-Kid Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Betsy Carvajal and Vote Counter Gurinder Virdi. We had two visitors, Jay Guest and Ryan Popovic, who both spoke highly of the meeting. Ryan even became our newest member at the end of the meeting! Welcome Ryan! We are truly thankful to be blessed by all of those who make up Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

[Editor’s Note: would like to thank Jack Wharton and Steve Wood CC for sending me incredibly detailed and complete meeting notes as I was unable to attend the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 14th 2013 meeting.. Here is a “combination recap”:]

Here you go Ken! Hope you had a good week off, but I will tell you what you missed: an AWESOME meeting! Principal Toni McIvor brought us back to our school days with the meeting theme of “School Days”. She regaled us with tales of one room school houses and stories from the classroom. Toni reminded us that “the worst thing anyone can do is stop learning; that’s why we’re all here.” Interim Sergeant at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL brought the meeting to order, followed by new member Gurinder Virdi leading the invocation and pledge for the second week in a row. The “substitute president” Ken Guzman CL presided over the meeting. Highly acclaimed academic Dr. Veronica Boaz, PhD, CC. led the Table Topics session. Gurinder Virdi (“What was your favorite role in school?”)  He said one role he never enjoyed was “student.” He didn’t get any roles because he wasn’t interested. His role was sleeping. [Time: 0:45]. Adam Winter (“What prank did you do that backfired?”) said that he had never really been a prankster. [1:17]. Ken Blake ACG, ALB (“Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?”) entertained the audience with a story about a crush on his Biology and Spanish teacher and a prank that he played in that teacher’s class. Ken was voted best TT. [1:50]. Steve Wood CC (“What was your most memorable memory involving sports?”) He said he was pretty good at tennis though he had two weak areas needing improvement. One is serving the ball and the other is that part where you hit the ball back when it comes to you. [1:12]. Greg Cullen (guest) was asked “What was your first heartbreak?” He said it was when he moved to Florida he left someone behind and didn’t get to say a good goodbye. [0:22]. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked, “What was your favorite school memory?” She said it was getting pranked by a boy in 5th grade. He kept calling her “Barnaby Jones”. Another memory was skipping school for a parade. [1:42]. Ryan Popovic (guest) was asked, “What was your favorite subject?” He said his favorite was a college course on Buddhism. [0:33]. The 3 speeches (including an Icebreaker!) were top notch! Betsy Carvajal gave a confident, dynamic icebreaker speech entitled “Chilombian”, described her roots with parents originally from Chile and Columbia. The speech touched on her personal life growing up, professional development, and hobbies, giving the audience a complete introduction to Betsy. [Steve commented: “We learned that Betsy’s mother is from Chile and her father is from Columbia, where she lived before moving to Orlando (New York, Columbia, Ocala), and how she spent over a decade going to school to obtain multiple degrees. One of them was even from UCF (she said yes U Can Finish). She can’t come to our Wednesday meetings because she plays volley ball. She does yoga, has a dog named Daisy (a rescue dog) who is a mutt. She asked someone the breed type and was told she was a Somerset (“some of this and some of that!”). 6:39.] Rosalyn Porter ACG continued to hone her craft as a top notch speaker with her speech titled “Lessons From Pets”. Using engaging vocal variety and body language, Rosalyn captivated the audience with tales of Betty the Butterfly, Ellie the Elephant, and George the Giraffe. Rosalyn’s brooches of the three animals added to the effect as she literally carried reminders of those lessons with her. [Steve commented on Rosalyn’s speech: “Secrets behind the butterfly, the elephant, and the giraffe. (Voted best speaker). We can learn from our pets. Rosalyn has learned from Betty the butterfly, Ellen the elephant, and George the giraffe. She captured a caterpillar during Summer camp, took it home in a jar, and it turned into a butterfly. She learned that you can start out as an ugly caterpillar and become a beautiful butterfly. Other things she learned came from the stories about the elephant and giraffe. Elephants can run so she learned to run as fast as she can go achieve her goals. She told about a fight between a giraffe and a gorilla and that giraffes can kick hard enough to kill a lion, the giraffes only natural predator. This taught her to kick and not run from a big challenge.” 6:31] Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL delivered a speech in his engaging, warm style entitled “Fears: Real and Imagined”. Walk opined about the nature of our fears and how many of them are self-created and unnecessary. He confessed his somewhat irrational fears during the government shutdown and described fear as “an emotional response to a real or imagined danger” [Steve wrote this about Walk’s speech: “Walk talked about fear and other emotions and how they can affect our bodies but we can use thought to overcome some of the effects. He was walking through the woods and found himself face to face with a black bear on the trail. Our minds and our bodies are very connected and he thinks about the connection. We don’t always want to react without thinking (you might end up in jail – Steve). Reacting is easy – it is much harder to think about it. He challenged us to be aware of our emotions – fear, anger, joy, sorrow and to not let those emotions drive us. We need to ask questions and analyze the mind-body connection.”  7:16.] General Evaluator Jack Wharton gave the meeting an A+ and introduced the star tutors of the evening: speech evaluators Angela Rivera (first time evaluator, got the ribbon for best evaluator. She said in her evaluation the she likes puppy stories.) [3:10], Ken Guzman CL [3:14], and Dr. Veronica Boaz CC [2:35]. Special kudos to Angela R. who was splendid as a first time evaluator and Dr. Veronica Boaz CC who pulled off a double major for the meeting! Teacher’s Pets (TPs) who kept the class in order included Ah Counter Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, ALB (The word of the day was “Sagacity” which was used by many!); Timer and Audio / Visual Monitor Steve Wood CC, and Vote Counter Adam Winter. Visiting students Greg Cullen and Ryan Popovic both thought the meeting earned a 4.0! This meeting was at the head of the class! [KHW: sw/jw]

“All Aboard!!!” for a fast paced November 6, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Trains!” theme meeting. The meeting pulled out of the station as acting Sgt. at Arms Steve Wood CC introduced Gurinder Virdi to lead the club in the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag for his first time. Our conductor on this journey was Toastmaster Jack Wharton. Jack told us about many different types of trains, life working on the rails, Railroad history, and some truly legendary trains. He told us how trains are at the cutting edge of technology (Traveling at speeds over 300mph) while many other trains, still being used today, have employed the same unchanging technology for over a century Toni McIvor as the Table Topics Master, coupled up some interesting questions on the subject starting with Mike Heidmann CL who was asked what “dream project” he had as a child. Mike related that he loved to “dig holes” which is why he probably is a contractor today. Angela Rivera when told of the legendry Orient Express train and the equally famous movie named from it, was asked “How does your love of movies play a part in your journey?” Angela said that she had some favorite movies that she revisits from time to time to uplift her. Toni explained the world record of toy trains was almost 5 miles long! She asked Jim Stitt if there were any toys he wishes that he had kept from childhood. Jim related that some of his baseball cards from his youth would be worth a a fortune now. Gurinder Virdi was challenged to tell of a tiresome journey. He told of a long trip with his brothers before video games and ipads, through the Blue Ridge Mountains as a 7 year old. Steve Wood CC was asked to tell of board games he played as a child. Steve said he and his sister, before they even knew of Credit Cards, used only calculators to kept track of transactions playing board games as kids! Remembering railroad baron John Galt trying to create a utopia, Toni asked Ken Blake ACG, ALB where would he place his ideal community. Ken said he would re-create Walt Disney’s original concept for EPCOT. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if he had endless money and free time, where would he go. “Everywhere!” Ken said, “A trip around the world! I would probably die on the road, but what a wonderful journey!” Returning Club #28 member James Waters ACB, CL was asked to tell us a true railroad story from real life. He told about a train from Chicago, the fabled Illinois Central that ran through the Midwest during the railroad heydays. The last question “What movie scores get in your head that you cannot get rid of?” was asked of Rosalyn Porter ACG who answered “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” the catchy song from “Mary Poppins”  Our two speeches were also supercalifi…! Giving his second speech, Jared Schlehuber returned to the lectern after over a year with a presentation titled “What Have I Been Up To?” Jared filled us in on his long absence from the club noting that he had been to seminars about taking control of your life and recognizing outside “thought programming.” He noted the many different entities that are vying for recognition and acceptance, from the social and news media to family and the medical profession and how to re-program negative incoming thoughts. It was a truly thought-provoking speech. Milka Derisma CC spoke second with another remarkable offering titled “MSA”. Remembering being a telephone solicitor for the infamous Magazine Services of America Company, Milka told us the secrets that they used to making a “sale” and how these steps could be used to make legitimate sales. Finding what the person needs, being confident, being competent and passionate about your product and how to close were just some of the many topics she covered. Her mini-seminar was a perfect primer for a salesperson. The General Evaluator for this evening was Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL who punched the tickets of two outstanding Club #28 evaluators,  Rosalyn Porter ACG (for Jared’s speech) and James Waters ACB, CL (for Milka’s speech). From the evaluations to the meeting review, this part of the meeting was full of insightful teaching, uplifting inspiration and helpful guidance. Also doing a great job of keeping everyone on track was the American Tracking Research and Reviewers (Amtrak R&R) team which consisted of Grammarian Angela Rivera, Timer Ken Blake ACG, CL ; Locomotive Camera Motorman Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Jim Stitt. Thanks for keeping this train running on time. From the engine to the caboose, this train theme meeting was one real smooth ride.

It was not a dark and stormy night but instead the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 30, 2013 “Halloween” theme meeting was frighteningly good fun! Acting Sgt. at Arms Ken Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting off with the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL as the Toastmaster, or should I say “ghostmaster” told us his favorite Halloween memories from his youth and entertained us with a fable of a possessed golf cart and even a very chilling “sock ghost!”  Ken Walley ATMG, CL answered the door as the Table Topics Master and served up some treats with questions for our members and guests. Brian Wheeler was asked to “Tell us a Halloween story from the past” Brian told a story as a kid when he went into a haunted house in the neighborhood. Steve Wood CC was given the query as to “What is your favorite candy or treat?” Steve answered that “Everything in the candy section of the grocery story is poison!” Still, he likes Oreo cookies. Milka Derisma CC when asked if “Halloween is more for kids or adults?” remembered dressing up as a “brick house” in college and everyone singing the song everywhere she went! She definitely thought that adults have more fun! Jim Stitt was posed the problem of what he would you do if he saw a ghost? “Run like hell!” said Jim. Jack Wharton was requested to “Tell us a story about being attacked by zombies at your family reunion.” Jack instead told about a scary camping trip. Mike Heidmann CL had no problem replying to “What is the Best Costume you have ever seen?” He remembered  the YouTube video in which a man is dressed up as a car seat and makes it look like there was no one driving the car! Mike himself said he has been a soccer player, a hobo and “Hawk from Airwolf!” Rosalyn Porter ACG was asked what was the best costume that she had ever worn. She said that she scared a lot of people dressed as a Jack-o’-lantern! Guest Tim Jennings was questioned as to why Vampires are so popular. “Vampires” said Tim, “are something else out there in the night that we don’t know about until it is too late!” Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was asked what he was doing on Halloween. He said that his church was having a “Trunk or Treat” in which church members are going to decorate the trunks of their cars and give out treats to the little ones! What a fantastic idea! We had two treats for speeches as well. First was from Toni McIvor, a speech titled “Lay that Ghost to Rest!” In her speech she covered ways of divination and contacting the dead. She included Dowsing Rods, Tarot Cards, the I-Ching, Mediums and various other ways of reaching a lost soul. It was a fascinating speech filled with odd history, superstition and intrigue. Ken Blake ACG, ALB not to be out done, gave a speech designed to scare us titled “Is It Real?” which played upon our worries and fears including childhood fears, the fear of parents, teachers, clergy, of failure or injury, or pain and even death! His own story of having his infected tonsils taken out at age 7 alarmed us and then we were frightened by our own thoughts when he appeared with a snake around his neck! OK, a fake snake, but still, Ken did manage to scare us. It was an exciting speech! The evaluation section of the meeting was directed by Mike Heidmann CL. Mike had the good fortune of introducing two of Club #28’s best evaluators Jack Wharton (for Toni) and Rosalyn Porter ACG (for Ken B.) Mike noted in his meeting review that the meeting was like going out on Halloween and coming back with a colossal haul of candy! Also providing All Hallow’s Eve thrills was the work of the Grammar Goblin Hunters (GGH) who served up a bubbling brew of functionary reports. Thanks to Grammarian Milka Dersima CC, Timer Brian Wheeler ACB, CL; Specter Charmer Steve Wood CC, and Vote Counter Tim Jennings. All did devilishly good work! At the end of our meeting our guest Tim Jennings gave high praise for the evening and pledged to return again. There were no “Boos” here, just a wonderful meeting!.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 24, 2013 “Ghost Stories” truly left a happy haunting feeling among our attending members. Acting Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL opened the meeting and Club President Mike Heidmann CL added some poignant words to start the meeting. Guiding us through the supernatural and the mystical tales of restless spirits was “ghost story hunter” Dr. Veronica Boaz CC who would spin yarns of spooky specters such as “the Vanishing Hitchhiker”, the “Ghosts of Christmas” “the Drury Lane Apparitions”  and even “Slimer the Ghost” from the Ghostbusters Movie! She told us what it takes to be a ghost hunter and what you will need in your kit(and how much it costs on Ebay)!  She even had a few of us nervously looking into the dark corners of the meeting room. Veronica also haunted the lectern as the Table Topics Master. Her first question was for a returning guest, Dan Luby “Do you believe in ghosts?” Dan said that he did not believe in ghosts but that he loves a great ghost story! A long- time absent past Club #28 member, Jared Schlehuber was asked what his favorite scary movie was. Jared went with the classic “The Exorcist” which he saw as a ten year old, not knowing what it was about. He admitted to having trouble sleeping “for over a week.” Given the chance to tell a personal ghost story, Angela Rivera told us how a story that her mother had told her about the broom of witches sweeping the feet of sleeping girls scared her as a child and how a fortune teller predicted her father’s death “within three years!” Her father proved the psychic very wrong but she was still very scared! Betsy Carvajai told us of a very frightening episode with a quija board and a mild poltergeist episode that scared them so much that they ran out of the house in a panic! New member Gurinder Virdi answered the question “where would you hunt for ghosts?’ with the suggestion that Loch Ness would be a good place. “If you do not see a ghost, you might see ‘Nessie’ the sea monster!” he added. Mike Heidmann CL was asked who he would come back and haunt as a ghost. Mike said he would give a scare to the bullies he knew in High School. Lastly, Steve Wood CC explained why we believe in ghosts. “For millennia mankind has tried to explain what we do not understand by turning to the supernatural. Over time,” said Steve, “we find the true scientific explanation.” Our speeches were so good they were scary! The first speech by Jack Wharton tiled “Picture Me Rolling!” was about how an 18” by 6” foam roller could help you stay healthier by following a simple exercise routine at a very low nominal cost. He told how it increases flexibility, strength and balance while reducing muscle soreness, joint stress and recovery time… and much more! Helpful and interesting, Jack even had Adam Winter help give a demonstration. Jack’s speech was interesting and helpful to many at the meeting and entertaining to all! Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a perfect speech for the theme of the evening. Ken read Richard Zika’s ghost story “Phantom Hoofbeats” from the true story book: “I Never Believed in Ghosts Until…” This project from the “Interpretive Reading” Advanced Manual had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats as Ken described an unexplained and invisible horseman that haunted the night! There was nothing to dread from the evaluation staff. General Evaluator Toni McIvor oversaw the brilliant work of evaluators Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Eddy Cezalien. All three of them were lavish in praise and had wonderful tips and ideas not just for the speakers, but for everyone who spoke during the evening. The Not So Scary Word Tabulators (NSSWT) brought a lot of “spirit” to the meeting with some very admirable reports. These good souls were Grammarian Angela Rivera, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Paranormal Electromagnetic Field Recorder Steve Wood CC,  AH Counter Adam Winter and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. We had three very special guests on this evening. Returning guests Gurinder Virdi and Dan Luby came back . Club #28 was also very pleased to see returning “lost” member Jared Schlehuber! It was announced that Gurinder had joined our club this evening! Welcome Gurinder! Make no bones about it; the ghosts of meeting’s past would be proud of this meeting! This meeting was scary good!    The

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 17, 2013 “The Healing Power of Laughter!” theme meeting had healing, power and laughter. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL started off the meeting with a healing and positive message for the invocation. Toni McIvor was our Toastmaster and she kept us laughing with some powerfully funny jokes as well as some great information on how humor helps us to be healthy. Toni also gave a brief history of laughter starting with the slapstick of the cavemen, which I am sure is still funny to this day. Also ticking our funny-bones was the Table Topics Master Dr. Veronica Boaz CC. Her first question of Rosalyn Porter ACG produced a story of the last time that she laughed, a story that happened that day with some friends of hers. Betsy Canajal was asked who her favorite comedienne was. Betsy could not pick one favorite but said that she like watching improv theatre humor. Jim Stitt when asked how he makes people laugh recalled some wacky memories from business trips that keep things from getting boring.. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was asked if he had a favorite funny movie. He said that he liked everything that Mel Brooks did and was especially fond of the classics “Blazing Saddles” and “History of the World, Part I”. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked what she found funny that no else did. She answered that she loved the move “Rat Race” which made her laugh so hard that she had tears in her eyes. When asked “Who can make you laugh and why?” Steve Wood CC said that Danny Devito was on that list along with many of the actors from the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World”. Steve said there was some great comedic talent from that generation. Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL was asked of a favorite joke that made him laugh. He told how his 4 year old daughter made him laugh with a comeback at the expense of her older brothers to a question he asked her. Ken Blake ACG, ALB was asked the last time he had an uncontrollable case of the giggles. Ken said that happened when he was shown Ken Walley’s (ATMG, CL) Florida State University ID card with a picture of him with hair down to his waist! Mike Heidmann CL was asked what made him laugh on the job. Mike told a story with some (G-rated) construction site “humor” about measurements being off and inadequate rivet studs. Jody Rousseau related a story that made a child laugh that had to do with an overweight pet hamster getting stuck in its tube. Lastly, Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB was asked how to recover from a joke that bombs. She said to turn the joke back on herself. We had two wonderful speeches that also used humor in them, and much more. Milka Derisma CC started with a project from the Professional Speaker Manual titled “Step, Kick, Back, Around!” Her speech was part of a presentation to Middle School and High School teens about the consequences of fighting and violence. This powerful speech dealt with this important subject at the student’s level using not only practical options for avoiding conflict but some vivid examples of how violent behavior can effect the future. Far from being a boring lecture it was an entertaining and uplifting performance. At the last minute, Club #28 President Mike Heidmann CL volunteered to give a speech to cover a speech opening. His speech, titled “Why I Am Not Ready!” turned out to be one of his best. Mike gave a ton of “excuses” for not preparing his speech. All of them little stories with wonderful word-pictures that had everyone laughing. The speech ended with s surprise ending that fit in perfectly with the theme of our meeting. Both of our speakers were given excellent evaluations as was the meeting itself reviewed during the evaluation section of the meeting led by General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the evaluation for Milka’s speech and Marie Loeffler ACS, ALB reviewed Mike’s speech. There is no doubt that this meeting was infinitely enhanced by the efforts of the Improvisational Instructional Troupe (IIT) who roles were played by Grammarian Jack Wharton, Timer Jody Rousseau, Artiste Historian Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and Vote Counter Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL. All of them did impressive efforts. This was a meeting that made everyone feel better because they attended, proving that indeed, laughter has a great healing power.

The October 9, 2013 Wednesday night edition of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The 1960’s” theme meeting was groovy! Giving the invocation, Steve Hoel CC started the meeting off with a quote from the 1964 movie “Mary Poppins.” Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster and gave both historical facts as well as his own personal remembrances of one of the most turbulent decades in American History. Ken went year by year through the 60’s from the election of JFK to the 1969 Chappaquiddick scandal. Along the way Ken reviewed the Civil Rights movement, student protests, The Beatles, the Viet Nam War, the space race and the Apollo 11 moon landing, the political assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King and much more. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL came through with some great questions about the era as our Table Topics Master. The first question, “What event marked the start of ‘the 60’s’ for you?”  was answered by returning member Jim Stitt who admitted to being a child in those times, but it was driving a 1969 Carmaro SS that really started the 60’s for him!” Guest Dan Luby was asked about his memories of the great boxer Muhammad Ali. He remembered Ali as much for “his mouth” as much as his boxing. “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!”  Dan quoted from Ali, “He had great confidence and arrogance which made him a very entertaining person to watch.” Steve Hoel CC was asked what his favorite song from the movie Mary Poppins was. Steve had a hard time picking one, but listed most of the songs in the movie. Another classic 60’s Julie Andrews movie; “The Sound of Music” was the focus of the next question ”What is your favorite scene in the movie?” Milka Derisma CC said it was the gazebo scene in which Maria is worried now that she has found out that the Captain and Baroness are getting married. Another returning member, Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL was questioned as to what his favorite album or group was from the 60’s. Brian admitted that he was not into the music from that long ago but instead was into modern day country music, “like Kenny Chesney.” The last question, asked of Mike Heidmann CL was “When did the 60’s really end?” Mike said that the influences of that decade are still with us in many ways and that he did not have a real answer for that. In some way, the 60’s will really never end.” Far out! Also out of sight were our two speakers starting with Toni McIvor’s 7th speech titled “Use Discernment When Choosing Your Hero!” Toni’s choice of a hero was the famous actress Betty White. Toni told of how Ms. White has left a legacy of work that actually set The Guinness Book of World Records for career longevity. She mentioned that we should think about planning for our future no matter what age we are. “50% of all of those who have reached the age of eighty are still alive.” Toni said, “It is important to stay active.” The second speech was by Kenneth Guzman CL titled simply “168”  Ken mentioned that 168 are the hours that you have in a week and that if you keep track of how you spend them, you can find ways to spend them more wisely. Ken spoke about how valuable time is and if we saw how we wasted some of our time, we could put it to better use. His advice was both practical and useful, especially in busy modren world. The same can be said about the wisdom given during the evaluation part of the meeting. Master Evaluator Mike Heidmann CL introduced Rosalyn Porter ACG and Steve Hoel CC as well as giving an excellent meeting review. The Peace and Love Functionary Band (P&LFB) departed deep and meaningful vibes in their reports. They were Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, AH Counter Jim Stitt, Timer Jack Wharton and Vote Counter Brian Wheeler ACB, CL.. We had two guests: First time visitor Dan Luby and returning guest Steve Hoel CC. Both praised the meeting. We also had some great news that Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and Jim Stitt both re-joined the club! Welcome back Brian and Jim! Like Woodstock, this meeting had a lot of great talent, it was heavy, man.

If you are asking “Where’s the beef?” the answer for Toastmaster meetings was at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 3, 2013 “Commercials” theme meeting!  After Club #28 President Mike Heidmann CL got the meeting started with some words of wisdom, he introduced Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken W. had tons of interesting facts about commercials such as $500 billion is spent on advertising world wide, ice cubes in commercials are made of acrylic so they won’t melt, the measurements of Victoria Secret model, etc… Ken also gave us a “Commercial Quiz” at the end of the meeting where we matched up the catch phase to the product. Table Topics Master Angela Rivera had a sharp mind and a sharp product with her table topics questions. First she reached out and touched Kenneth Guzman with the question “The most successful ad campaign was for Volkswagen. It asked us to ‘think small’ what does that tell us about advertising?” Ken G. talks about how taking small concepts entice someone to buy a bigger package. He loved the “hump-day camel” and the McDonald’s ad for more “nutritious” French fries! The second question asked was about ads that were deceitful and dishonest. Steve Wood CC remembered the cigarette ads of the 1960’s featuring such things as the Marlboro Man and the Chesterfield 101 ad “Just a silly millimeter longer” as well as the Virginia Slims ads that “empowered women to get cancer.” Fernando Ziemer had to wonder if commercials change what kind of candy he eats. He said that he was partial to French cookies. Wesley Edmund was questioned as to what his favorite commercial jingle was. He sang, and rather well, the jingle “The world looks awful good to me / when a Tootsie Roll is all I see…” Betsy Carvajal was asked if she had ever used any advertising techniques when preparing food. She said that once she was inspired by food stylists when taking a class on decorating fruit dishes. Angela noted that ads often leave out facts to appeal to emotion. She inquired of Gary Piper if he was ever skeptical of a commercial. Gary said he was skeptical of everything, especially ads. One thing is for sure; our two speakers had their Wheaties because they were both Champions tonight! Our first speech was by Rosalyn Porter ACG titled “Everybody Needs Powerful Pitching Skills” in which she told the secrets to “pitching” or giving proposals and offerings that “helps in everything from customer sales to making suggestions to your boss to giving advice.” She included using an energetic presentation, engagement of the audience and having a game plan. It was a speech that Tony Robbins would have been proud of! Speaking next was Jack Wharton. Jack addressed us on the subject of senior citizen issues titled “A New Vision for Elder Care.” Jack proposed some excellent ideas to improve a growing burden on the health care system. His ideas included letting families become more involved in decision making, keeping patients in the best possible environment, better pay to reduce health care worker turnover and thinking ahead about treatment and family issues. Jack’s speech was important and had great ideas to relieve a looming future crisis. These two speeches were “the real thing” and wanting to “just do it” with great advice was our team of evaluators led by General Evaluator Toni McIvor. Just off a victory in the Area 31 Evaluation contest, Dr. Veronica Boaz CC showed her winning form with advice for Rosalyn. Eddy Cezalien also gave a G-R-R-R-EAT! evaluation of Jack’s speech. The Be All That You Can Be Instructors (BATYCBI) helped our meeting run smoothly, thanks to Grammarian Fernando Ziemer, Timer Kenneth Guzman, Hot Shot Man Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Gary Piper and Vote Counter Wesley Edmund. All of them did wonderful work. We had two guests, Gigi French and returning guest Gurinder Virdi. Both had excellent remarks about our meeting. Other fantastic news was that Area 30 Governor Marie Loeffler ACB, ALS has joined our club. Welcome Marie! This meeting was “Mm Mm Good!” It was “the best a man can get!”. It was Snap, Crackle and Pop!  It goes to show that “we try harder”, It was good to the…

The “Wide World of Sports” theme meeting of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 on September 19th was a Home Run! Sgt. at Arm Dr. Angela Guzman started the meeting with an inspiring quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Leading the meeting was sports enthusiast Dr. Veronica Boaz CC. She spoke about the history of sports dating all the way back to cave paintings that depicted wrestling. Other subjects she covered were the ancient Olympic Games, the 10 most popular sports in the world and “Snoopba” (sp?) a cross between snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Also doing a tremendous job was Fernando Ziemer as a first time Table Topics Master. Departing from the meeting theme for a little bit, Fernando read passages from the book “Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill and asked questions about “the game of life.” His first question was for Rodney Higgins ATMB. Rodney was asked if he could interview someone, whom that be? He said he would choose someone long dead because the living “do not have their act together.” Illuminating that, he told a story about college credit and the death of political conservatism. Steve Wood CC was asked what positive advice he could give to us. Steve quoted from a book titled “The Lazy Man’s Path to Riches” which said to “picture your successes as if they have already happened.”  New member Wesley Edmund was requested to “define success” for us. Wesley said it was the end product of endurance and determination to reach set goals. Good answer! Betsy Carvajal had to impart some wisdom that she learned in High School. Betsy told of a teacher who was wise and told her to believe in herself. Fernando inquired of Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL what was the secret to the “Art of Living?” Brian said that it was going outside of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to exceed beyond what you believe are your own limits. Jim Stitt was asked if he would do something for 20 years with no recognition and no pay if he believed in it. Jim said he might reject not getting paid for 20 years but “to sacrifice is worthy of growth.” Angela Rivera was asked to give an example of a failure that led to success. She praised Thomas Edison for his unwavering researches that lead the electric light bulb and other inventions. The last question was posed of Club #28’s newest member, Gary Piper. “How has a habit that you changed impacted your life?” Gary told of noticing a crosswalk while riding his bike that he ignored until he walked it once. It took him about 30 days, but now he stops there on his bike. We had two speeches including another Ice Breaker, our third in the last four meetings! Tonight Adam Winter gave his 1st speech titled “I Am an Athlete!” The speech seemed to be tailor- made for the meeting theme. Adam’s Ice Breaker was unique in that it traced his life through his athletic endeavors. Starting from learning how to walk as a child to learning how ride a bike, and later, swimming and soccer in school. He told of snowboarding in a small town in Illinois and an ill-fated ice skating adventure in a poorly designed rink by his father. After BMX cycling in college he discovered “e-sports” i.e. the video game “Comstrike!” which he discovered at his job now as an audio tech! What a wonderful idea for an Ice Breaker! Congratulations Adam! The second speech was another tour-de-force masterpiece by Dr. Angela Guzman titled “The Big Picture!”  Angela told of having a stressful situation that made her yearn for the uncomplicated days of childhood and how a conversation with her father helped her to reflect upon the blessings that she has as an adult. This speech really made you think about good fortune that we often do not see in our lives. The General Evaluator tonight was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who had the pleasure of introducing Jack Wharton to the lectern to give his first Toastmaster’s evaluation, fittingly of Adam’s 1st speech. Jack made it look easy giving excellent feedback. Milka Dersima CC was on hand to give another one of her brilliant evaluations of Angela G.’s speech. The Nocturnal Coaches of Advice & Admiration (NCAA) scored big points for our speakers and consisted of Grammarian Rosalyn Porter ACG, CL; 1st time Timer Wesley Edmund, Propelling Depiction Machinist Steve Wood CC, 1st time Ah Counter Gary Piper and 1st time Vote Counter Betsy Carvajal. It was noted that Betsy, Gary, Wesley, along with Jack Wharton as a Evaluator, Fernando Ziemer as Table Topics Master and Adam Winter giving his Ice Breaker all served in meeting roles for the first time! We had guests Hector Santos, Alerick Drummond along with returning members Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL and Jim Stitt who all expressed gracious words about this evening. The best news yet was that Gary Piper became our newest member at the start of the meeting. Welcome Gary! When you get to the finish line of each meeting at Club #28, you will always find a champion.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 12th 2013 “Medical Wonders” meeting was just what the doctor ordered! The meeting started with an inspirational quote from M. Scott Peck read by Adam Winter. At the heart of the meeting was Toastmaster Dr. Angela Guzman who announced that she begins her residency this week for Florida Hospital. She provided us with a wealth of information on astounding medical advances that have saved millions of lives. Among the topics covered were appendectomies, advancements in HIV treatments, the discovery and use of medical insulin, heart attack stent procedures, pacemakers and organ transplants. Also assisting in the meeting operation was another member of the local medical community, Table Topics Master Jack Wharton. He first asked what “medical miracle” has most impressed our newest Club #28 member, Wesley Edmund? Wesley said advancements happen at such a fast pace it is hard to keep up with them, much less decide on one; unless it affects you personally. The next question, asked of Adam Winter was if he believed that is there really such a thing as “medical miracles”. Adam stated that most “miracles” are the end product of tedious, time consuming research and testing, but he did believe in miracles, seeing people survive illnesses and injuries who never should have lived. “How should you go about choosing a Doctor?” Betsy Carvajal thought that the question was a very important one that deserved research into how effective a physician treated his patients as well as how someone feels personally comfortable with the doctor. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked “What are the most pressing challenges the medical community faces in the future?”  Ken commented that the baby boomer generation is approaching a time in which they will need more health care and that the increased demand will put a large burden on health care systems if we do not prepare now. “As reports of side effects come to light, would you let your child be vaccinated?” “Yes”, said returning guest Gary Piper even though reports of higher autism rates have surfaced, “It is still less of a risk than the horrible diseases that can be prevented.” The last question was asked of Steve Wood CC who was asked if he knew of any personal stories of recovery that could be termed as “amazing”. Steve could not think of one he knew of first hand, but he did enlighten us on a theory of his own about inter-cognizance. The two speeches we had tonight were both excellent examples of why people join Toastmasters in the first place. The first speech, by Dr. Veronica Boaz CC was her Competent Communicator graduation presentation titled “The Journey to Enough”. Dr. Boaz reiterated that throughout life there are those who will impress upon us that we are “not enough” and that we often seek abusive solutions to feeling inadequate, such as alcohol, bad relationships, and/or drugs. Her speech, mapped her voyage through a number of life- mistakes to show that we can conquer self-loathing and fear. Indeed, each of us “are enough” if we believe in ourselves and put in the work to rely and build upon our strengths. What an amazing, empowering and encouraging speech! Congratulations on your CC Veronica! The second speech was by Fernando Ziemer and it was also his second speech in the basic manual titled “3 Ways Video Providers can Help Generate Business.” Fernando told us how using internet video,  reached more people, built trust among consumers and was less expensive than other forms of e-marketing. His speech was highly informative, imaginative and it made great business sense. Toni McIvor was the General Evaluator leading the evaluation section of the meeting. She helped give excellent feedback, not only to our speakers with the help of evaluators Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL and Ken Blake ACG, ALB but also for everyone present with an notable meeting review. The Special Care Delivery Team (SCDT) also assisted in the labor of this healthy meeting. They were 1st time Grammarian Adam Winter, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Stereoscopic Anatomy.Framer Steve Wood CC, 1st time AH Counter Betsy Carvajal and 1st time Vote Counter Wesley Edmund.  We had another positive report from our returning guest, Gary Piper who vowed to return to us again. A standing ovation was given to Dr. Veronica Boaz CC for reaching her CC goal. More good news from this meeting was the addition of a new member to the club!. Welcome Wesley Edmund! With meetings like this, the prognosis for the future of Club #28 is excellent!

After a harsh, hot, wet Florida summer there is nothing more welcomed than the crisp, cool, colorful autumn season. Unless, of course it was the September 5, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Fall Holidays” meeting we had Thursday night! Dr. Angela Guzman started the meeting with the Call to Order and the Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Angela introduced both the Club #28 President and our Toastmaster for the evening Mike Heidmann CL. Mike gave us vast amounts of information and many rare facts about the myriad of holidays that come between September and December. Mike even pointed out the difference between “Fall” and “Autumn” even though they may mean the same thing. Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as our Table Topics Master and was able to cover a number of autumn holidays in his questions. The first question was about the “unofficial end of summer” at least for many kids, and for their parents; the first day of school! Betsy Carvajal related many of her most cherished 1st day of school memories. Next, Ken W. asked Ken Guzman to explain why we celebrate Labor Day. Ken spoke with pride of the American worker and the greatest country in the world. Honoring Columbus Day, Fernando Ziemer spoke about having the courage to explore beyond the “comfort zone” when asked to express a brave act of exploration. The mention of “National Boss Day” (Oct.16) gave visitor Gary Piper a chance to say some very nice things about his boss at Duke Energy. Another guest, Wesley Edmund was asked to describe his favorite Halloween costume. He told us about a really cool Spiderman costume he wore as a kid. Angela Guzman spoke about some warm Thanksgiving memories from her past which included her grandmother’s cooking. The question asked of Dr. Veronica Boaz noted that there are few left alive who were at the bombing of Pearl Harbor. “Will this day which ‘lived in infamy’ become a trivia question like ‘What day is Alamo Day?’ or will 9/11 become forgotten in time? Veronica hoped we would never forget these days for the extraordinary heroism and the enormous sacrifices that were made. Another guest, Gurinder Virdi was asked what he liked best about the Fall Season. He noted that in Florida we do not have much of a Fall Season at all but that it is a very good time to travel.  Observing that Football Season started on this very evening Mike Heidmann CL was asked to tell of his love for football and predict a Super Bowl winner. He spoke of a love of fantasy football and dodged the question of who will take home the Lombardi trophy. This was a truly wonderful Table Topics session! We had three compelling and moving speeches as well. The first speech was Jody Rousseau’s Ice Breaker speech titled “Full Circle!”. Jody grew up in an artistic family of painters and sculptors. Their influence started Jody though a life full of poetry, metal work, painting and craftwork Jody told of overcoming challenges in her life which made her question both her fondness for art and career choices. In the end Jody said she is determined to do the things that she loves to do the most. Congratulations on your Ice Breaker Jody! The second speech was Jack Wharton’s brilliant outdoor adventure titled “Campout!” Jack told us with great comic flair the lessons he learned from a camping trip he had recently taken with some friends hiking part of the Appalachian Trail. His words of wisdom: “Make all mistakes blame free for all”, “Be prepared!” and “Frame circumstances positively!” While giving some amusing examples he also gave us some advice that can be used in any forest, even the concrete and asphalt ones. The last speaker of the evening was returning guest and the current Area 30 Governor Marie Loeffler ACB, CL. Her speech titled “On Behalf of the Company” was more of a press conference than a speech. Marie, posing as a company public relations officer, described in a statement that a fired employee was making false charges against her company and the company’s future plans to defend itself from the falsehoods. After the statement she took questions from the “press”. She did such a great job you felt as if you were in a real press conference. The Evaluation session featured General Evaluator Kenneth Guzman leading the proceedings. Ken commanded three expert presenters to lend their good judgment for the benefits of the speakers. Veronica Boaz commented on Jody’s speech, Toni McIvor promoted Jack’s endeavor and Ken Walley ATMG, CL supported Marie’s efforts. Each showed tremendous encouragement towards the speakers. Guaranteeing that the meeting was a success was the Performance Enhancing Directors (PED) their thoughtful guidance came from Grammarian and AH Counter Angela Guzman, Timer (as well as the Movement & Audio Warden) Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Fernando Ziemer. Along with returning guest Marie Loeffler ACB, CL Club #28 had three other visitors Gurinder Virdi, Wesley Edmund and Gary Piper. All of them were unanimous in their praise for the club and the meeting. Like a fall holiday where the leaves turn garnet and gold and the gentle coolness of the air revitalizes the senses and the soul… yeah, this meeting was like that.

August 29th 2013 marked a high point for the rich history of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests. The evening was a brilliant mix of amazing speeches and remarkable evaluations that many recognized as one of the best club contests ever held in the District 84 region. The Herndon Branch Library was packed to its full occupancy with an enthusiastic crowd of Toastmasters and guests. “I’ve never seen two contests in which every contestant was at the top of their game.” said Club #28 member Jack Wharton “This was an almost a magical experience.” Among the visitors and guests were a remarkable number of current and past Area Governors.  They included our current Area 31 Governor Dr. Hari Atkuri CC along with other current Area Governors: Area 32 Gov. Walk Jones ACG, CL and Area 30 Gov. Marie Loeffler ACB, CL. Past Area and District Governors also included Delona Ashby ACG, CL, Deborah Ryan, ACG, CL, Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Diana Estermera ACG, CL. There were many other visiting Toastmasters as well as 6 other guests. The mood could only be described as festive and joyful.Club #28 Sgt. at Arms Dr. Angela Guzman opened the meeting with a delightfully appropriate Invocation that praised our ability to grow through competition as well as to be able to find wisdom in humor. Angela played a major role in the triumph of the contests helping to keep the contests organized while performing her duties as SAA. She introduced the Contest Master, and her husband, Kenneth Guzman. Ken, who was filling the Contest Master role for his first time, was a sensation while leading the meeting! Using his own sharp humor and entertaining everyone throughout the evening, Ken kept the meeting on time and upbeat. He even found time to ask some Table Topics questions about  the funny side of life to Eddy Cezailen, Rodney Higgins, ATMB; Hari Auturi CC, Jack Wharton and Steve Wood CC.  Ken saw to it that everyone enjoyed the evening’s competition. The first contest was the Evaluation Contest. The contest featured a remarkable “test” speech by Bob Steg CC from the Uptown Toastmasters Club #6304. Bob gave a speech titled “Laughter is the Best Medicine” In his speech he gave uproarious examples of silly and often embarrassing moments from his past that he would later learn from and turn to his advantage.. The speech, while being humorous and very funny also had a great message: don’t take yourself too seriously. It was very well presented, entertaining and even enlightening. The contestants were truly challenged with this speech and three of Club #28’s best evaluators were all at the top of their games. Dr. Veronica Boaz, Mike Heidmann CL and Ken Blake ACG, ALB all gave masterful evaluations. Every evaluation featured insightful commentary, helpful ideas and a healthy measure of imagination. Veronica went home with the first place trophy while Mike came in second place. After a brief intermission, Angela gaveled the meeting back to order and re-introduced the Contest Master Kenneth Guzman  for the Humorous Speech Contest. We had four Humorous Speeches for the 2013 contest and all four were of the highest quality in both entertainment content and exceptional performance… besides being hilariously funny! The first Speech by Toni McIvor titled “Dinner is Served! Ring! Ring!” dealt with Toni’s exasperation with phone solicitors and a debt collector for her deceased dog. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL revisited a classic speech that she gave a few years ago with some new twists titled “The Five Love Languages”. Very loosely based on Gary Chapman’s book, Barbara took us on a droll and witty look at love through Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch and Affirmation. Through it all, we ended up loving Barbara. Milka Derisma CC rose to the occasion with another gem of a speech titled “Incompetent Communicator”. Milka had the entire room laughing as she lampooned the constant commercials, prescription drug shills and infomercials with a drug called “Zencontesttra” that fries your brain just enough for you to enter a humorous speech contest. Watch out for those side effects! It was another hilarious speech. Ken Blake ACG, ALB also revisited a speech that he gave in a past humorous speech contest titled “What are the Odds?” in which his brother’s  girlfriend who had some decidedly unhealthy habits later became his son’s mother-in law, showing the dark side to “It’s a small world after all!” This year the speeches were truly exceptional. All of the speeches were worthy of winning a humorous speech contest and everyone was completely entertained, often to the point of holding their sides with laughter and wiping tears from their eyes.  Barbara will represent Club #28 at the Area 31 contest and coming in second was Toni. Area 31 Governor Hari Atkuri CC was on hand to help award the trophies to our winners. He took the opportunity to announce the upcoming Area 31 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests which will be held along with the Area 32 contests at the Westminster Towers Retirement Center at 70 West Lucerne Circle in Orlando. The date has been set for September 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm, the Area 31 contests will start at 4:00pm. I hope we can have a large following of Club #28 members there to cheer on our winners. It should be noted that Chief Judge Marie Loeffler ACB, CL did a superb job of organizing, briefing and directing the Vote Counters, Timers and Judges. Thanks to her “behind the scenes” efforts, both contests ran smoothly. Also thanks to the functionaries who made these contests possible: Contest Master Kenneth Guzmann, Vote Counters Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Rodney Higgins ATMB; Timers Christine Malamatos and Angela Rivera, Contest Sgt. at Arms Dr, Angela Guzman, Video Master Steve Wood CC , Test Speaker Bob Steg CC and of course to all of our judges!

