Past meetings 2015 – 2016

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Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis CC, ALB inducts new officers SAA Renee Ellis, Secretary Francis Obiozor, VPPR Emily Ceskavich, VPM Dreta Flood, VPE Steve  Wood CC, CL. (Treasurer Susan Storma and President Jack Wharton ACS, ALB not pictured.)

The joyful spirit of the season kept the Herndon Branch meeting room warm and cozy for the December 15, 2016 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Holiday Party and Installation of Officers. Joey Jacobshagen started the meeting with a message of peace and fellowship. Christmas decorations brought a magical glitter to the surroundings, like the twinkle in ole’ Saint Nick’s eyes. When what to our wandering eyes should appear? Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley DTM as he does at this time every year! Ken greeted everyone with a Santaesque “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and gave a glowing review of the past twelve months. He spoke of the amazing accomplishments and exploits of Club #28 in 2016. Throughout the evening Ken reminisced about the remarkable meetings, spectacular speeches, memorable Ice Breakers and tremendous feats of leadership by our members and club officers. Our featured speaker for the evening was Latisha Simpson who was giving her Ice Breaker speech. Titled “Big Hair” Latisha delivered a 1st speech like no other that had ever been presented at Club #28… or any other Toastmasters club. Using the many nuances that face African-American women confronting a way to “tame” their own hair, Latisha found that her hair was, in a way; a statement of self-definition. She told of the complex ordeal that came with straightening her hair but felt that straightening it, like many other black women have done, was not truly reflective of who she was. Latisha decided to “go natural.” She found that natural hair, free from chemicals and treatments, was in reality, “not unkempt or unmanageable, but just the opposite.” She also found that discovering who she was, instead of what others expected her to be… was an a revelation of personal freedom. This was an innovative, inspiring and interesting Ice Breaker. Latisha’s speech was followed by the first ever evaluation by Andy McGrane. Andy gave wise advice layered with praise, as if he were already a seasoned Evaluator. Congratulations to both Latisha and Andy! Outgoing Club #28 President Chi Simons ACB, ALB started off the “changing of the guard” part of the meeting with her “State of the Club Address”. Chi noted the many individual goals that had been accomplished during her term as president. She celebrated that Monique Smith CC, Benjamin Rodriguez CC, Daphnie Hart CC, ALB, Robyn Lesser CC, Susan Storma CC, CL, Steve Wood CC, CL as well as herself had all achieved leadership and communication awards. Chi spoke highly of the Club reaching a number of other goals including improvements based upon suggestions made from the “Moments of Truth” workshop this past July. She congratulated her staff of officers who guided the club through a number of challenges while achieving President’s Distinguished! Finally Chi spoke of the inspiration she had found here at Club #28 and how our members had changed her life in so many different and positive ways. Directing the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony this year was Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis CC, ALB. He called upon the following officers to be inducted:

Sergeant at Arms Renee Ellis

Treasurer Susan Storma CC, CL*

Secretary Francis Obiozor

Vice President of Public Relations Emily Ceskavich

Vice President of Membership Cildetra “Detra” Flood

Vice President of Education Steve Wood CC, CL

President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB*

* not present

After the Ceremony, it was announced that incoming Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB who was called away from the meeting due to an important work emergency; would be giving his “Inaugural Address” at the next Club #28 meeting on January 5th 2017.

Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis CC, ALB did take the opportunity to make some announcements about some upcoming District 84 events including the January 5th Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI). Ken Walley DTM thanked our timer Amy Sims. He also spoke about how grateful the club was for the Herndon Branch Library staff as well as Walk Jones DTM and Christopher Fama ACS, ALB who providing Club #28 with places to meet throughout 2016. But I heard Ken exclaim ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 December 8, 2016 “Holiday Movies” theme meeting was better than watching “Elf and “A Muppet Christmas Carol” back-to-back! Or even combining them into one film! The meeting started with Detra Flood quoting a conversation from thee 1955 movie “We’re No Angels”: Aldo Ray” asked the question: “Can you spare a few minutes?” Humphrey Bogart sneering back at him, “A Man sentenced to life can always spare a few minutes.” The new Club #28 Officers for the Jan.-June 2016 term were announced by Club President Chi Simons ACB, ALB. They are: President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Steve Wood CC, CL; VP of Membership Detra Flood, VP of Public Relations Emily Ceskavich, Secretary: Francis Obizor, Treasurer: Susan Storma CC, ALB and Sergeant at Arms: Renee Ellis. Congratulations to all! Monique Smith-Trager CC really came prepared for this meeting bringing back memories of such films as “Miracle on 34th Street”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Home Alone”, “Holiday Inn”, “Earnest Saves Christmas” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”… among many others!“ About the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” Monique paraphrased: “Every-time the AH Bell rings… an angel get it’s wings!” Table Topics Master Steve Wood CC, CL had a “Santa Clause” with all of his questions; that is to have a “Holiday Affair” with all of the answers! Noting many traditions for this time of the year he asked returning Toastmaster Betsy Carvajal CC what some her favorite family traditions were. Betsy said that they had a “secret Santa white elephant trivia drinking game.” At least that’s what I got out of it. Sounds like a whole lot of fun! Remembering that “The Holiday” is not only a movie, but the most wonderful time of the year. Steve asked Lily Phuory Tang what her “favorite time of the year was.” Lily said it was Thanksgiving and remembered telling a sister that “now that you can cook a turkey, you can get married!” Francis Obizor was asked “How would he feel if he was surrounded by people smarter than you.” He felt that it would indeed be uplifting to get “a computer chip in the brain” and be “augmented by electronics.” Our newest member Zac Perez was asked if he could travel through time like the ghosts in “A Christmas Carol” where would he go. He chose the future to see Francis with a computer chip in his brain. Our Latisha Simpson wondered upon if aliens like in “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” will ever visit Earth. She thought they might be evil at first but when they got to know us, they might be more accepting. The last question was for guest Milena DeVincenzo. “in the Movie “A Christmas Story” 9 year old Ralphie Parker wanted only one thing: a Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle. Tell us about a toy you wanted when you were little?” Milena wanted only one thing: A Flame Thrower! Her parents wisely, did not grant her the wish! The speeches were the best… like finding a “A Charlie Brown Christmas” DVD in your stocking. Daphne Hart CC, ALB presented “Let’s Talk” a speech about having conversations from the Advanced Interpersonal Communications Manuel . We learned that there a four “levels” of conversational progress: 1. “small talk”, 2. fact finding, 3. sharing opinions and ideas, lastly 4. reaching out emotionally and personally. Daphne even had a conversation with Zac Perez to show us the different stages. In that conversation we learned that Zac’s favorite Christmas move is “Die Hard”! The second speaker, Diana Walley ATMG, CL gave her 2nd speech from the Basic Manuel titled “Be Proud of Who You Are!” It was also her first speech at Club #28 since January 10, 2008. Her story told of a life filled with adversity and tragedy. Yet as Diana declared that she “refused to let these events destroy me!” She spoke of the pride in continuing her education. Her pride in changing Florida laws and taking a stand against child abuse. She spoke about her years a successful Realtor. She was very proud of her family. “I am proof that nothing can destroy you unless you let it. Life is tough, but you can be tougher. Believe in yourself…. most of all, be proud of who you are.” There was no “Scrooge” in our evaluations as the reviews were made of “Comfort and Joy” due to the hard work of first time General Evaluator Detra Flood. She was helped by merry helper-evaluators Chi Simons ACB, ALB (for Daphne) and 1st time evaluator Renee Ellis (for Diana). We were not “Home Alone” without functionaries either, thanks to the work of the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”… “While You Were Sleeping” Guild” (HTGSCWYWSG) which starred Grammarian Francis Obiozer, Timer Benjamin Rodriguez CC, “The Polar Express” Conductor Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Lily Phuory Tang. Our guests Milena Devincenzo, Tessa Melnick, Jacog Melnick, Melita Lee, Orna Lee, David Turpin and Ken Henz DTM all cheered this meeting like the closing scene of “Babes in Toyland”… and why not? This was no “Nightmare Before Christmas” this was a real “White Christmas” movie-meeting treat.