If a Toastmasters club can be a mentor, the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 provided an excellent lesson in skill and class with the August 15th 2013 “Unforgettable Mentors” theme meeting.  New member Christie Malamatos started off the meeting with an appropriate quote from the late Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs. A mentor for the entire club, Club #28’s President Mike Heidmann CL gave a warm introduction to the Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz who performed her customarily remarkable show complete with exciting stories, history, trivia and tales of many notable characters. These included  the mentor of Henry David Thoreau who was Ralph Waldo Emerson; the music producer Quincy Jones’s mentor Ray Charles and Veronica’s own life mentor her father. Throughout the evening she gave many more examples of great mentors. The same can be said for our first time Table Topics Master Maria Bell. Sighting Maya Angelou, the mentor of Oprah Winfrey she asked Bekah Keyes CC if she could see herself being a mentor to someone else. Bekah replied that it takes self discipline to be a teacher and that the best lesson one could learn as a mentor is that of patience. Remarking on the mentorship of Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook by Steve Jobs; her next question, “who do you consider a mentor in your life?”  was asked of visiting Area 31 Governor Dr. Hari Atkuri CC. Hari spoke about gaining wisdom from outside of other people in the form of books, classes and media programming rather than having a single “life mentor”.  A similar response was given by Ken Walley ATMG, CL who answered the question of who he would choose as the most important mentor in his life. Ken said that it would be impossible to do as each person he meets is a “living resource and a vast new spring of knowledge.” “How many mentors can you have, or do you need?” was asked of returning past Club #28 President Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL. She commented that parts of her life required “special mentors” for example in ethics would be Jesus, in Politics Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both came to mind and in finance, Warren Buffet was mentioned. “I am still waiting on the money from Warren” she added.  Steve Wood CC was given a list of the “most hated people in the world” and asked if he could be a mentor to any of them. Steve ruled out O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Howard Stern, John Goslin and Nadya “Octomom” Suleman as the type of people he would mentor, but did say he was encouraged by Octomom trying to get her life back together. Observing that Barack Obama as a boy in Hawaii was influenced  by Frank Marshall Davis a friend of his mother and man with known communist ties. She asked Ken Blake ACG, ALB if you can have a mentor with opposite beliefs and still gain from them. Ken instead took the occasion to welcome back past Club #28 president Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL and spoke about her husband the late Sam Ryan ATMG, CL who was also a legendary former member of Club #28. This was a great Table Topics session and Marie did a wonderful job for her first time as Table Topics Master. We had three excellent speeches starting with Toni McIvor’s fifth speech titled “Sustain the Faith”. Her speech told about how, out of the blue she decided to take martial arts classes after her car was stolen. She admitted that she was probably the least likely person to go into ancient Far-Eastern combat practice. Toni told how after learning to believe in herself that she was able to effortlessly learn how to break a board using only her foot! The second speech was a special presentation by Fernando Ziemer: his Ice Breaker speech titled “Five Ways How Being a Dreamer Impacted My Life!” He told how 1. Being a dreamer made him bad at math. 2. How it made him become an avid surfer. 3. How being a dreamer caused him to find a new home 5000 miles away from Brazil. 4. How it made him come to Orlando to pursue a career in film. 5. And…how being a dreamer got him out of his “comfort zone” and started him on a path to creating his own business. It was a remarkable Ice Breaker speech leaving everyone looking forward towards more speeches to come! The third speech was by Rosalyn Porter ACG. Rosalyn is working her way through the basic manual for a second time. Her speech was titled “To Blog or Not to Blog?” She covered the basics of being a blogger and the advantages and disadvantages of creating your own blog. The speech was really informative and interesting!  The General Evaluator was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who was blessed with three brilliant evaluators: Ken Blake ACG, CL, for Toni’s speech, Ken Guzman giving Fernando’s evaluation and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who gave the review for Rosalyn’s speech. Each evaluator offered excellent advice, encouragement and ideas. It was like going to a seminar on how to give good evaluations. The help of the Wise and Sensible Mentors Group (WSMG) proved to be another reason for the triumph of this meeting thanks to Grammarian Mike Heidmann CL, Timer Dr. Hari Atkuri CC, Image Trapper Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Angela Rivera and Vote Counter Adam Winter. A heartfelt thank you is due to our functionaries for your efforts. At the end of the meeting our Area 31 Governor Hari Atkuri CC told us about upcoming events and gave much praise to the club. We had 7 other guests who all had very positive feedback as well for the meeting. Our guests were Kevin Giordano, Ryan Popavick, Chris Barber, Fred Guest, Tarmera Visitor, Betsy Carvajal and returning past member Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL. Betsy became our newest member, joining Club #28 at the end of the meeting! Welcome Betsy! For a club filled with vast wisdom, it was evident in this meeting that here was a good place to find an unforgettable mentor.

The healthiest thing that you could have done for yourself is attend the August 8, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “I know it’s not healthy but…” theme meeting. Sgt. at Arms Dr. Angela Guzman brought the meeting to order. The evening started with a healthy piece of philosophy from Soren Kierkegaard that was offered by Katherine Schwab as the Invocation.  Our first time Toastmaster for the evening was Toni McIvor. Toni touched on many different tempting, but often self-destructive habits such as smoking, eating disorders, video games and even heavy metal addictions! Toni admitted once longing for Dunhill menthols and having a pre-programmed urge to eat popcorn at the movies but she reminded us that we can be stronger than even our most compelling obsessions. She did a fabulous job! Angela Rivera invited us to the “Club #28 Bistro” as the Table Topics Master serving up a feast of questions, 14 of them, the most asked in the Club’s history! She served “question appetizers, entrees and desserts!” Here are the questions she asked and who got to answer them: 1.) “Will you check on the Club #28 Facebook page to find an indulgent recipe and what will it be?” Answered by Marie Bell: “Yes!” said Marie,. “I always check out our Facebook page!” 2.) “Are you a fast or slow eater?’ Answered by Steve Wood CC: “Fast!” said Steve, “but I lose weight in my sleep.” 3.) “What is your favorite beverage?” Answered by Dr. Veronica Boaz:. “A cold beer!” Said Veronica, “I also enjoy a nice glass of wine.” 4.) “What soup will you be ordering?” Answered by Harry Malamatos: “I am going to have soup later on,” Said Harry,  “but I need to see the menu first.” 5.) What appetizer would you not like to share?” Answered by Christie Malamatos: “Chips and Guacamole!” said Christie: “I really love them!”  6.) “What is something you like that is not healthy?” Answered by Rodney Higgins ATMB: “Seafood!” said Rodney, “It might be somewhat healthy, but I cannot stop!” 7.) “Should we ban unhealthy behavior?” Answered by Katherine Schwab: “In Turkey the smoking ban is thought of as being negotiable.”  Said Katherine, “That can really cause problems on commercial flights.” 8.) “What kind of salad dressing would you be?” Answered by Adam Winter: “Most likely Blue Cheese,” Said Adam, “A little funky, high in calories and delicious!” 9.) “Do some women have shoe addictions?” Answered by Toni Mcivor: “Yes! I used to buy high heels with matching purses!” Said Toni, “Now that I am in Florida, I am buying flip-flops!” 10.) “What is the most expensive item you have ever ordered in a restaurant?” Answered by Eddy Cezalien: “I’m a really cheap guy.” Said Eddy, “I did however once order a wonderful $20 steak!” 11.) What is your favorite -but- not- healthy food?” Answered by Fernando Ziemer: “I love Ice Cream!” said Fernando, “Chocolate Hagen-Daaz, is my favorite!” 12.) “What ingredients would you put in an expensive pizza?” Answered by Mike Heidmann: “I would make my own sauce and dough.” Said Mike “Then fly around the world to collect the finest toppings.” 13.) “What is your favorite dessert?”  Answered by Bekah Keyes CC: “Chocolate cake and chocolate brownies,” said Bekah, “anything with chocolate in it!”  14.) “What is you favorite coffee?” Answered by guest James Crimm “I do not drink coffee.” Said James, “I love the smell of it!”  Thank you Angela Rivera for inviting us to the Club #28 Bistro as our Table Topics Master for your first time. We had two speeches from the club’s longest serving members Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Ken Walley ATMG, CL!  Our first speaker giving a speech titled “You Musn’t Tell” was Ken B. who took us back with him to the second grade. He told us a story about how he saw a magic trick and promised not to tell how the trick was done. Later he was bullied and beaten up for not telling the secret. His words were powerful.  Thank you for sharing how keeping your word (a secret) cost you as a young boy and the lessons, good and bad that were learned from that experience. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our second speaker. He took us back to 1961 and the Inaugural Address of President Kennedy.  It was as if we were transported back in time.  Some of John F. Kennedy’s memorable statements were, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”  Another famous statement that has gone down into history is, “Ask not what your country can do for you.  But ask what you can do for your country.”  Serving as the General Evaluator this evening was Dr. Veronica Boaz who led a smooth and professional evaluation session with the help of Rodney Higgins ATMB and first time evaluator Eddy Cezalien. Both of the speech appraisals as well as the meeting review by Veronica were all exceptional. The same can be said for the Language Abuse Intervention Team (LAIT) who came to the aid of our members and consisted of Grammarian Bekah Keyes CC, Timer Maria Bell, Camera Officer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Fernando Ziemer and Vote Counter Christine Malamatos. We did have one guest who was visiting from the Orlando Conquerors #1066 Club; James Crimm. James said a number of wonderful things about the meeting as did our returning guests and future members Maria Bell and Harry Malamatos. This meeting was so sweet you might say “I know it’s not healthy but… it sure was a lot of fun!” [KHW/ks]

There was immense wisdom imparted at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 1st 2013 “Knowledge vs. Wisdom” theme meeting. Starting the meeting with some words of wisdom was our Sgt. at Arms Dr. Angela Guzman presenting a wise invocation and leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. Directing the meeting for his first time as Toastmaster was a man of both impressive knowledge and remarkable wisdom, Eddy Cezalien. Eddy spoke of knowledge being a tool and wisdom as “the craft that the tool is used for.” “Knowledge can be a glut of information, becoming a barrier to wisdom.” Said Eddy “While knowledge is an ever-growing process, wisdom is unchangeable.” Celebrated Table Topics Master Dr. Veronica Boaz made the observation that “Knowledge is in knowing that the Tomato is a fruit and wisdom is in knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” She had some wonderful questions to test both those venues starting with Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who was asked “Did you make an important decision without using the right information?” Barbara, a community AIDS awareness activist, reflected upon how better information would have saved many from the tragedy of AIDS and how important being informed, especially about condoms, is still important today. Jody Rousseau was asked who the wisest person in her life was. She said that her husband had both great knowledge and wisdom thanks to his impressive power of observation. It should be noted that her husband was not even at the meeting. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to name a person he thought was a good example of knowledge and wisdom. Ken spoke of Bill Gates. He gave him vast credit for changing the world with his ideas as well as changing the world for the better with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Katherine Schwab spoke on confusing wisdom and knowledge, observing that “wisdom is proven over time” and that “knowledge is cheaper to attain but wisdom is much more valuable.” Milka Dersima CC when asked to give an example of someone who was smart, but not wise;  surprisingly picked herself when she was younger. She gave some examples of foolish choices that she had made in her life even though she was a bright, straight ‘A’ honor student in school. Steve Wood CC ruminated upon the Socrates quote “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Steve remarked that “You are fooling yourself if you think you know everything. We only know an infinitesimal amount of the knowledge there is to learn. We cannot even know how much that we have left to know.” Jack Wharton was asked to speak about a wise character he saw in the movies but instead he expanded upon a speech he gave last week about his grandfather whom he called “one of the wisest of men.” When asked to speak about gaining wisdom “through something tough” Returning guest Maria Bell answered with a story about the consequences of anger. She said that she learned wisdom “the hard way” about avoiding situations that involve antagonism and hostility. It was a powerful message. We had three remarkable speeches of superb quality each with cleverness, skill and enjoyment. First up, giving an advanced speech that fit our theme perfectly was Rodney Higgins ATMB. In his speech titled “Wisdom From the Back of the Room”. Rodney gave us examples of meaningful thoughts from history, including King Solomon, the Book of Proverbs and James W. Garrison while expanding upon these with a story of a woodchopper faced with a tough decision.  The second speaker of the evening was Angela Rivera giving her second speech (and her 2nd in two weeks) titled “I Know Love: I Have A Dog!”  Angela melted our hearts with the story of her dog named Remix and the lessons that she learned from being a dog owner, or I should say, what her dog has taught her.  One of the lessons she explained was to “Enjoy everyday simplicity!” Said Angela, “A dog does not need anything complex or fancy… just a drive or a walk or to sleep in brings great joy!”  The last speaker of the evening was Dr. Angela Guzman who’s speech, “Sweet Dreams” explained about how you can lose sight of your dreams, although ironically the speech was given on only 3 hours of sleep. Angela G. told of her mother’s dream of finishing her BA before her daughter did, even returning to college after 15 years to reach her goal. Angela, inspired by her mom, spoke of not losing sight of her dreams and her plans for the future. These three honorable speeches received some highly valued feedback from our evaluation team headed by first time General Evaluator Rosalyn Porter ACG. Rosalyn’s job was made easy by the excellent work of evaluators Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL (for Rodney); Toni McIvor (for Angela R.) and Mike Heidmann CL (for Angela G.).  Judicious advice and astute counsel were bestowed upon all of the speakers. The same gifted assistance was dispensed to everyone by the Institution of Understanding and Insight (IUI) which was assisted by Grammarian Jack Wharton, Timer Christie Malamatos, Actual Motion/ Simulationist Designer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Maria Bell and Vote Counter  Jody Rousseau. It should be noted that this meeting featured a sizeable number of first time functionaries including Toastmaster Eddy Cezalien, General Evaluator Rosalyn Porter ACG, Timer Christie Malamatos, AH Counter Marie Bell, Vote Counter Jody Rousseau and evaluator Toni McIvor! Our only guest Marie Bell pledged to join our club soon and said many good things about the meeting. We look forward to having you as part of our family. Indeed, for a meeting with a theme such as “Knowledge vs. Wisdom” this gathering contained quite a bit of both.

The July 25th 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was no Myth: it was our best meeting ever! We had a packed room and even had 7 guests at this week’s meeting  Dr. Angela Guzman opened with a great invocation.  Club #28 President Michael Heidmann summarized the last meeting with the same theme, “Myth or Fact?” and he reminded us of two fun facts from that meeting:  Contrary to popular belief, it’s safe to swallow your gum as well as crack your knuckles! Our Toastmaster for the evening was Ken Guzman.  This week’s theme was a continuation his March, 14th meeting entitled, “Myth or Fact Part 2.”  Ken G. informed us that contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick was not Irish, Coke will not dissolve teeth in a glass and Paul Revere never yelled “The British are coming!” he did assure us however that elephants really are afraid of mice. Ken Walley ATMG, CL  was our Table Topics Master and he added some more Myths to the list  starting with some food myths such as: “All vegetarian meals are low fat” and “brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs” he asked “what should we eat to stay healthy?”   Jody Rousseau who joined just last week gave an answer than involved a balanced diet high in protein and low in fats and carbs and matched with an exercise routine, among many other ideas. Another new member, Fernando Ziemer was asked “What facts of the past turned out to be myths of today.” He mentioned that the sun was once thought to revolve around the earth and that many believed the earth to be flat at one time. Ken brought the example of a smear and slander campaign on the internet against Barrack Obama, as well as other public figures, and wondered if something could be done about social media and internet misinformation. Katherine Schwab noted that individuals can bring libel charges in court but it is hard to regulate the internet and stricter laws might be needed to do so. Malita Clarke CC was asked about any “old wives tales” or superstitions that she had ever heard as a “fact”? She said that she was told if she studied overly hard her head would explode and that if you made a bad face to often, it would freeze that way! Angela Rivera was asked to tell us about a time that she had a “funny miscommunication” with someone. She gave a few examples of family and friends getting the wrong message with hilarious results and also mentioned the humorously false names of the airline staff read on the air after a plane crash in California. Following up on that theme, Ken W. asked Adam Winter if internet hoaxes and fake tweets fed to the press during a time of emergency should be illegal. He said that if it causes damage to the public it should but there is a fine line between freedom of speech and malicious harm. Lastly, our guest Clinton Simpson was given the question of if it was a Myth or a Fact that the “End is near!” He used the example of religious organizations in the past that have used the signs of world problems, natural disasters and moral decay to say the end is near but he thought it is really up to us as to how to solve problems as they appear. The end was also not near for this meeting. We had three impressive speeches.  Sarah Peerani gave the opening speech with a great Icebreaker!  Her speech was entitled, “Choose Love and Go.”  Sarah has a great spirit of adventure.  She took us on some of her  many travels throughout America and the world as she shared about her life.  Milka Dersima CC. gave the second speech entitled, “It’s The Small Things.”  She shared with us the importance of making a difference and how exactly to do that.  One important nugget she shared was that in order to make a difference one needs to be self-sacrificial.  Our third speaker for the evening was Toni McIvor.  The name of her speech was, “Word is a Four Letter Word.”  She talked about the power of words and their ability to tell never ending stories. She touched on of the work of Dr. Massaru Emoto and how different words have an effect even on our environment. Toni even touched us with the power of her words.  Thank you for three great speeches. The General Evaluator was Jack Wharton who noted in his “meeting review” that the speeches were exceptional but it was also exceptional to have such a strong group of evaluators. Both Dr. Veronica Boaz who evaluated Sarah, and Bekah Keyes CC for Milka’s speech have both given excellent evaluations on many occasions and it was a genuine delight  to have Wilner Luders ACB, CL return to the club after a long absence to review Toni’s speech. In a meeting this good the support from our Language Myth Busters (LMB) was superb thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, ALB, AH Counter Steve Hoel CC, Vision Presentimentist Steve Wood CC, first time Timer Fernando Ziemer and Vote Counter Dr. Angela Guzman. All of our guests, Steve Hoel CC, Clinton Simpson, Phylicia Lewis, Lordin Geffrard, Everett Jones and Maria Bell raved about the meeting in glowing terms! It was also noted that six Club #28 presidents were attending the meeting: Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Steve Wood CC, Malita Clarke CC, Wilner Luders ACB, CL and current president Mike Heidmann CL! The most presidents attending a meeting in years! It is a fact that this meeting was our best meeting ever and the Club #28 mythology continues!  [KHW/ks]

It was no mystery that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had such a wonderful July 18, 2013 “History’s Mysteries” theme meeting: Splendid Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations were only some of the reasons! Club #28 President Mike Heidmann CL started off the meeting with several inspirational words and led us in the pledge to the Flag. Dr. Veronica Boaz, already known for being one of the best meeting leaders in Club #28’s history, was at the top of her game as Toastmaster. She led us through many of the phenomenon that has baffled even the greatest sleuths over time. Veronica covered the Taos Hum, the Tunguska Explosion and the “WOW! Signal” Veronica also cited D.B. Cooper, Area 51, the “Babushka Lady” of the JFK assassination, the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa and much more. Adding to the fun was Table Topics Master Milka Derisma CC who asked some questions which unlocked some mysteries of their own. Starting with Dr. Angela Guzman, Milka asked if she had any mysteries in her life. She told how, like Hoffa, food was abducted and missing from her refrigerator! She blamed her roommate but it turned out to be her roommate’s boyfriend! Stonehenge was the basis for the next question, “have you ever seen or built something with a secret meaning?” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL answered the question by telling us about some “handymen from hell” to whom buildings were more of a mystery than a secret. Sighting the missing aviator Emelia Earhart, Milka asked Ken Blake ACG, ALB if an incident of lost communication had created any havoc in his life. Ken told of how his wife had bought the wrong hair color for him and he almost became a blonde overnight! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked, if like Spontaneous Combustion, had he ever broken out into a spontaneous song or dance? Ken said he had been known to do both at times, especially if he won the best Table Topic Ribbon. Mike Heidmann CL in response to the question “Have you ever seen a UFO?” Said that he had never seen one but that he would love to spot one and take a picture of it! Bekah Keyes CC was asked to explain what a “Zodiac Killer” was. She described a god-like creature that ate stars. Milka explained that the Zodiac Killer is an unknown serial murderer from the 1970’s. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was asked if he had ever seen anything so hard to believe that no one believed that he had seen it. Walk told about how he had thought that he had seen a UFO, leaving him in fear and panic until it was proven to be just a radio tower. We had three amazing speeches including two Ice Breaker speeches. Jack Wharton giving his 5th speech in the Basic Manual started off with a speech titled “Jack” which told the story of a very colorful personality, his grandfather, Jack K. Berry. Jack used wonderful character impersonations  to make it seem as if his grandfather was right in front of us! He told how his namesake grew up in a tough environment (“He hunted, for food… as a child!”) was a workaholic and a product his generation. Jack also told us how his grandfather became more accepting, relaxed and open minded as he got older and how that inspired him. It was a truly moving and warmhearted speech. The second speech was the first speech for Angela Rivera. Giving her Ice Breaker titled “The Best of Both Worlds” she captivated her audience with the story of her life. Born in Columbia, she moved to America at the age of 5. Her father strongly impressed upon her the roots and the traditions of the country that had she come from. Later, when visiting Columbia she found herself wondering if she was American or Columbian. While studying overseas in Spain for a UCF program, she came to grips with her internationalism and chooses to be “whom and what she wants to be.” It was a brilliantly descriptive narrative that fascinated all who heard it! Congratulations Angela! The third speaker was Rosalyn Porter ACG, CL who recently completed her Advanced communication path and has decided to re-visit the basic manual with an Ice Breaker of her own. Her speech, “The Three Phases of Me!” followed her life through her different stages: The “Disco” phase, the “In Sync with Corporate America” phase and the “Era of Enlightenment” phase. She described her college years and falling in love with the dramatic arts while being a truly awful cheerleader. She told of her foray into the business world and the feelings of being unfulfilled. Lastly, she had found her calling, returning to her roots in theater and pursuing a career as a public speaking coach. After this speech her success seems undeniable! The General Evaluator for this evening was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who during his meeting review said this meeting was “a treasure! Far better than anything you could have watched on TV tonight!” The evaluations were also impressive coming from Ken Guzman (for Jack), Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL (for Rosalyn) and first time evaluator Dr. Angela Guzman (for Angela R.) all of whom gave excellent advice and acclaim! The mysteries of this evening were unraveled by the work of the Mysterious Notation Scribes (MNS). Manning their stations were Grammarian Toni McIvor, Timer Eddy Cezalien, AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Vote Counter Bekah Keyes. We had four guests: Jody Rousseau, Fernando Ziemer, Javier Rivera and Jacob Rausch who all gave sparkling tributes of the meeting. Two of those guests, Fernando and Jody, became the newest members of Club #28!  Welcome Jody and Fernando! There is no mystery why this meeting was one of the best in Club #28’s history!

EURIKA! We discovered that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had the best meeting ever on Thursday evening, July 11 2013 with the theme of “Famous Scientists!” Newly installed Sergeant of Arms, Dr. Angela Guzman opened the meeting.  Katherine Schwab shared a thought provoking quote as an invocation.  Mike Heidmann CL, our new Club #28 President, reminded us that it was International Slurpee Day at all 7/Elevens and that we could get a free Slurpee if we so desired.  Mike also introduced our guests attending on this evening: Michael Stanley, Caroline Stanley, Winnie George and Fernando Ziemer.  We’re so glad you came! Jack Wharton presided as Toastmaster.  His theme was Famous Scientists.  We discussed such greats as Albert Einstein, Dr. Sigmund Freud and Sir Isaac Newton. Jack stressed that very few great discoveries are made by happenstance and the often tedious and hard work that goes into scientific advancements may take years, and still can end in failure. We also learned that Newton probably did not have an apple fall on his head. Toni McIvor did a fabulous job as Table Topics Master for her 1st time in that role!  Toni shared some interesting facts about scientist Charles Darwin as well as asking some very thought provoking questions based upon his findings. Her first question “What is the most squeamish act you have ever had to do?” was tackled by Eddy Cezalien. Eddy answered with a story about how he cut his leg badly as a child and had to stop the bleeding. Our guest, Wynberne George was given the next problem, “What animal do you know of that seems to defy the term “survival of the fittest?” Winne answered that she had some pets that seemed weak but were really indestructible. Steve Wood CC was asked to speculate on what plants would define his life. Steve answered that “one can not be a plant unless it is metaphorically” but plants enhance all life here on Earth. Kenneth Guzman was asked to ponder what “smart genes” that he had inherited. He said that his family had a number of members who were smart but his grandmother stood out, thanks in part to plain common sense, he also spoke on his amazement on how scientists come up with different ideas. Dr. Angela Guzman was asked what person inspired her. Her answer was her mother, who taught her to not to put limits on herself. All did a great job of answering the questions presented for Table Topics. We had two great speeches!  Our first speaker was Dr. Veronica Boaz whose 9th Basic Manual speech was entitled, “Let’s Open Our Eyes.”  Veronica “opened our eyes” to the reality of human trafficking and the modern day slavery. She stated that “There are more slaves in the world today than there has ever been.” She told how greed has made human trafficking big business and that affects all of us. She made a call for action to eliminate this international scourge. Thank you Veronica for “waking us up” to a reality that is all around us. The second speech was entitled, “I Am Not a Doctor” by Barbara Cusack ACB, CL.  Barbara may not be a doctor but she is a great story teller!  Barbara’s story told us about how when working as a housecleaner she was suddenly thrown into the role of health car provider! She drew us in as if we were in the story with characters that seemed to come to life! Great Job Barbara! Kenneth Guzman presided as General Evaluator for the evaluation section of the meeting.  Rosalyn Porter ACG, CL evaluated Veronica’s speech.  Ken Blake ACG, ALB came forward and did an evaluation of Barbara’s speech. Both evaluations were helpful and entertaining on their own right. It should not be overlooked that the work of the Chatter Research Laboratory Scientists (CRLS) produced excellent results thanks to Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Timer Eddy Cezalien, AH Counter Ken Guzman, Real-time Development Apprehension Expert Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Dr. Angela Guzman. Noting that there were two members who had not spoken during the meeting, President Heidmann called upon Rodney Higgins ACB and Katherine Schwab to deliver some parting thoughts for the evening. Rodney encouraged all to watch the 1960 film Inherit the Wind starring Fredrick March and Spencer Tracy based upon the 1925 Scopes Trail. Katherine gave a descriptive and beautiful reflection of her 4th of July holiday.. Ken Walley ATMG, CL made an announcement asking for help to modernize the website and reminded everyone of officer training over the weekend. Our guests: Michael, Winnie, Carolyn and Fernando all gave very positive comments about the meeting. The only logical conclusion that could be drawn from tonight’s Toastmaster experiment was the hypothesis that this meeting was a truly great success! [KHW/ks]

The June 27, 2013 Orlando Toastmaster Summer Celebration and the Installation of Officers special gala meeting took place at the Herndon Branch Library. It started with Bekah Keyes CC opening the fête for her last time as Sgt. at Arm and leading us in the Invocation and Pledge. Also presiding for his last time as Club #28 President was Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL who happily made the announcement that we will have three new members at the start of next month: Christie Malametos, Harry Malamatos and Brenna Droege ACB, ALB! Brenna is coming to us from the Orlando Conquerors Club #1066. Welcome all! Walk also was extremely pleased to announce that Club #28 had earned its 11th President’s Distinguished Award. Next on the agenda was the introduction of the Master of Ceremonies for the evening: Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken mentioned that Summer was on everyone’s mind and Floridians especially celebrate the months of “sun and fun.” Admitting there was no Table Topics section of the meeting however started the festivities off with a question for Katherine Schwab “What are the things you like best about summer?” Katherine set a great tone for the evening remembering slower paced days, relaxing by the water, nights on the beach and much more. Later on in the meeting another Table Topics question was asked of Milka Derisma CC. She was asked what was it that she remembered most about the summertime. Milka reminisced about the times with her friends, having fun and being away from responsibility. The first part of the meeting presented a featured speaker, Rosalyn Porter ACS, CL who announced that her speech was her last speech towards her Advanced Communicator Gold! Her speech from the “Leadership Excellence” TI Program and was titled “Leading Meetings That Don’t Waste Time!” Rosalyn gave a brilliant speech that covered the many ways of making meetings productive. Her speech included the opening, the 7 qualities of successful meeting leaders; the planning of the conference, group discussions, the conclusion and gathering of evaluations and feedback. It was a useful presentation of how to deliver a dynamic and powerful meeting. Rosalyn’s speech was itself given some dynamic and powerful feedback from evaluator Dr. Veronica Boaz who praised Rosalyn’s excellent speaking techniques. The second part of the meeting, as Ken called it “The Changing of the Guard” started with the introduction of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL to give his “Farewell Address”. Walk spoke about the pride he had in the club that had come together with such enormous cooperation to achieve the club goal of being a President’s Distinguished Club but also of the individual goals which were accomplished. Walk gave tribute to the immediate past President Malita Clarke CC for her support as well as that of his officers (Mike Heidmann CL, Bekah Keyes CC, Dr. Veronica Boaz, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; and Ken Walley ATMG, CL) who he said “did the bulk of the work” to achieve the success of the club. He also paid homage to the new officers who are taking up the call to lead this club for the next six months. Walk was given a standing ovation at the end of his speech!  Area 32 Governor Delona Ashby ACG, ACB was introduced to preside over the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony for the installation of the new officers. Passing the gavel as she read each officer’s duties were incoming officers:

gavelmike

 Sgt. at Arms Dr. Angela Guzman, Treasurer Angela Rivera, Secretary Katherine Schwab, Vice President of Public Relations Dr. Veronica Boaz, Vice President of Membership Jack Wharton, Vice President of Education Ken Guzman and President Mike Heidmann CL.

At the end of the ceremony incoming Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President Mike Heidmann CL gave his “Inaugural Address”. Mike told about how it was just a short time ago that he gave his first Table Topics answer, something that did not go so well. He praised the Toastmasters program for personal progress that has even “surprised him.” Mike thanked the club leaders for their guidance and support in his term as Vice President of Education. He spoke of getting off to a good start for the next President’s Distinguished Award. Mike also pledged to keep a focus on Membership and reaching the goals of each individual member who joins this club. Lastly he stated that he looked forward to “walking down the path of leadership with his new officers.” A warm standing ovation was given to Mike at the end of his speech. Area Governor Ashby made an announcement about the officer training, the “Toastmaster Learning Institute” that coming up in July. Ken Walley ATMG, ALB thanked everyone for a wonderful year. It should also be noted the help of our timer tonight Toni McIvor and Film Procreure Steve Wood CC who helped make this assembly even more special. Our guests and mostly future members Harry Malamatos, Christie Malametos, Marie Loeffler ACB, CL; Maria Bell and Brenna Droege ACB, ALB all gave ringing endorsements of the club. Ken then called for an adjournment to the celebration.  I would like to end this review with a list of those who attended as a way of giving thanks for a very extraordinary evening: Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL; Dr. Veronica Boaz, Brenna Droege ACB, ALB; Jack Wharton, Eddy Cezalien, Kenneth Guzman, Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Maria Bell, Mike Heidmann CL, Toni McIvor, Dr. Angela Guzman, Steve Wood CC, Milka Dersima CC, Angela Rivera, Sarah Peerani, Katherine Schwab, Malita Clarke CC, Harry Malametos, Christie Malametos, Marie Loeffler ACB, CL; Bekah Keyes CC, Delona Ashby ACG, ACB; Rosalyn Porter ACS and Ken Walley ATMG, CL.

 

The Wednesday June 19, 2013 “The Size of Things” theme Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was HUGE! It started with Sgt. at Arms Bekah Keyes CC giving the invocation by answering the question, “What is happiness?” Toastmaster Steve Wood CC gave an amazing presentation throughout the evening explaining how infinitesimally small we are by describing the size of things like the Moon, Earth, Sun and Universe using objects such as balls, billiard chalk and paper dots, along with the space of the meeting room. Steve also explained the size of an atom nucleus and orbiting electrons. He also covered neutron stars and showed us a photo of just a fraction of space (Less than a square inch viewed from Earth) with over a 10,000 galaxies in it! Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL  came prepared with many questions that about the large and small of things. Returning guest Steve Hoel CC was asked, taking into account the sheer size of the Universe: “Are we really alone? “ Steve said that if there was not some form of intelligent life elsewhere that there was “a lot of wasted space out there.” Returning Club #28 member Malita Clarke CC was posed the subject of what was the largest object that she had ever encountered? Malita said it was “problems” or whatever crisis that might be facing her at the moment. Malita said that the ability to face troubles head on, gives us a power we did not know we had. When asked what the smallest living thing that she ever encountered was, Toni McIvor remembered looking at amoebas and other one-celled organisms in school. Then again, she said that the most “adorable little things” that she had ever met were puppies. “What is the largest living thing that you ever encountered?” Was put to Rosalyn Porter ACS who said it was not a true living thing but “her fears” and being able to adapt to how things change so quickly. If an asteroid the size of two football fields hit Orlando, most of the Western Hemisphere would be wiped out, Mike Heidmann was informed. He was requested to comment if we should spend millions of dollars to research comets and asteroid movement. Mike was all in favor of this, noting that 46 million dollars was spent worldwide last year tracking space objects that could cause cataclysmic disaster. The next question was raised for our guest Phuong Do “What is the largest building that you have ever been in?” Phuong spoke to us about the Sky Tree building that he visited in Tokyo and how it dominated the skyline of the city. The last question was given to Sarah Peerani. “If you could grow gigantically large or become incredibly small, what would you do with these superpowers?  Sarah said she grow small and explore the oceans and grow big and run with the elephants! This meeting also featured two wonderful speeches. The first speech was a very special speech by Bekah Keyes CC titled “Escapologists” it was special because it had such a great message, was so expertly delivered and was her Competent Communicator graduation speech.! Bekah told of how the great escape artist Harry Houdini was tricked by a lock he could not open until he found out it had been unlocked all along! She inspired us to succeed no matter what “excuses” that we might find and to listen to the “stories that we tell ourselves.” It was an inspiring speech and a wonderful message! Congratulations Bekah! Next was Eddy Celalien who was giving his fourth speech, titled “The Meaning of Forgiveness” which explored the self- benefits of being magnanimous. Eddy explained that holding onto anger and vengeful thinking only can hurt you. “Sometimes it is healing to just forgive” said Eddy, “and not to let yourself become a victim.” It was another highly meaningful and useful speech by Eddy. These speeches demanded two exceptional evaluations. General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, ALB was fortunate to be able to introduce two Toastmasters who were up to the task: Rodney Higgins ATMB and Walk Jones ACG, CL. Rodney led the room in a standing ovation for Bekah upon earning her CC award. Walk gave a valuable review of Eddy’s speech as well. Ken B. also came through with a brilliant meeting evaluation. The Big and Small of It Review Party (BSOITRP) also helped make this a memorable evening. They were Grammarian Rosalyn Porter ACB, CL, Timer and Acting Dramatic Witness Mike Heidmann, AH Counter Toni McIvor and Vote Counter Sarah Peerani. Our guests, Phuogh Do and Steve Hoel CC were both highly enthusiastic about the meeting and both said they would return again! Taking into account the size of things, this meeting was a gigantic success!

The Herndon Branch Library was the perfect place to have the June 13, 2013 “Libraries” theme meeting! The meeting started off with a fabulous Invocation by Rosalyn Porter ACS, CL who told us of the future plans for the Orange County Library System. Before the meeting Club #28 President Walk Jones ACG, CL presided over the election of our new officers. Toastmaster Walk Jones ACG, CL then did an amazing job putting into perspective the importance that libraries have played in human history, including the fact that the earliest known recorded history was part of a library! He also told us a myriad of interesting facts about the many different aspects of libraries. Dr. Veronica Boaz was also on target with some first-rate questions as our Table Topics Master. Here are the questions and answers she tested our members with: Question: What is your favorite memory that happened in a library? Mike Heidmann Answer: Mike who has a degree in Library Science, had a number of great memories but his favorite was winning his first Club #28 Best Speaker ribbon! Q: What was the best book that you have had ever read? Steve Wood CC A: Steve said that he had read so many great books it would be impossible to choose one over another. He remembered being in the giant library at Texas A&M and being astounded at it’s size and now he is amazed that all of that information can be retrieved by using Google. Q: Noting that libraries store movies and other multimedia, Veronica asked “What is your favorite movie?” Our guest, Nat Paleekul   A: Nat said it was the 2000 movie “Keeping The Faith” staring Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman and Ben Stiller that she saw in Bangkok as a child. Q: What was the best adventure book you ever read? Rosalyn Porter ACS A: Rosalyn said that it was the adventure of studying at the Library of Congress when she went to college in Washington DC that was more of an adventure than any book she could have read there. Q: Favorite event from history that you might have researched? Bekah Keyes A: Bekah listed a number of events such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Invention of the wheel. Q: When was the last time you did research in a library and what about? Eddy Cezalien A: Eddy had to do research for his job in a library but never really does use a library to do research in. Q: What was the last class that you took and why did you take it? Franklin Santos A: The last class he took was for his job, Accounting Principles but he normally goes to the library to check out CDs and books. The last book he read was a bio of the mobster Myer Lansky. We Also had two incredible speeches. Toni McIvor’s speech titled “The Joe Palooka Doll” gave us inspiration to find our “bounce- back ability” when life gets tough. Guest speaker Steve Hoel CC gave an excellent speech on the subject of knitting, titled “With Yarn & Sticks” Surprisingly; the speech covered the importance of knitting during wartime. Knitting is more heroic than one might think. Ken Guzman as the General Evaluator introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Dr. Veronica Boaz (doing double duty) as the evaluators for our speeches. Both gave expert advice! Doing the research and reports from our Library of Documentation (LOD) Staff were 1st time Grammarian Franklin Santos, Timer Mike Heidmann, AH Counter Eddy Cezalien, Video Archivist Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Jack Wharton. We also had excellent feedback from our two guests Steve Hoel CC and Nat Paleekul., both of who said they would return again. This turned out to be one meeting for the books!

Braving the threat of Tropical Storm Andrea, courageous Toastmasters arrived for the June 6, 2013 “Weather” theme meeting and were greatly rewarded for their valiant efforts. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started out the meeting as the Acting Sgt. At Arms and by giving Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz was at her best with tales of amazing weather, the inside story of weather prediction, explanations of how hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe phenomenon are formed as well as other amazing climate facts & fiction. Also bringing sunshine to a dark and stormy night was Table Topics Master Mike Heidmann who came through with some excellent questions. The first question for Toni McIvor asked about the weather in Scotland where she grew up. “I remember quite a selection of umbrellas…” said Toni, “and a lot of rain!” Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL spoke about living through the 3 hurricanes that came through Central Florida in 2004. “We went 12 days without electricity and I remember living in a hotel room for awhile.” Our guest Harry Malamatos, was asked what was the worst kind of weather that you could possibly have. Harry said that it was “The kind that you were lest prepared for.” Steve Wood CC, when given the question of “what causes lightening?” explained Benjamin Franklin’s “kite and key” experiment and also commented on the “Butterfly Effect” and the odds of precisely  predicting weather. Another guest, Ryan Copps, spoke about where he liked to go when the weather is beautiful. He mentioned a number of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, going to the beach and geo-cashing! We had three wonderful speeches. Jack Wharton gave an amazing speech titled “The Roundabout Way of Success” about well, roundabouts! He told how roundabouts help the traffic flow and are safer and more efficient than the traffic intersections we have here in Orlando. Jack even made this subject a lot of fun with his great sense of humor. Walk Jones ACG, CL gave a speech titled “In a Car or on a Bicycle, I am Traffic!” Walk’s performance was extraordinarily insightful about how everyone is responsible for making our streets safer, from the motorist to the pedestrian. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a presentation titled “Why I am Politically Correct!” In his speech, he told of the great gains that have been made in the battle against racism and sexism just during his lifetime and spoke of the work left to be done. Ken Walley ATMG, CL also served as the General Evaluator as Club #28 put up an “All Star” team of excellent evaluators for our speakers made up of Ken Guzman, Rosalyn Porter ACS and Dr. Veronica Boaz. Every one of them was simply brilliant. Our Vocalizations Weather People (VWP) consisted of functionaries Grammarian Toni McIvor, AH Counter Ken Guzman, Timer and Speech Chaser Steve Wood CC and 1st time Vote Counter Ryan Copps helped create the excellent meeting that was predicted. Christie Malamatos her husband Harry Malamatos, Clare Waters and Ryan Copps were our visitors on this evening. Christie and Harry said they were going to join the club! Welcome Christie and Harry! Both Clare and Ryan pledged to return as well. Here is hoping that lighting strikes twice in the same place, because this meeting was truly excellent!

The May 30, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Great US Vacations” theme meeting would have been a good stop on any getaway! From the start with Barbara Cusack’s (ACB, CL) invocation and Pledge; to the end, with traditional “gavel fall”, this was a night to remember. Angela Guzman as our Toastmaster and “tour guide”, took us on a whirlwind voyage around the United States with stops in Yellowstone National Park, Anchorage, Alaska; Miami Beach, New Orleans, Charleston SC, Puerto Rico and ending up back here in Orlando, Florida! Our Table Topics Master Ken Blake ACG, ALB took us on an expedition of his own with some scenic questions for our members. Ken B’s first question was for Rosalyn Porter ACS “Would you go to Disney World just to visit Ken Walley [ATMG, CL]?” Rosalyn gave an emphatic “yes!” to the question stating that Ken W. was the “embodiment of the joy and happiness of Walt Disney World!”  Next, Steve Wood CC told us why he would have reservations about visiting Mars on a vacation. Steve mentioned problems with radiation and gravity, saying it would be better just to take photos on a fly-by than actually land there. Adam Winter was encouraged to tell of his “coldest vacation.” He told of a Scouting trip as a teen in which the temperatures reached -14 below zero! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was given the opportunity to remember a Christmas vacation and ended up inviting the club to a party in December at her place to celebrate both the season and her birthday! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to tell about a past vacation of his. He expounded upon a trip he took last September to Bend, Oregon. Mike Heidmann was asked about his favorite place to play golf. He mentioned the rather expensive Homestead Course by Hot Springs, Virginia and here in Orlando, the Bay Hill and Grand Pines courses. Lastly, Bekah Keyes was given the chance to sell us the local town of Mr. Dora as a tourist destination. She spoke of its natural beauty and excellent shopping. We had two sparkling speeches that would have been the highlight of any journey. Toni McIvor had us spellbound with a true-life adventure about learning to fire-walk, that’s right, fire-walking; in a speech titled “Being Irresponsible”. She told how she impressed her tennis club members by proving to herself she could walk on hot coals and the often hilarious preparations to do so. Another brilliant speech was by Marie Loeffler ACB, CL who told of family wisdom and loved that was passed down through the decades in a speech titled “Marti”. When Marti, who turned out to be Marie’s mother died, a mysterious package was found. In the package were paintings made over the years that illustrated Marti’s life. These were two highly praiseworthy speeches. To give that praise were talented evaluators: Veronica Boaz and Ken Guzman. Leading the evaluation section of the meeting was first time General Evaluator Jack Wharton. All three members of the evaluation team did an inspired job. Also getting lofty acclaim were the members of the Admiration & Approval Appointees (AAA) which had the following titles bestowed upon them: Grammarian Mike Heidmann, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Visual Narrative Distributor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Bekah Keyes and 1st time Vote Counter Adam Winter. This meeting ended like a lot of great vacations, with many wonderful memories.

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 should have won a prize for the May 22, 2013 “Nobel Peace Prize Winners” theme meeting. After a start of the meeting with an invocation by Sgt. At Arms Bekah Keyes,  Ken Walley ATMG, CL  was introduced as the evening’s Toastmaster. He first covered the history and background of this highly admired award. Ken also told about a number of past winners including Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel and Barack Obama, among other notables. Walk Jones ACG, CL put together a remarkable Table Topics session using such Peace Prize winners as the International Red Cross, Jimmy Carter, Theodore Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to frame his questions.  Remembering that he had once met President Carter, Walk asked Steve Wood CC if he had ever met a U. S. President or which president would he like to meet someday? Steve told about his encounter with past President Richard Nixon. Recalling the work of the International Red Cross, Milka Derisma CC was asked if she had ever been in a disaster. Milka told of a harrowing experience during Hurricane Irene and coping in the aftermath without electricity. Our guest, America Nicholson spoke about an honorable mention award for a research paper she had written towards her master’s degree as the highest prize that she had ever received. Toni McIvor was asked who should win a Nobel Prize from her home country. Toni who is from Scotland, noted that Mairead Corrigan (along with Betty Williams in 1976) had already won the Nobel Peace Prize for the Northern Ireland peace movement. Noting that he was inspired by Dr. King, Walk asked who Eddy Cezalien was inspired by. Eddy named a friend of his named Scott who has never given up on his dream of running his own business. Eddy said that: “No matter what, Scott has always remained positive and upbeat!” We had three truly compelling speeches starting with Jack Wharton’s speech on the province of Tibet titled “The Roof of the World”. Jack used a slide presentation to highlight the people and culture of this remarkable country. He even spoke upon the impact of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso another Nobel Peace Prize winner. Bekah Keyes’s speech titled “Be a Groupie!” told about the benefits of belonging to a group, including “leadership by example”, building relationships and cultivating and expanding your world. She used Club #28 as one of her examples. It was a wonderful speech!  Another fantastic presentation was by Kenneth Guzman titled “Are You Greater Than a Peanut?” that centered on being adaptive and creative in an ever-changing world. Ken used the example of Dr. George Washington Carver, a man who found over 300 uses for the lowly peanut as a model of imagination and a person who pushed the limits of what was given to him. I would be remiss if I did not point out the brilliant work of the evaluation team, headed by General Evaluator Dr. Veronica Boaz and the excellent speech analysis of Ken Blake ACG, ALB, Rosalyn Porter ACS and Rodney Higgins ATMB. While the Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the prize winners, our own Parliament of Dissertation (POD) hand out their own high honors. This esteemed commission consisted of Grammarian Toni McIvor, Timer Sarah Peerani, Film-cell Parade Exhibitor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Dr. Angela Guzman and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien.  When asked at the end of the meeting their impressions, both of our guests, Alessandra Beltrame and America Nicholson were adamant in their praise of the meeting. Like a Nobel Prize, this meeting was really at the top of the class! 

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 celebrated “Mother’s Day” even though it was few days late, with an affectionate meeting on May16th, 2013. Toastmaster Eddy Cezalien used a quote from the famed French writer Voltaire to lead the club in the invocation. The evening also started with a Mother’s Day message from acting President Mike Heidmann who introduced first time Toastmaster Jack Wharton to lead the meeting. Jack reminded us of the importance of the yearly phenomenon that has grown into an international holiday. Jack also traced the history of Mother’s Day from its founder Anna Jarvis to the present. Dr. Angela Guzman came prepared with some magnificent questions about our mothers and the responses from the club members were both nostalgic and warm. Here is a list of the questions and responses from our members:

  1. “What was your fondest memory of your mom?”  Asked of: Franklin Santos. Answer: He told of a great vacation he once took with her.
  2. “Who currently serves as your ‘non-biological’ mom?” Asked of: Eddy Cezalien. Answer: His step-mom tries her hardest as his real mom lives out of the country.
  3. “”What home-made gift did you give your mom on Mother’s Day as a child?”    Asked of: Sarah Peerani. Answer: “None, that I can think of. We once made a hand made tile with our names for the kitchen sink.”  
  4. “If you could take your mom anywhere for Mother’s Day, where would you take her?”  Asked of: Guest James Voltaire. Answer: He would take her back to her home country Haiti where she would like to visit.
  5. “When did you realize that your mom had flaws?” Asked of Toni McIvor. Answer: Toni saw her flaws at a young age but she was much older when she realized just how brave and courageous her mother truly was.”
  6. “What do you like best about Mother’s Day?” Asked of Steve Wood CC. Answer: A “No-Gift giving rule” and an understanding that even though there was no exchange, there was still enormous caring.”
  7. “What did your mother do that was most embarrassing?”  Asked of Janet Madden. Answer: Nothing! Her mother never embarrassed her. At 86, her mother has given her only wonderful memories and they have always gotten along great! 

 Besides the excellent Table Topics session we had three speeches any mom would have loved to have heard. Katherine Schwab gave a brilliant speech on how people relate to each other across cultural boundaries in a speech titled “The Dance of Cross- Cultural Communication”. This speech was simply fascinating! Also attention-grabbing was Dr. Veronica Boaz’s speech on how to create preeminence in reaching an audience titled “No Shortcut for Excellence!” Using an amazing power-point presentation, Veronica gave us many ideas on how to communicate with both flair and authority. Rodney Higgins ATMB lived up to his prestigious reputation as a storyteller with a moving and meaningful message titled “This Covers All”. His speech took us back to the days when his mother, grandmother and the neighbors came together for a “quilting bee”. They created beautiful blankets of artwork that also served to bring the community together. It was also a loving insight to his family and a cherished memory. General Evaluator Mike Heidmann was blessed with three excellent evaluators in Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Ken Guzman and Ken Blake ACG, ALBL. We could not have survived this meeting without the caring love of the Nurturing Word Protectors (NWP): Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL; 1st time AH Counter Franklin Santos, Timer Toni McIvor, Photo- Nurse Steve Wood CC and, 1st time Vote Counter Sarah Peerani. At the end of the meeting Angela Rivera was given a chance to speak when asked what she had done for Mother’s Day. She said that she took her mother-in-law out to dinner and a movie and had a fantastic time. Our guest, James Voltaire commented that he was most impressed with the meeting and hoped that he could return soon. Then it was time for Acting President Mike Heidmann to “put this baby to bed.”   Here was a meeting that our moms would have been proud to see their kids attend!

The May 9th 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Memories” theme meeting is a wonderful memory to have… and it was a memory even more fun to make! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL  who has been away for awhile started the meeting as acting Sgt. at Arms and leader of the invocation and Pledge. Another Toastmaster who has been missed for a few weeks, Dr. Veronica Boaz returned to us with an impressive outline on the three kinds of memories: Immediate, Working and Long Term. She told us about the importance of childhood memories and even gave us a “Top 10” list of how to improve our memory. If memory serves me correctly, Table Topics Master Mike Heidmann also had some skillful questions about the subject as well. Mike asked Roslyn Porter ACS what her favorite Toastmasters memory was. She remembered a Toastmasters District Conference Convention that she attended in which she heard some wonderful speakers from the Bahamas. Our newest member Adam Winter spoke about a camping trip to Disney’s Fort Wilderness he took as a kid in response to the question ”What was your favorite childhood vacation?” Sarah Peerani was asked to tell us something important that she had forgotten. She remembered a dog show in which she brought her dog and forgot everything else. She said in college she used not cards to remember stuff. Whe asked to remember a place that no longer exists, Rodney Higgins ATMB told about Orlando when he was growing up and a “landscape that is no more.” “The San Juan Hotel was the tallest building in Orlando.” Said Rodney, “It was 7 stories high!”  Asked to remember her favorite movie as a kid Angela Rivera admitted being obsessed with the 1994 version of “The Little Rascals”. She told how after she had found a bargain bin copy at Target that she watched the movie repeatedly in excess… to the amazement of her husband. Our guest, Christie Malamatos was asked to tell us of some “west coast” memories. She admitted that she had never been there because her classes at the University of Southern California were via the internet! She told about how being three hours ahead of her study group meant that she often staid up until the wee hours of the morning to do projects! Steve Wood CC was asked “How do our brains work?” She gave a fairly realistic scientific explanation of how memory works using words like “cerebellum” and “cortex”.  We had two illustrious speeches from the Guzman family. Dr. Angela Guzman produced a contest- caliber speech titled “The Colors of Life” that dealt with life and death emergencies in the operating room and how one of those urgent situations affected her views on how we should live our own lives. Husband Ken Guzman also gave a powerful speech on “The People Business”. Taking a page from Dale Carnegie, Ken told us how to build better relationships and be more successful by understanding others. Both of these speeches deserved first-rate evaluations and they were provided by Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Marie Loeffler ACB, CL. The General Evaluator, Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL praised the speeches as well as Veronica’s skills as the Toastmaster in his meeting review.  This meeting was keep on track by the Never Forget Record Keepers Club (NFRKC) which consisted of 1st time Grammarian Eddy Cezalien, Timer Toni McIvor, AH Counter Rodney Higgins ATMB; Memory Maker Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Rosalyn Porter ACS. A skilled job was done by all!  We heard nothing but positive comments from our guest Christie Malamatos and her husband Harry Malamatos. Christie pledged to return when her studies were finished and join our club!  At the end of the meeting, Ken Blake ACG, ALB made the comment that Angela’s speech was worthy of a future International Speech contest and that he was very impressed with the high quality of speakers who have recently joined Club #28. Speaking of that, the best part of the evening I recall is when Adam Winter was announced as our newest member! Welcome Adam! It is safe to say that everyone will remember this meeting for a long time to come!  

The special Wednesday night, May 1, 2013 edition of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 celebrated the upcoming Cinco de Mayo festival and it was as much fun as you could have had without Tex-Mex food and Tequila! It started with an Invocation by Rosalyn Porter ACS who spoke appropriately of freedom. Toastmaster Ken Guzman told many interesting facts about the holiday that few people knew, including that it is not the Independence Day of Mexico as many people believe but a celebration of the Battle of Puebla in 1862 against France by Mexico to gain freedom and democracy that was won against great odds. Also adding to the festive nature of the evening was Table Topics Master Ken Blake ACG, ALB who had some fabulous questions for our members and guests. Ken B’s first question was for Steve Wood CC asking him to tell us how he would celebrate his birthday, which really is on Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May) if he was in Mexico. He said he would spend it at a resort at one of Mexico’s beautiful beaches. Angela Rivera was asked what her favorite Tex-Mex food was. She said she was more partial to Colombian food than Mexican and she told us of a favorite dish from her homeland. Franklin Santos was asked if he would be embarrassed to drink a Strawberry Daiquiri while celebrating Cinco de Mayo? He said “not at all” although admitting to never have tried a Strawberry Daiquiri. Frankie likened the Mexican holiday for Hispanics as what St. Patrick’s Day is to the Irish. Dr. Angela Guzman was asked what her favorite pet was. She admitted that it was not a Chihuahua but it was her two dogs, a beloved Pomeranian and a very gentle Rottweiler. Sarah Peerani was asked about what Tex-Mex or other food chains she like to visit. She admitted that she was more of a “mom and pop” restaurant patron than a customer of food chains. The last question was for our guest Claudia Chica who answered if she knew anyone who observes Cinco de mayo. She said that she was a singer in a band and often played parties with her husband on the holiday. Sounds like there is an entertaining future speech in her answer! We had three speeches worth celebrating starting with Toni McIvor’s Ice Breaker speech titled “My God Is Bigger Than Your God.” It was a powerful speech about the coming of age of beliefs, the rejection of prejudice and the quest to find true meaning in life. It was genuinely an extraordinary first speech. Also giving another memorable speech, but of a completely different nature was Jack Wharton who spoke about his two favorite board games: “Settlers of Catan”, a game of settlement, discovery and trade and “Rail Baron!” described as an “Empire Building Game.” Jack’s speech title summed up the heart of his speech. These are: “Board Games that will not leave you bored!” Our third speaker was Marie Loeffler ACB, CL who returned to the delight of everyone present with her hand-bells in a speech about leadership titled “Leadership That Rings True!” Marie used the bells as a way of illumining leadership skills. It was beautifully done. Milka Derisma CC volunteered to be our General Evaluator although she had never done the job before. To the surprise of no one, she did a fabulous job.  We had three excellent evaluations from Ken Walley ATMG, CL;  Bekah Keyes and Walk Jones ACG, CL. This meeting never would have been the success that it was if were not for efforts of the Uno de Mayo Amigos de Idioma (M1AI). Which was made up of Grammarian and AH Counter Dr. Angela Guzman, Timer Sarah Peerani, Cinematografo Maestro Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Franklin Santos. Toni McIvor was given a standing ovation in honor of her 1st speech. Besides Toni’s Ice Breaker speech, General Evaluator Milka Derisma CC, Timer Sarah Peerani and Vote Counter Frankie Santos also served in their meeting roles for the first time! Our guest Claudia Chica said that she enjoyed the meeting very much a planned to come back. This meeting was a wonderful way to ring in Cinco de Mayo, even if it was a few days early!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 25, 2013 “Date Night” meeting was a perfect place to have brought a date! The meeting started with an apropos Invocation with Katherine Schwab quoting Dr. Henry Cloud about how not to make an impression. Mike Heidmann served as both club President and as our Toastmaster. He gave us some really wonderful ideas for an evening of fun and enjoyment. These included a local drive-in theater, an evening at Lew Gardens, the “Harbor Nights” at Universal Studios and many other delightful ideas for both single and married couples alike. Also bringing harmony to the evening was 1st time Table Topics Master Jack Wharton who had some very intriguing and fun questions about dating. Katherine Schwab was encouraged to describe her “favorite date night” in Orlando. It included chilled white wine & king crab at a seafood restaurant with a trip to the beach to see the sunset. Toni McIvor told of her “most awkward date.” She described an “extremely elderly 52 year old  blind date” who arrived at her restaurant   table with a plastic cup half filled with an alcoholic drink. “You want some of this?” he offered. Angela Rivera was asked if she would bring a date to a Toastmasters meeting. She said not until she had more confidence in her speaking skills. Franklin Santos came up with some new “rules” for the dating scene. First, that women were the ones to pay the bill and second, that women could ask the men out. Our guest Kevin Beal was asked how he would do on a TV dating show. He said that he would be “great entertainment” but it would be a challenge to find the right date. Steve Wood CC gave his opinion on on-line dating services. He seemed to like the idea but gave us a more anthropological point of view of dating. Robin Bara had a very reasonable response to the quote “The only thing worse than a man you can not control, is one that you can.” Robin said there is a “middle ground” and that “All great relationships are about balance.”   We had three speakers who put on quite as show as well! Milka Dersima CC earned her Competent Communicator Award with a brilliant speech titled “Three Things I Wished That They Had Told Me” in which she looked back at the Valedictorian Speech at her High School graduation and made some very meaningful adjustments. Congratulations on your CC Milka!  Bekah Keyes was also on Target with a very different speech on the subject of Lemon Essential Oils titled “When given Lemons Make…” She opened our eyes to the many different uses for this product that very few of us even knew about. Eddy Cezalien’s speech titled “No Time to Waste” covered the subject of the importance of using our time wisely. It was a well thought out and evocative speech! Ken Walley ATMG, CL served as General Evaluator and was blessed with excellent evaluations from Ken Guzman, Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Rosalyn Porter ACS. The evening was also a triumph because of the work of the Match-dot-Functionaries Get-together Inc. (MDFGTI) which matched Grammarian Dr. Angela Guzman with Timer Angela Rivera, AH Counter Toni McIvor, Lens Magician Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Robin Bara. We had very positive feedback from our guests Adam Winter, Frankie Santos, Kevin Beal and returning past member Michael Whittaker.  At the end of the meeting Franklin Santos also became our newest member! Welcome Frankie! How about a Club #28 meeting like this one every week? I say, “It’s a date!” 

The April 18, 2013  Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Truly Disgusting Things That People Actually Eat!” theme meeting was one of our most interesting meetings in memory. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL started off the meeting with an Invocation and Pledge that paid honor to the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings and the tremendous explosion at West, Texas over the past week. Admitting tonight’s theme was “a little different” than our normal themes,  Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the Toastmaster brought to the table such exotic delights as Corn Smut, Poisonous Blowfish, Grilled Rat, Cooked Kangaroo and Live Baby Octopus. Table Topics Master Angela Guzman also had some very interesting questions of her own to serve up on the subject!  In the first question Steve Wood CC was asked about how he would settle a lawsuit over Mike Heidmann who he had caught eating his squirrels! Prosecutor Wood and Defendant Heidmann put on a spirited show. The second question was asked of Robin Bara about what she would eat, or not if challenged to do so on the TV show “Fear Factor“? Robin instead told us about what happened at her job that day. Guest Christie Malamatos told us how eating bugs and insects could help end world hunger. Bekah Keyes was asked to come up with a commercial that sold “Weaver Ant Eggs” to a hungry public. Angelia Rivera was asked to describe the taste of a musk- flavored life savor. Returning guest Adam Winter was asked if he was like a Chicken “who gives a lot ” to breakfast or a Pig “who is truly committed to breakfast”. Adam used the metaphor to explain that in life, like breakfast, he is like the pig: totally committed. Later, Rosalyn Porter ACS was asked what her most adventurous meal was. Rosalyn listed a number of “off the usual menu” fare. Angela G’s questions  brought up such delicious treats as squirrel, sheep brain, and baked insects, “musk flavored Life Savers” and “Weaver Ant Eggs” (They’re just like M&M’s!”) …. Yum!   We had three wonderful speeches starting with a superbly memorable Ice breaker speech by Jack Wharton. In his speech titled “Public Speaking through the Years” Jack first introduced himself to us in fluent Chinese and followed by telling how his love of public speaking led him from being a “ring master” to winning a National Chinese Speech Contest! The next presentation by Katherine Schwab was an impressive 2nd speech titled “Chocolate” about the wonders and joys of Chocolate! The best part was that she gave everyone a kiss at the end of her speech! Hershey’s of course! Our Area Governor Delona Ashby ACS, ALB came prepared with a humorous speech that asked the question “Big Foot, Where are you?” She wondered how something so big could be so hard to find, even when Bigfoot has its own, website, You Tube section and TV show. “Why are we looking for footprints and broken branches when Bigfoot has been entertaining us for years?” Delona wondered. Led by Master Evaluator Ken Guzman, we had three exciting evaluator and three excellent evaluations by Walk Jones ACG, CL, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Rodney Higgins ATMB. Adding a great deal of taste to the meeting were the Galloping Grammar Gourmets (GGG) who were Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Timer Mike Heidmann, Celluloid Chef Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Angela Rivera and Vote Counter Toni McIvor. Besides Jack’s Ice breaker, we had a first time Ah Counter in Angela Rivera, a first time Vote Counter, Toni McIvor and Ken Guzman served as our General Evaluator for his first time as well. Another ingredient that made this “Toastmaster Stew” so appetizing were our guests Annie Chan, Anissa Mohan, Abenta Guest, Christie Malamatos, Juan Puelu and returning visitor Adam Winter . Each gave extremely high praise for the meeting and all of them said that they looked forward to returning! Even with such an outrageous theme as “Truly Disgusting Things That People Actually Eat!” this meeting was scrumptious!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Pets!” theme April 11, 2013 meeting was simply adorable like a cute kitten! It was endlessly interesting like watching ferrets play and supremely fun like taking a golden retriever out for a romp in the park. First time meeting Toastmaster Janet Madden was fabulous with many different insights into the world of pets including “weird celebrity pets”, the “Top 10 list of Dog & Cat Names”, the smartest pets and some unique pets that people love, including Piranhas and Wallabies! Ken Guzman held one of the most interesting Table Topics sessions Club #28 has had in a long time. Ken started a story by showing a pet-related object and then called upon different Toastmasters to carry it on. Jack Wheaton was presented with a chew toy and started the story off about a loving and loyal dog named “Rechtx”. Roselyn Porter ACS when showed a bag of dog food, remembered Rechtx visiting her house and feeding him. Steve Wood CC was shown a box of heart-worm medicine and told how Rechtx died and was reincarnated into a CAT named “Bob”. Adam Winter was shown some ear button headphones and remembered how Bob the cat was very playful with anything dangling like string or his headphones. Angela Rivera was reminded by a golf ball of the day that playful Bob the Cat and his feline friend, Tony the Cat; destroyed an apartment by playing “wall-ball.” Milsa Karpus when shown some “Dog Jerky” told how Bob the Cat discovered his “inner dog” after being reincarnated from Rechtx and that explained why he wanted to be so “dog like” by chasing cars and playing catch! From now on Bob was eating only dog food! The Rechtx/Bob story is a classic! We had two speeches that became instant classics as well. The first speech titled “The Life I Have Had and The Pets I Have Known” had a “twist”.  Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL gave an (2nd) Ice Breaker speech by introducing himself through the pets in his life! From his first dog “Mitzy” when he was a little child to his current Shetland Sheepdog we learned a lot about his love of animals and about Walk himself. The second speech was an impressive presentation by Dr. Veronica Boaz titled “Don’t Blink You’ll Miss It!” Veronica spoke about the dizzying pace of technology. She gave examples from the not- to- distant past such as a computer of the 1950’s that weighed 30 tons which is now far surpassed by our laps tops that can be held in one hand and of modern day transistors the size of molecules. She encouraged us to be “Master learners and master adapters!” Someone who needed no encouragement to be the Master Evaluator was our guest Marie Loeffler ACB, CL. Filling the role for her first time she did an excellent job. Marie introduced two of Club #28’s best evaluators, Diane Hart CC for Walk’s speech and Ken Walley ATMG, CL for Veronica’s outstanding endeavor. Another high point of the meeting was the first-rate work of the Lingo Seek & Reward Guardians (LS&RG) that included 1st time Grammarian Jack Wharton, 1st time Timer and guest Milsa Karpus, AH Counter Dr. Angela Guzman, Spectacle Manifestation Initiator Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Angela Rivera. Before hearing from our guests at the end of the meeting we heard commentary by new member Toni McIvor reporting on the Orlando Conquerors Club #1066’s 60th Anniversary event. Rosalyn Porter ACS and Ken Blake ATMG, ALB also addressed the club about some upcoming events. We had a number of guests present including Milsa Karpus, a Chicago Toastmaster who is moving to Orlando in the near future, Steve Hoel, a Toastmaster from the “Voices of the VA” Club in Orange County, Adam Winter and returning guest Franklin Santos. All had very positive comments on our meeting. This only thing this awesome meeting was missing was a wet nose.

The April 4th 2013 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “More March Madness!” theme meeting was as exciting as a NCAA Final Four Basketball game won with a three pointer and no time left on the clock! Eddy Cezalian started the meeting with a quote from Aristotle and led us in the Pledge to the Flag. The Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL covered both the President and Toastmaster roles… and he brought his “’A’ Game!” It was simply madness that he in-bounded so many awesome basketball facts that “hit nothing but the net.” For example Walk told us about the founder of basketball James Naysmith who used a peach basket and a soccer ball in the first game. He also explained the “bracket-logy” used at the “Big Dance” as well as pointing out that “Toastmasters itself was started in a YMCA!” Leading the Table Topics session was Dr. Veronica Boaz who had our members jumping through some “hoops” as well. The first shot was passed to Katherine Schwab: “What was your favorite sport in school?” Katherine loved the always exciting sport of Dodgeball. The second question was asked of Robin Bara: “What other ‘mad’ things would you do in the spring?” She said that if she went completely mad she would “party like a rock star” but instead, she will just “go back to work.” One of our four new members, Jack Wharton was inquired as to what his favorite TV show was. Jack told us of his fondness for zombies and the current hit TV show “The Walking Dead”. Steve Wood CC was posed the problem of what would be in his ultimate final four brackets. Steve came up with a great idea of using “brackets” to pick stocks on the stock exchange. New member Angela Rivera was asked if she ever had a sports related injury. She remembered getting thrown from a bicycle and having her wounds treated with iodine… ouch! Mike Heidmann was quizzed as to what sport brings “out the fan in him”. He spoke about how much fun it was to attend a Florida State Seminole football game and how it became a “weeklong event.” Another new member, Sarah Peerani’s request raised the subject of her proudest moment in sports. Sarah was on a Lacrosse team that represented the State of Florida and ended up playing college teams from all over the world! The last response was asked of yet another new member, Toni McIvor. She was solicited to answer about her favorite sport to which she said she had two, “Rugby and golf.” Although she said she used “pink colored golf balls on the golf course” so “no one ever takes her seriously.” The speeches as well were worthy of a National Championship. Starting with Milka Derisma who scored with an impressive speech to persuade titled “I Wear Squarepants!” Milka psychoanalyzed the characters of the TV cartoon show “Spongebob Squarepants” showing the healthy, positive life view of Spongebob as compared to his cohorts Mr. Crabb, Squidward and Plankton. At the end of the speech, everyone was encouraged to live life like Spongebob and “wear your square pants!” Having the tough assignment of following Milka’s speech, Kenneth Guzmann came through with an inspiring speech titled “Success Against All Odds” Ken told of the life of John Johnson born into poverty and prejudice who overcame tremendous odds in the 1930’s and 40’s to found a magazine tailored to the needs of African-Americans,  Ebony Magazine. The story was compelling and inspirational of a man who was simply “determined to persist” at his dreams. Katherine Schwab was our General Evaluator for her first time and succeeded impressively. She had help from Bekah Keyes evaluating Milka’s speech and Ken Blake ACG, ALB who was reviewing Ken G’s speech. In basketball terms they “stuck it from beyond the arc” with keen insight and sound acumen. Also scoring big were the “Big Five Functionary Conference” (BFFC) proudly represented by Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL, AH Counter Jack Wharton, Timer Eddy Cezalien, Video Replay Analyst Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Angela Rivera. There were no technical fouls. We had two guests, Ray Elston and Pat Elston from the writer’s group, Adventures in Christian Writing. Both were enthusiastic about the meeting and wished to introduce Toastmasters to their group.  The big news of the evening that along with Jack Wharton who joined Club #28 last week, we had three more new members: Angela Rivera, Toni McIvor and Sarah Peerani! Welcome Angela, Toni and Sarah. Even though this was April, it was not madness to have a March Madness meeting. It could only be madness to have believed this meeting would turn out so good!

“The Earth’s Oceans: The Next Frontier!” was the theme of the March 28, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting  was a whale of an amazing meeting! It started with our newest member, Jack Wharton leading us in the invocation and Pledge with a quote from Mother Theresa. Michael Heidmann was the acting President and had the honor of introducing  the evening’s Toastmaster “Captain” Veronica Boaz. She greatly enriched our knowledge of the mysterious Oceans, noting that they are a vast frontier in which only 5% has been explored and yet covers 71% of the surface of planet Earth. From Veronica we learned how our seas were formed, about the strange world at the most unfathomable depths and the incredibly diverse marine life in the deep waters, including the largest animal on the planet. Table Topics Master Steve Wood CC fished some excellent questions on the subject and caught a few deep answers from our guests and members. Remembering watching “Sea Hunt” on TV as a child prompted Steve to ask Robin Bara if she had ever gone swimming underwater with a mask or been SCUBA diving?  Robin told us about her hard day as a lawyer and that she had enough to keep her busy without “trying to find more stuff at the bottom of the ocean!”  The question “What would you do with a new, deluxe private submarine?” was asked of Ken Walley ATMG, CL who answered that he would “spend all of his time” in the sub getting away from the pressures of the world, searching for treasure and looking at fish. Eddie Cezalien was asked if he would search for gold at the bottom of the ocean and should he be able to keep it? Eddy said “Yes! Those who find treasure should be able to keep it. But it does not sound like a lot of fun trying to find it. Would you want to be a Marine biologist and what would you like to study? was asked of Dr. Angela Guzman who answered that she did not want to be a Marine biologist because she cannot swim and she does not want to get “the bends!” A moon of  Jupiter, Europa is covered with a great frozen ocean. Steve asked Ken Guzman if he thought there was life there. Ken said rather than spend the money for that research, it would probably be a better choice to  spend it here on Earth towards more pressing social issues such as hunger and homelessness. Jack Wharton was given the last question: “will there come a time in which we will ‘know everything?'”  Jack said he did not believe that there will ever be a time in which we will know everything. He said it was a “joyful thing to be able to learn.” There was nothing fishy about our two speeches, both Bekah Keyes and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave us two brilliant performances. Bekah told us about a monster snail, the Giant African Land Snail in a speech titled “Watch Out For G.A.S.” This hungry snail seemingly eats everything and often carries parasites that could harm humans. It could even be in your garden! …cue the shower music from “Psycho”! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave a speech about her quest to overcome the fear of driving in her speech: “Feel the Fear and Do It!” Her success led to an unexpected business opportunity in the future and, a surprise ending of her speech. These were two truly wonderful speeches! You could just sit right back while they told their tales. The Evaluations section of the meeting was directed by  the “Admiral” Evaluator Ken Walley  ATMG, CL who led an impressive crew o’ evaluators: Diane Hart CC and Michael Heidmann. Both mates gave some extremely insightful and helpful evaluations. This ship would never have sailed if not for the courage of it’s fearless crew, these toastmasters would have been lost. Five functionaries set sail this day: The Grammarian Ken Guzman, The AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, ALB, The Timer Eddy Cezalien, The Video Professor Steve Wood CC and the Vote Counter Rosalyn Porter ACS. Our guest Toni McIvor was most impressed and said that she plans on becoming a member of our club!  The best news was that Jack Wharton joined our club! Welcome Jack! This meeting had enough entertainment, fun and talent to fill an ocean!

The memories will be sweet from the “Remember When” Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 theme meeting on March 20, 2013 as Toastmaster Milka Dersima brought back an era that has been made more complex by the world trying to make it simpler. We remembered a time before area codes, when “blackberries and apples were fruits and when Pluto was a planet.” It seemed like the not-to –distant past when we could not be on the phone and the internet at the same time. Those were the days. Table Topics Master Diane Hart CC asked some wonderful topics questions that made us look at the past and ourselves as well. Her first question was asked of Bekah Keyes “Was there a time when you could have done something better?” Bekah said that she could have done her last speech better and that she could have focused more in college. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was given the soul-searching question of “was there a bad time in your life that sticks to you and you have a hard time letting go? He said that some jobs that he had in the past left his ego bruised and he had a hard time letting go and he also thanked Diane for the “therapy session”. Ken Guzman was asked if there was something he remembered that made him “laugh out loud”.  Ken mentioned a time in which he fell off of his motorcycle and that the entire episode struck him as really funny. Ken Walley ACG, CL was asked about a time when $20.00 was worth something. He remembered in the early 70’s when you could fill up your gas tank and take your girlfriend out to a nice dinner. Jack Wharton was asked to think of a time when everything seemed to come together. He thought of when he was a child with no responsibilities and no stress, having fun and playing with his friends. This table topics session brought back a lot of wonderful memories. Diane even had us sing “Those were the Days!” when she finished. Three brilliant speeches followed, starting with Michael Heidmann who spoke about the joys and benefits of exercise in his speech titled “Down to 40”. He told the secrets of losing weight while gaining endurance and even helping your golf game! Bekah Keyes followed with another awesome speech titled “Turn on your Lights!” an inspirational speech about perceptions and positive focus. Using a light switch as an analogy, Bekah urged us to turn off the darkness in our life and to turn on the light of positively. Kenneth Guzman also delivered a powerful speech about controlling life habits titled “Where are My Habits Taking Me?” Ken noted that you “spend the first part of your life developing habits and the rest of your life following them.”  You could not have asked much more of our speakers. However General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL and his evaluators were able to find a few things. We had three breathtaking evaluations by Dr. Veronica Boaz, Rosalyn Porter ACS and returning toastmaster Malita Clarke CC! Welcome back Malita! Also the meeting was extremely well run thanks to the Dialogue Detective Division (DDD) utilizing Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, CL; Timer Katherine Schwab, AH Counter Jack Wharton and Vote Counter Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL. Our two guests, Jack Wharton and Melissa Rusario were very positive in their comments and pledged to return.  There will come a time when those of us who were at this meeting will say “Remember when we had that great meeting about ‘Remembering When?’”

It was a fact that the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 14th 2013, “Myth or Fact?” theme meeting was amazing! Ken Guzman stepped up to be the Toastmaster and put to rest, or confirmed some myths that have become universally embraced. We know now it is safe to crack your knuckles and that bubble gum will not stain your stomach. We also know what invention that John Harrington is not famous for. Also testing our knowledge of true and false was Table Topics Master Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who busted a few myths with some amazing questions. Barbara’s first question was on the myth that people were finding marijuana cigarettes inside random packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Asked what she would do if she came across one in a pack, Robin Bara said that smoke it and then go buy a whole lot of junk food.  Kevin Horan was asked if it was truly safe to take a shower in a thunder storm. He assured everyone that contrary to the myth of being electrocuted, regulations require houses to be grounded. Steve Wood CC was asked who he would pick to be on his “Mythbusters Show” Steve said that most common falsehoods are believed because people do not know enough science and are easily led to believe things without any investigation. Asked if she believe that Chop-suey was an American creation and what her favorite Chinese dish was, Angela Rivera said she loved won-ton soup but had never heard of Chop-suey. Bekah Keyes was asked if Global Warming was a myth and how she would improve her carbon footprint. Bekah said the evidence points to it being real and that she would start to help our environment by recycling and supporting local food co-ops. Diane Hart CC was asked if she believed in Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. She said that the had not seen any real proof of either but it is the “monsters of  the reality of life” that give her nightmares rather than the legends.  It was also no myth that our three speakers came ready to perform. Veronica Boaz educated as well as entertained with a speech titled “Your Body Talks!” about the importance of body movement in communicating. It was a perfect speech for anyone who wants to be a better speaker! Janet Madden was on target with an informative speech about sleep apnea titled “Breathless” She covered the symptoms, hazards and treatments of this dangerous sleep disorder. Milka Derisma, giving her second speech in two weeks, spoke about the “foundation, pillars and backbone” of her life in a speech titled “What Keeps Me Speaking!”  She spoke about her religion, family and friends that give meaning to the words she speaks when using her new-found gift for public speaking. Walk Jones covered two roles as our General Evaluator as well as being a speech evaluator and we also had two brilliant evaluations by 1st time evaluator Bekah Keyes and our newest Club #28 member Rosalyn Porter ACS! The Just Show Me The Facts Team (JSMTFT) were another part of the success factor for this meeting. Functionaries Grammarian Kevin Horan, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Timer Mike Heidmann and Vote Counter Robin Bara rounded out the team. Our guests Angela Rivera, Kevin Horan and Paola Martinez all gave glowing reviews to everyone for the evening!   This meeting might go into Club #28 Mythology as the “best meeting that we have ever had” but that assessment might be closer to fact than fiction.