The December 1, 2016 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Speech Marathon #4” theme meeting had so many wonderful speakers that time seemed to move at Olympic gold medal speed. Sounding the starting gun was Joey Jacobshagen with a thought for the evening and the Pledge to the Flag. Joey quoted Oprah Winfrey who said “I have a lot of things to prove to myself, one is that I can live my life fearlessly.” Ken Walley DTM served as the Toastmaster for this evening’s oratory banquet. Ken noting that it was always a challenge to finish a speech marathon on time at the library immediately brought to lectern our first speaker. Alphaeus Flood gave his Ice Breaker Speech titled “Alphaeus” which introduced us to a remarkable man and an intriguing story. Alphaeus was born in St. Lucia and moved to the US as a young boy. His family settled in Orlando where he met his future wife Detra while working at Universal Studios. One of his goals in life was to “get married once” and he knew that with Detra that he had found the “right one”. He started a family which now includes two daughters. Once out of school, Alphaeus decided to join the Marines. Stationed for a time in Bayberry New York, Al earned his bachelors in Technical Management. Shortly afterwards he was sent to serve in Afghanistan achieving the rank of Sergeant. After reenlisting at the end of his tour he was assigned to serve at Camp Pendleton near San Diego where he finished earning his Masters degree. After serving 12 years and one day, Alphaeus left the Marine Corp to return home to Orlando and his family. He has since started a new career as a Realtor for the Remax Titanium Agency. Alphaeus is excited about his work and happy to be with his family here in Orlando. Benjamin Rodriguez CC also delivered a milestone speech, his Competent Communicator graduation speech titled “For I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!” Benjamin spoke about the “attention to detail” that the Lord takes care to achieve in all of us. He noted that God has planned for whatever destiny we are to accomplish in this life. Benjamin even gave an example from the “Forensics Files” TV show about how unique that we are all from each other. His message and his 10th speech were very inspiring! Congratulations Benjamin! Our third speaker in this speech marathon was Renee Ellis giving her fourth (already?) speech titled “Confessions of a Single Woman”. This brilliant speech used humor and wisdom to explode many of the myths of living life single. “Not everyone needs to be married” said Renee and explained how the single life has it’s own advantages. From having the freedom to be completely independent to enjoying the right to having a messy house. “I want my house to be super-clean but I get distracted by thing more fun!” said Renee. She also explained the constant, and well meaning attempt to match her up with someone, especially at family weddings. “The bouquet is the single woman’s holy grail” she exclaimed. In the end she was proud of all single women for being “brave, Independent and resourceful”. The last speaker was Nick Toporkov more that halfway to his CC, on speech #6 titled “Our Babies. Ourselves” another in a series of well thought out speeches by Nick, this one dealing with how we perceive our children through our cultural “vision”. He mentioned that there is “no ADD or OC” in his native Ukraine. Nick pointed out that self-control is highly valued in the Ukraine whereas in the United States the more artistic traits of children are encouraged. This often leads to odd cultural anomalies, for example Nick did not know how to respond to the question “What do you want for breakfast?” for months after being away from the Ukraine. Insightful and imaginative, Nick reminded us of the many sides of cultural challenges of childhood perception within the context of simply being human. The Evaluation section of the meeting was led by Ken Blake DTM as General Evaluator. Ken B. expounded on many different points made by our evaluators Daphne Hart CC, ALB (for Alphaeus), Ken Walley DTM (for Benjamin), Amy Sims (for Renee) and Monique Smith-Trager CC (for Nick). Among the things that Ken B praised was the use of the pause, speaking to both sides of the room and not turning your back to the audience. The organizers of this special speech celebration were the Marathon Event Staff (MES) which included AH Counter Bren Bedford, Timer Bren Bedford, Finish Line Photo Master Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Detra Flood. We did have some guests who attended the meeting and they were all very enthusiastic about the meeting giving very positive comments and much praise for our speakers. While this meeting might have been a “marathon” it went by really fast.

Among the many things that we are thankful for this Thanksgiving is the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 17, 2016 “Thankful” theme meeting. Renee Ellis started the meeting with a perfect quote for a Toastmasters meeting from Mark Victor Hansen: “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” We were grateful to have Daphne Hart CC, ALB serve as our Toastmaster for this meeting. Daphne reminded us of the many blessings that we have in family, friends, those we work with and those who we love. She reminded us that this is a season of giving as well as grace. Daphne pointed out our service in our communities makes all of our lives better and richer. Having faith in our abilities to answer questions extemporaneously was our Table Topics Master Chandra Ewell who brought a feast of challenges for our guests and members. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was given the question: “What are you most thankful for about the [holiday] season?” Kara said that just being conscious of the blessings of your life seems to have a powerful impact. “When you are aware of what you are thankful for, you can feel your whole mentality shift. Your outlook all of the sudden becomes better.” guest Esperanza Harb was asked to name a specific thing that she is thankful for. She named a “specific non-specific thing”: “The people who keep me going.” Esperanza listed her many mentors community leaders, sister, teachers… among others but most important, God. Monique Smith-Trager was asked for a “blessing in disguise”. She remembered this summer making plans for the upcoming school year. Monique remembered some challenging students that she ended up having to teach this year in her special needs class. It struck her just how much her prior experience had helped to make a difference for the student, as well as helping her to become a better teacher. Detra Flood spoke about what she would eliminate in her life that would make her more thankful. She could really not think of anything to eliminate as much as being thankful for many things such as meeting Daphne and joining Club #28! Guest Fernando Sierra spoke about overeating on Thanksgiving. He said that he never really overeats because “when I am full, I just stop eating.” He said he enjoys the holiday with all of the family excitement and company that it brings. Benjamin Rodriguez was asked if there was anything that he was not tankful for. He declared that as a Christian he was at a loss as to how others do not appreciate how in the long run, everything works together for the good. Club #28 served up two speeches this evening. Ken Walley DTM noting that “November was Leadership Month” took the opportunity to explain the different officer positions at the club level in a speech titled “Why You Should Be a Club #28 Officer”. Ken explained each officer role from Sgt. At Arms to President pointing out how each one is important and teaches a unique skill. Ken also reminded the club that we need to fill our entire January-June 2017 officer slate by the end of the month. Nick Toporkov, already at the half-way point towards his CC award, presented “Addictions: What I was Missing”. Using humor and yet making some very justifiable and valid points about addiction; Nick used examples from his compelling urges to play video games and watching Netflix movies. In explaining how he overcame these minor addictions, he also touched upon how far more serious addictions could be overcome. Like pumpkin pie after a hearty meal, our speech evaluators served up a treat. With the guidance from General Evaluator Robyn Lesser CC, our two evaluators Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Ken W.) and Marie Loeffler DTM (for Nick) gave helpful and enlightening direction. We gave a grateful prayer of joy for our Blessing Counting Pilgrims (BCP) who carved up our speakers with insightful reports thanks to Grammarian Amy Sims, Timer Andy McGrane, Visual Feast Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Francis Obiozer and Vote Counter Monique Smith-Trager. It was announced that Daphne Hart had just achieved her Advance Leadership Bronze award. Congratulations Daphne! We had a number of guest attending including Yaseen Amba, Fernando Sierra, Esperanza Harb, Jasmine Persaud, Chris Atwood, Rebecca Moses, Barbara Whittaker, Michael Whittaker, Clayton Whittaker and Bob Blaydes CC. All of our guests were very positive in their comments. Others attending our meeting tonight were Joey Jacobachagen, Christopher Fama ACS, ALB; Lilly Tang, Vincent Duong Son and Latisha Simpson. We gathered together on this night of thanks and grace for we are filled with overflowing gratitude for the many blessings Club #28 has had this year.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 10, 2016 “Efficiency” theme meeting resembled a well-oiled machine that finished a speech marathon in it’s allotted hour and a half meeting time. As efficiently as I can, here is the recap of the meeting:

  • Club #28 Sgt. At Arm Benjamin Rodriguez called the meeting to order.
  • Bren Bedford led us in the invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Bren gave us the definition of “Efficiency” and also the definition for “Speech efficiency”.
  • Ken Walley DTM was introduced as the Toastmaster after Club #28 President Chi Simons ACB, ALB made an announcement about our upcoming open house next week and welcomed the many guests who were attending.
  • Ken introduced our functionaries, admiringly nicknamed the “Efficient Three” (E3): 1.) Timer and Video Compilation Authority Steve Wood CC. 2.) AH Counter Benjamin Rodriguez. 3.) Vote Counter: Renee Ellis. Ken also informed us that the Grammarian role had been eliminated to save time.
  • Joey Jacobshagen was introduced to give his Ice Breaker speech titled “All About Me”. We learned that Joey has been attending Valencia State College with the intent of transferring to UCF majoring in Music Education. We learned that Joey’s life revolves around music and that he has the gift of “perfect pitch.” We also found out some of his likes (Pizza & Spaghetti, cake & Reese’s Cups) and some of his dislikes (tailgaters). Most of all we found out that Joey joined our club to go beyond being introverted and improve himself. We found out that Joey is courageous.
  • Proceeding immediately into the second speech, Ken introduced Alex Guzman with his 2nd speech titled: “If I Can Do It, You Can Do It!” Alex told a remarkable personal story about his quest to lose 45 pounds. Alex was given the challenge at this last physical exam when his Doctor informed him of a high Cholesterol level and a per-diabetes diagnosis. Alex took it to heart cutting out the junk food that he loved so much, joining the gym and working the treadmill religiously. Since his weight lose, Alex feels “like a brand new person” and he plans on keeping that weight off.
  • Detra Flood, giving her 2nd speech titled “Where’s Waldo?”, Detra actually came dressed like the whimsical hard-to-find puzzle book character! (See photo below. Can you find her?) The message of her speech however was anything but whimsical, it was an important call for social inclusiveness in literature for children. Detra pointed out that “Seeing other cultures in what children are reading often teaches kids about diversity. Children feel a part of the story and a part of society in general.” She also noted that being included socially in books and other media, helps a child’s self-esteem and development. This was an important message that has long been overlooked in the established literary/publishing hierarchy.
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  • Another important speech, and a very timely one by Andy McGrath was titled “Moving On and Letting Go.” Andy made reference to the recent Presidential election that has left a bitterly divided country and the need to heal. He went beyond that however into a more personal path towards self-healing, what he called the “f-word”: Forgiveness. He called upon to forgive so that we could heal by recognizing your part, having a willingness to see the other person’s point of view and letting go of resentment. Andy also gave powerful examples of forgiveness including Nelson Mandella as well as the recent Emanuel AME Church shooting in South Carolina.
  • The last speaker was Marie Leoffler DTM who had some exciting news about the new Toastmasters International “Pathways” Learning Experience. Marie took us through the new program that is replacing our current CC and CL Communication and Leadership programs. She covered an updated program that is more social media friendly and attuned to the Millennial generation and beyond. The end result is to produce even more creative and productive communicators and leaders of the future. To check out the new program visit www.Toastmasters.org (choose ‘resources’ from the menu bar and then click on ‘Pathways’) the first roll out of the program is expected in 2017.
  • General Evaluator Robyn Lesser CC led an All-Star team of evaluators to give expert feedback on the speeches . Brillant advice was given by Jack Wharton ACS, ALB (for Joey), Laura Dowler ACB, ALB (for Alex), Ken Blake DTM (for Detra), and Chi Simons (for Andy). There was no evaluator for Marie’s instructional speech.
  • At the end of the meeting Chi welcomed back Bob Blyades CC who had brought with him 12 foster youth to experience a Toastmasters meeting! It was good to see you again Bob!
  • Present at the meeting were: Chi Simons ACB, ALB; Jack Wharton ACS, ALB; Laura Dowler ACB, ALB; Ken Blake DTM, Robyn Lesser CC, Vincent Duong Son, Latisha Simpson, Renee Ellis, Benjamin Rodriguez, Steve Wood CC, CL; Susan Storma CC, CL; Bren Bedford, Linda Klein, Marie Loeffler DTM, Andy McGrath, Detra Flood, Alex Guzman, Joey Jacobschagen, Diana Walley ATMG, CL, Ken Walley DTM, Bob Blyades CC and 12 foster youth guests.
  • This meeting might have been efficient but it was amazing as well!