One thing that will never become Obsolete are the fantastic meetings Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has had like the “Obsolete” theme meeting on March 7, 2013. The evening started with a meaningful invocation from Rosalyn Porter ACS who came to the #28 lectern for her first time. With the theme of “Obsolete!” Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL reminded us of things that have gone (or are going) by the wayside: typewriters, letters, classified ads, payphones, travel agents, cameras, bookstores, books, maps and libraries… just to name a few. First time Table Topics Master Melissa Becker was brilliant with her questions adding to our wistful look back into the scrap heap of time. Missy’s first question was directed towards our guest David Nottingham a visiting Toastmaster from North Carolina’s Toastmasters District 37. David was asked “what vehicle he would like to bring back from obsolescence?” David answered that it was a favorite car of his: the 1978 Chrysler Newport.! A massive, highly comfortable gas guzzler that was a joy to drive. The second question switched to music and Missy’s husband Nathan Becker. He was asked what his favorite album of all time was. Nate admitted a love for the “Seattle grunge groups” of the late 1980’s, 90’s…and still popular even now. He settled on the legendary Pearl Jam album “10” as a fantastic example of the music movement of that time. Louise Nottingham a Toastmaster visiting #28 with husband David, was asked how she would deal with disgruntled employees who cannot keep up with the pace of technology in business. Louise noted that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s edict to her staff  to “Come into the office or quit!”  was a example of management not being able to gain control of advancements in the marketplace. Ken Guzman was asked what he thought would be the next things to become obsolete. He pointed to some major retail businesses such as Best Buy stores and Booksellers such as Barnes and Nobel. He noted that much of retail sales now take place on line. Steve Wood CC was asked about his “pet peeves”  and which one he would like to see become obsolete. Instead,  Steve spoke about an actual 8 Track Cassette recorder that he once owned and how precarious it was to use it. Another guest, Jack Wharton was asked what would be something that he sees becoming obsolete and that he would like to save. Jack said that the family medical practice is being over taken by specialists and yet it is still an important medical resource for families. The last question was asked of Dr. Veronica Boaz,  “What dinosaur would she be if she could come back as a dinosaur?” She choose the Pterodactyl (Pteranodon) so that she could fly and get to safe places beyond the reach of other dinosaurs while causing fear and havoc to those below. Melissa’s questions were perfect for the topic and some of the answers made us just a little nostalgic for such things as 8 track tape players, Pearl Jam, the family medical practice and the 1978 Chrysler Newport. We had three amazing speakers and three truly awesome speeches. Bekah Keyes gave an energetic speech titled “Rebounding Revolution!” on using rebounding trampolines to gain health and fitness… and have fun doing it. She told how astronauts used them to regain strength with low impact exercise. Our second speaker, Milka Derisma gave a significant speech about how some companies and large corporations have lost sight of the value of their own employees as an important resource. They have started to treat them as “robots instead of  human beings” she said in her speech titled “The Character In Business”  Milka’s speech was one of her best, and most powerful. Rodney Higgins ATMB also delivered one of his best speeches titled “What’s Really Obsolete?” He first showed us some objects that were vaguely familiar. “This was a price stamp before the time of barcodes…” said Rodney.  He went on to talk about those things that are truly important and that will never become obsolete such as “Ethics and integrity, honesty and Toastmasters!” He warned of a society that is becoming more and more depersonalized in it’s communication skills. Rodney asked the question” Would Jesus twitter?” General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG, ALB was the leader of the evaluations portion of the meeting. The evaluations were also a highlight of the evening, given by Dr. Veronica Boaz, Janet Madden and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. The evaluations were worthy of any university instruction seminar on communication expertise. The Decision Makers & Record Takers (DM&RT) functionary Group included a number of our guests: AH Counter David Nottingham, Grammarian Louise Nottingham and Vote Counter Nathan Becker as well as our own Timer Eddy Cezalien. All of them did 1st class work! Our guests, David, Louise, Nathan, Sarah Peerani, Jack Wharton and Rosalyn Porter ACS all gave strong, positive reviews of the meeting! Many spoke of joining the club as well. This meeting was an example of why Toastmasters will never be obsolete. It was a tangible statement of communication, fun, entertainment, education and the best place that one could have possibly been last Thursday.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests at the Herndon Branch Library on February 28, 2013 were a massive success! Both contests were some of the best that this club has ever produced! We were blessed to have a packed house that included such celebrated Central Florida toastmasters elite such as current Area Governor DeLona Ashby ACG, CL past Area 33 Governors Luvenia Hart ACG, CL; Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Diana Estermera ACG, CL. This special evening started with an invocation by Bekah Keyes which spotlighted sportsmanship and the rewards of competition. Bekah also served as Sgt. At Arms during the contests helping to keep the contest running smooth and on time. Contest Master Mike Heidmann did an absolutely fantastic job of hosting the contests and entertaining us. In the first contest, the Table Topics Contest, there were truly excellent answers to the question ”If you were told you had only 6 months to live, what would you do?”  Melissa Becker, Dr. Veronica Boaz, Milka Derisma, Diane Hart CC and Ken Blake ACGG, ALB all gave very different and wonderful answers to the question. Traveling the world, helping others, devotion to family and emptying the “bucket lists” were some of the themes that came up.  Milka won the first place trophy and Veronica came in second. In the International Speech Contest, we had four powerful, moving and inspiring speeches by Barbara Cusack ACB, CL (“Recipes for Success”) Ken Blake ACG, ALB (“Two Names You Will Never Forget”) Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL (“Couch to Coach” ) and Milka Derisma (“Twirling My Fears”). Barbara spoke of a “recipe” for taking risks, overcoming fear and challenging oneself to overcoming obstacles and to create a better world. Ken spoke of the lessons he learned while SCUBA diving and being responsible for others. Walk’s speech centered on lessons he learned of leadership and coaching while training in long-distance bicycling. Milka speech was about overcoming fear. She used the art (and sport) of twirling as a metaphor for conquering fear. Walk Jones ACG, CL took first place and Barbara Cusack came in a close second. A Splendid time was guaranteed for all!  A sincere “Thank you”  to everyone who made this very special evening possible! Here is a list of those who helped to make our contests a massive success:  Contest Master Mike Heidmann, Chef Judge DeLona Ashby, Sgt. At Arms Bekah Keyes. Vote Counters Robin Bara and Eddie Cezalien, Timers Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Steve Wood CC and to all of our Judges! BREAKING NEWS: On March 3rd at the Area 33 International Speech and Table Topics Contest Milka Derisma came in 1st place representing Club #28. Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL competing in the International Speech Contest, came in 2nd Place to the Orlando Conquerors Toastmasters Club #1066’s Karl Righter DTM. Congratulations to both Milka and Walk!

The rewards were great for coming to the February 21 2013 meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Risks & Rewards” meeting! The meeting started with a surprise Invocation and Pledge by our guest Kevin Horan. Kevin spoke without notes about challenging yourself to take the risks to become better. A perfect start for this meeting. It was no risk in having Dr. Veronica Boaz lead the meeting as the Toastmaster. Veronica was encouraging with her observations about taking risks, noting that she had just taken on a new job herself. Veronica said that great improvements in life may never really be known unless you take the chance. Throughout the evening we heard of risks that paid off even if it was for others on down the line such as the first space flight of Yuri Gariarin and the tragic 1st experiments with submarines. “Smooth seas,” Veronica quoted, “do not make skillful sailors.”  An extremely skillful Table Topics Master, even for her 1st time, turned out to be Bekah Keyes. Bekah took the risk of preparing some terrific questions and everyone was rewarded with some excellent answers. Her first question was asked of Toastmaster Janet Madden on if she had ever been to a casino. Janet admitted that she had and found that she won $50 on her first try on a slot machine. She was proud that she was able to stop there and treated the rest of her group to a great dinner. Steve Wood CC spoke on his favorite board game, Balderdash which also turned into his observations about how hard it is to cheat the house in slots, keno and blackjack. Our guest Kevin Horan was asked if he had a “favorite risk to take?” Kevin told about how he went on searches for used bicycles that he could fix up to give to the homeless. Mike Heidmann was given the question of what was his “most memorable recent reward?” Mike said that he had worked very hard to get a construction contract that came through and that he was proud of all of the effort he had put into it. Ken Blake ACG, ALB was asked about the “most dangerous thing that he had ever done?” Ken did not talk about anything truly dangerous but said one time he won $800.gambling in craps and playing with money he could not afford to lose. Eddy Cezalien was asked about a risk that he took that turned into a failure. He remembered being hired as a bookkeeper and realizing that he was “in way over my head.”  He kept at the job however until he was able to get the hang of it. We had two speakers starting with an Ice Breaker by Ken Walley ATMG, CL, his “5th or 6th time doing an ice breaker” Ken said he was tired of hearing himself speak about himself so he used his heroes in his life to tell his story in a speech titled “Painting with Heroes: A Portrait of Ken Walley”  Ken told of a number of his heroes his mother, father, sports heroes, a minister, Robert Kennedy, Walt Disney, family and even Toastmasters founder Dr. Ralph Smedly DTM to show how he was inspired through the years. It was a very energetic and descriptive speech! Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL gave a speech from the Toastmasters International’s Leadership Excellence Series titled “Delegating to Empower” Walk listed the many benefits of learning to delegate in leadership roles. It was his audience however that was empowered with the many innovative ideas that came out of this speech. The General Evaluator this evening was Mike Heidmann who delegated the evaluations to two very competent teachers: Janet Madden and Ken Blake ACG, ALB. Janet excelled in giving her first evaluation of Ken’s speech as did Ken B’s review of Walk’s presentation. Mike’s General Evaluator’s review of the meeting was brilliant as well. The reward of a well-run meeting should be presented to the functionaries of the Speed Trap / Fact Checkers Patrol (ST/FC) consisting of  Grammarian and AH Counter Jason Mertin who was visiting us from the Wyndam Easy Speakers Toastmasters Club; Timer and Vote Counter  Eddy Cezalien as well as Image Collector Steve Wood CC.   Both of our guests Jason Mertin and Kevin Horan were extremely positive in their comments at the end of the meeting and hope to return soon. Milka Derisma was left to close out our meeting with some thoughts about weighing the possible risks and rewards of making a choice. She remembered a time when she had a choice of going out with her friends or studying for a test. She decided to go out with her friends. She did not get back until four in the morning! Then she took the risk of staying up and studying until it was time to go to school. Somehow it all worked out. She had a great time AND passed her test! Which was kind of like this awesome meeting.            

At the Valentine’s Day February 14th 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Love Boat” theme meeting: Love was in the air! Steve Wood CC started the meeting with an Invocation about this most powerful of second-hand emotions. But what’s love got to do with it? Alot according to our Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who told us about tales of love and the power of love and the 5 most romantic cruise destinations! Also on the “high seas of love” was our Table Topics Master Dr. Angela Guzman who brought the passion back into extemporaneous speaking. Angela had some great questions afloat for this enchanting subject!  Her first question was about the “Least Romantic Adventure” that Michael Heidmann had ever embarked upon. Mike said he could not remembered a “least” romantic adventure but he did remember a “most romantic” overnight white water rafting trip he took with a special someone. Steve Wood CC was asked about how he would go about captivating a “romantic interest”? Steve said that he would look for someone who had the same likes and dislikes as him. Dr. Veronica Boaz was asked about some of the things that drive her bananas about her loved ones. She said that someone she loves disagrees with her a lot so she just said that she was going to agree with her no matter what. Ken Guzman was asked what he would do with only a quarter tank of gas and $20. Ken said that he would put the Twenty dollars in the gas tank and take his date to a park to feed the ducks! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked  if he had any ideas about a free date. Ken said that you could go to a park, go to a bookstore, go to a little league baseball game or go to a bowling alley and bet monopoly money on some random bowlers. This was a sweetheart of a Table Topics session! We had three amazing speeches you could not help but love. Bekah Keyes started it off with a speech titled “Nematode You So!” about the most numerous multi-cellular animals on earth. They are NOT TOADS but microscopic roundworms and the source of  seemingly endless humor and amazing information, especially if you are into gardening. Giving only his second speech, titled “The Comfort Zone”  was Eddy Cezalien who spoke about leaving one’s comfort zone in order to improve. “The Comfort Zone is an illusion,” warned Eddy “it is more like a danger zone!”  His speech was an example of someone breaking free of their fears in order to inspire others. The same could be said of our last speaker Milka Derisma who “twirled” an incredible speech titled “Twirling My Fear!”  Milka, using a flag to represent her fears, showed us how to stand up to our anxiety, own our fears and twirl our worries and fright!  “Fear is nothing!” said Milka in her powerful speech, “You control it, fear does not control you!” Dr. Veronica Boaz was on hand as our Master Evaluator and she also doubled as the evaluator for Eddy’s speech. Diane Hart CC was the evaluator for Bekah and Michael Heidmann had the challenge of reviewing Milka’s speech. All of the evaluations were helpful, upbeat and fun. Great job! The functionaries of Cupid’s Idiom Corner (CIC) had some recruits doing double shifts including Ken Walley ATMG, CL who was both the Grammarian and AH Counter along with Ken Guzman who doubled as Timer and Vote Counter. Steve Wood CC handled the role as the Action Picture Confectionary. Everyone did lovely jobs. This was a brilliant meeting!  Honestly, one could only ask, “what was there not to love?”     

The February 7th 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting with the theme of Great Accomplishments of Mankind!” was an exhilarating look at the scope of human achievement. Diane Hart CC started out he meeting with a splendid quote from Winston Churchill. First time Toastmaster Ken Guzman delivered a remarkable evening with wonderful examples of Mankind’s great accomplishments such as Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, the flight of the Wright Brothers, the inventions of Thomas Edison and the breaking of the 4 minute mile barrier by Roger Bannister, just to name a few. Table Topics Master Mike Heidmann produced another highlight of the meeting with a fast paced session that featured 7 questions and 7 wonderful answers! Starting with Steve Wood CC who answered the question “What do you consider to be the greatest achievement of mankind?” Steve answered that it was “space exploration” and also said that it was ridiculous to suggest that the moon landing was faked. Katherine Schwab gave a highly detailed and descriptive account of living in a time in which there were no modern conveniences. She described a “typical day as a cavewoman!” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was next with the question “What would it have been like to have been aboard Christopher Columbus’s ship?”  Her voyage somehow ended up visiting Club #28 toastmaster Adam Heltemes CC in St. Augustine! Eddy Cezalien gave an account of his favorite TV Cartoon show for the question “What is your favorite TV show or movie?” He remembered a ninja warrior program from his youth. Milka Derisma was asked “who inspired her?” Surprisingly, she said that it was Spongebob Squarepants! He was her inspiration because no matter how much abuse he suffered from  his neighbor Squidward, he always kept up a positive demeanor. Our guest,  Sarah Griffith was asked what was her favorite form of transportation? She said the car that she was driving right now, a Honda Element, was simply awesome. The last question was asked of Janet Madden: “How would your life be different without the internet?” Janet said that at her job the internet was an extremely important tool as she works in Human Resources. We had three remarkable speeches including Melissa Becker’s Ice Breaker titled “Adventures Abound!” Missy took our breath away with tales of snowboarding, falling in love, travels to Europe, Alaska, Costa Rica and the most amazing adventure of all: raising two small children! This was an exciting Ice Breaker! Congratulations Missy! Dr. Veronica Boaz was on board with an absolutely brilliant speech about how we communicate with our voice titled: “Don’t Look at Me in that Tone of Voice!” Guest Speaker Susan Eitniear told about her son in a speech titled “Evan” that featured a video montage of his life in music and pictures. We got to know him very well by the end of the speech. Ken Blake ACG, ALB was our General Evaluator and had a very easy task as he was supported by three highly experienced evaluators. Marie Loeffler CC returned for a second week in a row this time to give a guest evaluation along with evaluations by Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. We also had an elite  team of functionaries; The Guidance & Direction All Stars (G&DAS) who were selected as: 1st time Grammarian Angela Guzman, Timer Nathan Becker,  Performance Curator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien. We also had a number of guests which included Angela’s students from Evans High School Kadisha and William along with visitors Jo Anna Larson, Sasha Griffith and Nathan Becker. Nathan once more vowed to join our club. We also had two visitors from the Orlando Conquerors Club 1066.  Alan Brents ACG, CL who is the Area Contest chair, made an announcement about the upcoming Area 32 International Speech and Table Topics Contest on March 3rd as well as Susan Curly Club #1066’s Vice President of Education. This meeting was a great accomplishment of its own!

The January 31, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 theme meeting of  “Trees of Life!” branched out into excellence! Toni Crabtree started the meeting with a powerful quote from cancer survivor Issia Dennison. First time Toastmaster Bekah Keyes delivered a remarkable evening and set a wonderful example of how to lead a meeting. She told about the many aspects and the vital importance of trees. The meeting was rooted in such great information that it was extremely interesting and entertaining. Table Topics Master Dr. Veronica Boaz produced another highlight with a fun table topics session featuring some very witty replies by our guests and members. Our guest and visiting Toastmaster Susan Eitniear was given the first question “What is a favorite “tree memory” of yours. Susan remembered a time of change in her life and how she looked out at a beautiful tree from her window and it gave her a sense of stability and comfort. Returning Club #28 member Milka Derisma was asked “Where is you favorite garden?” Milka said she does not have a garden. The place that she goes to find peace and to get away from the havoc of the world is… “the bathroom!” she said I do my best thinking there!” Melissa Becker  was asked about her favorite tree. She told about a lemon tree that she bought for her husband. Kenneth Guzman was asked to tell about a time that he got into trouble when he was young. Ken G. remembered a time as a boy when he went into the girls bathroom and would not come out… until the principle told him to leave. Nathan Becker was asked how we should go about protecting the rain forests. He stressed education and the importance of “saving 20% of the oxygen on Earth.” Steve Wood CC was asked how we should make people more aware of the world’s dwindling forests. Steve said that replanting is important and pointed out that, ironically “if you like trees, you’ll waste paper.”  Another greatly missed returning Club #28 toastmaster, Janet Madden was asked what her favorite memories were from her past. She remembered climbing in trees when she was a young girl.  We had three remarkable speeches including Dr. Angela Guzman’s Ice Breaker speech titled “The Wonderful World of Me!” She told of her pursuit of becoming a medical doctor and her great admiration for her husband, Ken. She left us wondering how she was going to top her first speech! Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL was on board for a Toastmasters International Series speech titled “The Leader as a Coach!” that was both educational and inspired. Guest speaker Marie Loeffler gave a meaningful and musical speech titled “Symphony for the Soul” . She told of the “five notes” that bring peace to both life and soul and used hand bells to make her points. By the end of the speech, she showed how five simple notes could come together to make a masterpiece such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” ; which she played for us at the end of her speech. The evaluation part of the meeting was lead by General Evaluator Michael Heidmann. Again this part of the meeting went far beyond expectations including memorable evaluations by Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Diane Hart CC and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. It was worth coming to the meeting just to hear the evaluation section of the evening. The same could be said about the work of the technical officials in the Lyrical Review Branch (LRB) a team made up of Grammarian Ken Walley ACG, CL, Timer Toni Crabtree, Visual/Audio Enhancer Steve Wood CC , AH Counter Melissa  Becker and Vote Counter Nathan Becker. We had a number of guests including Lloyd Menta, Marie Loeffler CC,  Susan Eitniear and returning guest (and hopefully a new-member-to be) Nathan Becker. All of them had great things to say about our meeting. Indeed, it would not be going out on a limb to say that this was one of Club #28’s best meetings yet. 

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had an amazing meeting on January 24, 2013 with the theme of  “Space: The Final Frontier!”  Our journey started with an excellent Invocation and Pledge by Jimmy Vo. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL took us on a “voyage through Space.” Ken told us about a number of astounding space phenomenon such as Black Holes, Dark Matter and Supernovas. Among other subjects, Ken also talked about space distance, the expanding universe and the “Big Bang” Theory. Also taking us into a Table Topics orbit was Table Topics Master Rodney Higgins ATMB who had some great questions for our club members. The first question that Rodney asked was launched towards Bekah Keyes “Are we alone in the Universe?” Bekah thought that we are probably not alone, but who or what and if or when we will ever make contact is yet to be seen. Steve Wood CC was asked “What Star Trek character is it that you most admire?” Steve pointed out that Mr. Spock, being so logical, and yet not understanding the illogical nature of humans was in itself illogical. “Therefore Spock is not my favorite!” Somehow, Steve settled on Hans Solo of Star Wars fame. Jimmy Vo was asked if he would like to be a space explorer. “Absolutely!” he said, “if it’s within my budget!” The next question, “What would you ask if you met an alien?” stumped Eddy Cezalien before he came up with “‘Where are you from?’, ‘What are you doing here?’ and ‘Where have you been all of these years?'” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was given the chance to express her opinion on “Has the money spent on space exploration been worth it?” She noted that the space industry is now being taken over by private businesses and that in the future, this would create an enormous number of jobs. All of our members came up with wonderful answers. Rodney closed the session by remembering where he was when the late Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon. “It was one of those moments you just never forget.” Our two speeches were also “out of this world” starting with Ken Blake ACG, ALB in his speech “Mr. Key and Our Star Spangled Banner“. Ken B. gave a poetic reading of the forgotten verses of our National Anthem by Francis Scott Key. His speech finished on a high note with a beautiful recorded rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech from the Toastmaster International series “The Better Club Series” on the “Toastmasters Educational Program.”  He explained the Communication and Leadership tracks and decoded the toastmasters “‘alphabet soup’ of CC’s, ACB’s, ALS’s., DTM’s etc…”  Another of the highlights of the evening was the General Evaluator Dr. Veronica Boaz who gave a passionate meeting review that added greatly to the upbeat flavor of the evening. We also had two of the best of Club #28’s evaluators: Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, on hand to lend some wise advice. Going where no one has gone before in functionary excellence were our Neoteric Assessment and Speech Advisers (NASA) made up of Grammarian Mike Heidmann, Timers Ken Guzman and Dr. Angela Guzman, Remote Research Camera Tech Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Missy Becker and Vote Counter Bekah Keyes. This was a Supernova explosion learning and fun!  

On January 17, 2013 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had a truly amazing meeting with the theme of “Outdoor Activities!” It started with an inspiring quote from the famous American Humorist Will Rogers by Robin Bara who led the club in the invocation and Pledge to the Flag. First time Toastmaster Mike Heidmann brought the great outdoors, well… indoors to our meeting room with brilliant stories of being in the Wilderness as well as many facts about recreational Florida. Ken Guzman in his first time as a Table Topics Master got our members and guests involved by answering some excellent questions about being in the fresh air and open spaces. His first question was asked of his wife Dr. Angela Guzman: “Tell us of a dangerous outdoor activity that you have done?” Angela told of a harrowing adventure driving through the wood to get to a campsite. Our Guest, Greg Powell was asked what would be the first thing he would do if he was stranded on Gilligan’s Island? he said that he would fish, forage for food, make fire and create a volleyball game. Another guest, Jada Boston, was asked the question “What is your favorite theme park?”  Jada really like the African flavor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Alena Alverez another one of our guest was given the question of what her favorite out door activity was. Alena said that she like to play outside with her dog and take walks. Toni Crabtree was asked why she thought it was important to spend some time outside. She gave a number of different reasons including getting fresh air, exercise and improving stress levels and your mood. It was good to see so many of our guests taking part in Table Topics and doing such a great job.  Our two speeches were pure entertainment. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave a whimsical performance while telling the folk tale of “A Baker’s Dozen” In her production, Barbara created three very different characters, a baker, a witch and St. Nicholas. She made them all come to life! It was tremendous storytelling!  Another remarkable effort was given by Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL who’s speech  titled “Leadership on Wheels” gave us the inside look at long distance bicycle training and the leadership ability that he learned from the experience. Walk painted such a vivid explanation that by the end of the speech you were exhausted! Diane Hart CC served as the Master Evaluator and delivered a memorable meeting review that had everyone smiling and was heavy with praise for everyone’s unparalleled labor. Ken Walley ATMG, CL and James Waters ACB were on hand to give insightful evaluations. This meeting would be like a campsite without tents if it were not for the endeavors of our Words and Meaning Scouts (S&MS). Those brave functionaries were Grammarian Bekah Keyes, Timer Toni Crabtree AH Counter Eddy Cezalien, Celluloid Anecdote Enchanter Steve Wood CC and returning Toastmaster and Vote Counter Jimmy Vo. At the end of the meeting Katherine Schwab, Eddy Cezalien, Jimmy Vo and Ken Blake ACG, ALB; who had not had a chance to speak told exciting tales of some of their outdoor adventures which included zip lines gone crazy, getting lost and facing dangerous animals  Angela Guzman became our new Club #28 member! Welcome! This was a meeting as big as the great outdoors!

Nothing could have been much better than the January 10, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Making Things Better” theme meeting! Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the Invocation & Pledge using a quote from the Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo. Starting off the evening and making things a lot better by being our meeting Toastmaster was Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Using many of the comments she had heard from her fellow Toastmasters as a “guide” Barbara enlightened us on how to make things better in our real life. Throughout the evening she gave excellent advice such as “using baby steps”; “don’t give up on the important goals, even though you are not reaching them as fast as you had expected” and “start by changing yourself before trying to change others”. There was a myriad of other wise council as well. Also “making things better” for speaking extemporaneously anyway; was Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken’s first question was for Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL who was asked “If you wanted to make the world a better place, where would you start?” Walk’s reply was to first find our where thing are working well and then apply that to places that need the most help. “What is something you would like to do to make things better for someone else?” was asked of Melissa Becker. She answered “setting a good example for her daughter by eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Toni Crabtree when asked to name an invention that has made the world a better place, she named “The Smoothie” which was a really delicious way of getting your vitamins! “What invention of the future would you like to see?” was answered by our guest, and Melissa’s husband, Nathan Becker. He said “a machine of some kind that could produce food to feed the hungry” much like the “replicator” of Star Trek fame. Ken agreed with Nathan saying personally he would not mind seeing a “force field” invention as well. “What advice can you give to someone who is dealing with a serious life change such as a divorce, losing a job or a death in the family?” was asked of Dr. Veronica Boaz. She said it was important to remind someone facing a situation such as divorce not to lose sight of who they are and that to remember good inner qualities have not changed because of the situation. “How can Toastmasters make things better for you in your life?” was asked of  Steve Wood CC. who explained that it was Toastmasters who could improve by giving more time to prepare before the start of the meeting. Steve then took the opportunity to ask Bekah if she wanted to use the mic for her upcoming speech! The last question was asked of Ken Guzman to relate to us a story about someone who had made his life better. He elucidated that he was often inspired by his mentors in the Boy Scouts when he was younger. On this evening Club #28 was enlightened with two brilliant speeches. Even better was that the 1st speech was the Ice Breaker of Club #28’s newest member Eddy Cezalien. His Ice Breaker speech was titled “A Long Way From Home.” He told the story of a child leaving his homeland of Haiti and his mother, to come to the United States to live with his father. He remembered in Haiti where the schools and the schoolmasters, were tough. He remembered learning to love math out of a fear of being beaten by his teachers! He remembered coming to America at 6 years old to to a very strange country and a confusing language barrier. His love of math came in handy in school and later enrolling at Devry University. He also got an education in hard work and minimum wage while working at a Kentucky Fried Chicken store. Eddy is now a bookkeeper for Sentry Management in Orlando. His aim in life right now is to “keep improving!” You are in the right place for that, Eddy. Bekah Keyes gave a speech that had everyone believing they were watching a professional speaker. Based on the principles of Dale Carnegie and was titled “How to Win Friends and Reduce Stress“. She gave four ways to better your life and make living easier. The first was “To be a good listener”, the second was to “avoid arguments” and remember that you do not have to be right all of the time. “Respect the opinions of others” was the third and lastly to “Build people up with honest and sincere appreciation.”  These fundamentals were perfect advice for everyone listening and Bekah’s dynamic speech electrified her audience. The General Evaluator for this evening was Ken Blake AACG, ALB who had the pleasure of introducing Mike Heidmann to the lectern to give his first Toastmaster’s evaluation, fittingly for Eddy’s 1st speech. Mike made it look easy, giving excellent feedback. Dr. Veronica Boaz came through with another of her superlative evaluations, on this night of Bekah’s speech. It would be hard to make things any better for this meeting but thanks to the functionaries of the Wall of Words Association (WofWA) made up of Grammarian Toni Crabtree, Timer Melissa Becker, AH Counter Ken Guzman, Director of the Silver Screen Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Nathan Becker, they somehow improved upon even this stellar evening. Nathan Becker, our only guest tonight had many good things to say about the meeting  and expressed a desire to join! This might be a hard meeting to improve upon but a way to make things better would be to keep having meetings like this one! All agreed it was our best meeting ever!

At the January 3rd 2013 New Beginnings Celebration and Installation of Officers meeting we had our officer inductions and the theme of “New Beginnings”. Which turned out to be a fantastic start to the New Year! For the Invocation, Katherine Schwab did a beautiful reading of the poem “Life: I Am the New Year!” which inspired everyone. Bekah Keyes opened her first meeting as the Sergeant at Arms and introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL who served as our Master of Ceremonies. Ken gave us many moving quotes, poems and thoughts about renewal and fresh starts from such diverse sources as Ralph Waldo Emerson to Death Cab for Cutie throughout the evening. Ken also started the meeting by asking a couple of Table Topics questions. The first was asked of Barbara Cusack ACB, CL about the positive effect of change in her life. She responded that even though change is feared, it is often the very thing we need to progress in life. Toni Crabtree was asked about resolutions. She said that seeking to better oneself is a noble goal and that might be more important than achieving the resolution itself.  We had featured speaker Rodney Higgins ATMB giving a powerful speech about why he is a Toastmaster. Rodney’s speech (titled “Why I Am In Toastmasters”) brought out the “hidden” benefits of being in Toastmasters: having fun, making close friends and being entertained. His speech set the stage for yet another brilliant evaluation by Veronica Boaz of his discourse. Outgoing president Malita Clarke CC gave a moving and memorable “Farewell Address” in which she pointed out the many successes of many of our club members partly due to Toastmasters. Her speech was given with great pride towards our membership and for Club #28’s accomplishments. Area 32 Governor Delona Ashby ACS, CL was on hand to induct our new officers with the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony. Induced into office were:

President Rev. Walk Jones ACG,CL; Vice President of Education Michael Heidmann, Vice President of Membership Dr. Veronica Boaz, Vice President of Public Relations Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Secretary Toni Crabtree, Treasurer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Sergeant at Arms Bekah Keyes.

walkofficers

  [Pictured L to R: Toni Crabtree, Bekah Keyes, Walk Jones, Ken Walley, Barbara Cusack, Mike Heidmann and Veronica Boaz

Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL then delivered his Inaugural Address in which he spoke of the legacy of Club #28, it’s many successes and a pledge to “keep this train going!” Walk also gave some excellent ideas for the future of this club including becoming a more social club as well as making strides in membership retention. His speech had great passion and hope for Club #28’s future. Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley ATMG, CL called for standing ovations for both Presidents Malita and Walk. Thanks went out Melissa Becker who served as our timer for the evening. Our two guests Holida Badalvaneva and Soraya Smith both had very positive comments on this special evening and looked forward to returning. Perhaps the best news of the night was that Eddy Cezalien became our newest member!  If ever there was an impressive “new beginning” for a Toastmasters club, this evening was it!

HO! HO! HO! The December 13, 2013 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 Holiday Party was a festive, joyous event! Thanks to everyone who attended that helped to decorate the meeting room so festively! The room was ablaze in Christmas lights, trees, garlands and music. Ken Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting with a rousing reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas!” Ken also covered the role of the Acting President for the last meeting of 2012. The Rev. Walk Jones ACG, CL did an amazing job as our Toastmaster by regaling us with stories of the many different celebrations that go on this time of year including Winter Solstice, Junkanoo, Hanukkah, St. Lucy’s Day and the Christian Advent and the varied rituals that go with them. It was interesting, fun and enlightening. Along with an excellent Table Topics session led by Veronica Boaz, this was a great way to see the year out. Veronica invited James Waters ACB, CL to remember a “memorable holiday party?” Jamie recalled a wild affair he once attended when he was in college. Robin Bara was questioned as to her favorite holiday. She answered that it was New Years Eve because she “loves a good party!” Our newest member, Melissa Becker was requested to tell about a holiday tradition from her family. She told how it was a tradition that her husband cook, and that she makes Appletinis and everyone in the family goes outside to play football! Bekah Keyes was requested to tell which celebrity would she have for dinner if she could pick from the past or the present? She said she would like to see the interaction between Abraham Lincoln and Madonna! Our guest Eddy Cezalien was given the question what his “favorite party food” was. Eddy replied with an emphatic “Chicken and Rice!” a favorite from his childhood. Veronica inquired of Michael Heidmann what was the most embarrassing that had happen to him at a party? He said it must have happen while in college but that he could not remember what it was. Steve Wood CC was asked his thoughts on the holiday season. He noted that the holiday season now lasts almost two months and that the music gets a little tiresome but that he loves the season anyway. This night was not only special because it was our Holiday Party but also,  we were blessed to have TWO truly awesome Ice Breakers! Katherine Schwab in her impressive Ice Breaker speech titled “My Perspective of the Middle East” refuted the myth that the Middle East is the heartless place often painted by the media. She told of a warm and welcoming people that she encountered while visiting there. Kenneth Guzman’s Ice Breaker “Let’s Break the Ice!” told of a young man from Honduras who moved to Florida, became a Gator fan and later an investment broker while along the way meeting a beautiful future wife. Joked Ken: “I looked at marriage as an investment, how much will I save on dates in the future?. Jennifer Hensley CC served as our Master Evaluator and introduced the returning evaluators from last week: Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Diane Hart CC. Ken and Diane once again gave excellent advice and praise to our speakers. Jennifer excelled with a acclaim packed report on the entire meeting! This holiday party meeting was also another example of the hard work put forth by the Functionary Elves Union (FEU) which was established with Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Timer Michael Heidmann, AH Counter Bekah Keyes, Dream work Creator Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Dr. Angela Guzman. Coming in a little late to the party but adding to our fun was Toni Crabtree who is among the new officers that were approved by the club by a unanimous vote: President Walk Jones ACG, CL; Vice President of Education Mike Heidmann, Vice President of Public Relations Jennifer Hensley CC, Vice president of membership Veronica Boaz, Secretary Toni Crabtree, Treasurer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Sgt. at Arms Bekah Keyes. Congratulations! Our guest Eddy Cezalien was very positive about the meeting and expressed a desire to join the club at the end of the meeting!  Club #28 partied out the old year in fun and fellowship! This meeting was a great present to all who attended! Happy Holidays!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 December 6, 2012 meeting started off with Acting Sgt. at Arms Steve Wood CC introducing Diane Hart CC to lead the club in the invocation and pledge. Diane reminded us that we are all unique, each one of us with our own exceptional talents.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL was our Toastmaster and he told some incredible stories about some amazing people as the theme was “Extraordinary Lives!” Among the astonishing people Ken covered were the world’s tallest man Robert Wadlow, artist Yoko Ono, statesman Nelson Mandela, scientist Joseph Lister and inspiring educator Helen Keller. 1st time Table Topics Master Michael Heidmann came up with some great questions that produced a number of stirring answers! His first question was for Jamie Waters ACB, CL. “What does ‘extraordinary’ mean to you and what is extraordinary about yourself?” Jamie said that when he likes something, he really sticks with it, mentioning golf and Toastmasters. Katherine Schwab was asked if having an extraordinary life meant that you had to have money? She mentioned two remarkable lives: Dietrich Bonhoffer and Mother Theresa as being examples of those who have made a difference while living in poverty. Kenneth Guzman was asked to tell us something extraordinary about his job. Ken said it was an inventive and rewarding experience to help his clients build investment portfolios from the ground up. Steve Wood CC was asked about extraordinary inventions. He mentioned Galileo Galilei‘s telescope which help prove Nicolaus Copernicus‘s theories correct. Guest Dr. Angela Guzman was asked how she would survive if dropped off in the middle of the woods. Angela said that she would first build a “mud igloo” and then go hunting for food. Melissa Becker was asked to tell us something extraordinary about herself. She said that she always wanted to invent a machine for a beauty salon that “got everything done at the same time.”  This was a really fun Table Topics session! We had two excellent speeches, starting with a speech by Adam Heltemes CC that told of his escape from a Zombie attack! Adam had everyone convinced he was giving a serious speech about earning his medical degree, until a corpse jumped up from the operating table and bit the doctor’s fingers off! Club President Malita Clarke gave a “hip pocket” speech that turned out to be one of her best speeches ever. She told of a project she is working on to help bring dignity and to build self-esteem for the homeless in Orlando. These two very different but equally brilliant speeches got two equally exceptional evaluations from Ken Blake ATMG, ALB and Dr. Veronica Boaz. The club got an early Christmas present when Mike King volunteered to be the Master Evaluator and gave an exceptional” meeting evaluation”. The work of the Stats & Reasoning Development Players (S&RDP) was nothing short of wonderful thanks to the work of Grammarian Toni Crabtree, Timer Ken Guzman, AH Counter Dr. Angela Guzman, Video Wizard Steve Wood CC and 1st time Vote Counter Melissa Becker It was also great to see the return of Jamie Waters and Mike King who have been away for a while. Melissa Becker became our newest member! Welcome Melissa! Amazing, incredible, fantastic… call it what you would like, but this meeting was truly extraordinary.

According to club Vice President of Education Adam Heltemes CC: “This was the best meeting ever!” We might say that every week, but I think Adam really might be on target for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 29th 2012 “Transportation: Getting There and Back!” theme meeting! The meeting started out on a high note as our newest member Katherine Schwab gave a very appropriate to the theme reading of Robert Frost‘s poem “The Road Less Taken.”  Ken Blake ACG, ALB did an awesome job as our Toastmaster with some fantastic facts, stories, trivia and personal anecdotes about the many ways of travel and transportation: Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Table Topics Master that had questions about almost every form of transportation from Automobiles to Santa’s Sleigh. Ken’s first question on how the best way to travel from Orlando to Hong Kong was directed at returning toastmaster Ken Guzman. Ken mentioned that he needed to get over a fear of flying before heading to China. “Would the world be a better place if cars were replaced by mass transit, trains, motor bikes and Bicycles?” was asked of Bekah Keyes who replied “Probably ‘yes’ for the environment, but it would be a big adjustment. The next question, “What is the good, and the bad about flying these days?” was answered by Robin Bara who remarked that contrary to popular opinion, she liked the in-flight food. It is also still very convenient to fly.” she said. Katherine Schwab was asked to name some things that have made travel easier over the past 15 years. One of the things she noted was that there are more options to travel. Steve Wood CC was asked to explain how Santa Claus can deliver billions of presents within 24 hours. Steve explained that with the use of magic, Santa’s sleigh can top Mach 10 and drop off presents in “nano-seconds.” Guest Marsha Stein was asked to tell us about what her home is like during the holidays.”She painted a word picture of a busy family getting ready for Christmas. Another guest, Melissa Becker was asked to name “a person or persons that have made the greatest contribution towards human transportation systems over the past 300 years.” She answered “moms!” Having to run errands and get their kids from one place to the other have forced great advancements in travel. Visiting Area 32 Governor Delona Ashby ACB, ALB was asked when she thinks we will have a commercial space flight to the moon. She said right now money was the problem but maybe our kids will be able to take a lunar flight someday.  Lastly, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked to make a case for the “Old horse & Buggy days.” Barbara explained we should bring back those days because we could create jobs for feeding and cleaning up after the horses, not to mention we would need to turn the highways into grassy meadows.” Our two speeches tonight were also first class. Starting with Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL who had a very inspiring and moving Veterans Day Speech about Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”. It was a speech that truly celebrated America while covering our freedoms of Speech, Worship and the freedoms from Want and Fear. Ken Walley ATMG, CL returned to the lectern to give a speech about protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as Congress meets to discuss avoiding the “fiscal cliff”. Ken showed a great deal of political passion in defense of these important programs. Mike Heidmann was the General Evaluator for his first time and excelled with the help of two brilliant evaluations that were given by Diane Hart CC and Adam Heltemes CC! Another highlight was the work of the Quick & Efficient Word Checkers (Q&EWC) who were served by Grammarian Bekah Keyes, Timer Ken Guzman,  Celluloid Portrait Designer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Diana Estremera ACG, CL and Vote Counter Malita Clarke CC. The guest comments at the end of the meeting by Marsha Stein, Melissa Becker, Diana Estremera ACG, CL and our Area 32 Governor Delona Ashby ACB, ALB were all extremely positive and uplifting!  For a meeting with the theme of Transportation, this was the way to go!