If we could turn back time we would all go back to the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 3, 2016 “Turn Back Time” meeting. Opening the meeting was Detra Flood with a quote by Margaret Peters: “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” Club #28 President Chi Simons ACB, ALB had no time to prepare as the Toastmaster due to finding out that the scheduled Toastmaster canceled at the last moment. Still with the help of her cell-phone and Google, Chi did an amazing job speaking of time travel and giving personal stories about how she wished that she could have turned back time. In the end, Chi admitted that what happened in her past has made her what she is today is greater than any regrets. “We become better from our past trials” said Chi. Table Topics Master Ken Blake DTM a man who has seemed to turn back time by appearing younger at each Club #28 meeting that he attends, brought some Table Topics questions with him. “What is your favorite time travel movie?” was asked of Steve Wood CC, CL. Steve commented that the “Back to the Future” movies were some of his most liked. “I liked the way that they got the different time tracks right, although some things might not have played out that way.” He also mentioned the “Grandfather Paradox” in which one goes back in time and kills his grandfather thus ending his own existence in the time-line. Linda Klein said that she would warn herself of decisions she made as a teenager and not just to react but to take some time to think things over. Joey Jacobschagen spoke on the subject of Daylight Savings Time saying that “If we abolish it, then we won’t be able to complain about it.” and that DST also “messes up our biological clock.” Ken Walley DTM spoke about what he would do if he had “extra time”. Ken said that he would spend it with the people who meant the most to him, his family and friends. Benjamin Rodriguez spoke about the song “If You Could Turn Back Time” by Cher. He had the best line of the night when he sang: “Cher… your money with me!” Alex Guzman said that if he could turn time to the future he would visit Christmas sooner because he loves the time that he spends with all of his family. “Christmas is also a time you can spoil the kids. “ Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke about re-doing some of the relationships she had before she met her current husband. “I wish that I would have met him first before my ex-husbands!” Our first speech of the evening was a real treat the Ice Breaker by Francis Obiozer titled “The Mastermind”. Francis introduced himself to us through his Myers- Briggs Personality test profile and ended up painting a picture of a smart (a degree in engineering) fun (loves video games and Karaoke) and someone completely determined to succeed with a great personality and a bright future. Speaking second was Chandra Ewell with a speech titled “Woe is me…in Traffic!” Chandra told us about the frustrations of driving in heavy traffic, most notably on I-4 during the immense construction project going on (until 2021). She covered the most infuriating times on the road 1. Rush hour, 2.) the “bo-bo” wreck and 3.) the “What the Hell? Really?” situation. Chandra’s speech was filled with laughter but also a lot that everyone in the room could relate to. The last speaker Walk Jones DTM jumped in to give a most remarkable speech by asking for three characters, an object and a dilemma. He ended up with Frosty the Snowman, Superman and just one of the wise men of the Magi, a top-hat for an object and Christmas being canceled. The tale that he weaved was mesmerizing but I liked the question he asked best: “Why don’t we wear top-hats anymore?” In the end, Christmas was found again in our hearts. General Evaluator Andy McGrane led a highly qualified panel of expert evaluators. Daphne Hart CC, CL (for Francis), Robyn Lesser CC (for Chandra) and Susan Storma CC, CL (for Walk) all delivered excellent reports. The Meeting Time Capsule Crew (MTCC) gave some wonderful first hand reports from the meeting’s past thanks to Grammarian Ken Walley DTM, Timer Detra Flood, Video Flux Capacitor Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Renee Ellis. At the end of the meeting we also heard from Latisha Simpson who said that she was especially impressed with the Table Topics session. Pam Klein spoke about her heartbreak of her beloved Indians losing to the Cubs in the World Series. Our only guest, Emily Ceskavich said that she was impressed with the “transitions” of our meetings! Little does Emily know that Club #28 works very hard on those! In the end, this was a meeting for all time!