Some Club #28 members actually DID show up to the special November 15, 2012 “Road Trip” meeting at the “You Talkin’ to Me?” Toastmasters Club #1716558! A sincere thanks go out to Ken Walley ATMG, CL, Ken Blake ACG, ALB, Diane Hart CC,  Jim Stitt and Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL for making the “You Talkin’ to Me?” Club’s meeting even more fun and interesting. Club #1716558 started off the meeting with the Pledge to the Flag by Sgt. at Arms Mabel Burridge CC, CL and a warm welcome from the Club President Lygia Arcaro, CC who introduced our visiting Club #28 members. The theme was “Surprise!” and we had a few as former District 84 Governor Scott Hoehn DTM was the Toastmaster. Scott told about different “surprises” that happen during history and in our everyday lives. We heard two Ice breaker Speeches from Kathryn Farah and Homida Rajack. Kathryn’s first speech titled “Party & Bar Stories” was about learning to party at Florida State University and being hired as a bartender but without any skills at all. She then learned “as she went along” while telling us a number of exciting stories of bartending and realizing that bartending had become a “surprise career.” Homida, also giving her Ice breaker speech, titled “Coming to America” painted a word mosaic of living on the island of Trinidad and growing up without any of the modern technology of the world. She worked hard at chores and  played “poor people games” as a child, and loved it. Eventually settling in Florida, Homida now spends time with her family and is active in Community services. Both were excellent Ice Breaker speeches! The Table Topics Master was Arlen Robinson who brought some “surprise questions” with him that received some surprising answers as well. Starting with Lisa ___ he asked “If you were made a company CEO what kind of company would it be?” Lisa answered a company that would insist on all of it’s employees going to Toastmasters. The next question was for Club #28’s own Diane Hart CC Arlen asked her If you could go back in time and meet a family member who would it be? Diane told of going back to see a “black sheep” of the family who supported his wife and kids by “robbing banks” in the old wild west. Perry ____ was asked if UFOs exist. Perry wove a story about being abducted by aliens and what to do if you find yourself in that situation. Jeff ____ was asked what he would do if he was made President of the United States for a day? He said he would focus on helping the homeless and disadvantaged children. Yadira Elrod CC was asked what famous sports star would she be if she could trade places with him or her for a single day. She said that she greatly admired the soccer star Mia Hamm. Yadira was also the General Evaluator and introduced us to two very able and conversant evaluators, Amanda Hattala CC and Janet Beckles ACB, ALB both of whom gave excellent advice to the speakers. Alas, Patrick Hardy DTM, one of only 66 of Toastmaster’s Accredited Speakers who was scheduled to speak was unable to attend…so Ken Walley ATMG, CL was off the hook from having to evaluate him! The club was supported by an impressive effort from their functionaries Grammarian Ed DeVincenzo CC, AH Counter Ashton Sanders and Timer Shane McCormack CC. Club #28’s veteran Toastmaster Ken Blake ACG, CL gave much praise to our host club when he was asked for comments at the end of the meeting. He also gave some very good advice on how to improve on the seating arrangements. Also giving much praise for the meeting were #28’s Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Diane Hart CC and a number of other visitors as well. Both VP of Education Ed DevIncenzo CC and Club #28’s Ken Walley ATMG, CL went over the schedules for their respective club’s next meeting and then the meeting was adjourned. This was a wonderful opportunity to see another Toastmaster club “in action”. Club #28 truly thanks the “You Talkin’ to Me?” Toastmasters Club #17165587 for being such welcoming hosts! We had a lot of fun and made new friends and we hope that the “You Talkin’ to Me?” Club can join us someday!

On November 8, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 held a very special meeting. It was a meeting that was greatly appreciated by all who attended and had the theme of “Toastmasters Appreciation Day!”  Milka Derisma was simply astounding as a first time meeting toastmaster who gave us many reasons that we should remember that being a Toastmaster is a true blessing!  Milka dedicated the meeting to our late Club #28 member Laval Brown CC who past away last week. Among other accolades, Milka said that he was a great example of an inspiring Toastmaster. Table Topics Master Veronica Boaz came through with some wonderful questions about Toastmasters and the benefits of being a Toastmaster. Her first question was for Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. She was asked why she joined Toastmasters. Barbara knew that she wanted to “tell her story” for a church group and sought the encouragement of Club #28.  Diane Hart CC was asked what Toastmasters had given her. She responded that it was a place of acceptance. Diane said: “This is a wonderful place to come and be among friends.” Malita Clarke CC was asked about the most difficult time that she had to speak in front of a group? She remembered having a major presentation at her job and how Toastmasters had been a big factor in her success with the project. Steve Wood CC was given the question of what his biggest challenge was in preparing a speech. He said it was fitting a large amount of technical material into a short time frame. “The [technical] speech becomes so compact that you have to memorize it.” said Steve. Our guest, Katherine Schwab was queried about her goals and how she thought that Toastmasters could help her. She said that she looks forward to improving her articulation and confidence in learning communication skills in Toastmasters. Veronica replied, “You are in the right place Katherine!” Another guest, Melissa Rosario was asked about what she would like to get out of this evening. She said that she had hoped to learn ways of improving herself and to enjoy the evening. Another visitor, but a frequent visitor Diana Estermera ACG, CL was asked about her funniest moment in toastmasters. She remembered hearing a very humorous speech about fishing that seemed to stick with her for weeks. This table topics session also served as a wonderful homage to the Toastmasters organization itself! We also had two brilliant speeches. Rodney Higgins ATMB explored the history of the Native American civilization and the struggles they faced for survival in America. It was a powerful and enlightening speech that highlighted a courageous, gallant and adaptive people. Michael Heidmann doing his second speech from the Basic Manual, gave a presentation about his favorite vacation destination: Costa Rica titled “Go Here!” Mike’s speech was full of interesting facts and tributes to the weather, beautiful scenery and friendly people. By the end of his speech… everyone in the room wanted to “go there!” Another great reason to be a part of Club #28 is to be able to enjoy Barbara Cusack ACB, CL in the role of Master Evaluator! She kept everyone entertained while giving her own testimony to the delights and benefits of Toastmasters. We also had two excellent evaluations by Walk Jones ACS, CL and Malita Clarke CC. Both coaches had some intuitive and ingenious ways to help our speakers progress. The Mighty Toastmaster Trainers (MTT) were on hand to also support our speakers. They consisted of Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL; AH Counter Robin Bara, first time Timer Bekah Keyes, Photo Hound Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Katherine Schwab. We had some terrific guest comments as well from all of our guests Diana, Katherine and Melissa Rosario!  More good news for #28: Katherine Schwab joined the club at the end of the meeting! Welcome Katherine! It was easy to appreciate this evening. It was one of the best meetings in memory!

At the November 1st 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Stupid laws and Ridiculous Lawsuits” theme meeting, Toastmaster Adam Heltemes CC took the meeting “to court” and told us of some incredibly silly and jaw-dropping Stupid Laws and Ridiculous Lawsuits! He had us laughing and scratching our heads with some wonderful stories about totally trivial matters (the legroom on an airplane for example) that turned into wild million-dollar money grabs! Jennifer Hensley CC asked some brilliant questions as the Table Topics Master to keep the fun going. Her first question was request of Barbara Cusack ACB, CL to tell us about an odd law that she had head of. Barbara told about how when she was trying to get her salasa product on the market that there were a lot of strange laws but none that said distributors needed to communicate with the producers in any way. Toni Crabtree was asked to comment on a “famous judge.” She said that she admired TV courtroom judge Judith Sheindlin, better known as “Judge Judy” because as Toni said “she really gets in your face!” Visitor Katherine Schwab was asked who she would appoint as a judge if she had the power. Katherine remembered a friend of hers that was always fair. She also told a story about how a fellow resident put her dog on a diet in order to get the dog under the weight limit for the condo! Malita Clarke CC was asked about a famous case that she followed. She remembered a local case that received some media attention. Steve Wood CC when asked what new law he would propose offered a law that would “not punish the investigators” for accidently obtaining evidence. Ken Walley ATMG, CL when asked what was the craziest lawsuit that he had ever heard of told the tale of a man who sued himself for 5 million dollars due to his drunken crime spree and expected the state to pay if he won, because he was in jail at the time! This was a really fun Table Topics session! We had two tremendous speeches from Bekah Keyes and Ken Blake ACG, ALB. Bekah, in a speech titled “Psycho-cybernetics Ain’t Crazy” described how our brains are like torpedoes… but in a good way. She gave us a fascinating glimpse of the potential of utilizing the power of Psycho-cybernetics. It was a valuable and eye-opening speech! Ken Blake ACG, ALB working from the Advance Storytelling manual, told the story of “The Mailbox”. Ken’s tall-tale told how a barn became a mailbox with the help of a “double headed, copper-headed water moccasin” and a little turpentine. Holding down the job of Master Evaluator was Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken started out the evaluation section with a reminder that evaluations are as much training for the evaluators as they are for those who are being evaluated. “We all must learn how to give advice at some point in time,” said Ken, “here we try to prefect that art.”  We had two impressive evaluations from Rodney Higgins ATMB and 1st time evaluator Milka Derisma. Milka “served” her evaluation like a “meal” with an appetizer, a main course (“We might not like to eat the veggies… but they are good for us!”) and a dessert! Great job Milka! The Legal Eagles Team of Educationalists (LETOE) was an all-star team of functionaries of Grammarian Dr. Veronica Boaz, AH Counter Diane Hart CC, Timer Toni Crabtree, Celluloid Expressionist Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Malita Clarke CC. We also had two guests who were most impressed with the meeting: Katherine Schwab and Bailey Hammer. Katherine and Bailey were both enthusiastic in their comment about the meeting and plan to return.   This was a meeting that might cause a lawsuit for being “too good!”   

At the October 25, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Trick or Treat” theme meeting we had mostly treats because 1st time Toastmaster Toni Crabtree came prepared with many interesting and surprising facts about the history of trick or treating that, we found out, goes back two millennia! Toni did a fabulous job of entertaining and educating us about the spooky past of Halloween. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was “not so scary” as the Table Topics Master receiving some brilliant answers from both club members and guests alike. The first question was asked of Bekah Keyes requesting a Halloween story from her past. She told us about a time when she had to dress as a “hobo” which seemed to work well for collecting candy. Malita Clarke CC was asked to tell us of a nightmare that she had. She said a dream of a wardrobe malfunction happening at an important work meeting haunted her. Steve Wood CC was asked if Halloween had become an adult holiday. Steve said that it had morphed into that because adults did not want to emotionally “let go” of Halloween. Our returning guest Angelina Cyprich was asked what was the best Halloween costume she had ever seen. Angelina told about a fellow office worker who took costumes to the “next level” but she was most impressed with a Statue of Liberty costume. Ken Blake ACG, ALB was asked what his favorite candy was. Ken instead told of his least favorite candy: chocolate bars, because he ate the whole bag and had to give out money to the kids that came to the door. Another guest Lindsey Franco when asked what her favorite monster was answered “the Cookie Monster” of Sesame Street fame. Asked to name his favorite “scary movie” Adam Heltemes CC fondly remembered being terrified by the Jason character of the “Friday the 13th” films. Jim Stitt was asked to make up a ghost story, or tell us a real one. He remembered watching the movie “The Exorcist” and then going home to have his TV and other electrical equipment go on and off with out any reasonable explanation. Diane Hart CC was asked to tell us about a time that she was “really scared about something.” She told about a time that she saw Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic “Psycho” and was afraid to take a shower. The last question was for Ralph Jean-Paul. He described what he would be wearing for this Halloween. He and his friends were putting together a “reverse A Team” that is,  if they can talk his friend into getting a haircut like Mr. T! We had two dazzling speeches starting with some unforgettable storytelling by Dr. Veronica Boaz titled “Sink a Boat, Get a Check!’ from a story in her upcoming e-book “The Cracker Chronicles” coming out in 2013. It featured a bunch of friends who totally botched an insurance fraud scheme with some really funny results. Also scoring high marks was a humorous speech titled “The Road to the White House” by Stokley Gittens ACB who both announced his candidacy for President of the United States… and withdrew from the race… in the same speech! Stolkey’s speech was truly hilarious, but I think he still might have won over some voters! Ken Walley ATMG, CL also doubled as the General Evaluator and had the honor of introducing visiting Toastmaster Robert Donenfeld DTM as well as our own Rodney Higgins ATMB as evaluators. Both gave excellent appraisals of the speeches. Some of the best treats of this meeting came from the Dialogue and Measurement Verification Faction (DMVF) who consisted of Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACB, CL, Timer Adam Heltemes CC, AH Counter Jim Stitt, Imaginative Arts Engineer Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Bekah Keyes. Club #28 was blessed with a large number of guests on this evening including returning guest Angelina Cyprich, Robert Donenfeld DTM and Ralph Jean-Paul as well as a first time visitor Lindsey Franco, all of them added warm and positive comment about the evening at the end of the meeting. The only scary thing about this meeting was how good it was!

At the October 17th 2012 “Dreams and Nightmares” special “Wednesday edition” of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 we had a brilliant, powerful and truly interesting look into the hidden world of Dreams and Nightmares. Appropriately enough acting Sgt. at Arms Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL stated the meeting with an invocation using a quote by psychoanalyst Alfred Adler. Leading the meeting as Toastmaster was Dr. Veronica Boaz who gave us a look at the meaning of certain dreams, what dreams are and the puzzles that are still unsolved by this common phenomenon. Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL also did an amazing job as the Table Topics Master. He started the session with a common dream winning the lottery and what you would do with the money? Jennifer Hensley CC answered that she would make sure her family was taken care of and help scouting organizations, and of course, Toastmasters. Asked how she would spend a great deal of money only on herself Toni Crabtree answered that a long vacation and cruise would be in order after paying off all of the bills. Our guest Mike Yarbrough had the next question about having trouble sleeping. He said that was never a problem but oversleeping often was! Another guest, Angelina Cyprich was asked to describe a “vivid and imaginative dream.” She remember two completely different dreams. The first, involving mobsters chasing her and the other dream, a much lighter one, stared he famous Snoopy character from the Peanuts comic strip! On the last question, Walk got our newest member, Jimmy Vo to tell us about an alarming nightmare! We had two incredibly good speeches by Malita Clarke CC and Diane Hart CC. Malita gave wonderful advice in a speech titled “How to Handle Criticism” that included some excellent role-playing with the help of Toni Crabtree. In this very important speech, we learned how to gain from advice and de-personalize criticism. Speaking second, Diane Hart CC entertained us with a presentation titled “An Extemporaneous After Dinner Speech” which (while not really off the cuff ) had us believing that she was left to do someone else’s speech in front of a large group of salespeople. It was hilarious! Both were superb speeches by Malita and Diane! Bravely volunteering to be the General Evaluator for her first time was Toni Crabtree who did  seamless work leading the evaluation session.  Walk and Ken Walley ATMG, CL handled the evaluations. The “Scholars & Scribes Dream Team” (SSDT) was made up of Grammarian Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Timer Jennifer Hensley CC, AH Counter Bekah Keyes, Silver Screen Executive Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Jimmy Vo  At the end of the meeting we had wonderful feedback from our two guests Angelina Cyprich and Mike Yarbrough. The best news of the evening was that Jimmy Vo joined the club at the start of the meeting. Welcome to Club #28 Jimmy! This was a truly excellent evening you might say it was like a dream come true!

At the Oct 11th 2012 “October” theme meeting started with an Invocation by Rodney Higgins ATMB that kept in our hearts and prayers Laval Brown CC who was in the hospital. Get well soon Laval! Ken Blake ACG, ALB did a fabulous job as our Toastmaster giving us many reasons to believe that October is the greatest month of the year. This included October’s wonderful weather as well as being “Name Your Car” month. Also adding to the greatness of the month was Table Topics Master Stokley Gittens ACB, CL who led us in an impressive session! The first question that Stokley had was for Ken Walley ATMG, CL  which was simply what his favorite holiday was. Ken admitted to liking the entire holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Dr. Veronica Boaz was asked to tell us a “Halloween story.” She remembered once dressing up as a “wild bird of paradise” and ending up on the dance floor at the Rosie O’Grady’s Saloon and making a spectacular fall! When Steve Wood CC was asked what his upcoming holiday plans were, he said that he tried to make a “New Year’s Day resolution for every day of the year.” Barbara Cusack ACB, CL answered the next question, “What is the greatest year you ever had?” She said that it was a year shortly after her first marriage in which she found a new freedom for herself and when she first joined Club #28. Diane Hart CC said that childhood would be the place she would like to go back to if she could because it was free from responsibilities and “leashes” of the adult world. Rodney Higgins ATMB was given the last question: “What is your favorite month?” Rodney expressed a great admiration for October and also commented on Diane’s answer that it would be great to go back in time if you could take your knowledge with you. “We are envious of youth, but few of us would want to do it again.” he said. We had simply awesome answers from Ken, Barbara, Veronica, Steve, Rodney and Diane! The meeting got even better with the speeches! Starting with an amazing speech by Milka Dirsma titled “True Celebrity” she told of how she was thrilled to work with Usher, a famous entertainer who seemed larger than life to her. She, later in life was more impressed with working with some more “everyday people”: a crew of firemen who became real “true celebrities.” While she still admires Usher greatly, she came to the realization while working with the Firemen that they had as much of an impact on society but not in such of a spectacular way. Club President Malita Clarke gave an inspired speech titled “The A, B, C, & D’s of Fundraising” that turned out to be attention grabbing, exciting and really clever. Malita put the “fun” in fundraising including contorting her body into the letters A, B, C & D! At the end of the speech she had many people excited about raising money! Stokley Gittens ACB, CL did double duty as an evaluator along with Ken Walley ATMG, CL and best of all, we had a “Halloween Costume Story” from Master Evaluator Jennifer Hensley CC… you simply had to be there! We had the Turning Leaves Speech Adjusters (TLSA) who did a great job of reporting on our speakers. They were functionaries Grammarian Voronica Boaz, Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; AH Counter Diane Hart CC, Movie Maker Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Mike Heidmann. Before we closed we also got to hear from two other toastmasters who had not spoken during the evening. Robin Bara spoke about her “eyes exploding”. Her blood vessels became red due to high blood pressure and while not a serious threat to her health, it would be a good touch to a Halloween costume. Debra Cornell told us how she had heard of Laval and how grateful he was for all of the kindness that this club had showed him while he faced a major operation and recovery.  This meeting was a great example of a club coming together and going beyond just learning and having a great time. One thing is for sure, October is a great month for Toastmaster meetings!

At the October 4th 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28  meeting Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster and we explored the brave new world of Modern Science. Ken told of the wonders of new advances in science including a portable Cat-Scan medical tricorder, a hi-tech imagining camera, the Curiosity Rover on Mars, the Higgs boson confirmation, the Hubble Space Telescope and a genetically programmed cabbage that kills caterpillars with scorpion poison. Steve Wood CC added his scientific insight as the Table Topics Master asking some brilliant questions (that is what scientists do after all) starting with a reminder of the amazing progress in technology, he asked Robin Bara “What cool super-power would you give your cell phone? Robin wanted a phone that would tell her “when to stop talking!” Diana Esteremera ACG, CL was asked to share a lesson or advice she had gained from a teacher. She remembered her High School as a “big party” and the teachers trying to teach either “self-discipline or self-education.” Ken Blake ACG, ALB was asked to give us an accomplishment that made him proud to be a human. He said the automobile qualified and that he was proud of his son following in his footsteps by rebuilding car engines. Steve noted that “we are what we eat” by replacing every cell in our bodies many times over. He then asked Sean Dunn what his most memorable meal would be. Sean had a tough time deciding because he loves to eat, but admitted pizza ranks very high on the list. Mike Heidmann was asked of his earliest memories of falling or being injured. He remembered a childhood memory of the shock of falling into water and feeling helpless. Jim Stitt was asked what he  would learn if he could have a computer chip attached to his brain that would boost his IQ dramatically. He said he would devote his new intelligence to learn science. This was another brilliant Table Topics session. We also had three wonderful speeches. Veronica Boaz lighted the path to happiness in a speech titled “Pursuit of Happiness: Building the Yellow Brick Road” by explaining Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Adding her own experiences to Maslow’s theory, she showed how happiness is more than a concept but instead, it is a journey. Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL gave a powerful and meaningful eulogy to his father that lived up to the title of “I Hope I Am Making You Proud.” Brian described a beautiful man of humor and wit who followed his heart and showed much compassion and love to all of those around him. Stokley Gittens ACB added a speech that put into focus, as well as being titled: “The Importance of Developing Your Speaking Skills.” This speech drove home the point that much success in our lives depends on how we present ourselves to others. Needless to say the evaluators were challenged to find any blemishes with these three excellent efforts. The Master Evaluator was Adam Heltemes CC who had the pleasure of introducing three of Club #28′ most revered instructors;  Walk Jones ACS, CL; Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Diane Hart CC. They, as usual provided expert evaluations of the speeches. Toastmaster Walley noticed that club member Bekah Keyes was in attendance. He asked her perspective on how science plays a role in her job at the Department of Agriculture. Bekah said science was essential and included many different fields such as botany, biology, chemistry and ecology where experimental work goes on every day. Working hard as well were the Grammatical Research Lab Technicians (GRLT) who were Grammarian Walk Jones ACS, CL, Timer Jennifer Hensley CC, Historical Recorder Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Diana Estermera ACG, CL and Vote Counter Sean Dunn. We had past Club #28 member Sean Dunn visit us as well as returning visitor and Toastmaster Diana Esteremera ACG, CL. We also had another guest, Jimmy Veo attend the meeting. When asked by acting President Adam Heltemes CC of their observations of the meeting all of them replied with very high praise.  One could only say about this meeting “EUREKA! We’ve discovered another marvelous meeting!”

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 27th 2012 “Fall Sports” themed meeting scored a TOUCHDOWN! Walk Jones ACS, CL gave us a verbal skybox view of the upcoming football season, baseball playoffs, golf challenges, basketball pre-season and thrilling outdoor sports that await us in the next few months. Walk got everyone so fired up that the meeting seemed like a Championship speaking competition. Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL as the Table Topics Master directed an awesome table topics session starting with his first question pitched to Ken Blake ACG, ALB asking him what his favorite sport was and why should we watch it. Ken replied with the surprising answer of “Female Boxing!” Ken explained that it was a legitimate Olympic sport featuring truly hard-fought matches. The next question that Brian served up was to Veronica Boaz: “If you could hold one world record in any sport what would it be?” Veronica stated that she would like to be a world champion figure skater! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked what his “Personal Anthem” would be if he had to adopt one like a sports team. Ken W. was stumped by this question but ended up choosing The Who’s rock masterpiece “My Generation“. Handing off the next question to Jim Stitt, Brian asked if race car driving was “really a sport?” Jim said it was because of the skill involved and the deep tradition of race car driving. He gave an example of the “Alan Kulwicki Polish Victory Lap” to underscore the camaraderie and respect among the NASCAR drivers. Milka Derisma was asked if she ever had had an embarrassing sports moment. Milka remembered a coach telling her that perhaps she should try out of the basketball team only to find out that she was “unable to get the hang of” dribbling the ball. She made the cheerleading squad however and exclaimed “Cheerleading is a true sport!” All of the answers for this session were a “slam-dunk!” The two speeches that we had were right on target as well. Bekah Keyes gave her Ice Breaker speech titled “Master Inspector!” . Little did we know about the brave Department of Agriculture agents who are working so hard to keep the world safe! She told us about a full and exciting life for someone so young. It was a brilliant 1st speech. Congratulations Bekah! Adam Heltemes CC told us the true story of William Tell even after he shot the apple off of his son’s head. Adam had us on the edge of our seats with this classic tale. The evaluation section of the meeting was led by General Evaluator Malita Clarke CC who introduced Stokley Gittens ACB, CL and Ken Walley ATMG, CL who both offered helpful advice to our speakers. The Umpire Crew (UC) for this evening’s meeting were1st time Grammarian Toni Crabtree, AH Counter Veronica Boaz, Timer Jim Stitt, Instant Replay Official Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACG, CL At the end of the meeting we heard from our guests Courtney Williams, Reggie ______ and visiting Toastmaster Edwin Mercado from the  Wyndham Hotel E-Z Speakers Toastmasters Club. All that was missing from their generous comments was “the wave.” You did not have to be a big fan of Toastmasters to see that Club #28 hit this one “out of the park!”

[Editor’s note: I was not at the September 20th, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting but I did get two eye-witness accounts of the meeting. I thank Adam Heltemes CC and Malita Clarke CC for their updates. As I gain more information on this meeting, I will add it to the notes. – KHW]  First, from Adam Heltemes CC: “On September 20th we had an amazing meeting.  Barbara Cusack, ACB, CL , as our Toastmaster gave us a journey with the theme of “Unforgettable Places and People!”    Diane Hart, CC entertained us with fun questions and kept us on our toes during our Table Topics session.  During the speech session, Marco Clavo gave us a glimpse of himself in his Ice Breaker speech.  She offered various control methods that we can utilize for stress during our daily lives.  Toni Crabtree, once again gave a tremendous third speech.”  From Malita Clarke CC: “Speaker Toni Crabtree encouraged us to think twice about what we feed our children.  She educated us about the current childhood obesity epidemic in the United States of American and warned us about BPA’s.  She recommended excellent activities that promote health and wellness as well as fun family time; such as taking a walk together after dinner and planting a garden.  Marcos Clavo “broke the ice” by sharing his personal motto “Life is a Series of Adjustments”  and telling us three things he is doing to better himself ; Dancing lessons, Exercise and Toastmasters.  There will be a test at the end of the year in all three!  As always Diane Hart CC kept us on our toes with some memorable questions about things we will never forget.  Kenneth Guzman lead us in a memorable Invocation and Pledge for the first time!  He’s a pro!  Walk Jones ACS, CL and Rodney Higgins ATMB both gave pointed and actionable advise to incorporate in our next speech!”

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 13th 2012 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests were simply AMAZING! It would not be hyperbole to say that the Club #28 Contests were among the best Toastmasters contests at the club level in Central Florida, if not far beyond! A main reason for the huge success of the contests was first time Contest Master Jennifer Hensley CC who did a remarkable job throughout the evening! The Evaluation Contest featured Walk Jones ACS, CL; Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Ken Blake ACG, ALB. The contest started with a “test “ speech by visiting speaker Garry Bryan. He took us on a “walking tour” of Paris and treated the club to an impressive presentation of which our 3 contestants had to evaluate. All of the evaluations were entertaining, uplifting and helpful. Ken Walley ATMG, CL came in 1st place and Walk Jones ACS, CL took the 2nd place trophy. In the Humorous Speech Contest we had a record five speakers! Diane Hart CC started the contest off with an amusing speech about “Sammy” a young man with a talent for spitting. It was narrated in Diane’s wonderfully unique tongue-in-cheek style. Milka Derisma gave an absolutely hilarious speech titled “My Day as a Baywatch Lifeguard!” In which she used the lessons that she learned watching the TV show Baywatch, to save (if that is the right word) an accident victim in real life! Ken Blake ACG, ALB told about a phone mix-up with a Chinese take-out restaurant titled “Where Are My Messages?” Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave a speech titled “The Curse of Barney Fife!” in which he lamented about reminding people of the nervous high-strung deputy from Mayberry. The final speech was by Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and was titled “Giant!”  Barbara told how she was inspired by the story of David vs. Goliath to stand up to an elementary school bully, with hysterical results. All of the speeches had people laughing and cheering uproariously!  Milka took the 1st place prize and Barbara came in 2nd. A more successful Club #28 Evaluation and Humorous Speech Contest evening would be hard to remember. A sincere “thank you” goes out to all who made this evening so special! Contest Master: Jennifer Hensley CC, Invocation & Pledge and Contest Sgt. at Arms Brian Wheeler ACB, CL;  Chief Judge Janet Beckles ACB, ALB, Area 32 Governor DeLona Ashby CC, Timers Toni Crabtree and Mike Heidmann; Vote Counters Ken Guzmann and Robin Bara; Evaluation “Test” Speaker Garry Bryan, Evaluation Contestants Ken Walley ACG, CL; Walk Jones ACS, CL and Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Humorous Speech Contestants Ken Blake ACG, ALB; Milka Derisma, Diane Hart CC, Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and our Raffle Master Veronica Boaz. Thank you!

If the September 6th 2012 “Change” theme meeting is any indication, one of the things that never change at Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 is the high quality of the meetings. Toni Crabtree started this meeting with an excellent Invocation and Pledge Acting President Adam Heltemes CC introduced another club member that the club has not seen in awhile, Stokley Gittens ACB, CL. Over the past few weeks the club has welcomed back a number of toastmasters who have returned to the fold. Welcome back Stokley! Jennifer Hensley CC was amazing as the meeting Toastmaster telling tales of how even seemingly little things can change lives dramatically. She told a story about a mother that collected pennies for her daughter’s education and ended up with $5000.00! Jennifer told another story about a man in search for a kidney donor for his wife, who found over 250 people willing to be tested to see if they were a match. She spoke of both change on a grand scale, such as Ellis Island in New York introducing 12 million people to a new life and told stories about changes in her own life such as the effects that having children will play in a person’s life. Table Topics master Barbara Cusack ACB, CL also added to the theme with some questions that brought out some great thoughts about change. Jim Stitt was asked what change he would l;ike to make in his own life. Jim said that he would love to become closer to his family as his bothers have moved in different directions in life and he has drifted apart from them. Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL was asked what the biggest change in his life was. The surprising answer was that he was pressed into public speaking and dealing with media due to his business. Brian said that Toastmaster has helped him greatly. Steve Wood CC was asked what are some of the “downfalls” with change. Steve said that the challenges caused by the disruptions in your life, often,  in the long run, make you stronger. Marcos Clavo was asked what his favorite season was. He said it was the time of the year around the Thanksgiving holidays when the family comes together. Toastmaster Robin Bara was asked if she watched Reality TV. She denied it but later admitted to watching the “Real Housewives of Orange County” and other “Real Housewives”  shows. “You know that you should not be watching this trash, but it hard to take your eyes off the screen.” she said. Mike King was asked to tell us about a time in which he had made a change in the life of someone else. Mike told about how he helped other people recover from alcohol addiction and the change it made in their lives. This was a really thought-provoking table topics session.  We had two memorable and very different speeches starting with an Ice Breaker by Jared Schlehuber. His speech, simply titled “Ice Breaker” told about growing up on a farm. Jared described in fascinating detail doing farm chores, making forts with his brother, learning wrestling and football. He spoke of being incredibly active and almost burning down a barn, among other adventures. After High School Jared became involved in drugs and alcohol the result of which was a horrible car accident that left him wheelchair bound. Jared stated that the accident changed him for the better and that he looks upon it now as a blessing. Jared’s Ice Breaker was a powerful speech that left us looking forward to future presentations. Congratulations Jared. Walk Jones ACS, CL gave another impressive speech this one from the Toastmasters International “Better Club Series” titled “Better Introductions”  Walk stressed the importance of giving sharp and intriguing introductions. He gave examples, even using his own introduction as to ways to spice up a mundane part of most presentations. Speaking of spicing up a role, Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the General Evaluator, gave an impassioned “meeting review” in which he heaped praise upon the Toastmaster Jennifer Heansley CC, the excellent table topics, the featured speakers and the two brilliant evaluations given by Adam Heltemes CC and Diane Hart CC. Ken mentioned in his meeting review that toastmaster Rodney Higgins ATMB had not been given a chance to speak. Jennifer soon gave him that chance with a question she asked “What was the most important life changing event of his life?” Rodney said he could related to Jared’s speech because he too was involved in a major accident. Another passenger was killed and his leg was broken in 16 different places. He told about learning how to turn a “disability into to an inconvenience.” Change was also a theme in selecting the functionaries for the Changing Speakers for the Better Committee (CPBC) as a number of toastmasters filled open roles including new Club #28 member Bekah Keyes as the Grammarian who served along with Timer Mike Heidmann, AH Counter Toni Crabtree and Media Consultant Steve Wood CC. Most of our guests were past members or have visited enough to be part of our family: Jim Stitt, Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL; Diana Estermera ACG, CL; Stokley Gittens ACB, CL and Bekah Keyes. Jim and Bryan said they planned on renewing their membership and Bekah joined the club by transfer! Welcome Bekah! In a Club that is used to change, it is good to see that the changes always seem to make the club better and stronger. I hope that never changes.

The August 30, 2012 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Hobbies” theme meeting showed that one of the best hobbies one can have is being a Toastmaster! You had to earn the right to attend this meeting as a powerful storm with gale force winds and dousing rain pummeled the library just before the meeting. Still, the Club #28 members made their way through the downpour! Starting the meeting off with the invocation and pledge and a nod to those brave enough to attend was Diane Hart CC. Serving both as the Acting President and the Toastmaster for the evening was Adam Heltemes CC. Adam did splendid work in both positions. Ass the Toastmaster, Adam told us of many hobbies both common and bizarre. These included playing video games, collecting miniature toy cars, woodworking scrapbooking and Geo-cashing (?). We also learned a lot of fun facts about hobbies as well. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL added to the fun with Table Topics questions that highlighted the club’s love for hobbies! The first question, “What’s your hobby?” went to returning Toastmaster Jim Stitt who told us about his love of SCUBA diving and his dream to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Marcos Clavo was asked if he thought that having a hobby was “good thing.” He said “Yes”, that hobbies bring a “feeling of accomplishment and escape.” Ken Guzman was asked what the downside of having a hobby would be. He said that playing golf was his hobby and the downside was that it could get a little expensive. Toni Crabtree was asked about her “favorite personal hobby experience.”  She said it was the time that she was Birding and saw the rare and elusive Trogan bird in her campsite after spending the entire day in the woods looking for it! Diane Hart CC answered the question of what the strangest hobby she had ever heard of and she noted that Jeffery Dahmer had a “hobby” of serial killing! “A hobby does not have to be accepted by others to be a hobby.” She said. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked “what hobby are you not presently doing but would love to try.?” Barbara said that Jim’s answer of being a SCUBA diver inspired her. A popular hobby that another returning Club #28 member, Jared Schlehuber would NOT recommend was Cross Country Extreme Cycling. Jared described it as a sport which just got him both lost and exhausted. Steve Wood CC spoke of a hobby that was very expensive that he would love to do again: flying an airplane! E.J. Jones spoke of a “hobby that was fun and healthy.” She picked watching the sunrise and enjoying the beauty of nature. All of the answers were incredibly articulate and gave an insight into how many of us find joy and meaning through hobbies. The speeches also brought joy and meaning as two Club #28 veterans presented speeches. Ken Walley ATMG, CL went first with a speech titled “Racing the Reaper” in which he spoke on the expanding human life expectancy. Ken used a number of different stories and a lot of facts to trace how we are living longer now than ever before.  Ken noted a 101 year old paraglider and a 93 year old Track and Field star among many others examples in his speech. James Waters ACB, CL speech titled “Toastmasters Is Never Far Away” told of a trip to Chicago in which he visited a number of Toastmaster clubs there. He painted wonderful word pictures as he told about the many interesting clubs he attended including The Sgt. Mundy Toastmasters Club, The Cook County Toastmasters Club, The Lakeview Toastmasters and the Windy City Professionals Speakers Club. It was fascinating to hear the different “personalities” of each club. Jared Schlehuber volunteered to try his hand at being the Master Evaluator and he did an excellent job for his 1st time in the position. He had help from two of the best evaluators at Club #28: Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who evaluated Ken W’s speech and Ken Blake ACG, ALB who evaluated James’s speech. Also helping to bring some sunshine to the meeting was the Syntax Hobby Club (SHC) consisting of Grammarian E.J. Jones, Timer Ken Guzman, AH Counter Marcos Clavo, Celluloid Imprint Maestro Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Jim Stitt.  At the end of the meeting, Acting President Adam Heltemes CC asked our guest Diana Estermera ACG, CL to describe what it was like coming to the meeting. Diana told a tale of heroic labors to cross flooded streets, breach accident infested traffic jams and battle intense rain and wind! Amazingly, she said that this meeting was well worth the effort!

The August 23, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Oh Death, Where Is Thy Sting?” theme was a meeting to die for! The whole meeting room came to life as Sgt. at Arms. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL called the meeting to order, delivered the Invocation and led the club in the Pledge to the Flag. Adam Heltemes CC once again took the reins as the acting president and introduced the always entertaining Toastmaster of the evening Diane Hart CC. Even though the theme centered around “death”, the meeting room was no morgue! Diane focused on the “lighter side of death”, using gallows humor, dark jokes and personal stories to bring about one of the most humorous, and fun, Club #28 meetings ever. Table Topics Master Adam Heltemes CC as well had the entire club sharing the funny, the odd and the just plain weird sides of passing away. His first question was to Mike King. He was asked “What is the worst part about growing old?” Mike said that with age you “grow in wisdom” but you also “slow down a lot.” He also noted that his knees hurt more. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked to tell us a “funeral story” After commenting that some “weddings are more like funerals” she remembered going to a family funeral and no one know who this one person was who came to pay his respects and eat the food. Steve Wood CC was asked to tell a “funny death story”. Steve, as a teenager said that he rigged a car horn to a supercharged air compressor and tried to scare old  people out of the streets in St. Petersburg. “It didn’t work. They were either too deaf or could not be trained.” Steve also said “The only thing in life that is required is death… Everything else is optional.” Returning Club #28 Toastmaster Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL was asked to tell a “haunting” story. He told of being in an abandoned house and hearing noises but they could never find out where they came from. Another past Club #28 member, Sean Dunn was asked how he would “pimp” a hearse. Sean gave a very detailed description of how he would put in a massive engine, paint it black with flames, add a bar & TV in the back with a kick-butt sound system. The last question went to guest Iris Mora as to where and how she would like her remains deposited. She would like to be shot into space on a rocket! This Table Topics session was really a lot of fun. We had two awesome speakers starting with Toni Crabtree who explained to us “super foods” in a speech titled “Go Green!”  Toni brought samples of Spinach, Kale and Bok Choy and told us the “dark side” as well as the healthy aspects of these amazing foods. The best part of her speech though is when she got everyone to sing “Popeye the Sailor Man“! A very different subject was spotlighted in a speech by Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL titled “Systematic Theology”  Walk covered the 8 areas of classical theology: Theology, Christology, Pneumatology, Anthropology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Epistemology and Eschatology. He covered important topics such as the need for categorization, interlocking doctrines and using language in context. It was a very informative and interesting speech. The Evaluation section of the meeting was headed by Ken Blake ATMG, ALB as the General Evaluator. Along with a number of other returning Toastmasters, Ken was pleased to introduce Jamie Waters ACB, CL who had also been away from Club #28 for a while. Jamie, along with Ken Walley ATMG, CL gave the evaluations for Walk and Toni respectively. Both evaluations were strong in thought and preparation. Also adding life to the meeting was the work of the Language Crypt & Script Diggers (LC&SD) who were assembled as Grammarian Dr. Veronica Boaz, AH Counter and guest Bekah Keys, Celluloid Creator Steve Wood CC, Timer Rodney Higgins ATMB and Vote Counter Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL. All of our guests Brian Wheeler ATMB, CL; Sean Dunn, Bekah Keyes and Iris Mora had high praise for the meeting and all pledged to return! This meeting just knocked em’ dead!