The October 27, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Halloween” theme Speech Marathon meeting turned out to be howling good time! To start the festivities, Francis Obiozer read a quote from not-so-scary Buddha: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Our Toastmaster, and ghostly apparition Marie Leoffler DTM went back to 4000 BC to where the start of this spooky event first gained notoriety celebrating the end of harvest and fearing the beginning of winter. Through secret Celtic druid ceremonies and the desperate ancients attempting to ward off evil spirits by wearing chilling clothes, Marie traced Halloween history to the present day of trick or treating children and office parties with adults in silly costumes. Speaking of costumes, many of our members and guests attended this evening’s gathering in costumes raging from a Star Trek captain to a Pilgrim along with Moses, Cleopatra, a kick- boxer and many others! Taking advantage of meeting at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church, we had our second speech marathon in three weeks featuring five more brilliant speeches. The first speech was special indeed as Pam Klein gave her Ice Breaker speech titled “Two Passions”. Pam pointed out that two current newsworthy stories, The 2016 Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs World Series and the Presidential elections had recently made her look back at her life. She throught about her grandmother an Indian’s fan with 30 grandchildren of which Pam was the first and how she loved to take her to the games. We also got a glimpse of Pam’s childhood through her grandmother’s perspective. Her father a steelworker, union man and a blue dog democrat, helped formed the view and ideals of his daughter. Pam wondered how he would view the current election cycle. The speech introduced us to two fascinating loved ones of her past and painted a picture of Pam in the present, with a firm grounding and a proud legacy. Our second speech by Christopher Fama ACS, ALB titled “An Untimely Passing” focused on a tragic dilemma. Professor Fama was called into his Dean’s office and given the news that one of his students, known affectionately as “Big Redge” had died of a heart attack. Christopher was given the option of having the Dean tell his students or leaving it up to him. Christopher chose to break the news to his students himself. Big Redge was a father of two young children and a very popular figure in the classroom. Throughout the rest of the semester Professor Fama and his students made their own tribute to Big Redge often remembering him in highly emotional statements, by leaving his seat always empty and even having a celebration of his life in which his family was invited. His class was there to learn about another subject but ended up learning an even more valuable lesson about cherishing life. The third speaker was Monique Smith-Trager CC who was giving her Competent Communicator graduation speech. Monique’s speech titled “Put Your Best Paw Forward” started with the telling of Monique’s beloved pet dog named Toto who was tragically killed in an auto accident. Even though heroic efforts by Monique, her boyfriend and veterinary staff to save Toto, it was heart-breathtakingly decided that it was best for Toto be put to sleep. After a time of grief and healing Monique decided to adopt another dog. She ended up with a greyhound she named “Baby Blue.” Monique told us about the many racing greyhounds who are in need of a good family and that the need for adoption to good homes is critical. She told us that they are wonderful, loving pets. Monique also stressed that there are ways to help out by sponsoring, volunteering and supporting the Greyhound Pets of America of Greater Orlando (www.greyhoundspets.org). Another speaker with a similar message was Renee Ellis already giving her third speech titled “Pet Adoption” which covered the subject of pet rescue. She explained that shelters have been overrun with pets in coming from families that can no longer care for them due to a changes in their circumstances. She said that to adopt an animal you must think long term and be responsible to cover the many needs of a pet. She told us what to bring to the shelter, when we can take the pet home and adoption fees. She also spoke about many pets being housed in “pet foster homes” to make the animals vetted and ready for a new home. She encouraged us to think about pet rescue adoption. Said Renee “think carefully” as “animals are trusting you to love them for the rest of their lives.” The last speaker of the speech marathon was Susan Storma CC, CL doing an advanced speech from the challenging “Advanced Technical Speaking Manuel”. Susan introduced us to her organization (and the title of her speech) that she founded with her husband Robin StormaJunonia Technologies”. This state-of-the-art, ultra high tech data communication requirement specification company adapts specific software design specifications for process control methods in (among other) military training, nuclear power plants and cellular systems. During her presentation Susan gave a Technical briefing as to the advantages of hiring her firm to writing, marketing and validating various documents for an outside optics company. Somehow, Susan made all of this understandable and even made a strong case for Junonia Technologies. These five speeches were haunted by the Evaluation committee led by General Evaluator David Slaten CC. David did double duty as well by giving the evaluation of Christopher’s speech. Other scary-good evaluations were given by Robin Lesser CC (for Pam), Ken Blake DTM (for Monique), Ken Walley DTM (for Susan) and returning from the Toastmasters dead, Barbara Cusack ACS, ALB (for Renee). The “Grammatical Ghosts and Goblins Gotcha Group” (GGGGG) turned in some hair-raising reports thanks to AH Counter Detra Flood, Timer: Bren Bedford, Paranormal Investigator Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Joey Jacobshagen. (The Grammarian mysteriously disappeared due to time constraints). Not every who came were able to speak during this but we did hear from our guests Emily Ceskavich, Julian Castano, Sean Huskins as well as the current Division ‘C” Director Troy Palmer DTM and past Division ‘C’ Director Paula Summa DTM. It was also good to see the return of two Club #28 legends and former Club #28 Presidents Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Barbara Cusack ACS, ALB. There many have been a few zombies and vampires among us on this all-hallows eve, but they did no harm for this meeting was no trick at all, but indeed, a treat for everyone!

Costume

 

Here is a list of all of those attending our October 27, 2016 meeting:: Chi Simons ACB, ALB; David Slaten CC, Robin Lesser CC, Ken Blake DTM, *Barbara Cusack ACB, ALB; Ken Walley DTM, *Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Vincent Duong Son, Lilly Tang, *Julian Castano, *Sean Huskins, *Robert Raymond, *Jane Raymond, *Troy Palmer DTM, *Paula Summa DTM, Amy Sims, Joey Jacobshagen, Francis Oblozer, Latishia Simpson, Detra Flood, Steve Wood CC, CL; Bren Bedford, Andy McGrane, Benjamin Rodriguez, Susan Storma CC, CL; Renee Ellis, Monique Smith-Trager CC, Christopher Fama ACS, ALB; Pam Klein and Marie Loeffler DTM [*denotes guest].

The October 20 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Harvest Time” theme meeting was a harvest of fabulous home-grown Toastmasters skills! Up early to start the meeting was new member Francis Obiozer with an invocation from Vince Lombardi: “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Walk Jones DTM tilled the knowledge fields as our Toastmaster sowing the seeds of interesting agricultural facts and trivia. He told us about the “Corn-belt” where most of America’s food is produced. Walk also brought the history of farming to life while praising the United States land grants colleges that created opportunity for thousands of future farmers of America. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM gathered some eggs of curiosity from the chicken coop of questions for our own future toastmaster “farmers.” Detra Flood was asked if she ever had a deadline like the farmers face getting their crops in at harvest time before bad weather hits. Detra said that once she had a Christmas party to organize and only 5 days to do it. Since she was able to pull it off, now everyone wants her to instantaneously plan their special events. Noting how early farmers have to get to work in the morning Ken Blake DTM was asked if he was a morning person or an evening person. Ken told about “growing pickles” (cucumbers?) as part of the Future Farmers of America while in High School. He told us that once he had to get up at 3:30 AM to take a “tractor test”! Alex Guzman when asked to tell us how we can tell if the corn is ripe. Alex admitted that he was “no fan of corn”. If fact, the only reason he eats corn is if he is put on a diet to lose weight. Joey Jacobschagen was asked to pretend that he was farmer and tell us about his farm. Joey told about actually working on a farm and helping to feed the horses. “That farm had a real long yard!” he said. Renee Ellis was asked what crops were growing at her farm. She said that she remembers seeing miles of nothing but corn and soy bean fields where she once grew up in the corn-belt by Fort Wayne Indiana. Still, she would grow all kinds of crops including cucumbers, wheat, tomatoes and squash. Chandra Ewell when asked if she had ever had a garden, told us about her grandfather’s garden and how she because used to eating fresh vegetables. Benjamin Rodriguez was asked what was his biggest problem on his farm. He said that all he knew was dry-cleaning and that he had to get up earlier than farmers, at 3:00AM sometimes to get all of the clothes finished on time! Our guest Nicole Sbert Said that she would put together a traditional Autumn feast with some Puerto Rician flavor. For the last Table Topics question Francis Obiozer was asked how to milk a cow. He admitted that he did not know how to do that but told us of his father who loved to farm. We had three excellent speeches starting the Chi Simon ACB, ALB who is on the fast track to her DTM. Chi’s speech “The Dead’s Liver” from the Advanced Storytelling Manuel was also her Advanced Communicator Bronze graduation speech! She told a horrifying tale of a young man who stole the liver from an accident victim and brought it home for his family to eat. The ghost of the victim then came back for revenge! Christopher Fama ACS, ALB gave a completely different type of speech titled “Retaining Students”. Christopher asked his audience to pretend to be college professors being inspired to retain their students from leaving or dropping out. He put forth a simple but effective plan on reaching out to students with poor attendance in order to encourage them to get them to successfully finish their class. Our third speaker also giving an advanced speech, from the Speaking to Inform manual was Steve Wood with a speech titled “Where is all the Anti Matter?” Steve explained that when matter and anti-matter come in contact they obliterate each other leaving traces of photon gamma rays. Thus, a universe should have traces of anti-matter but this evidence seems to be missing. Either the universe then has no center, or is infinite… or it should fall back upon itself. Steve reasoned that the universe is “onion like” with corresponding “layers” of matter and anti-matter that can be followed backwards towards a “core universe.” Steve pointed out that the expanding universe through super inflation is in essence “hiding” dark matter. It all goes to show that the universe is “really, really big.” Our evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Susan Stoma CC, CL included some of our most respected Club #28 evaluators. Chi was evaluated by Marie Loeffler DTM, Christopher by Kara Newcomb ACG, ALS and Steve by Daphne Hart CC, CL. The Future Phonics Farmers of America (FPFA) also planted some seeds of success thanks to Grammarian Detra Flood, Timer Alex Guzman, AH Counter Renee Ellis, Film Frame Harvester Latisha Simpson and Vote Counter Joey Jocobschagen. Our guest Nicole Sbert was very enthusiastic in her closing comments about the meeting. Under this harvest moon, as we worked the fields of communications skills and leadership achievement, we brought about a bounty of goodness.

The October 13, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Speech Marathon” meeting at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church was one of those special events that you never wanted to end. This was the first speech marathon as far as can be determined in the club’s long history. Due to the cancellation of last week’s meeting because of the path of Hurricane Matthew, the decision was made to combine both of the two meeting’s speeches into one event and to not hold a Table Topics session for this evening. It was also announced that because of the high demand of members scheduling speeches, Club #28 will be doing more of these “speech marathons” in the very near future! Amy Sims started this special meeting by leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. Club #28’s President and also the Toastmaster for tonight’s meeting, Chi Simons CC, ALB announced that tonight we would be having a formal induction of our new members, as well as the induction of a past Club #28 President who had never been “officially” voted into membership. Club #28’s Vice President of Membership Daphne Hart CC, CL did the honors of inducting Eddy Cezalien CC, CL along with Renee Ellis, Linda Klein, David Slaten, Francis Obiozor, Alex Guzman, Alphaeus Flood and Detra Flood. Congratulations to all!

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Photos: VPM Daphne Hart CC, CL inducts new members.

Through out the night, Chi gave us many tips on how to give polished speech from the publication: “90 Speaking Tips From Toastmasters” Among them were “arrive early and become comfortable with your speaking area.”, “visualize yourself giving your speech” and “avoid reading your speech word-for-word. Keep a conversational tone.” Chi had many other excellent pointers. There were five speakers scheduled. Kicking off our speech marathon was Renee Ellis who was giving her 2nd speech from the basic manual, titled “Planning for the Future”. Renee set the bar pretty high. Renee gave us some common sense advice on preparing financially for emergencies and how to build a secure family economic foundation. She recommended putting a budget down on paper, creating an emergency fund for 3 to 6 months, sticking to a food menu plan and prioritizing spending. “Every dollar needs to have a name attached to it.” Her ideas were simple, wise and yet could make all of the difference in a sudden “life transition” period. Just getting started, our second speaker Robyn Lesser CC made a moving impact with her Competent Communicator Graduation Speech “Gratitude is a Powerful Tool”. Robyn painted the complete opposite picture of herself as we at Club #28 know her, saying that at one time in her life she was judgmental, fearful of the future and miserable in the present. She told the story of one day looking out a window and seeing only the building in front of her but while walking away from the window, she glimpsed a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean from another angle. “ I realized that you could see two views out the same window. That moment changed my life.” From that time on, Robyn looked for anything that she was grateful for. She began appreciating people, places and things everywhere in her life and finding a true joy in them. Even better, Robyn found that there was a positive “ripple effect” that she was having on other people’s lives! She urged us to “get out of yourself and help others.” She encouraged us to see the beauty of what is around us and use that gratitude for affirmative, constructive change. Our third speaker was Benjamin Rodriguez who is closing in on his CC award with his 9th speech, this one titled “The Man Who Made Japan Famous and Rich!” Benjamin related to us a story about W. Edwards Deming. Ben told how Deming, a statistician by trade created a renaissance in the Japanese auto industry by using innovation and a strict demand for the highest quality products. Said Benjamin, “He knew that by using high quality, and signing 10 year contracts that the price of producing car cars will go down… his picture can be seen to this day on the boardroom walls of many companies in Japan.” This was a fascinating speech about a fascinating man. The next speaker was David Slaten CC who was giving a speech from the “Speaking to Entertain” Advanced Manual. Entertain us he did! David speech titled “Heather’s Sunday Night Phone Call” was more like a one man play and a powerfully funny re-enactment of a church ski trip that got far, far out of hand. David had everyone in tears of laughter and transfixed to his character’s wild antics. I think everyone who saw this performance will forever remember “Big Richard”! This was wonderful fun! Coming in last in our marathon… and still winning… was Nick Toporkov with another brilliant speech titled “Meditation: My Personal Experience”. This was a profound statement and yet helpful and uplifting on every level. Nick compared the state of mediation to the “10 seconds you have before realizing that you are riding a bike for the first time… and not falling. Swimming for first few strokes by yourself and realizing that you are not drowning.” Nick took on a abstract subject and practice and yet explained it in the practical for example, as a way to overcome insomnia. “Meditation encourages complete acceptance. In New York City, those who live there do not hear the noise of the city, they have accepted it. You must accept all around you that keeps you awake, even being unable to accept that you are not going to be able to sleep.” Nick gave us an insightful and meaningful understanding of meditation. Wow! What an evening of brilliant speeches! To go with the speech marathon was also an “evaluation marathon” led by General Evaluator Steve Wood CC, CL. The five evaluations were each successful in providing solid advice, enthusiastic praise and meaningful encouragement. The evaluations were Walk Jones DTM (for Renee), Monique Smith-Trager (for Robyn), Ken Blake DTM (for Benjamin), Ken Walley DTM (for David) and guest evaluator Jerry Fitzgerald DTM (for Nick). Without the help of the Speech Marathon Officials (SPO) recommendations, this meeting would not nearly have been the super-success that it was, thanks to first time Grammarian Alphaeus Flood, Timer Andy McGrane, Marathon Support Coach Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Detra Flood and Vote Counter Bren Bedford. We also got to hear from our guest Scott Mellen and Jacarri Moore as well as returning guest Jerry Fitzgerald DTM. Others who spoke at the end of the meeting were Alex Guzman and Joey Jacobschagen. As we reached the finish line, exhausted but full of pride and accomplishment, we were all so proud to finish this marathon. We look forward to our next race towards excellence.