The August 16, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had a theme that is a theme for all Toastmasters: “Courage!” Bravely starting off the meeting was returning guest Aaron Pierre who led us in an Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. Showing more daring was Club #28 Vice President Adam Heltemes CC who filled in at the last minute as the Acting President. Adam introduced the leader of the meeting Veronica Boaz. She appropriately showed her own impressive mettle, by volunteering to serve as the Toastmaster for her first time! Veronica excelled in her new role, regaling us with stories of bravery and valor that were laced with historic, inspirational and personal examples. Also helping to make this evening a moving tribute to the courageous was Table Topics Master Jennifer Hensley CC. Jennifer brought some amazing questions to excite us and she started with one for Steve Wood CC: “What does courage mean to you?” Steve admitted that all he could think about the movie “The Wizard of OZ” especially the character of the “Cowardly Lion”. Steve said that overcoming those fears that come from within to improve yourself shows great courage. Aaron Pierre was asked to give an example of someone who defined courage. He picked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an example and gave a passionate discourse about Dr. King’s unflinching ability to face hatred and defeat it with boldness and principle. Michael Whittaker was asked “what is a courageous act that you have done?” He said that “speaking at a Toastmasters meeting” is something that takes a lot of guts for him to do, but Michael found that it is “liberating for him to face his fears.” Janet Madden was asked to name a movie that showed noble heroism  Like Steve, she mentioned TheWizard of Oz movie saying that it inspired her as a young girl even more than she might have thought it did after she reached adulthood. Toastmaster Ken Guzman was challenged to give  an example of bravery from someone that had been in the news recently. Ken picked the Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius who competed in an Olympic track and field event despite having lost both of his legs. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if he could remember a book that was about courage. Ken recalled reading the stories of holocaust survivors of World War II death camps and the harrowing stories they told of survival and escape. This was more than just the usual Table Topics session, Jennifer brought out answers from our members that were sure to inspire and encourage all who listened for a good deal of time to come. Another act of bravery was by Mike King who had been away from the club for a few weeks. Upon learning that one of our speakers did not show up for the meeting, he fearlessly put himself on the line and gave an extemporaneous speech titled “Where Has Michael Been?” In it, we found out that the world of Telephone Solicitors can be a hellish nightmare and to stay far, far away from any kind of job like that. We also found out that he got a great deal on a car. Mike was funny, passionate and captivating with this off- the- cuff speech. Diane Hart CC earned her Competent Communicator Award with a memorable 10th speech titled “A Night on The Town” about a long ago crazy, wild night of her youth that involved swimming in closed public pools, running from “the dogs” and freezing in a movie theater while soaking wet! The story had a moral but it was simply AMAZING just listening to Diane telling this tale! Congratulations Diane! Master Evaluator and another missing toastmaster, Laval Brown CC returned to guide the evaluations section of the meeting. Laval showed that he had not lost his touch by doing a superb job of introducing the evaluators and giving an excellent meeting review. Laval brought up two of Club #28 best evaluators to the lectern: Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Both of them gave a clinic in how to give solid advice and uplifting praise. The The “Courageous Communicator Correctors” (CCC) was put together with a team of all-star functionaries that featured Grammarian Adam Heltemes CC; 1st time Timer Marcos Clavo, AH Counter Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Film Mogul Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Ken Guzman. On a night in which the club played tribute to the courageous,  Diane Hart CC was honored with a standing ovation for earning her CC award, which seemed very fitting indeed. More good news was announced that Marcos Clavo became our newest member! Welcome Marcos! When it comes to fearlessness, when it comes to courage, when it comes to a really wonderful evening… look no farther than Club #28!

August 9, 2012 Orlando Club Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was all about a city that has been in the news often lately – the great city of London, England! Toastmaster Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL led us through an evening thinking about and discussing London. He also introduced the evening’s Table Topics Master, Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz. Veronica asked many thought-provoking questions based on the night’s theme. Steve Wood CC fielded the first question regarding where he would go to visit if he could travel back in time. Steve spoke about visiting in the time of dinosaurs, even though the mosquitoes might be large. He also mentioned finding out things like who shot JFK, and bringing a camera on a visit. Steve also mentioned selling stocks in the future. Returning guest Aaron Pierre was asked to talk about a place he would visit in London and why. Aaron mentioned that he had visited London once before on an ambassador trip with 40 other people from Orlando and Apopka. Although he was able to visit a pub called the Silver Cross at the age of 16 since the drinking age is lower in London, he did not partake in drinking since he was on this trip. Aaron says if he returned to London he would plan to go back to the Silver Cross to finally have that drink he deserved six years ago. Guest Marcos Clavo was asked to relay what it means to never give in. Marcos responded that it means to him to never give up, persevere and never give in to fear. Guest Yvonne Monte was asked to describe what she would do if she was Queen of the United States for the day. Yvonne said that she would improve health care. Toastmaster Adam Heltemes CC was asked to discuss personal attacks on people in social media. He responded that Twitter attacks sometimes seem to be out there just to get people to respond. Returning guest and visiting guest Dennis Fokus was asked to share his favorite musical group from Britain. Dennis talked about Led Zeppelin, the “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven“, and he followed it with an impressive impersonation of Robert Plant singing the Immigrant Song.  Dennis says that he no longer listens to rock music.  Returning guest Kenneth Guzman was asked to discuss a historical city he would like to visit and tell us why. He mentioned that you can have a good time in Rome. After a fun and informative Table Topics session, the meeting moved into the prepared speech phase. Jennifer Hensley CC presented a speech from the Entertaining Speaker manual entitled “My Shining Moments”.  In this speech, Jennifer discussed her own definition of shining moments, including locking her toddler son in the car, nearly burning down her house by overcooking a frozen dessert in her microwave, and a huge equipment snafu that occurred at work one night. Her lessons from these events were to look before you lock, read your directions thoroughly, and test your equipment completely. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL  presented an advanced speech entitled “Adolescent Scoliosis Brace Therapy”. In his speech, Ken talked to us about this debilitating disease of the spine, and how around the ages of 11 to 14 doctors tend to notice it in adolescents. Ken spoke about treatment methods – observation, surgery and braces, which could sometimes be very rigid. But braces can now be flexible and can allow children to play sports and live a more normal life. Very informative speech, Ken! After the speeches, we had two great evaluations from Malita Clarke CC and Ken Blake ACG, CL in a session led by General Evaluator Adam Heltemes CC. This meeting could not have been the  performance worthy of the Olympics without the night’s functionaries. Toastmaster Michael Heidmann served as Grammarian.  Barbara Cusack ACB, CL kept us running on time as the Timer. Guest Dennis Fokus served as AH counter, and another guest Kenneth Guzman was our Vote Counter. We were fortunate enough to have many guests, including Dennis Fokus, Aaron Pierre, Marcos Clavo, Yvonne Monte and Andrew Guest. This meeting scored perfect “10’s”! [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was all about “Blunders”! Returning guest Aaron Pierre led the evening by providing an Invocation from Henry Ford and then leading in giving the pledge. Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL started the meeting off by providing some blunders in regards to registered voters. Two facts she mentioned were that 1.8 million deceased Americans were found to still be registered to vote and that during the 2008 election 2.2 million votes were lost due to registration issues. Toastmaster Steve Wood CC was then introduced at the Table Topics Master. The first question of the evening went to Toastmaster Diane Hart.  Diane was asked to talk about a blunder someone else made that she was able to learn from. Diane discussed a time when she was at a train station and was caught in a flash mob with music from West Side Story. Toastmaster Patti Stuart then discussed the biggest blunder she ever made. When working as a nurse in Tennessee, Patti was told that “John Roberts had passed away”, but she did not go in to verify his identity. She called John’s mother-in-law to let her know, but it turned out that it was not Mr. Roberts who passed away after all! Patti had to quickly call the mother-in-law back before she ended up on her way to a funeral that was not going to happen since John Roberts was not in fact, dead. Toastmaster Toni Crabtree was asked about a favorite missed opportunity blunder. Toni recounted the story of being a 19-year-old college student in love, and missing out on an opportunity to study in Spain. Guest Kenneth Guzman was asked to talk about a failure to communicate blunder. Kenneth talked about riding motorcycles and visiting his now-wife in Tallahassee. Gas was running low in his motorcycle and at the last minute he turned off to try and stop for some. But instead he ended up running out of pavement and ending up in the grass. He was still able to get up and eventually drive the rest of the way to Tallahassee. Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz recounted her favorite blunder. One time Veronica emphatically stated that otters swim very fast in Canada, or could swim as fast as a boat. Her husband gently let her know that otters do not swim at 65 miles per hour. Guest Aaron Pierre talked about his most expensive blunder, which was purchasing new jeans right before a month-long trip. When he came home, he realized he gained weight and his pants no longer fit. They were actually now up to his ankles! In between the questions, Steve Wood CC recounted some famous advertising blunders, including the Chevy Nova car (No- va = No Go in Spanish) and the infamous ad line: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux!”  Next, the meeting moved into the prepared speech segment. Toastmaster Adam Heltemes CC presented his speech entitled “Skills for Success”. Adam masterfully told us how we, as Toastmasters, are learning a skill. He recounted how, by learning more about public speaking, we are really not much different than sports superstars Michael Phelps, Emmitt Smith and Earl Campbell. Adam reminded us that we can use that fear of speaking and harness that adrenaline, and that is what he has done in school and now in Toastmasters. Great job and Congratulations Adam! Toastmaster Frank Adams CC then gave an advanced speech entitled “Sweet Redemption”. In this speech, Frank discussed how God calls for us to live a life of righteousness and sometimes that does include sacrifice. If we accept these sacrifices, they can bring us a closer relationship with God. Frank illustrated this with the incorporation of the story of Gomer and Hosea from biblical times. Hosea married Gomer, who was a prostitute and she eventually strayed back to the profession. He decided he could not deal with that and let her go. But when Gomer was down on her luck, Hosea gave up all of his worldly possessions to get her back and showing unconditional love. Great speech, Frank! The speeches were followed General Evaluator Jennifer Hensley CC and by two top evaluations by Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL  and visiting Toastmaster Diana Estremera ACG, CL. The evening would have been filled with blunders if not for our fantastic Blunder Counters Co-Op (BCCO) group of functionaries. Dr. Veronica Boaz served as the evening’s Grammarian. Toastmaster Janet Madden kept us on track as the Timer. Guest Kenneth Guzman stepped in as the Ah Counter, and Toni Crabtree served as Vote Counter. A great time was had by all, and that is definitely no blunder! [KHW/ jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting on June 26th had a theme of humor, and there was plenty of humor to go around! Guest Kai Porter led us in an Invocation using a quote from Little Women author Louisa May Alcott and Pledge.  Toastmaster Diane Hart was then introduced as the evening’s Toastmaster, and she introduced the theme, “Humor – Its Many Forms: From Knee Slapper to Groaner!” and asked for audience participation as well. She discussed how laughter is really the best medicine. Diane also pointed out some cultural oxymoron, including “customer service” and “civil war”. Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz served as the night’s Table Topics Master. She also provided information about the positive effects of laughter, including that laughing relaxes the whole body and actually can leave muscles relaxed for almost 45 minutes after a good laugh. The first question of the night went to Club 28 President Malita Clarke CC. Malita was asked to tell a story about the last time she really laughed. Malita talked about laughing so hard at her aunt’s once that she had to run to the bathroom. Another time involved attending a movie with her father who found humor in things that she did not … but went to a movie with him and ended up giggling unexpectedly instead. Visiting Toastmaster Dennis Fokus was asked to discuss who his favorite comedian is and why. Dennis said there are so many comedians, but he actually finds humor in children. At family gatherings, sometimes the children would make the adults laugh so hard that tears would be streaming down their cheeks. Guest Kai Porter was asked about what her favorite sitcom was and why. Kai responded that she really didn’t have a favorite sitcom, but finds humor in watching the ladies from Real Housewives of New Jersey and Atlanta. Kai can watch these shows and think that she is not like these people in the shows. Guest Jean Jeune was asked to relay his favorite joke. Jean told a funny joke about a young man who went to college and became president of his fraternity. When the young man tells his mother over the phone that he volunteered to take care of the fraternity’s pet goat, his mom replied, “Johnny, what about the smell?” The young man responded, “Don’t worry mom, the goat will get used to it!” Returning guest Aaron Pierre was asked to tell a story about a practical joke that he played on someone, or one played on him. He told a cautionary tale about a practical joke that was played on him by a college roommate that he was later able to turn around on that same roommate. Aaron reminded us that the victim always gets the last laugh in the end. Next we moved on to the prepared speeches, and there were two fabulous speakers. The first speaker was Toastmaster Toni Crabtree presenting her Icebreaker speech. Toni masterfully walked us through where she was from, what she does for a living, and if she has any children. Toni spoke about being from a family of 6 and living in Panama City, Florida. She took us on a journey through growing up there by the bay, building forts, and spending time with her cousins. After 26 years of teaching, training and mentoring, Toni was ready for new challenges. Five years ago, she made some dramatic and positive life changes that led to her being able to stop medications and after 4 years she is still on no maintenance medications. Toni now works as a Holistic Health Coach, assisting others to take control of their lives. Although she does not have children of her own, she has 2 grown stepdaughters, 2 sons-in-laws, nieces and nephews, and all of the children she has taught throughout the years. Great speech Toni!  Next was a haunting and powerful speech from Ken Walley ATMG, CL entitled “Questions” Ken reflected on the recent tragedy that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado. Innocent people were murdered at the last place you would think you would get shot – attending a movie. “Although I know that we shouldn’t live in fear, are we really safe?” asked Ken. In this country, shooter James Holmes was able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition in three months. There are actually more warning signs and questions if a person buys multiple aquarium lights and spray paint than amassing large quantities of ammunition. Ken reflected that, “It is way too easy to get a hold of ammunition and automatic weapons. Does anyone really need a combat rifle for personal use?”  Then we have the question of motive. What motivated James Holmes to do such a horrible act? This man had been a bright student who suddenly quit his studies and becomes “the Joker?” He somehow related to this character and went to great lengths to do this act. And it really is a only a matter of time until the next massacre happens again. Where will it be? And can we stop it from happening? All of these questions that Ken masterfully brought to our attention simply may not have answers. But he presented a very thought-provoking and powerful speech.  These speeches were followed up by expert evaluations from Toastmasters Ken Blake ACG, ALB and Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. The Master Evaluator , who also did an impressive job was Walk Jones ACS, CL. The evening could not have moved along without the assistance of the Not Laughing AT You Club (NLATYC) of professional functionaries who were comprised of Toastmaster Mike King who served as Grammarian. Steve Wood CC who had double duty as the night’s Timer and Videographer. Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL was the night’s AH Counter, and Jennifer Hensley CC tallied up the votes. We were fortunate to be joined by Visiting Toastmaster Dennis Fokus and additional guests Jean Jeune, Kai Porter, and Aaron Pierre. A great night was had by all in a meeting full of laughing, groans, and much more! [KHW/jch]

With the XXX Olympiad coming to London later in the month, the July 19, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Olympics!” theme meeting won a Toastmasters Gold Medal for the “Fantastic Evening” event! Acting as President, Adam Heltemes starting the meeting by introducing Diane Hart who led us in an inspiring invocation.  Ken Walley ATMG, CL hosted the meeting and covered the theme of “The Olympics!” He gave us a history of the games from the Ancient Greeks to the Modern Olympics, including a ton of facts and trivia as well as a list of athletes to watch during the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London! These included LeBron James in basketball, Lolo Jones in Women’s Track and Field, Maria Sharapova in Tennis, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in Men’s Swimming as well as Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt. Earning a Gold Medal in Table Topics was first time Table Topics Master Mike Heidmann who got some excellent answers from our members and guests. His first question was for Dr. Veronica Boaz asking, “If you could add an event to the Olympics, what would it be? Veronica would like to see “Ballroom Dancing” or even a competition  like the “So You Think You Can Dance?” TV show included. Great idea! Noting that disabled athletes competing in sports events that are also played in the Olympics have been attaining near record results, Mike wondered if prosthetics should be made legal for the games. Steve Wood CC answered that there should be TWO Olympic games, one in which everything was legal, including prosthetics and drugs; and the other games as they are now! Our visiting Area 32 Governor DeLona Ashby CC was asked to tell us what she would say to the IOC to bring the Olympics to Orlando. She tried to convince them with Disney World, cotton candy & popcorn balls. Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL was asked how he stayed in shape. He told about his adventures in cycling. Walk is riding up to 60 miles at a time in his quest to reach 100 miles! Guest Ken Guzman was asked what his favorite event in the Olympics was. Ken answered that it will be Golf when they included it at the next Olympics. Robin Bara told us that her “favorite team or Olympian” was the USA Woman’s Gymnastics Team of the Atlanta Games in 1996 known as the “Magnificent 7″. The last question was asked of our guest Aaron Pierre. He was asked if he had ever visited an Olympic city. He said that he had been to London and had been to parts of England but he was sad he could not be there now for the games. These answers were worthy of the Table Topics Olympics… which by the way are held here at Club #28 in March. We had two World Records… for excellence in speaking!” These of course, were our speeches this evening. Including a speech titled “10,000 NOs!”  by Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who actually filmed a commercial for her Salsa product while inspiring us with a great message about never giving up! Ken Blake ACG, ALB also came through with an inspiring speech titled “After the Olympics!”  about an Olympic Champion, Jimmy Shea who became a professional speaker while overcoming a severe learning disability. Adam Heltemes was in charge of the Evaluation section of the meeting as the Master Evaluator, handing off the baton to two of Club #28 best evaluators: Rodney Higgins ATMB and Frank Adams CC. Both came through with winning advice and high accolades. The International Judging Panel (IJP) consisting of  Grammarian Dr. Veronica Boaz, Timer Toni Crabtree, AH Counter Ken Guzman, Filmogopher Steve Wood CC, and Vote Counter Robin Bara. They awarded a lot of “10s” for our speakers! Kudos go out to guest Ken Guzman for taking on a functionary role at his first Toastmasters meeting! Our guests; Kia Porter, Clare Water, Ken Guzman, Garry Bryan, Aaron Pierre and returning guest Glenn Cameron all were enthusiastic about the meeting and a number of them said that they are considering joining the club! There was no “agony of defeat” at this meeting… only the “thrill of victory!”

The July 12, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Skin Care and Protection” meeting addressed an important subject especially during the summer months. New Sgt. at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL called the meeting to order and introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave the Invocation by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. The Toastmaster for the evening was Malita Clarke CC who warned of the different skin diseases and damage that, if not careful, could strike anyone. These included Acne, Psoriasis, Melanoma, Mersa, Ringworm and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL admitted that the challenge to come up with questions for this topic proved to be quite a trial and yet he managed to come up with some pretty good ones. The first question asked of toastmaster Toni Crabtree was “what is it that you find most remarkable about the human skin?” Toni mentioned a number of things but found it most impressive that skin grows with the rest of the body. Janet Madden was asked what she did to protect herself from skin damage. She had some sensible advice including using a good skin block and seeking shade. When asked why people value a good sun tan, Michael  Heidmann admitted that because of a fair complexion, he was always afraid to get a really good tan. “I am always looking for a better sun block!” said Mike. Robin Bara deftly answered the query about skin care products slowing or reversing aging by saying that noting really slows getting older and you should enjoy being as you are. In his answer about Tattoos and Skin Piercings, Steve Wood CC admitted that he had none and made the observation that while once tans were looked at as being an undesirable mark of the lower-working class; that they had evolved into being highly prized by the leisure class. Our guest, Liza Portanenko was given the choice of being a snake and shedding her skin for a perfect skin on a regular basis or an alligator and not having to ever even worry about her skin. She preferred having perfect skin like the snake every once in a while. Asked to tell a “sunburn story and make it hurt” guest Glenn Cameron told how his father, a man who liked to fish, would get severe burns and blisters… as does Glenn when he goes surfing. Ouch! The last Table Topic was for Adam Heltemes. Adam was asked to tell a story of skin care and protection when he was a teenager. All, including members and guests alike, gave excellent answers. The two prepared speeches this evening were both outstanding as well. Veronica Boaz, who gave a very impressive Ice Breaker speech just a few weeks earlier; returned to the lectern with another extraordinary effort. Her second speech, entitled “Out of Control and Stressed Out” told the secret for managing stress. This speech was full of excellent advice. “Stress is caused by not being in control, the way to gain control, oddly enough is often by… letting go.” Said Veronica, “Ask yourself: ‘Is there anything I can do to change this situation?’ If it cannot be changed, then you must… Let go!” Her speech had wise counsel for everyone who heard it. Rodney Higgins ATMB made another powerful statement with his speech about the legendary football star Earl Campbell titled “A Rose Is a Rose” Rodney told the story about how Mr. Campbell overcame the hardships of drugs and injury as well as the struggle with his son’s fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Earl would later put his life together, throw off his demons and become a successful businessman. It was another brilliantly told story by Rodney. The Evaluations part of the meeting was handled aptly by Barbara Cusack ACB CL who filled the role as General Evaluator. She was fortunate to have two very good speech evaluations by Diane Hart and Alan Brents ACG, CL. Both used much praise and some astute insight. The Tough Hide Society of Task Lords (THSOTL) also played a massive role in the success of the meeting. Being made up of functionaries Grammarian Robin Bara, Timer Michael Heidmann, AH Counter Toni Crabtree, Vote Counter Adam Heltemes and Little Screen Film Creator Steve Wood CC. Both of our guests Glen Cameron and Liza Portanenko were very enthusiastic with their comments at the end of the meeting. This would be of no surprise because one did not have to have a “thick skin” to enjoy this meeting!

The Wednesday, June 27th 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 took the opportunity to have our own celebration of July the 4th! Toastmaster Rodney Higgins ATMB took us on a historic look back to the birth of our nation, as well as a sentimental remembrance of July 4th as we observe it today. Rodney reminded us that founding father John Adams predicted, rightly, that the date would be celebrated for centuries to come but because of the incredibly slow spread of information during the 1770’s most citizens did not even know about the Declaration of independence until August or even September in the colonies! Veronica Boaz, as usual, led an amazing Table Topics session that was worth making the trip to the library by itself. Her first question was to Club #28 president Malita Clarke CC; “What is your favorite fireworks memory. Malita remembered going to the beach and watching the fireworks up and down the coast going off for mile around. Michael Heidmann was asked what make him “most patriotic?” Michael answered that sharing experiences of freedom that we have here in America, especially with those overseas. our guest,  Maiday Guest was asked if she could create a day to celebrate, what would she celebrate? She said that she would choose a whole month to celebrate her thanks for the freedom we have and the libration that we experience in this country. Robin Bara answered the question of what her favorite holiday was, other than a major holiday. Robin said it was her birthday and that she was extremely pleased to have received a hot air balloon ride ticket on her last birthday. Janet Madden was asked later a Table Topic question of what is a great idea to serve on July the 4th. She said that even though hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and the usual fare was all good; that it was being with friends & family  that meant the most. One could almost smell the BBQ and hear the fireworks! There was plenty of vocal fireworks with two brilliant speeches by Michael Whittaker and Patti Stuart. Michael gave us a memorable Ice Breaker titled “An Orator in the Rough” in which he admitted that he was facing a lifelong fear of public speaking. He told of us an impressive past starting in a rural village in Jamaica and becoming an electrical engineer and teacher. He came to the United States and became a citizen where he has now worked in the postal service for 16 years. He reveled that he works on the graveyard shift and that he “gives up sleep time” to come to our meetings! Congratulations on an excellent Ice breaker Michael! Patti’s speech entitled “Look Me In the Eye When I’m Talking To You!” covered one of the most remarkable and interesting of medical phenomenon: Aspersers Syndrome. Noting that the disorder is more common than once believed and that symptoms vary from individual to individual in which often a high level of intelligence is found; Patti made a powerful case for understanding and acceptance toward those who struggle with Aspersers in day-to-day life. Her speech was simply fascinating and compelling. Two of Club #28’s best evaluators: Ken Blake ACG, CL and Walk Jones ACS, CL both brought their “A” games with them in the evaluation section of the meeting. Both of them gave excellent advice and rewarded the speakers by highlighting their strengths. Also leading by example was the General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Ken’s “meeting evaluation” was upbeat with praise for all of the sections of the meeting. He said he was simply “amazed at the high level of quality this meeting had” and he thanked all for showing up on a Wednesday night instead of the usual Thursday night. Another highlight of the evening was the efforts of the Perspicuous Poet Patriots (PPP) of luminary functionaries which featured Grammarian Adam Heltemes, Timer Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL, AH Counter Robin Bara and Vote Counter Michael Heidmann. As standing ovation was called for by President Clarke for Michael Whittaker for the bravery in giving his Ice Breaker speech! Well deserved! Maiday Guest when asked what impression that she had of our meeting said that she was impressed and that she looked forward to returning. We look forward to having her come back. There will be no meeting next week so it was perfect that Club #28 could have celebrated the 4th of July on this night. The fireworks that we had here however were as beautiful as any that you will see next week.       

The June 21, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was like none other in our recent past!  With a bright, timely theme of “Summer,” the evening’s festivities not only featured the installation of new officers leading the way for Club 28 for the next six months, but also we were treated to two Icebreaker speeches! The evening was called to order by Incoming Sergeant at Arms Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Toastmaster Diane Hart conducted the night’s Invocation and Pledge, and then introduced our current Club #28 President, Malita Clarke CC. Malita then gave a rousing introduction to a pillar of Club #28 and Incoming Vice President of Public Relations, Ken Walley  ATMG, CL. As Master of Ceremonies, Ken did a masterful job of incorporating Table Topics and summer-themed questions throughout the meeting. Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley CC was asked to talk about summer activities. She responded that she likes to enjoy the air conditioned indoors, especially after her air conditioner broke down at home last week. Toastmaster Debra Cornell was asked to talk about summer foods. Debra discussed how she likes to buy watermelon during the summer and make watermelon soup! To her, summer is about good fruits and fresh vegetables. Next we moved on to the evening’s featured speakers. Toastmaster Robin Bara gave her Icebreaker speech entitled “My Drunken Uncle”. In her speech, she outlined reasons why she became an Elder Law attorney. Due to poor planning, an uncle that would not consent to the sale of her grandparents’ home, and eventually that home going to auction and being bid on and lost to a neighbor, Robin decided that she wanted to concentrate on this area of law. That way, Robin can help people and everyone can gift to who they want, when they want, and how they want. Great speech! Next up was Toastmaster Michael Heidmann, also presenting an Icebreaker speech. In his speech, entitled “I Won!” Michael took us on a journey through his life up until today. Michael won an award the last time he gave a speech… That speech was for the Modern Woodmen of America in 1992! Michael also told us about being the lion tamer in the kindergarten circus, living in College Park, winning first place for a science project and attending Florida State University. He currently works for his dad and is a Certified Building Contractor. He joined Toastmasters to make sure his speaking ability did not peak in the 5th grade. Great job! The speeches were followed by two excellent evaluations by two of the club’s most respected members incoming Vice President of Education Adam Heltemes and Patti Stuart. Both evaluations had some great ideas for the speakers and focused on the strengths of the presenters. Next, Toastmaster Rodney Higgins ATMB was asked about the summer, and he spoke about the importance of wearing a hat, as he does regularly. He knows many people with melanoma issues. Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz, also the Incoming Vice President of Membership, was asked about a summer memory. In her response, she discussed being in Quebec and a particularly adventurous incident that happened when she went boating with her father at the age of eleven.  Her father loved boating but was not very good at it, and during one particular incident he ended up knocking Veronica into the water while trying to get the boat’s spinnaker down. Then we moved into the heart of the evening, the Induction of New Officers who will serve from July 2012 – December 2012.

The new officers are as follows:

Sergeant at Arms:                                 Barbara Cusack ACB, CL

Treasurer:                                              Walk Jones ACS, CL
Secretary:                                              Jennifer Hensley CC

Vice President of Public Relations:      Ken Walley ATMG, CL

Vice President of Membership:            Dr. Veronica Boaz

Vice President of Education:                Adam Heltemes

President:                                              Malita Clarke CC

 

Outgoing Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL was on hand to perform the ceremony. the last time he would do as our Area Governor. As he described the different duties of the officers, each leader would pass the gavel to the next officer each taking a pledge to serve to the best of their abilities. Those present took an oath to support their new leaders throughout the next term. After the Induction Ceremony, an ovation was given to both the outgoing and new club officers. With gavel in hand, President Malita Clarke CC approached the lectern to give her Second Inaugural Address. She asked us to think about what our visions are and how Toastmasters can help us get there. She talked about utilizing Toastmasters to practice and experiment. Find a mentor if you need one at Toastmasters. And Malita also mentioned using Toastmasters as a way to network. “Just like Tiger Woods had to practice his swing to become as good as he is, so do we when it comes to improving as public speakers.” Also this evening we were joined by two special guests: Area 32 Governor DeLona Ashby CC stopped by, as well as past Area Governor Diana Estremera ACG, CL. DeLona was invited to speak and introduced herself to the club and pledged to do her best to keep the success of Area 32 going in the future. She noted that Club #28 was a large part of that success. MC Ken Walley ATMG, CL led the club in standing ovations for Robin and Michael for giving their Ice Breaker speeches as well as to Malita for her leadership as our President.  The evening was enjoyed by all. It was definitely a bright and sunny start to a summer with Toastmasters! {KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 14, 2012 “Bright Lights, Big City!” theme meeting had enough sparkle to be seen from outer space! Diane Hart started the meeting with the Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. Like a visitor being overwhelmed by the skyscrapers of the New York City skyline, all of those assembled were completely awed with Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley CC and her descriptions of a number of U.S. cities. Jennifer took us on a tour of such places as Boston Mass., Yonkers NY, Danberry Conn., Fargo ND, Topeka, Kansas; Savannah SC and of course, Orlando, Florida. It was like taking a great trip without having to pack anything! If Jennifer’s focus was on “Big City!” then Table Topics Master Barbara Cusack ACB, CL put the light on “Bright Lights!” Her first foray was asked of Dr. Veronica Boaz, questioning if she had ever been awed by the lights of a city. “Yes!” was the answer from Veronica who replied with  “The City of Light! Paris!” She described viewing the grandeur of the Arc de Triomphe and the sheer beauty of the Champs-Elysees lit up at night. Steve Wood CC was given a more “practical” query; he was asked to compare the new LED light bulb to the old-style incandescent bulb. Steve admitted that he put thought into the best way to save on lighting his house, even going so far as to write down the dates that he replaced bulbs and has not reached a result on if it is really a better deal to go with the new more costly but effective new bulbs. Club #28’s newest member Toni Crabtree was asked if she liked to view the Christmas lights during the holiday season. Toni told us of her favorite place to view the best house displays and how the beautiful lights gave her a sense of joy and comfort. Noting the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” Barbara asked Adam Heltemes that when the aliens attempt to communicate with us, will they use lights? Adam said that lights would be much to “old fashioned” for aliens and that direct communication telepathically would be more likely. Following up on her last question, Barbara asked Patti Stuart if she believed in UFOs. Patti did not believe in aliens from outer space but did believe that if there were UFOs that they would be invisible and not so “obnoxiously seen.” Our two speeches on this evening glowed with the light of sheer oratory brilliance. Starting with Milka Derisma‘s 3rd speech titled “A Heroes’ Hero!”. This was a speech that far exceed the requirements for a basic manual project. Milka, posing as a super-hero; complete with a costume and a cape, used the life of Jesus to show how we could better our existence by using him as an guide. “No matter what faith you believe in, you can gain super-powers from using Jesus as an example in your own life.” said Milka. She noted Loving Unconditionally, Forgiveness, Sacrificially Giving, “loving past and in spite of human flaws” and “not letting the world take control of you” as just some of the “super powers” you could learn from the life of Jesus. The second speaker James Waters ACB, CL gave another powerful speech, titled “You Asked For It”  that told of his survival and recovery from an extremely serious motorcycle accident. The accident put James in a coma for over two weeks, caused a closed head injury, internal bleeding, a broken jaw, a broken leg and a broken arm; major eye damage on his right side, ongoing grand mal seizures and 50% hearing loss in one ear. James descriptions of his fight to recover and lead a normal life was mixed with a healthy dose of humor (“this speech is not an excuse for my golf game”) and an overwhelming infusion of inspiration. Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC led the evaluation part of the meeting as the General Evaluator and introduced two of Club #28 more noted evaluators, Frank Adams CC and Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Frank, giving Milka’s evaluation said it must be “destiny’ that a seminary candidate was giving an evaluation on a speech about Jesus. Ken called James’s speech “the best speech that he has ever given” and that he had learned much that he had never realized about his friend of many years. Malita in her meeting evaluation praised all aspects of the meeting. She noted the work of the Expressions Valuation Agency (EVA) a group of dedicated functionaries including Grammarian Dr. Veronica Boaz, Timer Adam Heltemes, Assistant Timer Toni Crabtree, AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, CL, Motion Picture Producer Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Patti Stuart. A fantastic job was done by all. We had no guests this evening but we did have a great reason to celebrate as Toni Crabtree joined our club! Welcome Toni! The theme of “Bright Lights, Big City!” was a great subject and there can be no doubt that from Topeka to Yonkers and from Fargo to Savannah, there was no better Toastmaster meeting anywhere than the one we had right here in Orlando! [KHW/jch]

The June 7th 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Pets: How We Love Them” theme meeting was the “cat’s meow” of toastmaster meetings! Ken Blake ACG, CL started the gathering with a moving Invocation and led us in the Pledge to the Flag. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL took the lead as our Toastmaster for the evening and had tons of great facts about how humans benefit from of the company of pets, including both animals and owners living longer and happier lives themselves! Also returning as the Table Topic Master was Dr. Veronica Boaz who related that she gained some of her material from her own dogs, “Yogi” and “Boo-Boo”. Observing that dogs can be extremely loyal, Veronica asked Robin Bara if she knew of a story about the dedication of a pet towards its owner. Robin told an stirring story about a dog who was adopted by a business establishment and became treasured by all who worked there. Frank Adams CC was asked about any pets that he has owed or still owns. He told about his two dogs, but mostly about “Buster” who has trouble understanding the concept of housetraining. Steve Wood CC was given the question about what was the strangest pet he had ever heard of . Steve mentioned poisonous snakes, ferrets, frogs and others, but said a dog that he had been bequeathed to him when a family member died, also turned out to be quite odd. Malita Clarke CC was asked “What kind of animal would you be if you could be an animal?” At first, Malita went with “Unicorn” but then settled for a real animal, “a bird of prey like an Eagle!” She noted however that eagles actually make sounds just like that of the turkey. Jared Schlehuber was given the question of what the smartest thing he had ever heard of animal doing.  Jared spoke about monkeys teaching each other how to wash food and then incorporating it into their culture. Our guest, Paula Stanberry was asked what the most unusual thing you’ve done for a pet. She said she would dress her little dog in cute costumes and then show her off. The questions were really excellent and all of the answers were “purr-fect”! We also had two wonderful speeches including Laval Brown‘s (CC ) first advanced speech from the Humorous Speaking Manual . Laval’s topic was the always amusing: miscommunication. His speech was appropriately titled “Say What?” Laval gave some shocking examples of how things can be taken out of context, often with hilarious results! “80% of what we hear is not what they meant!” said Laval. The second speaker, Adam Heltemes quickly working his way towards his CC Award. He gave his 9th  speech titled “How To Choose A Pet“.  His speech was ideal for the theme of the evening and it included some wonderful information that you should know about getting a dog, a cat, a mouse, a hamster, a bird, various reptiles and the easiest pet of all to care of… a fish. Not only did the speech have some impressive ideas, but it had a lot of terrific humor as well. These two speeches deserved high praise… but also some pointers too. Leading the evaluation section of the meeting was Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL who did so with a smoothness rarely seen in that role giving effortless introductions and a purposeful and interesting meeting evaluation. Walk praised both of his evaluators; Ken Blake ACG, CL for Laval’s speech and Frank Adams CC who reviewed Adam’s speech; highly in his meeting report. Also being noted was the work of the Wordsmith Festival Players (WFP) made up of functionaries Grammarian Mike Heidmann, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL AH Counter Robin Bara, Video Master Steve Wood CC and Vote Counter Malita Clarke CC all of them preformed flawlessly. At the end of the meeting our guest Paula Stanberry gave the meeting a solid declaration of approval! We also received the wonderful news that Jared Schlehuber was going to join the club! Welcome Jared! This meeting was like a loyal and beloved pet:. kind, understanding, warm,. funny, entertaining, fun… but without the litter box.

The May 31st Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was filled with “Great Adventures!” The evening’s adventure started with a rousing Invocation and Pledge led by Toastmaster Janet Madden. President Malita Clarke CC then introduced the night’s Toastmaster, Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL, who adeptly began to tell us about great adventures in literature. Throughout the evening he sited adventures from Ernest Hemingway, The Bible, Mark Twain and others.  He then introduced the evening’s functionaries and then Table Topics Master Jennifer Hensley CC. Jennifer had some spectacular questions for the members and guests which regaled the Club with many of our own adventures. She started with a request for a childhood adventure from Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz. Veronica remembered a camping trip in Maine when she was a girl and a funny story about how her parents were waiting for a “sunset over the water” which unfortunately for them, could only happen on the west coat not on the east coast! Truly missed and returning Toastmaster Laval Brown CC was asked what his favorite adventure movie was. Laval picked a good one the 1977 first Star Wars movie. Laval said it not only had a lot of action but it told a touching story as well. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked if he go anywhere in the world for an adventure vacation, where where he go? Ken said he would go to the “whole wide world!” He described a trip that would include Japan, China, Vietnam, India, Russia, Italy, Spain, France, England, the safer parts of South America, Canada and trip across the United States. Milka Derisma was given the question what was the most adventurous athletic event that has ever taken part in. She gave an exhausting description of being in her High School Band’s color guard. After her descriptions of “Marching & Dancing and Dancing & Marching…” everyone in the room felt like they had had a workout! Malita Clarke CC also scored with a brilliant answer to the question of “Adventurous Fads”. She remembered being in Pre-school and being wildly popular because of her “Jellies shoes!” She still thinks it was the best fad ever and she hopes her “jellies” will come back in vogue someday. Our brave guest, Toni Crabtree was asked about her favorite theme park adventure. Toni remembered taking a student from China and a friend of his to the Animal Kingdom at Disney World. Even though she locked her keys in the car and it rained it still turned out to be a fantastic trip. The last question was for Michael Whittaker who was asked about a “work adventure”. He said that he thought that being on the 3rd shift would be an adventure. He envisioned spending more time with his family and that he would have the time to do things he had wanted to do. As it ended up, he mostly slept during the day so 3rd shift did not end up to be the adventure that he had thought it would be! This turned out to be one of the best Table Topics sessions Club #28 has ever had. With the great questions and awesome answers, it was very hard to vote for “Best Table Topics Speaker!” After Table Topics, we moved on to prepared speeches and there were two fantastic speeches! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave an emotional speech entitled “Do The Right Thing”. Barbara shared an incident in her life that challenged her to do the right thing, and she did. Although she had cut ties with her mother-in-law and her brother-in-law years earlier, Barbara reached out to her mother-in-law after the death of her second son. She learned that if you want to live on a higher level spiritually; you will face challenges. Feelings are often fickle. Found out how that her ex-mother-in-law was different person once circumstances had changed and she became a valued life-long friend. You should do the right thing regardless of how you feel. Powerful life lessons. Great job, Barbara. Next up was Toastmaster Diane Hart with her speech “Good Deeds!”. Diane spoke about her random act of kindness she participated in by helping her friend dispose of her ex-husband’s Marshall’s ashes in the ocean, and… Marshall kept coming back! Marshall was the “local version of Bernie Madoff”. When he passed away, no one wanted to claim him, not even his family in England. So, Marshall returned stateside, and Diane was there with her friend to pick him up. After some folding and serious maneuvering, Diane was able to fit his casket (and him thanks a reduction of rigor mortis) into her car. Eventually the “Jar of Marshall”, a.ka. his ashes, were to be scattered into the ocean, which Diane offered to do … without realizing the repercussions of Marshall’s ashes flying back into her face multiple times as she tried to give him a final sendoff. A very funny speech with a great message. Good job, Diane! The speeches were followed by General Evaluator Frank Adams CC and top-notch evaluations by Toastmasters Malita Clarke CC and Adam Heltemes.  The evening’s adventure would have not been so great without the help of our Action Grammar League (AGL) functionaries: these heroes were Toastmaster Deborah Cornell serving as the Grammarian. Ken Blake ACG, CL kept us running on time as our Timer. Toastmasters Michael Heidmann served as our AH Counter, and Robin Bara was the Vote Counter. At the end of the meeting President Clarke also gave Toastmasters Steve Wood CC and Jamie Waters ACB, CL a chance to say a few words. They used the opportunity to praise the speakers this evening saying that tonight was extremely entertaining. We were also were delighted to welcome returning guests Jared Schlehuber and Toni Crabtree, and new visitor Serena Pham. Every Club #28 meeting is a great adventure, and tonight’s was definitely no different! [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club 28 “Stories of our Lives!” theme Meeting of May 24, 2012 was filled with fantastic Stories of Our Lives!  Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL started the meeting by leading us in a thoughtful Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. This evening’s Toastmaster and a consummate storyteller himself,  Frank Adams CC then introduced us to our topic, and there were many wonderful stories and memories that he recounted throughout the evening. Janet Madden provided us many thoughtful questions as the night’s Table Topics Master. The first question of the evening was asked to Toastmaster Mike King. Mike was asked to tell us of a good memory that he had, and he related to us his experience camping for the first time at the age of 14. Mike stated that he camped by himself at Lake Michigan, and he remembered sitting on a sand dune and looking at the stars with four people he did not know. Next, Toastmaster Michael Heidmann was asked to discuss a time when he had to make a major decision that would change his life. Michael shared that he and his fiancé Robin made the decision to add a cat to the family. Michael already had a pet and Robin also had one. After bringing in one cat, they acquired another dog and ended up with two dogs and two cats. Now they are fostering pets and have another cat who they have “fostered” for two years! Toastmaster Adam Heltemes was asked to discuss a difficult time he faced and how it made him stronger. He could not think of one at that moment, but was able to turn the question around and provide a light-hearted response about focusing on the positive times. Guest Jared Schlehuber was asked to imagine being 100 years old and looking back on his life and giving advice to a 21-year-old grandchild. In a powerful, emotional response, Jared said to live every day like it is your last and to tell your relatives and others close to you that you love them. Toastmaster Robin Bara discussed a missed opportunity. Robin’s big regret was not going straight to law school after college. But, at the same time, she was able to gain relevant work experience more quickly than others who had. Following Table Topics were three great speeches which worked in very well with our theme and told different stories of our lives. Toastmaster Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL presented an uplifting speech entitled “From Couch to Century”. In this speech, Walk showed his sport bicycle, a KHS500 and explained that his goal is to ride the “century” – or 100 miles in a day. He spoke about losing 30 pounds and becoming more active. He also learned many new things about bike riding, including how to change a bicycle tire and being healthy on the go – like finding bicycle shirts containing pockets on the back to store nutrition bars. Walk also shared a surprising fact that the best thing to have after working out is chocolate milk. Great job, Walk! Toastmaster Deborah Cornell shared with us the best ways eat healthy in a speech titled  “Cut the C.R.A.P!” The acronym “C.R.A.P.” in her speech stood for “Chemicals, Refined ingredients , Artificial additives and Preservatives.” Deborah spoke about the many health benefits gained by cutting out carbonated beverages, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. Deborah was able to leave us with many sayings that would help us remember what to cut out such as “If you can’t read it, please don’t eat it” and “If it’s white, it ain’t right!” She also reminded us “If it’s green, it will keep your body clean” and advised us to get a “crap buddy” – someone to hold one more accountable on the road to eat healthier. Great speech, Deborah! Finally, Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley CC, speaking from the Entertaining Speaker Advanced Manual, gave a speech entitled “It Just Isn’t Your Lucky Day”. She provided wonderful stories about little unlucky incidents that have occurred recently in her life. These incidents included breaking out in hives suddenly and drinking expired medication to treat it! Jennifer also spoke about accidentally canceling a credit card she didn’t need to cancel and locking her two sets of keys in the car… on Friday the 13th. Somehow she found a silver lining with those who help her get through these challenges. Awesome Speech, Jennifer! After the speeches, there was a powerful evaluation section, led by General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL. Thought-provoking evaluations were given by Ken Blake ACG, CL, Rodney Higgins, ATMB and Jamie Waters ACB, CL. These stories of our lives would not have flowed so smoothly without the assistance of the evening’s functionaries, or as they were called the Storyteller Correction Companions (SCC) these included Grammarian Dr. Veronica Boaz, AH Counter Malita Clarke CC, Cameraman Steve Wood CC, Timer Adam Heltemes and Vote Counter Michael Heidmann. We were also thrilled to have guests Jared Schlehuber and Toni Crabtree join us! It was a great meeting with a lot of sharing and fun. It was the true story of what Toastmasters Club 28 is really about!  [KHW /jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 17, 2012 “Expanding Consciousness!” theme meeting was an enlightening experience. From the far-reaching Invocation by Diane Hart to finial echo of the closing gavel, this gathering expanded upon the concepts of our existence. Our ethereal host, Mike King was captivating as he led us through the inner-journey of our theme “Expanding Consciousness!” Along with Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL we touched on such subjects as ESP, the metaphysical, meditation, cyborgs and even Space Aliens! It was a truly “weird and wonderful!” adventure! Ken’s questions started with a search for knowledge from Jamie Waters ACB, CL “How does meditation lead to inner peace?” Jamie said that reflection was very important, sighting yoga as a way to relieve negative karma and relieve stress. He said that “focusing on breathing will help you relax your mind.” Ken’s next question was for our newest member, Robin Bara. She was asked that in the future would it be possible to use ESP to communicate telepathically or in some other way? She pointed out that there are examples of this very phenomenon among twins Robin said she had never experienced ESP herself. Returning toastmaster Milka Derisma was asked “Is the Earth a giant living organism with many parts?” Milka replied emphatically “No!” She pointed out the earth is a home for people and animals, a place to inhabit. “The earth has no heart.” she said. Ken Challenged Michael Whittaker to speak for a minute on the concept that “there is no reality beyond our own perception.” Michael replied with a masterful answer by saying “I will approach that as a true or false question. I see this as false. Our minds are limitless; not limited to our own little world. Reality is not limited to what we think of but expands beyond what we can conceive of.” Our guest, Desmond Walker was given the question “Do people hide behind a wall of illusion?” She said that many people do and we must guard against it to be true to ourselves. Only then can we advance. He grandmother taught her to live at her best and not to hide herself. “It is far better to  live a conscience free life,” said Desmond, “then to delude yourself.” Another new Club #28 member Michael Heidmann was asked how he would picture himself in an opposite universe? Michael said “There is someone else like me out there somewhere,  because people frequently think they know me!” Steve Wood CC, a man often questioned about things of this nature, was asked if it would be possible to keep the “life force” of an individual alive in a cyborg state: half human, half robot? Steve said that putting your personality in a computer would not save you. It would be a copy, you would “still die” but, he asked the question of “‘What if the copy of you destroyed the original?’ Would you still exist in another form? Would you still make a new copy?” Like teleporting in Star Trek, Steve questioned if one would even be aware of their own destruction. Ken said that these were the strangest questions he had ever asked in a  Table Topics session but the answers were extremely thought-provoking. Our two speakers were both fantastic!. Adam Heltemes’s 8th speech titled “Quest for Truth!” challenged us to look beyond the “spin” of the politics of history and focus on the events as they actually were. He gave some dazzling  examples how history was far different from the accepted view, like the first Thanksgiving, the Dutch “purchasing” Manhattan (from the wrong tribe even!) and the hideous treatment of early Native Americans by the first settlers. It was a truly eye-opening and inspiring speech. Janet Madden gave another brilliant speech, her 6th from the basic manual, this time telling a personal story titled  “1970 Chevy Nova” about her beloved mustard colored car. Her 1970 Chevy Nova ended up being “accidently stolen” by a friend! Due to a mix-up and some poor communication, Janet had to come get her good friend out of jail!  It was a wonderful story that had a happy ending.  Awesome evaluations by Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Malita Clarke CC were introduced by General Evaluator Ken Blake ACGG, CL who also made this meeting memorable with an excellent meeting evaluation of his own. The Proper Vernacular Soul Searchers (TPVSS) also gave us food for thought. They were comprised of Grammarian Jamie Waters ACB, Video-brain Steve Wood CC, Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL  and two first time functionaries Michael Whittaker as the AH Counter and Michael Heidmann as the Vote Counter. All of them did impressive work! Our two guest Frank Gorham and Desmond Walker both gave uplifting, positive and encouraging comments at the end of the meeting. Both expressed a desire to join. Other great news is that  Michael Heidmann and Robin Bara became our newest members! Welcome Michael & Robin! If you are searching outward…or inward; this meeting proved that Club #28 is the place to be!

It would be hard to come up with a better way to celebrate the current month of May than by having the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28  May 10th 2012 “Month of May” theme meeting! After an excellent Invocation and Pledge by Rodney Higgins ATMB, the gathering was led by Toastmaster Jamie Waters ACB who brought up the many different aspects of this month as a season of Spring with an outlook of hope, renewal and optimism for the rest of the year. He mentioned the many holidays observed during the month as well as some interesting celestial occurrences such as the appearance of a “Super Moon ” and the total eclipse of the Sun occurring on Sunday, May 20th. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Table Topics Master and he had a number of interesting questions about the month of May. Ken’s first question went to Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC who was asked what we should really celebrate on Cinco De Mayo (Fifth of May)? Malita said we had a number of different reasons this year to celebrate including the Kentucky Derby and a World Championship boxing prize fight, but she spent the day at a fundraiser to help the cause of autistic children which seemed like a great idea to her. Noting that Mother’s Day is an important event in May, Ken asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL to tell a story about her mom. Barbara told us about a very memorable visit to a French restaurant. Ken noted that May was also Teacher Appreciation Month and he asked Mike King to tell us about a teacher that he admired. Mike told about a guitar instructor that inspired him to want to learn enough so that he could teach guitar someday! We are now looking forward to hearing Mike play the guitar for us! With May being in the Spring, Janet Madden was asked what her favorite season of the year was. Janet was more partial towards Summer. Being in Florida most of her life, she noted that she can not handle the cold very well. at all With May Day leading off the month, Ken asked Rodney Higgins ATMB if it was necessary to have a day to pay respect to those in the work force. Rodney said that he had belonged to a number of labor unions in his life and that it was important to value those who toil in the work force. “A man should be paid a decent wage his work” said Rodney. He kidded “I’m worth 2 1/2 times my wages today!” Ken shot shot back that to Club #28; Rodney was “priceless.”  Ken Blake ATMG, CL was asked if given the choice would he attend the Kentucky Derby or the Indianapolis 500 both being held in the month of May. Ken B. quickly answered that “going to the Brickyard” rather than to Churchill Downs was his preference. He told about “opening up” a Mustang Shelby GT500 on the Indy track, reaching over 135 mph and what a thrill it was. Unknown to Ken,  it was a fitting eulogy to the illustrious car designer Carroll Shelby who passed away on this very evening. The last question was asked of our guest Michael Whittaker. He was asked what made the “Merry month of May” merry for him.” Michael said the wonderful weather and coming rains for his garden helped him to have a bright outlook. All of the answers brought some sunshine to the room! It was truly “Springtime for Table Topics” at the library on this night! Our first speaker of the evening was Steve Wood CC who was giving a speech that had been long awaited in our club: his Competent Communicator Graduation Speech! Giving his first speech almost three years ago, Steve had served as our club president and resident scientist ever since. His brilliant 10th speech titled “Be the Best You Can Be!”  was an inspiring call for reason to be a beacon in our lives and in our world. “Eventually technology will allow almost anyone to kill almost everyone.” said Steve. “We must find ways to control how our instincts manifest themselves as our emotions… and communication is at the core of that.” He noted the vision of Gene Rodenberry‘s Star Trek to overcome issues of polarization and a desperate need to find common cause. Steve received a standing ovation for his speech and his CC Graduation. Congratulations Steve! Speaking next, was Ken Walley ATMG, CL who gave a “hip pocket” speech  titled “Britney Spears“. Ken’s speech gave a history of the international pop star which included her spectacular rise to fame and her equally spectacular downfall. Ken painted Britney Spears in the light of a human being rather than as a media story and showed why her comeback was truly worthy of our admiration. These were two dazzling speeches of the highest distinction. The same could be said for the Evaluation section of the meeting led by General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. Barbara had the honor of introducing Rodney Higgins ATMB for Steve’s CC Graduation speech and Ken Blake ACG, CL for Ken W’s speech. Both gave helpful feedback and profound endorsements of their skills. Speaking of skills,  the Rejuvenation of Understanding Trust (RUT) which included Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, CL; AH Counter Mike King, Timer Janet Madden and Vote Counter Malita Clarke CC all did remarkable work in keeping the meeting running on time and smoothly! At the end of the meeting it was announced that our guest Michael Whittaker had been so impressed that he decided on this very night to join the club! Welcome Michael! Like a bright Spring day, this meeting was a breath of fresh air!

The only crime committed was the heist of a fantastic meeting by the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 for the May 3, 2012 “True Crime” theme meeting! Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Toastmaster for the evening and he told tales of robberies, art thief, murders, unsolved crimes, financial scams, grave robbing and serial killers. Ken created a very interesting evening and probably scared a few people as well. Also stealing the limelight was Adam Heltemes as the Table Topic Master. He had some great questions ready for our members including one for returning Toastmaster Steve Wood. Steve was asked “What is you favorite ‘true crime’ TV show?”  Steve admitted that he was no a big fan of watching TV shows and that crime shows did not interest him very much. Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL was asked was asked to finish the story of the “Case of the Stolen Taco!” Walk said that he would have tried to remember the face and what the thief was wearing to give a description later, but he was not going to be a ‘hero’ by trying to retrieve the taco. Frank Adams CC was asked how he would pull the thief of a very valuable art work. Frank said his wife was pretty good at making forgeries so she would make a copy of the painting. After coming down from the ceiling, he would switch the painting. Once he sold the work off to a fence for millions of dollars, he would… give the money to charity!  Remember Frank is studying to become a minister. Our guest, Mike Heidmann was asked who his favorite crime-fighting super-hero was. His answer was “He-Man,” said Mike,  “Admittedly not a crime-fighting hero, but a hero anyway.” Toastmaster Debra Cornell when asked told us that Maxwell Smart was her most beloved crime fighter. Take that,  J. Edgar Hoover! The last question asked by Adam was directed at Janet Madden who was asked what the perfect crime would be? She said it was “Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick!” Excellent answers were given by all and with the exception of Janet’s answer, no copyright laws were broken.. The two speeches we had tonight were so good it was a crime they were not before a larger audience. Embezzling our attention was Area 33 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL with his speech titled “Protect Your Name“. Using many, many props Ken showed us how the names Kleenex©, Band Aid © and Q-tip© , among others, have lost their identity in the marketplace and how the same could happen to the brand Toastmasters (yes, ©) if we do not protect our name. Ken interrupted his speech to have various club members hand him off – band products while he had mini-emergencies. It was a very clever speech with an excellent message. The second speaker Laval Brown CC gave a speech to “Warm up the audience” which was both humorous and inspiring. Titled “How We See Things Changes Everything!” Laval expanded upon his table topics answer from last week to explain how our perspective on things can be seen through the good fortune that we often take for granted. It was an eye opening speech that uplifted everyone who heard it. Rev. Walk Jones was the General Evaluator for the evening and had the pleasure of introducing two evaluators who were at the top of their games. Jamie Waters ACB gave some excellent advice to Ken as well as entertaining everyone in the process. Malita Clarke CC showed why she has become a favorite speaker of many club members with a memorable review of Laval’s speech. Another highlight of the evening was the stellar work of the Formative Blessings of Insight (FBI) that included Functionaries Timer Jennifer Hensley CC; AH Counter Janet Madden, Vote Counter Steve Wood and Grammarian Barbara Cusack ACB, CL  who also led the club in the Invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. Both of our visitors Mike Heidmann and Robin Bara had high praise for the meeting and expressed a desire to join. The only crime of this meeting was that it stole the hearts of everyone who attended.

There was nothing to be sad about at the April 26, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “CHEER UP!: Reasons It’s A Great Time To Be Alive!” theme meeting! If you could not walk away from this meeting without a skip in your step; then maybe you should check to see if your heart is still beating. Speak about an upbeat and positive meeting! Many members said after this meeting that it was “just what they needed to hear”. Diane Hart started started the meeting on an encouraging note with an inspiring Invocation. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL gave us many reasons to “Cheer Up” one of them being that she was such an awesome Toastmaster for this meeting! Barbara gave us reasons to be optimistic about the economy and the job market; she told us why living in 2012 is “4,300 times better than living in the 1800’s!” and she reminded us that “optimists are right much more often than pessimists!” By the end of the meeting, no matter how many problems you were facing, things didn’t seem so bad. Another reason to be cheerful was the Table Topics session led by Dr. Veronica Boaz. Her first question was asked of James Waters ACB was simply “What makes you the happiest?” James spoke about that it helps for him to be around people and they often improve his mood as well as spending time reading a good book, The next question was directed towards Laval Brown CC. was “How has your positive attitude and happiness contributed to a recent success?” Laval noted that he often counts his blessings and remarked that he had a lot to be thankful for. Laval noted  “I’m not in a natural disaster, I have a job, a roof over my head that does not leak and gas in my car.” He said we should all be grateful for what we have and let that color our outlook. Mike King who returned to the club after being away for a few weeks, was asked “What strategies do you use to improve your life?” He said that coming back to Toastmasters is one of his strategies and that this club has helped him a lot. Adam Heltemes was given the question as to what choices he makes to improve the happiness of his day. Adam remarked that playing golf was often a diversion that took his mind off his problems and reminded him of how poorly he plays. Lastly, Veronica asked Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL “what can we do to change the hearts of someone who is feeling down?” Walk said that is first important to take care of yourself as you will not be able to help others unless you can manage yourself. Once you are able to do that, then it is important to be available for their support. Both of the speakers who were assigned to speak on this night had to cancel at the last moment leaving the club without any scheduled speakers! In Club #28 however, that was not a problem as two club members stepped up to give brilliant “hip-pocket” speeches! Kudos to Club President Malita Clarke CC and Rodney Higgins ATMB! Malita spoke first with a technical speech titled “Finding Your Way Home: Polar North vs. Due North“. Malita noted that a compass is not really due north and it can be off by as much as three miles over any long distance. She told us how to figure out polar north my using only a stake in the ground and mathematical formulas to find our way back home. It was an interesting and intellectually stimulating speech! It was even more remarkable for being given on the “spur of the moment.” Just as impressive was Rodney’s speech titled “Bubba Won the Masters!” which was a repudiation of the stereotype that those from the South are not as “smart” as those from “up north”. This brilliant speech told a number of stories of how “smarts” can be gained by experience such as surviving a head-on collision and learning how he could “find a bucket and load it up with blessings.” Rodney illustrated that the accomplishments of Southerners are just as varied and meaningful as anywhere else, noting that a guy named “Bubba” just won the Masters! In the South, said Rodney, we “talk slower because you need to listen longer.” Ken Blake ACG, CL served as the General Evaluator and was himself served well by his two evaluators Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL and Laval Brown CC who both excelled with helpful and insightful advice. This night also featured stellar work by the Speech Optimizers Club (SOC) that was made up of functionaries Patti Stuart as the Grammarian, Ken Walley ATMG, CL as the AH Counter, Malita Clarke CC as the Timer and the Vote Counter Mike King. One of the reasons that it is a great time to be alive is that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 has meetings like this one every Thursday night!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club 28 meeting on April 19th 2012 celebrated the “Earthly Elements” of earth, wind, water and fire. Toastmaster and Current Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC  provided us with a lot of super-amazing information about the four elements that included the Aurora Borealis, “Fire Whirls” (tornados made of fire!); Gravity Waves, Ice Circles, the mysterious low-frequency phenomena called “the Hum”  and the apparently wildly popular Mammathis Clouds. Toastmaster Frank Adams CC was also ready to lead a lively table topics discussion. When asked about the places on Earth she has seen the best of the earthly elements, Toastmaster Diane Hart responded that Italy reminded her of a place she has seen in California. As Diane stated: “Places are unique in their own ways, yet the Earth is still homogeneous – water is still water and trees are big and small.” Toastmasters Ken Blake ACG, CL tackled the question about traveling using one of the earthly elements. In his response, Ken spoke about the time he ended up stranded in his boat  and how difficult it was to push a boat for two hours against the current of the St. John’s River – the only river in the world that flows from south to north! Toastmaster Janet Madden told us about her most embarrassing moment involving an earthly element. As a chaperone on a second grade class trip to Wet and Wild, Janet went down a water slide and came up with an unwelcome surprise. Her bathing suit top fell off and she ran to find pins to pin it back on. Toastmaster Patti Stuart was asked about the best use of water besides bathing. Patti outlined many important uses of water, including cleaning bathrooms, feeling the rain on her body, to washing other things, pets and people, even uses in recreation. Unfortunately for Patti, on one of her surfing expeditions, she experienced a fate similar to Janet’s experience at Wet and Wild. Toastmaster Veronica Boaz was asked to discuss the most beautiful beach she has visited and why. Veronica spoke eloquently about visiting Australia’s Gold Coast, where the sea is very blue, and the white sand is fine and squeaks when you walk on it. She also discussed scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL discussed his thoughts on the most important thing that was ever formed or made by fire. In Ken’s opinion, the knife has been a critical addition to us. The knife is not just used for hunting, there is also key social and cultural progress that came from dining rituals; as well as art and craftsmanship connected to knifes. Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley CC was asked to ponder what our world would be like if the elements didn’t exist. She stated that if we didn’t have water, we would probably be dehydrated. If we didn’t have wind to move around allergens, it would probably be very hot outside and wind does help with pollen reduction. The first speaker of the evening was Toastmaster Debra Cornell. In her Icebreaker speech, “I’m a Strong and Mighty Warrior,” Deborah spoke about the health issues in our country, and her own personal struggles with health issues as a child. Because of these factors, Debra is devoting her life to teaching others about being healthier. She shared with us facts, such as she almost died at 6 weeks old and that she was a “PK X 2″: a policeman’s kid and a preacher’s kid! fabulous speech! Toastmaster Laval Brown CC presented his first advanced manual speech entitled “Obstacles vs. Opportunities”. Laval spoke about a major change in his work situation. At first, the situation seemed daunting, but when he looked at this change as an opportunity to further his dream, he realized that this obstacle wasn’t as bad as it seemed. He pointed out that we don’t see the opportunity because we’re too busy looking at the obstacle. Also, the way you look at things changes everything. Sage advice! Good job, Laval.  These two incredible speeches were followed up by fantastic evaluations by Toastmasters Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Adam Heltemes. The evaluation portion was brillantly led by General Evaluator Jennifer Hensley CC who also delivered a captivating review of the meeting itself. The meeting couldn’t have run smoothly without the assistance of the evening’s Elements of Style, Correctness, Time & Speech Players (SCT&SP), including Janet Madden as the Ah Counter, Veronica Boaz as the Grammarian, and Ken Walley ATMG, CL as Timer. The Vote Counter duties were deftly handled by Patti Stuart. Sadly, we had no guests to share this Toastmasters gem with. This meeting may have been themed “Earthly Elements” but it was out of truly an out of this world experience! [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting on April 12, 2012 was a huge success, which was also the evening’s theme! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL ably guided our very successful meeting by using quotes from Malcolm Forbes, Sir Francis Bacon, Mark Twain, Mick Jagger, Albert Einstien and many more to highlight some of the “elements of success” such as Belief, Courage, Excellence, Honesty, Opportunity and Persistence. Toastmaster Dr. Veronica Boaz very successful served as the night’s Table Topics Master. The first question of the evening went to Toastmaster Milka Derisma. Milka was asked to discuss the greatest success she had in service to someone else. In her response, Milka eloquently described her volunteer experience working with inner city, and sometimes troubled, children and how she was able to reach out and work with one particular child. Through Milka’s hard work and guidance, he worked to became more respectful. Returning guest Kelly Driver relayed the most important element for her in success. Kelly spoke about love being the most important element to her, and also her work as a Clinical Manager. Guest Mari Arosemena was asked about if she were to try something over again and she spoke about her drive and motivation to learn how to speak English. She spoke about how keeping up energy in doing so was very important. Toastmaster Albert Mitterson was asked about what he thought went wrong in the lives of superstars like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse, who all tragically passed away at the age of 27. Albert said that you have to be happy, and if you are not you will choose to do the wrong things. “It is important that we want to abstain from doing the wrong thing.” said Albert. Guest Aaron Fredericks was asked about his biggest challenge to being a success. He discussed applying to 12 – 13 colleges and how he worked to get into the University of Florida. But because he did not, and he decided to give UCF a try and other new opportunities are opening to him. We had two great speeches this evening. Jennifer Hensley CC presented her last basic manual speech entitled “Today is the Day You Can Change Your Life”. In this speech, she outlined the reasons why she joined Toastmasters and how it has changed her life significantly. The message of the speech was, no matter what it is you want to do, “just do it”, and also to remember that today is really the day you can change your life! Toastmaster Diane Hart delivered a fantastic speech entitled “When In Rome”. Through the use of vivid imagery and eye-catching visual aids, Diane was able to paint a picture of the running of the bulls in Spain that made us feel like we were actually there as spectators! She left us with plenty of images about how they dressed during this event, and the clean up after, followed by dancing and wine in the streets. Great job, Diane! Immediately following the speakers was a top-notch evaluation session presented by General Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL and Toastmasters Frank Adams CC and Patti Stuart. Ken also lead the Club in a rousing standing ovation in honor of Jennifer’s CC graduation speech! Congratulations Jennifer! The meeting would not have run successfully without the help of the evening’s Success Standards Section (SSS) of functionaries. Rodney Higgins ATMB served as the evening’s Grammarian. Ken Blake ACG, CL kept us running on time as our Timer, Albert Mitterson was our Vote Counter and Milka Derisma kept us on track as our Ah Counter. We were delighted to be joined by three guests. Kelly Driver came back as a returning guest with a promise to join the club very soon;  UCF students Mari Arosemena and Aaron Fredericks also stopped in to visit their first Toastmasters meeting. It was a great night, and one that was, fittingly, a smashing success! [KHW/jch]

If the question (and theme) of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 5, 2012 meeting was “To Be…or Not”; the answer was “To be a really awesome meeting!” Starting with Janet Madden leading us in the Invocation and Pledge to the final rap of the gavel  at the end of the meeting, there was nothing but brilliance throughout. Diane Hart led the meeting as the Toastmaster and spoke eloquently on the subject of making decisions and choices even when it is hard to tell what is best option to make. Diane used Shakespeare’s famous quote as a starting point and ended up providing much wisdom about the everyday judgments that we might be faced with. Diane’s performance as Toastmaster alone made it well worth the trip to the library. Laval Brown CC as the Table Topics Master added to the amusement and insight of the meeting with an excellent Table Topics session that had everyone coming up with fantastic answers to some challenging queries. The first question was asked of James Waters ACB: “What is the toughest decision you make each morning?” Jamie said that it was what to do with the rest of his day. Should he go down to the YMCA to get some free coffee, work out … or just go back to bed? He mentioned that if he had a Toastmasters meeting that day, he would get out of bed for that. Next, Debra Cornell was given the question: “If you could have any job in the world what would it be? ” She mentioned being a dog-sitter, a fun job that pays you for taking walks. She also said it would be great to lead a “dog’s life” specifically Paul’s dog, who seems not to have a care in the world. Question three was for Rodney Higgins ATMB who was asked “What would be his biggest choice today that would make most influence in his future?” Rodney said it would be the choice to live life to its fullest and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC was asked about the importance of attitude in making a choice. She gave a fabulous answer when she told about interviewing for a job, winning the position and then finding out it was not the job she had interviewed for. She said that she had to make a “whole lemonade stand out of all of the lemons” and that she keeps a picture of a Python attempting [badly] to eat an alligator reminding her that “They can chew on you, but the can’t eat you!” The last question went to our guest Christina Butrimas who was asked what choices could we limit. She mentioned lipstick and sodas as choices saying they take up whole aisles at the grocery store and we could do without some of the options. This was a magnificent example of a really good Table Topics session. All of our speeches also rose far above the norm starting with one of the most remarkable Ice Breakers given at Club #28 in recent memory. Dr. Veronica Boaz‘s first speech titled “I Try, I Hope, I am Veronica” was nothing less than dazzling! She traced her life as a “A Lucky Walker” being able to bounce back from abuse, setbacks and disappointments to find her husband of 27 years and a profession where she finds personal fulfillment. We learned along the way that Veronica earned a PhD! The end of her speech featured an impressive poem that highlighted a gift for fusing words and feelings. Congratulations Veronica! The second speaker was Adam Heltemes who’s speech titled “Stroke Warning!” was an important and timely speech that told of his father’s recovery from a stroke and what we can do to avoid a similar fate. He told us of the warning signs and the risk factors to watch for. Adam’s speech might someday save a life. The last speaker was Ken Blake ACG, CL. Ken’s speech, titled “Healthy Choices” like Adam’s speech, dealt with how to avoid a dangerous health issue, in this case diabetes. Ken explained how sugar was like a “time bomb” and how to look for products with low carbohydrates and low sugar content. He gave numerous examples of how to improve your diet and make healthy choices to avoid diabetes. Ken Walley ATMG, CL led the evaluations part of the meeting as the General Evaluator and was blessed to introduce three of Club #28’s finest evaluators . Frank Adams CC gave the analysis of Veronica’s speech, Rodney Higgins ACB performed the evaluation of Adam’s discourse and James Waters ACB carried out the review for Ken B.’s presentation. All of them did exceptional work using helpful feedback and a whole lot of praise. Ken Walley ATMG, CL giving the Meeting Evaluation, called upon our returning guests Kia Porter and Rosalyn Porter ACS to help him out and give their assessments of the Table Topics and Speeches. Both of them enthusiastically approved of all of our speakers!  As usual, this meeting would not have been such a success if it were not for the efforts of the Message Modification Mob (MMM) which was composed of AH Counter Janet Madden, Timer Malita Clarke CC, Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and first time Grammarian Debra Cornell. We had warm and wholehearted comments from our visitors Kia Porter, Rosalyn Porter ACS and Kristina Butrimas. This was another simply wonderful meeting. The question about this meeting was in the end, not “To be… or not?” but more like, “What was there not to like?” .   

You would have to be nuts not to have enjoyed the March 29, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Nuts or Normal?” theme meeting! Adam Heltemes got the meeting started with the Invocation and Pledge and then the indefatigably unconventional Barbara Cusack ACB, CL took over. Barbara gave us some brilliant examples of  how close that “crazy” and “inspired” just might be and how hard it is sometimes to tell the difference. She gave examples of those who dance on the edge of reason but often produce inventive results and those who deal with borderline or clear-cut psychotic afflictions including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Hording Symptoms, Bi-Polar Conditions, Aspersers Syndrome and Schizophrenia. She noted that many deal with these problems and not only lead productive lives, but are able to excel. She also noted that we all deal with moments of neurotic folly, over-exuberance or just plain poor judgment. Barbara did excellent work with a fascinating subject. The same can said of the Table Topics Master Dr. Veronica Boaz. It was Veronica’s first time in this role and she had some wonderful questions that truly challenged our Club #28’s members and guests. The first question asked of Ken Blake ACG, CL was “Have you ever done something completely crazy with a really cool result?” Ken remembered a time that he played a “April’s Fools” joke on Club #28 by soliciting funds for a broken foot, while on crutches to pay his medical bills. When one of the members pledged $500 to help, Ken exclaimed “FIVE HUNDRED BUCKS!” threw away his crutches , ran over to the member and practically jumped into his arms! Adam Heltemes next answered the question “Have you ever taken a very big risk, knowing it could backfire?” Adam said he was not a risk taker and could not remember a time when he took a big risk. “Even with stocks,” he said “I always play the market very conservative.” The next question went to one of our visitors, Angela Jacobe. She was asked if she had done anything offbeat or silly that made her laugh. She spoke of helping a student write a report that cracked her up. Lastly, another guest Charles Kimmeth from a class visiting from Valencia State College, was asked if he could speak about a genius who might have been a wee-bit insane. Charles picked a good one: Edgar Allen Poe, the slightly crazy mystery writer / poet of the 19th century. It was truly wonderful effort by Veronica on her first try as Table Topics Master with some very good responses to her questions. We had three awesome speeches on this evening including two advanced manual speeches. One of those was our first speech from the “Interpersonal Communications” Manual given by Malita Clarke CC titled “Negotiation Demystification“. Malita explained that any good negotiations depend, like a sporting event, upon 1.) The players; 2.) The Objective and 3.) The playing field. Using a four quadrant grid she explained how good faith negotiations are mutually beneficial and in the interest of both parties, i.e. a win-win result; with the goal of there being future successful negotiations. It was a dynamic presentation! Speaking second was Milka Derisma who, giving her 2nd speech from the Basic Manual; gave what might be the best 2nd speech in Toastmasters International history! Her speech titled “Three Steps to Being Beautiful” compared outer- beauty with inner-beauty, it extolled the importance of self esteem, beauty being in one’s character and letting God be the judge of true beauty. It was was, truly a beautiful speech. Milka’s speech will be remembered by all who heard it for a long time to come. Doing a remarkable job of having to follow her speech was Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL. Walk also gave an Advanced Speech from the Public Relations Manual in which he had to give a presentation and then field questions afterwards, in a mini-press conference. Taking on the giant subject of the pending Health Care Act now before the Supreme Court. His speech titled “The Affordable Health Care Act” gave us a very quick history of how the legislation became law and many of the provisions of the law including the controversial section on wide-ranging contraception. Walk then did a very professional job of answering questions on the subject from the Club members and guests. Ken Blake ATMG, CL acted as the General Evaluator. He was able to introduce three expert evaluations which included a guest evaluator Rosalyn Porter ACS from the Darden Toastmasters Club #9392. She reviewed Club #28’s President Malita’s speech. Bihn Nguyen gave his first evaluation for Milka’s speech and the always exceptional Diane Hart gave a first-rate evaluation for Walk’s speech. As General Evaluator Ken Blake ACG CL said in his meeting evaluation, “The Toastmaster, the table topics, the evaluations and all of the speeches were all great!” So was the work of the Grammar, Time and Verbal Crutch Care Unit (GTVCCU) which had Ken Walley ATMG, CL serving as both the AH Counter and Timer, Janet Madden as the AH Counter and Debra Cornell who covered the Vote Counter duties. Adding to the enjoyment of the evening were visiting students from a Valencia State College communication class headed by Angela Jacobe. She had high praise for our meeting as did here students Lisa Starks, Keisha Ramcharon and Charles Kimmeth. Also returning this week was visitor Kia Porter who brought her mother, Toastmaster Rosalyn Porter ACS. It was great so see so many new faces. As meetings go, this was a “normal” Club #28 meeting… but it was “crazy good!”

The March 22, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was full of great surprises! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL began the meeting with the Invocation and Pledge. Then Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL was introduced as the evening’s Toastmaster and led us through the theme of “Surprises!” Table Topics Master Mike King immediately followed and led us through a Table Topics session which did not disappoint being full of surprises! The first question was adeptly handled by Toastmaster Diane Hart. Diane shared with us the most surprising thing a child has done around her. She said that her children were born in Taiwan and had learned euphemisms for various bodily functions. Well one of her children decided to use one of the euphemisms, and at the least expected time! Toastmaster Frank Adams CC was asked if liked surprises, and if so, what type of surprises he liked. He spoke about not liking surprises and painted a vivid picture of walking home, sweating after playing basketball… right into a surprise party!  Frank said he will try to enjoy surprises though because surprises bring his wife so much joy. Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL filled us in on her most unusual surprise. Barbara brought us back to her Spring Break at 19 years old. After a day filled with beach and fun, Barbara found that her car that had been parked on the beach had been towed away! Thankfully her parents were every understanding about the entire situation. Our guest Michael Durham responded to the question about the question about the best the best surprise he ever had.  Michael discussed the surprise of being called upon to speak at a Toastmasters meeting and becoming a father for the first time. After Table Topics, we went right into speeches. Toastmaster and Current Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC gave a speech entitled “The Price is Right” from an advanced manual. Malita’s speech provided ample food for thought when it comes to product prices and what drives them. Malita reminded us that we can take some measure of control when it comes to how much something costs. She said we have the ability to negotiate for a more favorable price, or put our money where our mouth is, and if the item costs too much … then don’t buy it. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL delivered a speech entitled “How To Be A Distinguished Club!” to discuss the state of Club #28 and outline the ten goals on the road to being a President’s Distinguished Club, a feat Club #28 has achieved 9 of the past 11 years. Club #28 already has accomplished quite a few of the goals, and we are well on our way to receiving this great honor. Finally, Toastmaster Patti Stuart returned to the lectern to deliver her 6th speech from the Competent Communicator manual entitled “Best Friends!”. Patti introduced us to her two best friends, Re-Re and Marilyn. Patti recollected how she and Re-Re would play “nun” and take turns being Mother Superior. Re-Re and Patti didn’t have to say much but bonded. Over the years, she lost track of Re-Re but ended up discovering what had happened to her years later. Marilyn was Patti’s other best friend, and together they were “band geeks” and they weren’t into boys and boys weren’t into us”.  After the speeches, we had three stellar evaluations from Jamie Waters ACB, Adam Heltemes and Ken Blake ACG, CL. The meeting could not have run as smoothly as it did without the evening’s functionaries. Toastmaster Veronica Boaz stepped up to be our Grammarian. Bihn Nguyen kept us moving along as the evening’s Timer. Visiting Toastmaster from Club 1066 Joy Inaitari ACG, CL provided a thorough report as the evening’s Ah counter. We were pleasantly surprised by visits from three guests, Michael Durham, Joy Inaitari ACG, CL and Kia Porter.  No surprises here – it was a fantastic meeting! [KHW/jch]