The October 6, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was canceled due to the approaching of Hurricane Matthew. The library was closed.

The best gift that anyone could have received was a trip to the September 29, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Gifts” theme meeting! The bow at the top of the present was an invocation by Bren Bedford who quoted Mother Teresa: “At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in…’” Robyn Lesser served as our Toastmaster describing the different types of gifts such as “Gifts of Love” using the work of Gary Chapman‘s “The Five Love Languages” as an example. She also covered “Material gifts” by listing some remarkably expensive gifts such as “Utopia” a 105 million dollar private island and the late Elizabeth Taylor‘s jewelry collection. And she also told us of some her favorite gift stories that she had heard. One involved a homeless person who found out that she had received an inheritance from her Grandmother that completely changed her life. She went from living on the streets to traveling the world. Robyn also covered “spiritual gifts” such as forgiveness and charity; even gifts you might find at a Toastmaster’s Club #28 meeting like fellowship and learning. Also in a giving mood was our Table Topics Master Monique Smith-Trager who shared some brilliant questions for our members and guests. Starting with Latisha Simpson who spoke about the “gift of love” and stressed the importance of spending quality time and appreciating one another. Bren Bedford talked about being “re-gifted” by using the example of re-discovering the lost gift of extemporaneous speaking with Table Topics! New Club #28 member Lilly Tang said that the “best gift” was one “of love and growing together.” She stated that the gift of a “hug and a smile, is OK to show it!” Guest Eric Spencer when answering the question “What gift says ‘love’ to you?” emphatically replied “collard greens” and made all of us hungry with a mouthwatering description of his Grandmother’s North Carolina greens and ham-hocks recipe. Steve Wood CC, CL spoke fondly of a unicycle he once spied in a Sears catalog as a child that his family wisely never delivered upon. He also said that “Everyday is a gift, so consider tomorrow my gift to you.” Alphaeus Flood spoke about the greatest gift that he has ever received. It was an easy choice: his “wife gave him two beautiful kids.” He spoke of the joy of spending time with them, teaching them and just having fun playing together. Others who spoke at the end of the meeting about their favorite gifts included Vincent Son, Francis Obiozov, Terri Griffith, Joey Jacobschagen and Ken Blake DTM. The club was blessed with the gifts of two Ice Breakers as well as Chi Simons CC, ACL‘s Advanced Leader Bronze (and CL) graduation speech! Ice Breaker #1 was by Detra Flood which set her bar pretty high for her next speech. Detra told us her life mission: to become a children book writer and a published author. Her first speech “A Story Was Born” incorporated the narrative of how she came upon the subject (and title) of her 1st young people’s book. Where attempting to come up with an idea for her first book, she kept getting interrupted by her young daughter. “Where is my Tuesday?” became the perfect book title after the repeated requests from her toddler for her mom to find Tuesday! The lesson for child and mom: believe in yourself. “I’m an investor.” said Dreta, “I invest in my dreams.” Speaking second was Renee Ellis who’s Ice Breaker titled “Memories”. The speech actually started with the Barbara Streisand 1974 hit “Memories” and from there Renee painted a verbal portrait of three parts of her life which seemed to define her world. There were memories of growing up and a special Christmas with the family, Learning to SCUBA dive as a young adult and the newly found power and responsibility of buying a house. Putting these pieces together completed a puzzle of a dynamic, intelligent, fun and warm person who is not afraid to explore life. The last speaker was Chi Simons CC, ALB who told us about the Distinguished Club Program and how Club #28 is making progress toward it’s 9th straight President’s Distinguished Award. Chi explained the different goals each club is expected to achieve and how Club #28 might reach each one. We have already accomplished five of the 10 goals with at least 3 more in easy reach! This was a wonderful update for the club and Congratulations Chi on earning your CL and ALB awards! The present of wisdom was bestowed upon our speakers by the evaluation staff lead by first time General Evaluator Andy McGrane. Evaluators Daphne Hart CC, CL (for Detra), Ken Walley DTM (for Renee) and Walk Jones DTM (for Chi) all unwrapped treasures of instruction and encouragement. Like Santa with a big bag full of goodies handing out free advice, were the Greater Giving Grammarians Group (GGGG) made up of Grammarian Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Timer Benjamin Rodriguez, Kodak Elf Steve Wood CC, CL, AH Counter David Slaten CC and Vote Counter Terri Griffith. We also heard from our guests Eric Spencer and Fiona Dunapit at the end of the meeting who gave us some wonderful verbal presents as well. Club #28 gives the gift of leadership and communication skills because we truly have “the gift of gab”.