Ah! The luck o’ the Irish was with Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 for the March 15, 2012 “St. Patrick’s Day!” theme meeting. Jennifer Hensley started off the meeting with an Irish bit of wisdom as the invocation and our Toastmaster Adam Heltemes told us many a tale of leprechauns, the Blarney stone, corned beef & cabbage and other traditions from the Emerald Isle. As luck would have it, Janet Madden returned to the club to be our Table Topics Master with whole a pot o’ gold filled with questions. Our guest, Debra Cornell, was asked to talk about “a place you have where you can experience peace and beauty.” Debra painted a vibrant word picture of visiting the Bahamas and spending time on an island where she was staying with just a friend and no one else. She said it was paradise – beautiful, sunny and warm. Next, Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked about a time when he wondered “how did I end up here?” Ken spoke about going to Las Vegas in 1997, booking a tour to the Grand Canyon and taking the bus to Hoover Dam instead! Later on, while presenting a speech on this very topic, it was pointed out that he said the word “dam” 19 times in a speech! Toastmaster Milka Derisma was called upon to tell us about a time she participated in a parade. Milka spoke about being in color guard in high school, going to get ready for the parade, and realizing she was all alone in getting ready. It turned out that she was running late for the parade and had to run to catch up with the rest of her marching band! Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley handled the question about an item that brings her luck that she owns, or something of sentimental value. She spoke about her wedding ring, and how that is symbolic of her family and marriage, and that her hope is to be married forever! This was a fabulous Table Topics session that produced some very interesting and fun answers. We had three speakers tonight and all of them would have turned any speaker green with envy. Toastmaster Mike King presented his body language-themed speech entitled “Communication and Technology and How it Effects Our Lives”. He spoke about how communication has changed significantly with the Internet and other sources vying for our time and attention. This sometimes breaks down the 1 to 1 personal contact component that we used to have more of prior to the advent of the Internet.  Mike eloquently laid out the “information inundation” we have today and also presented a fantastic pantomime that expressed how communication can be achieved even without words. Tremendous job, Mike! Speaking second was Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL who gave a speech titled “Good Nights Lead to Great Days!” which recounted Walk’s battle with Sleep Apnea. Walk told how he overcame his sleep problems with good diet and weight loss and gave some excellent tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. Our third speaker Alan Brents ACG, CL reprised a speech that he gave last year titled “St. Patrick’s Day”  In this very timely speech, Alan gave us a history of the holiday and the background into many of the Irish myths and legends. Just one of the many facts in his speech was the surprising revelation that St. Patrick was not Irish but born in Wales, sold into slavery and raided as a pagan! Nor did he rid the land of snakes… as there were no snakes in Ireland to begin with! Alan’s speech had all of the joy of finding a four-leaf clover. Thanks Alan for an informative, fun speech!   Master Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL led the evaluations section of the meeting and had three top o’ the line speech commentators to support him. Diane Hart evaluated Mike’s speech, Rodney Higgins ATMB evaluated Walk’s presentation and Laval Brown CC did the honors for Alan’s speech. All gave advice that was spot on and at the end of the rainbow, a ton of encouragement. The Irish Review Authority (IRA) staff was made up of Grammarian  Dr. Veronica Boaz, Timer Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; AH Counter Malita Clarke CC and the 1st time Vote Counter Debra Cornell. Debra you might say was a bit  “green” at the position. We had an announcement from visiting Area 32 Governor Delona Ashby CC. Gov. Ashby will be serving the rest of Ken B.’s term so that Ken can concentrate his efforts as the Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 President. Delona also reminded us of the upcoming Area international Speech and Table Topics Contests. We as well had two other visitors including returning guest Kelly Driver and first time visitor Corlia Twilley. As was mentioned earlier, Debra Cornell joined Club #28 at the start of our meeting! Welcome Debra!  As that old song goes…”When all of the Club #28 eyes are smiling… Tis like an evening in Spring! When you hear them giving speeches, its like hearing the angels sing!. [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 8, 2012 “Cars!” theme meeting was another fantastic event, much like getting behind the wheel of of a flashy Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and opening up it’s V12 530 HP engine! The evening started with an Invocation and Pledge from a very missed returning Club #28 member, Carolyn Stapleton. Carolyn gave us some inspiring words about traveling, perfect for this evening’s theme. Following that, Toastmaster Laval Brown CC put the “petal to the metal” about the meeting’s theme of Cars. Laval spoke with us about America’s fascination with cars. He noted how cars have gone far beyond just being objects for transportation and have become an obsession that often defines the car’s owner. Laval noted how the automobile has changed the face of our planet. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL followed with a fun and thought-provoking table topics session. He began by asking Dr. Veronica Boaz about her dream car. Veronica responded that it is a 1957 Corvette 287 HP V8 with aqua siding and white inlay that she has wanted to buy for her husband for the past 25 years! . Life kept getting in the way, and the cost of that car is now … about $125,000! Nice wheels! Malita Clarke CC was asked about how important safety features are in a car you bought. She responded that air bags and seat belts are very important in cars and important to her. Carolyn Stapleton was asked to tell about a travel story involving a car. Carolyn discussed traveling from May through October throughout the United Sates in her “art car” a 1971 VW Bug entirely covered with thousands of glued-on cigarette butts that took her 200 hours to complete. The car had with no safety features, no speedometer and people kept speeding up just to gawk at her car! Noting that the Duesenberg 8 Model SJ was worshiped by it’s famous owners, Laval Brown CC was asked about the best car he ever owned. He spoke about his love for his two Chevy Malibu cars, one bought used and one bought new. Returning member Steve Wood was asked about the best trip he’s ever taken in a car. Steve discussed going out west and seeing the mountains and at night, seeing the stars far away from civilization. Ken Blake ACG, CL was asked to share tips on car maintenance. He spoke about checking tire pressure, getting frequent upkeep and not mixing oils. He also noted that he can fix Carolyn’s speedometer. Ken W. observed that the late Paul Newman‘s 2002 Corvette  Riley & Scott 700 HP Racing Machine was at auction expected to sell for about $350,000 and he asked Barbara Cusack ACB, CL  how much she would be willing to pay for a used car. Barbara spoke about looking into a food truck from which to sell her Four Tias Salsa. Seeing that the price was around $4,500, she might buy it. She noted that she would not spend more than $10,000 on a used car. Mike King was asked if he ever had an encounter with a crazy driver on the road. Mike spoke about being a 15-year-old driving with his brother and being involved in a high speed, dangerous chase! Our guest, Kelly Driver discussed if she would ever buy a smaller car to save on high gas prices. She talked about how she saves on gas, including watching her speed, limiting the places she goes, and getting discounts for gas through Winn-Dixie! The meeting zoomed on next to our speeches starting with Toastmaster Binh Nguyen who is racing along in his Competent Communicator book, delivering his 3rd speech. His speech, entitled “Constitutional Amendment #8” discussed important information about Constitutional Amendment #8, a law passed in 2002 laying out class size requirements in public schools. Binh outlined the arguments for support and the opposition of this amendment. Excellent job! Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley gave her ninth speech called “What About Bob?” This speech was a story about her husband Bob, told through visual aids, including Tuna Helper, a computer game case and a Library Football League fantasy football trophy! It turns out that Bob is a pretty neat guy! Barbara Cusack ACB, CL who was serving in two roles, both as the General Evaluator and the evaluator for Jennifer’s speech and Ken Blake ACG, CL who gave Binh’s evaluation; delivered informative, top notch reviews.  This meeting could have not moved on all cylinders without the assistance of this evening’s New Association of Speech Correspondents And Reviewers (NASCAR) which included AH Counter Malita Clarke CC, Grammarian Veronica Boaz, Timer Mike King, and Vote Counter and also very missed returning member Steve Wood. In a way they were the “pit crew” for our speakers. We had one guest, Kelly Driver (who had a perfect name for this meeting) who said that she planned on joining the club!  By the time that the “checkered flag” (i.e. gavel) had come down at the finish line (i.e. lectern), a roaring time was had by all! Everyone was in the winner’s circle. [KHW/jch]

The March 1, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contest at the Herndon Branch Library were even more thrilling and impressive than even the most optimistic Toastmasters Contest aficionado could begin to wish for! At the end of the festivities comments were heard such as “Best Toastmaster Club Contests in Florida!’ and “Amazing talent for one club!” became commonplace. It was the unanimous decision of all who witnessed the brilliant talent of Club #28 on this evening that these contests were both sensational and exceptional. Even the start of the Contest was special. Contest Sgt. at Arms Patti Stuart gave a moving invocation that challenged us all to bring out our very best to each precious moment in life. Patti introduced the Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL who used his trademark enthusiasm to get the evening off to a promising start with a pledge that he would “guarantee some amazing Table Topics and International Speeches!”  Ken would make good on this promise. The legendary Club #28 seemed to be the draw of a great number of visiting Toastmaster dignitaries and oratory stars. Attending Toastmaster elite included Past Club #28 President Helen Joseph DTM, Past Area 33 Governor Luvenia Hart ACG, CL; Past Lake Nona Club President Robert Donenfeld DTM, Past Area 44 Governor Diana Estremera ACG, CL; the VPE for the Let’s Talk Club DeLona Ashby CC; Past Orlando Conquerors Club #1066 President Joy Inzitari ACG, CL and visiting Toastmasters luminaries Marie Loeffler ACB from the Trails Blazers Club and Garry Bryan from the Let’s Talk Club. It was also great to see the return of past Club #28 International Speech Champion Bob Blaydes CC who also brought his daughter.The first contest would be the Table Topics contest. Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL read the rules of the competition and introduced the Chief Judge Luvenia Hart ACG, CL. After she gave the OK to start, Ken stated: “Let the Contest Begin!” He asked the Contest Sgt. at Arms to escort all of the Contestants out of the room except for the first contestant, Milka Derisma. Milka was taking part in her first ever Toastmaster contest. The question that was asked of Milka and all of the other contestants, was: “If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would be served?” Milka picked Abraham Lincoln to have dinner with, as well as having some modern foods for him to try! Her answer was both intriguing and humorous. Next to be brought into the room was Diane Hart who picked the “Divine Miss. M” Bette Midler who said that Bette would be “eating crow” for dinner as her career has slowed down some. Diane however gave a spirited description of Ms. Midler’s brash personality. Next, Malita Clarke CC chose to have dinner with Jesus of Nazareth as there were many things she would love to ask him in person as opposed to in prayer. “It would not matter what we ate,”she said “as the conversation would be the important thing.” Following Malita was Mike King who wanted to share a meal with the celebrated inventor Nikola Tesla so he could sit at his feet and learn electromagnetism while eating Roast Beef. Last to speak was Alan Brents ACG, CL who picked the illustrious scientist Albert Einstein with whom he would discuss theories of the Universe while eating dark meat & dark gravy in honor of “dark matter”. Every single answer was awesome. The contest had plenty of vivid imagery and wonderful responses that truly showcased the intellect and wit of the speakers. After a short break, the next contest, the International Speech Contest would start. Patti Stuart called the meeting to order and re-introduced Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL no one could have known just how exquisite the four speeches would be to follow. Starting first was Laval Brown CC with his offering titled “Dreams Don’t Die!” This powerful and insightful speech encouraged us to never stop chasing our dreams. “Dreams don’t die, we just give up on them.” Said Laval. Meaningful and challenging, Laval’s speech set the bar very high. The second speaker, Jennifer Hensley however was up to the task.  Jennifer’s speech “Life Lessons I’ve Learned: Brought to You By Parenthood “ was simply ingenious. Using personal stories, she told how her children have taught her to be prepared for absolutely anything, to expect the unexpected and to cherish every moment because those memories are fleeting. Jennifer had her audience completely captured with the stories of her and her children that everyone could relate too. Alan Brents ACG, CL speaking third, gave a speech titled “I Choose Hope!” in which he related how ballroom dancing taught him life lessons of believing in himself and trying to accomplish things beyond what he thought possible. He also showed off some excellent dance moves. Speaking last was Barbara Cusack ACB, CL with her speech titled “What Goes Around, Comes Around”. Her speech was a story of being wronged in High School and then finding out 30 years later how a stunning encounter would bring her success and fulfillment just when she needed it most. It was like listening to a great story with a surprise ending!  Any of these speeches were worthy of winning the contest, or for that matter the upcoming Area Contest. Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ATMG, CL helped hand out the awards to our winners. In the Table Topics Contest coming in 2nd Place was Milka Derisma and taking home the 1st place trophy was Alan Brents ACG, CL!  The winners of the International Speech Contest were 2nd place winner Alan Brents ACG, CL and coming in first place (drum-roll please…) Barbara Cusack ACB, CC! Congratulations to our winners! Area Gov. Ken Blake ACG, CL reminded the winners and everyone else present, that they will be going on to Compete in the Area 32 Contest at the Legends Sports Bar on March 18th. Contest Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL handed out Certificates of Appreciation to all of those who worked so hard to make the contest possible: Area 32 Governor and Raffle Master Ken Blake ACG, CL; Club #28 President and Table Topics Contestant Malita Clarke CC; Contest Master: Ken Walley ATMG, CL; Invocation & Pledge and Contest Sgt. at Arms: Patti Stuart; Timer: Frank Adams CC; Timer: Binh Nguyen; Vote Counter: Rodney Higgins; Chief Judge: Luvenia Hart ACG, CL; Table Topics: Contestant: Milka Derisma; Table Topics: Contestant: Diane Hart; Table Topics: Contestant: Mike King; International Speech and Table Topics Contestant: Alan Brents ACG, CL; International Speech Contestant: Jennifer Hensley; International Speech Contestant: Barbara Cusack ACB, CL; Club #28 Vice President of Education and International Speech Contestant Laval Brown CC and of course, all of our Judges. This was two of the finest contests that Club #28 has ever produced and all who were a part of it should be extremely proud of Club #28 and themselves! [KHW/jch]

The February 23, 2012 meeting was all about making memories and recalling those many Memorable Moments in our lives. Toastmaster Frank Adams CC shared stories relating to his workplace, and had his audience entranced by opening with a memorable anecdote about the havoc that “Mickey’s cousin” wreaked in the restaurant he was working in one night. Frank reminded us that “memorable moments” come in all shapes and sizes. Toastmaster Veronica Boaz led us in the evening’s Invocation and Pledge. Next, Table Topics Master Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL gave us some wonderfully memorable questions. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL was asked to recall a child who was particularly adorable and cute and he spoke about his daughter Monica. Ken said that baby Monica could have been a model for babies with a smile that lit up a room. She was also a magnet in that people would gather around her. Toastmaster Binh Nguyen was asked to recall a friend, and Bien spoke about his friend from the military, and how they bonded over exercising at the gym. Thirteen years later, and despite not being in the military anymore, they are still friends. Guest Hector Del Valle was asked about seeing incredible beauty in nature. He remembers listening to the music of John Denver and looking at clouds while in the car. Guest Mohammed Alai was asked to speak about a special memory with his car. He spoke about how nowadays we really kind of live in our cars. He provided us with visual imagery of running into his car and trying to shave and get ready while in there. After Table Topics, our speakers for the evening were introduced and we had three fantastic speeches! Toastmaster Adam Heltemes masterfully painted a portrait of George Washington in his speech “Washington: The Man, the Myth, and the Legend”. Adam gave us additional information about Mr. Washington, including that his father’s assets were $852.00 dollars at the end of his life, and he owned 3,000 acres of land. In one battle, Washington had two horses shot from under him, and the third time his hat and coat were shot. Washington was also a flirt, and enjoyed speaking with women. Adam also gave us the answer to whether or not George Washington knew the secret of the Holy Grail. Toastmaster Mike King gave us much food for thought in his speech “What’s Next: The Uncomfortable Truth”. In his speech, Mike outlined the rapid changes that we face today and that people are realizing that we cannot continue to live the way that corporations have us living. There may one day be an uprising of the people. He also spoke so eloquently when saying “Without awareness there can be no change” and “All life is an expression of emotion”. Mike left very powerful lessons for us to ponder. Our last speaker was Barbara Cusack ACB, CL. In her speech, “Giant,” Barbara masterfully wove a story that presented the parallels of David and Goliath and her life as a 5th grader. Barbara was bullied as a 5th grader by a 4th grade student who would refer to her as Barnaby Jones, a television detective. After hearing the story of David and Goliath in Sunday school, Barbara channeled her inner “warrior princess” and stood up to her bully. This was a very inspirational speech that showed that at any time and at any age, you can stand up for yourself. All three speakers were fantastic! The Evaluation portion of the meeting ran very smoothly under the watch of Ken Walley ATMG, CL. We had three top notch evaluations from Toastmasters Jennifer Hensley, JamieWaters ACB, and Stokely Gittens CC. This meeting could have not been memorable without the help of our Fabulous Funky Functionaries (FFF). Toastmaster Laval Brown CC served as the evening’s Grammarian. Toastmaster Janet Madden kept us on track as the evening’s AH counter. Toastmaster Malita Clarke CC kept us running on time and Binh Nguyen tabulated our votes and awarded the ribbons. Thanks to our guests Hector, Mohammed, and Toastmaster Elon Horsham ACS, District C Governor. It was a memorable evening, and we’re glad you were all a part of it! [KHW/jch]

With the upcoming Presidents’ Day holiday, the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 16, 2012 meeting was all about honoring those “Not So Famous Presidents”.  Instead of drawing attention to the Washingtons, Jeffersons and Kennedys, we learned all about lesser known, but, almost equally important historical figures. First time Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley led the meeting by discussing such Presidents as William Henry Harrison, the first President to die in office and also the President with the longest inauguration address (nearly 2 hours) and shortest tenure (30 days).  John Tyler, our 10th President, born in 1790, had fifteen children, and as of the date of this meeting still has two living grandsons! President James Garfield, our 20th President, was assassinated and died after only 200 days in office, and after serving nine consecutive terms in the House of Representatives. The meeting began with an Invocation and Pledge led by Toastmaster Diane Hart. Table Topics Master Ken Walley ATMG, CL led our session with some very thought-provoking questions that really made us look at what does it really take to be a good President. Diane Hart tackled the question of how important it is for someone who aspires to become President to have an education. In her response, Diane mentioned that there are many without a full formal education who have been successful, such as Bill Gates as well as past presidents such as Grover Cleveland and Abraham Lincoln. Education does help to a degree, and Diane referenced President John F.Kennedy. But she also discussed natural talents as well. Rodney Higgins ATMB adeptly handled the question of why would you want to be President and why should you do not want to be President. Rodney stated that he would have a “boneyard of skeletons” in his closet. Also, he pointed out the thinking that if you have money backing you, then supposedly you can be a President but that isn’t always the case. Our guest, visiting Toastmaster Norma Wetsill responded to the question about whether or not she would want to be famous. Norma stated that fame is really a two-edged sword, and pointed out the recent death of Whitney Houston and how Ms. Houston had issues with drugs, alcohol and a marriage that fell apart in the public eye. Additionally, Norma stated that she wants to encourage people, and the fame she wants is to live in the hearts of other people. Toastmaster Milka Derisma discussed whether the election process actually picks the best candidate. Milka spoke about the Electoral College and how the process is really a circus-like atmosphere, where punches are thrown and the goals is to make the other person look bad. She would prefer to see a more “humble President.” Visiting Orlando Conquerors Toastmaster Club #1066 member Joy Inaitari ACG, CL answered the question about how being a Toastmasters President is like being a United States President. Joy mentioned that each member is like a state, with many personalities. Fortunately, she feels that being a Toastmasters President was a wonderful experience, devoid of power struggles. There were two fantastic speakers this evening. Toastmaster Binh Nguyen delivered a speech entitled “The Nation’s Economy”. This very well organized, informative speech that discussed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and current and future economic trends. He also discussed how unemployment is going down and that Ben Bernacke, the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the federal interest rates will be kept low until 2014 unless there is surprise growth in the economy. It was an impressive 2nd speech by Binh. Toastmaster Laval Brown CC earned his Competent Communicator (CC) award with an inspiring speech entitled “So What?” Laval outlined his goal of achieving his CC award, how he had a dream to be a public speaker since he was a little boy, and why some people give up on their dreams. Laval reminded us that we have a choice on how to respond when people hurt us, and that we can make different choices than ones that we are perhaps pressured into making and achieve different results. He left us with the thought of “sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn”. Congratulations Laval! Both speeches were insightful and extremely well done. These speeches were followed by two informative evaluations by Ryan Dick CC (for Bien’s speech) and James Waters ACB (for Laval’s speech). Barbara Cusack ACB, CL served as the General Evaluator and noted in her meeting evaluation just how well run this meeting had been. Far better than the administrations of some of our lesser-known presidents.   This meeting could have never run as smoothly as it did without the help of our evening’s Administrative Council on Speech Operations (ACSO): Toastmaster Janet Madden kept us moving along as our Timer, Adam Heltemes served as our AH Counter, Malita Clarke CC did a wonderful job as the Grammarian and Veronica Boaz was our evening’s Vote Counter. Thanks all for your help! We had a few guests in attendance, including visiting Toastmasters Joy Inaitari ACG, CL from Club #1066 and Norma Wetsell from the Silver Springs Maryland Toastmasters Club. We also had tow other very welcome visitors Gerry Bryant and Jermey Kiddy. All of our guests expressed great delight in attending as well as hoping to return. At the end of the meeting Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC called for a standing ovation in honor of Laval Brown CC for earning his CC award. A strong round of applause was given to Jennifer Hensley who did a remarkable job serving as Toastmaster for her first time! It was a great meeting, and fun was had by all going into the Presidents’ Day weekend! [KHW/jch]

If you wanted to get energized, the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Instant Ways to Energize Your Life!” theme February 9, 2012 meeting was just the place to be! Ken  “Mr. Electricity” Walley ATMG, CL started off the meeting by counting down as if a missile was going to blast off and the high-energy get-together simply rocketed from there. Binh Nguyen, led us with an inspirational Invocation to start the meeting. Barbara Cusack ACB, CL got the room rockin’ with some terrific ideas to get “moving and shaking” while defeating the doldrums of everyday life. Barbara gave us tips on exercise, diet and “self-psychology” so that you can do more, do it faster and with extra efficiently! By the end of the meeting, Barbara had the club so charged up that I am surprised the door did not get busted down! Mike King, one of Club #28’s very best Table Topics Masters, also rose to the occasion with a powerful Table Topics session. Ken Walley ACG, CL jumped on the first question “What is one attribute for Energizing your life?” with an answer about believing in yourself as a way to becoming motivated. Binh Nguyen was lightening quick with his answer about doing something that he had done for another person without expecting anything in return. He remembered helping his brother with his wedding plans. Also Johnny-on-the-spot was our guest Danielle McKinley who gave an exciting answer about volunteering with High School students by helping them to get internships and scholarships to college when asked if there was a “passionate cause that she would volunteer for.” Walk Jones ACS, CL was asked if there was something he would like to explore that he never had a chance to really do. Walk energetically expounded upon how someday he would like to learn to cook a little better and try some new things out in the kitchen. All of the Table Topics answers were truly brilliant and sharp! We had three speeches on this night, which were all so good that they “knocked the socks” off everyone who heard them! Our first speaker, Milka Derisma gave an astounding Ice Breaker speech that highlighted an immense amount of public speaking promise. Her speech, titled “What Keeps Me Standing” gave thanks to the support of her family and her foundation in her faith for being able to make her goals in life a reality as well as give back to the community. After seeing those less fortunate, it is her desire to help others as she challenges herself to reach her own dreams. Speaking second was Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC who took on a project from the advanced Interpersonal Communications Manual  which required her to conduct a conversation involving the “four levels of Communication.” In her project titled “Conversation 101“, Malita had a conversation with Mike King as if they were standing in line for a Rush concert. The conversation went from small talk to fact disclosure, to giving view points and opinions about the upcoming concert. It was even acted out so well that everyone felt as if they were standing in line for the concert with them! Stepping up to speak third was Patti Stuart, giving her 5th speech titled “From the Voice of a Child” . Patti told the spellbinding story about a child that went missing and caused a vast amount of alarm. When Patti went looked outside to find little Scotty, she heard his voice but could not see him until she looked up and found him in a tree! “I just wanted to get nearer to Jesus” the little boy said. The rest of Patti’s excellent speech was her explanation of a loving God that is all around us. Those were three truly brilliant presentations. Of course, speeches such as those demanded high quality evaluations. Tonight all three of the evaluators were able to bring to the table wonderful insights as well as praise for the speakers efforts. They were James Waters ACB (for Milka); Ken Walley ATMG, CL (for Malita) and Laval Brown (for Patti). Laval also served double duty as the General Evaluator while giving an upbeat meeting evaluation. The Fellowship of Listening Collaborators (FLC) should also be given high honors for their work on this evening. They were Grammarian Ryan Dick CC, AH Counter Diane Hart, first time Timer Binh Nguyen and first time Vote Counter Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL all of whom served with distinction. Our two guests for the evening, Danielle McKinley and Cesar Sagaotume both were enthusiastic about the night when asked to comment at the end of the meeting, Both of them saying they looked forward to returning. It was hard not to get energized about a meeting like this!

Things went a little “Bananas”, again, for the “Bananas 2″ theme meeting of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 on  February 2, 2012 meeting. Coming in with “all new material” on Bananas, was Toastmaster Ryan Dick CC. Ryan had led a “Bananas” theme meeting last July 9th, but he left a lot to cover in this meeting! We learned that India is the #1 producer of Bananas in the world and bananas are the world’s most popular fruit. We also learned that Americans consume 25 lbs of bananas per year and that the “Banana tree” is not really a tree but a giant herb… and we learned much, much more about bananas as well. Another toastmaster who went somewhat bananas on the subject was Table Topics Master Laval Brown. His first question evoked the memory of the legendary Carmen Miranda who wore great headgears made of fruit. Laval asked James Waters ACB who he thought, in the tradition of Ms. Miranda; was the most flamboyant and outrageous person in Hollywood. Jamie ignored Adam Lambert and went with Kid Rock, saying that his personality was “really over the top”. The second question was directed at Ken Blake ACG, CL. Given the inquiry, “Do you think that the USA is a top 10 banana producer?” Ken said “no” because there was “not that many places to grow bananas in the United States.” He did conversely tell us just how hard it is to grow Pineapples, which took him almost 2 years to cultivate! Mike King was asked if he would ever eat a baked or a boiled Banana. Mike, an organic food grower himself, told us he would try anything once. Mike also said that there were 45 different species of bananas that one could grow! Frank Adams CC was asked to tell us a “memory of a Banana Split.” He remembered having his 1st at Gulf’s Ice Cream parlor on Orange Blossom Trail and Parramore Street. He remembered it was a very special treat for him. Out guest, Betsy Carvajal was asked about her favorite Saturday morning cartoon show in honor of the famous “Banana Splits Show“. Betsy could not name one true favorite but remembered enjoying watching cartoons. This was a delightful Table Topics session! Our two speeches where also amazing. Both of them were mini-one person theater productions! Starting with Janet Madden‘s excellent speech titled “My Life Has Been Somewhat Like a Lucy Show Comedy Act!”  Janet told the story of a hot day, a forgotten bra and an embarrassing trip to the mall with her 90- year-old neighbor! Her speech was a hit! It was an hilarious story complete with humor that Lucille Ball would have been proud of and an audience doubled up in laughter! In a speech titled “What’s is Your Midianite? How Many Fleeces?” Malita Clarke CC  starred in a wonderful performance of the biblical story of Gideon (from Judges: 6-8). She brought the story to life as well as the character of Gideon, a man incredulous of believing that God had picked him to save Israel from the overwhelming Midianite oppressors. Thanks to both speakers, Club #28 had far better entertainment than anything that could have been on TV!! The evaluations were illustrious entertainment themselves with two excellent speakers as well as a very good Meeting Evaluation delivered by General Evaluator James Waters ACB. Jamie introduced Adam Heltemes (for Janet’s speech) and Frank Adams CC (for Malita’s speech), both of whom gave brilliant advice, feedback and tons of praise for our speakers. The Witnesses of Truth Party (WTP) was put together with Grammarian Ken Blake ACG, ALB, AH Counter Mike King, Timer Ken Walley ATMG, CL and 1st time Vote Counter, our guest Milka Derisma. All of them did brilliant work. Speaking of guests, we had five visitors: Betsy Carvajal, Anne Jueng, Regina Cotton and return guests Debra Cornell and Milka Derisma. All gave wonderful testimonies of their enjoyment of the evening’s events at the end of the meeting. Milka even announced that she would join next week and give her Ice Breaker Speech! Welcome to Club #28 Milka! The only missing from this meeting was a few perfectly ripe bananas for everyone to eat. One thing is for sure is that this meeting had a lot of appeal! (Get it… A-PEEL!)

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 26th 2012 meeting was themed “Unsolved Mysteries!” There was however no mystery as to why this was such a great meeting! The meeting began with Club #28’s President Malita Clarke CC giving the night’s Invocation and Pledge. The gathering’s Toastmaster, Ken Walley ACG, CL was next introduced. Ken told the group about an array of unsolved mysteries. As a masterful storyteller, Ken told us about the story of the abandoned ship the Mary Celeste where the crew just seemed to evaporate and other tales such as the Bermuda Triangle where the ship the USS Cyclops and planes the Star Tiger, the Star Aerial and Flight 19 vanished. Ken covered other unknowns, among them being astronaut UFO sightings, Dark Matter, the Black Dahila murder, Jimmy Hoffa‘s body as well as the famous ghost photo of “The Madonna of Bachelors Cove“. Toastmaster Mike King then proceeded to come in as the night’s Table Topic’s Master giving us some more puzzling unsolved mystery questions to ponder. Mike asked Toastmaster Jennifer Hensley what her favorite unsolved mystery would be and why. Jennifer responded that the story of Amelia Earhart is her favorite because we really do not know what happened to this great aviator. The only thing that we do know is somehow she, and her plane, fell out of the sky. Returning Toastmaster Jim Stitt was asked about his thoughts on what will happen on December 21, 2012, the oft spoken about end of the world. Jim stated that we will put that day behind us. Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACB, CL was asked about her thoughts as to why the Federal Government and Wall Street will never let the public audit their books. Barbara believes the reason for the secret books is that all the money is in going to “Warehouse 13, which is almost like Area 51 to pay for the ‘Men in Black‘ bunker, or something like that…” Frank Adams CC was asked about previous civilizations of great intelligence. Frank stated that indeed these probably existed but as a testament to mankind’s ingenuity and not ancient aliens. After Table Topics, we were given four wonderful speeches, including fantastic Ice Breaker speeches from newer Toastmaster members Bihn Nguyen and Albert Mitterson.  In his speech, entitled “Ice Breaker!”, Bien eloquently spoke about being from Vietnam and painted a vibrant word picture to describe how large Vietnam is … twice the size of the state of Florida. He also referenced three major life events: When he first came to America in 1989, when he graduated high school in 1993, and also when he started his professional career in 2001. Bihn also discussed that he is in Toastmasters to improve his public speaking, and judging from his first speech, he is definitely on his way! Toastmaster Laval Brown, in his persuasive speech named “New York, New York!”, discussed the multitude of reasons to vacation in New York. He brought up many areas to visit in the Big Apple, including Battery Park, Yankee Stadium, the United Nations and our financial epicenter, Wall Street. Laval also made us hungry for New York food, especially the New York styled warm and moist pretzels. What a great image and a wonderful speech! The third speaker of the evening, Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL, presented an informative speech about the Jewish home and synagogue called “Important Rooms”. In this speech, Walk masterfully gave us a tour of the Jewish home. He spoke about keeping a kosher home. The word kosher means “appropriate”, “clean” and “holy”. Walk also provided other images of the Jewish home including setting the table on Friday afternoon for the Sabbath,  keeping meat and dairy dishes separate, and the bookcases that can be found in the homes that symbolize studying, reading, and learning. Last but not least, the evening’s final speaker was Albert Mitterson, who gave his Ice Breaker speech entitled “Who Am I?” Albert spoke about being born in India and gave a moving testimonial about how his family helped him learn to love unconditionally, nurture relationships, and helped him grow. He recalled his schooling and the many intellectual discussions that were held at school. He also spoke of being an engineer. But he also provided insight into his thoughts, including learning that leading from the front is the only way to lead. We also learned that Albert is a “geek who loves his books too much”. Great job Bihn and Albert on your Ice Breaker speeches! Congratulations! Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL then briefly told us about other unsolved mysteries, including the Zodiac Killer and Jack the Ripper. He also mentioned some mysteries that were closer to home, including the disappearances of Trenton Duckett, Jennifer Kesse, Tracey Ocasio and Michelle Parker. General Evaluator Jennifer Hensley introduced the evening’s evaluators. Thoughtful, insightful evaluations were given by Ken Blake ACG, CL,  Malita Clarke CC, Adam Heltemes and Ryan Dick CC. It was like watching an evaluation contest with some of the best commentators in Central Florida. This evening could have not progressed as smoothly as it did without our Wordsmith Brain Trust (WBT); filling those roles were Janet Madden as Grammarian, Jamie Waters ACB as Timer, Barbara Cusack ACB, CL and Frank Adams CC as the Vote Counter. An incredible operatory work was done by all! Club #28 was also joined by a few guests, including returning guests Jim Stitt, Brian Wheeler, Sean Dunn, Chris Chung and new guests Kingsley Michel, Brian Moore and Milka Derisma. Thank you for joining us tonight. It was a fantastic, memorable meeting and the only unsolved mystery is how can we top it next week? [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Wednesday January 18, 2012 “Those 70’s Shows!” brought back many TV memories for all in attendance. Even though it was sparsely attended it was one of the most entertaining Club #28 adventures in memory. Filling in as Club #28 President and serving as Toastmaster Laval Brown led us down memory lane with his choice of themes and memories of watching All in the Family with his father, who wondered how sweet, innocent Edith could stay with that “meathead” Archie Bunker! (Actually “meathead” was Archie’s pet name for his son.) Laval brought back a ton of memories with such shows as M*A*S*H*, Three’s Company, Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons and many more from the golden age of TV in the 1970s. Ken Walley ATMG, CL was the Table Topics Master who himself provided a gigantic share of nostalgia along with his questions. Starting by pointing out that the All in the Family Show was very controversial for it’s time. Ken asked Laval Brown to give us a retrospective. Laval thought the show was exceptional and that the characters seemed very real. He was even impressed with the show’s spins-offs, especially The Jeffersons.  Ken asked Ken Blake ATMG, CL what his favorite TV show from the 1970’s was. He remembered watching a number of them but fondly recalled Welcome Back, Kotter. Ken said he was often compared to John Travolita’s character “Vinnie”!  Adam Heltemes was asked to compare his family to The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family. Adam said his family was like the Partridge family, or rather the Anti-Partridge family because they were lousy singers! Patti Stuart adeptly handled the tough question about whether 70’s shows should be brought back today, like shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Hawaii Five-0 have been. Patti said that we should leave the shows alone and let us hold on to the memories of the shows as they were. Reviving these shows is not quite the same. Remembering the Carol Burnett Show as top quality entertainment during its time, Jennifer Taylor answered a question about what is considered quality TV today. She mentioned Friday Night Lights and watching hours of it through Netflix!  Ken next asked the club’s newest member Veronica Boaz, not only a Club #28 guest but also our newest member, discussed how her life paralleled The Mary Tyler Moore show as a single woman trying to find her way in the world. Veronica spoke eloquently about moving from Montreal to Florida on her own, and working to create opportunities that did not depend on gender, but rather due to excellence. She discussed the glass ceiling that still seems to exist today. We had two excellent speakers in Jamie Waters ACB and Jennifer Hensley. Speaking first was James Waters ACB who gave a speech titled “The Economy”. Jamie gave a thoughtful, thought-provoking speech about the economy and how we got to this point. His speech was a perfect primer for one of the most important issues in this election year. Already giving her 8th speech was Jennifer Hensley who gave a speech titled “Penny-pincers, Misers and Tightwads” which sang the praises of “frugal zealot” Amy Davis Decision the legendary publisher of “The Tightwad Gazette”. During the speech we learned all kinds of ways to save; such as canning, finding bargains, recycling, reusing but most importantly, keeping an eye on the details. It was an interesting, useful and fun speech! The Master Evaluator was Adam Heltemes who introduced Ken Walley ATMG, CL to deliver the evaluation for James speech and Patti Stuart, who was giving her 1st evaluation, reviewed Jennifer’s speech. Both did fabulous work as did Adam Heltemes who gave a highly positive analysis of the meeting itself. Adam also served on the Communication Improvement Committee (CIC) as the Timer along with Jennifer Hensley to cover the position. The others serving as functionaries were Grammarian and AH Counter Ken Blake ACG, CL and Vote Counter Dr. Veronica Boaz.  Both of our guests had wonderful feedback about the evening at the end of the meeting. With so few members in attendance on a “special” Wednesday night meeting, it was impressive to have the club produce such a smooth running and enjoyable meeting! We even had Veronica Boaz join our club! Welcome Veronica. It was like watching one of those great TV shows from the 70’s. [KHW/jch]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 12, 2012  “Growing Organic Food for Better Health!” theme meeting was a naturally good meeting. The meeting started with Diane Hart giving the Invocation and Pledge and then new Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC making announcement for upcoming events and introducing the Toastmaster for the evening, Mike King. Mike knew the subject well. Besides educating us on the many benefits of eating organically grown food, Mike also spoke about how gardening creates a sense of inner peace and well being. Mike gave an example of a township in England that had an organic food-growing program that was even shown to reduce the crime rate of the area! Also adding greatly to the subject was the Table Topics Master Frank Adams CC.  Frank had some wonderful questions on the subject. Here is a list of the questions he had for the group and some of the brilliant responses: 1.) Question: If you could be an organic food item, what would it be? Answered by Ken Walley ATMG, CL who, being from Florida, answered “Oranges!” Said Ken, “You can easily tell fresh squeezed OJ from the store bought.” 2.) Question: Noting that chemicals and preservatives have found their way into many food items, how would you convince a grocer to stock an organic product? Answered by Rodney Higgins ATMB who stated that if you make the item sound like it would attract a certain group by placing it in the right spot on the shelf, you could make a profit from it. 3.) Question: Do you trust Science or Nature more? Answered by Ken Blake ACG, CL. Ken brought up the fact that even with all of science’s preservatives, only nature has given us a food that does not spoil: honey. 4.) Question: Have you ever thought of becoming a Vegetarian? Answered by James Waters ACB who said “Yes, but then I also thought ‘Why should I deprive myself of all of this good food?’”  Jamie decided against it. 5.) Question: Should there be food that is not regulated or without restrictions? Answered by Malita Clarke CC who said that she took some comfort knowing the certain foods were approved by the FDA or had a seal of approval. 6.) Question: What have you learned tonight from our discussion tonight about organic food? Answered by guest Nathan Bailey who said simply that we should always try to make good choices as to the things that we consume. All of the questions brought up insightful answers from every speaker! The Speeches for this evening were just as astute and entertaining. Starting with Adam Heltemes who was giving his 5th speech titled “A Tale of Two Grasshoppers”. The two “grasshoppers” mentioned in the title referred to two cannons that were traded back and forth as spoils of war between the British and Colonial forces during the Revolutionary War. His speech featured a vivid description of what it was like to fight in the battles of that war. It was a thrilling, excellent speech that brought history to life. Speaking second was Ryan Dick CC who gave a speech titled “The Walls are Crumbling!” which made a convincing argument towards gay rights, Gay marriage and equal freedoms for all. The topic, which has been hotly debated during the current presidential primaries, was covered in superb detail and with a compelling argument towards protecting (and creating) equality for the gay and lesbian community. With this speech, Ryan earned his Competent Communication award! Congratulations Ryan! The third speaker tonight was Laval Brown, already giving his 8th speech, titled “Focus!” which admonished us to not go into the New Year blindly, but with a plan and a goal to see what we are able to accomplish. Laval gave the illustration that the New Year should be like “a target in which we focus on our purpose and to totally disregard the other distractions and obstacles.” He said that we should use “Focus like a magnifying glass to concentrate our energy and resources to reach success.” It was a very inspiring speech, perfect to get us charged up for the year ahead! Three of Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s best evaluators were under the guidance of Master Evaluator Ken Walley ATMG, CL and every evaluator; Rodney Higgins ATMB, Diane Hart and Ken Blake ACG, CL lived up to their reputations as sage advice givers. It was an excellent evaluation segment of the meeting in which everyone gained some new communication knowledge. Another bright spot of this meeting was the work of the Dialogue Enhancement Facilitators (DEF) which assembled Grammarian James Waters ACB, AH Counter Patti Stuart, Vote Counter Malita Clarke CC and 1st time Timer Bihn Nguyen together. All of them exceeded the highest expectations for any functionary group. Ryan Dick CC was given a standing ovation for completing his CC Award! Also attending the meeting was EJ Jones who gave the speakers encouragement throughout the meeting. At the end of the evening, our only guest, Nathan Bailey gave a memorable endorsement of the meeting. This meeting was just another example of an organically grown terrific, and typically wonderful Club #28 meeting. Yum. [KHW/jch]

The January 5, 2012 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 first meeting of the year was a perfect way to celebrate “New Beginnings!” Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL started our meeting off with an inspiring Invocation and led us in the Pledge. In his invocation, Walk urged us to resolve to take many positive actions in the new year. Toastmaster Ken Walley ATMG, CL was able to bring us together to focus on all of the new beginnings that we are afforded with each New Year. Ken reminded us that it was not as important weather or not if we succeed or fail with our “new beginnings, but it is that we keep trying to succeed that is the important thing.” Table Topics Master Patti Stuart provided brilliant table topic questions that took us down memory lane with thoughts of buying our first cars, going to school for the first time, and thinking about resolutions.  The question was posed regarding which New Year resolution you would like to work on. It was beautifully answered by Janet Madden. Janet said that she works on being a better person. The second question was about a memorable first day of school that was asked of Bihn Nguyen. Bihn said he had both good and troubling memories of the first day of school. Rafael Irastorza was asked to comment on his 1st car. He remembered a beauty; a 1967 Mercedes Benz! When asked what “Animal or Plant best represents the new year”  Mike King noted in his table topic response that 2012 was the “Year of the Dragon” in the Chinese Zodiac, which should bring a great year for him. He hoped that it was to be a great year for all of us. There were also three amazing speeches given. Laval Brown presented his seventh speech entitled “Kidney Punches”. This speech covered the importance of the kidneys, dialysis, and an especially good explanation of homeostasis. Most remarkable was the fact that Laval knew nothing about the subject before he sat down to research his presentation and he ended up sounding as if he was a medical doctor! Steve Wood spoke about the Quantum Physics dilemma “The Twin Paradox” of why a twin on Earth would be older than her twin returning from a space flight to a far, distant planet. He gave us a lot of food for thought! Toastmaster Alan Brents ACG, CL gave his speech entitled “Resolutions: Bah Humbug, Or Maybe Not!” that provided us with ideas to take into consideration when making resolutions or setting goals. These included making specific goals, devoting the necessary resources to the project, creating specific deadlines, and not allowing setbacks to get in the way. We had three top notch evaluations from three awe-inspiring evaluators Starting with immediate past Club #28 President Ryan Dick, who is about to receive his CC award – Go Ryan! He evaluated Laval’s speech. Our current Club #28 President Malita Clarke CC evaluated Steve’s speech and Rev. Walk Jones ACS, CL who evaluated Alan’s effort.. Jennifer Hensley served as the evening’s General Evaluator, her first time in that role and she impressed everyone with a superb meeting evaluation!. The meeting could have not have run so smoothly without the evening’s Speakers Advisory Board (SPA) which featured Area 32 Governor Ken Blake ACG, CL as Timer, Frank Adams CC as Grammarian and our newest Club #28 member Bihn Nguyen taking on the role as Vote Counter. A special thanks goes out to Adam Heltemes as the AH Counter, who could be heard squeaking away and helping us watch out for verbal miscues. Also on hand to join in the evening’s festivities were returning guests Albert Mitterson and Arzu Mustafayeva. First time guest Rafael Irastorza also visited the club and vowed to return in the near future. Thanks to our guests for attending! Here’s a toast to a New Year and a truly wonderful “New Beginning!”