Laughter filled the air at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 22, 2016 “Laughter” theme meeting. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL started off the meeting with a quote by perfume creator and fashion designer Coco Chanel who said that “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” Chi Simons CC reminded us that not only was laughter the best medicine but that it brings down our blood pressure, boosts the immune system and helps to level out the heart rate. She also told us of how others laugh in different languages such as the Tai laughter of “55555”, the Japanese “wwww” sounding giggle and the Korean “kekekeke” expression. Her own native laugh from Vietnam she said sounded like “hihihihi”! Chi also gave us a list of ways to “find laughter” She mentioned watching a funny movie or a TV show, visiting a comedy club, reading the funny pages, hanging around funny people, spending time with happy children, reading a humorous book or just being silly. Speaking of silly, Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM brought the comedy club to the meeting. Interspersing his questions among a litany of jokes such as “What happens when you cross a snowman and a vampire?… You get frostbite! Or… “What do you call it when a chicken sees a salad? … Chicken Caesar Salad!” and many, many… yes many…more jokes. During this laugh-fest, Guest Alphaeus Flood told us that people playing pranks on others often makes him laugh, especially those played on his wife. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB told us a story of when a softball bounced up and hit her in the eye, leaving her with a shiner. The next day while walking in the park people had thought that she had been mugged! Latasha Simpson told us that her favorite funnyman was Kevin Hart. Another guest, Terri Griffith could not tell us a joke but did tell us an amusing story. Benjamin Rodriguez explained that laughter is important because it has the power to heal. Soon-to-be new member Francis Obiozov could not remember the last time he laughed really hard although he said that he laughed “all of the time.” He mentioned another comedian Jim Gaffigan. Another new member, Joey Jacobschagen spoke about unintentionally funny things he had seen. Detra Flood spoke about how important humor is in relationships, remembering her “salt water sister” (Latisha) who apparently did not want to be remembered. Finally Amy Sims told a story of her own funny pets as well as recalling Robyn Lesser‘s speech about alcoholic horses. One more joke Ken told: “What do you call the soft tissue between a shark’s teeth?… A slow swimmer.” Our speeches however were seriously good. Giving a speech from the Toastmasters International “Better Club Series” titled “The Magic of MentoringDaphne Hart CC, CL who mentors teens for a living, taught us about the rewards and benefits for both the mentors and the “mentees”. Some of the qualities that on gains from mentoring are developing personal interest in growth, learning the program, participating more by gaining new confidence and building finite relationships. Her speech was an important lesson for not only the Toastmasters organization but in developing the skill of teaching others outside of Toastmasters. Speaking second was Nick Toporkov with a speech titled “Meditation: Using Vipassana as an Example” Nick explained the virtues of meditation and how he came to discover the connective power of mind and body. He urged us to experience the unique sensations and goodness found in the act of meditation. Speaking third was Linda Klein, like Nick, giving her 3rd speech titled “Cars Need Oil and People Need Water” Linda covered a vast amount of reasons that human beings gain from water. From fighting disease (bathing) to flushing out toxins in our system, to water’s importance in regulating our metabolism and a wealth of other interesting uses and benefits of H2O. She used humor and wonderful facts to make this speech entertaining and did not forget to mention that oil keeps a car’s crankshaft lubricated.Our speakers also profited from some excellent speech reviews presented by the evaluation team led by first time General Evaluator Chandra Ewell. Ken Blake DTM (for Daphne), Robyn Lesser (for Nick) and Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (for Linda) also helped lend their support. It should be noted that Chandra got the meeting back on track even though the meeting itself was far over the scheduled time. The Silly Syntax Servers (SSS) kept our reports lively thanks to Grammarian Bren Bedford, First time Timer Renee Ellis, Comedy Camera Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Detra Flood and Vote Counter Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. It was announced that Vincent Duong Son, Lilly Tang and Francis Obiozov were joining or had already joined Club #28! Welcome and Congratulations! Again Club #28 was blessed with a number of visitors Latisha Simpson, Alphaeus Flood, Terri Griffith, Nicole Sbert, Yani Lin and Bergana Hristora. While this meeting was a laughing matter, it’s no joke: this evening was simply brilliant.

Hoist a stein or two to the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 15, 2016 “Oktoberfest” theme meeting! The meeting started with Linda Klein quoting from an an unknown person: “Take small steps every day and one day you will get there. Sometimes two small steps will accomplish more than one big step.” Toastmaster Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB gave us a September preview to an October celebration with an eyewitness account of a Munich Oktoberfest where young Fraulein kellnerin wearing the traditional Bavarian dirndl serve up massive beer steins, “five in each hand!” “Every year 1.5 million gallons of beer are consumed in Germany during Oktoberfest” said Kara. She also told of Oktoberfest celebrations all over the world including the biggest one in America, the “Zinzinnati” festivities in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kara did such a fantastic job of describing the joy of a celebration that features drinking beer and dancing and singing to German party songs that she probably inspired some of our members to put on lederhosen and down a few. Well, perhaps not the lederhosen. Also in the Oktoberfest mood was Table Topics Master Walk Jones DTM. Walk asked our newest member Joey Jacobson to tell us about an Oktoberfest celebration that he had been to. Joey said the only one he knew about was the Motorcycle Oktoberfest in Daytona Beach where there are thousands of bikers that clog up the roads. Daphne Hart CC, CL was asked to tell us about Germany. Instead she told us about the Festival parades and celebrations in the Virgin Islands. Guest Milena DeVincento was asked if she ever “danced all night?” She remembered covering an Oktoberfest on assignment as a journalist and ended up having the party of her life. She also told us about the traditional “beer stein holding contest.” Renee Ellis was asked about any carnival that she had attended. Renee remembered the county fair of her hometown which had two of her favorite rides: The Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl. Another Guest Cecilia Wang Xuany spoke a festival in China where the entire community competes to complete a poem with the perfect sentence. Another new Club #28 member, Detra Flood spoke about how she was forbidden to Trick or Treat on Halloween until her mother found out that she could put Detra to work by collecting candy for her. If the (oratorical) beer and the traditional German culture were not enough to enlighten the evening, our three speakers all brought a feeling of gulk [German happiness] to the night. Chi Simons CC in a speech titled “What’s it like to be a Mom” explained how as a Toastmasters Area Director and Club #28’s president, her clubs had become like her “children”. Chi also weaved in the results of our “Moments of Truth (7/28/16)” meeting and reported on some future plans for the club. In order to do that, as such a busy “mom” she called upon her “babysitter” Monique Smith-Trager to watch over us “kids.” Monique arrived on a broomstick unicorn to take over for Chi and delivered her night-time story titled “Be Your Own Cowhand.” which was really about the importance of mentoring and helping others to succeed in the club. Even though these two speeches centered on Toastmasters projects, by combining their speeches under one theme (a mom and a babysitter) Chi and Monique brought a lot of humor and fun into their otherwise business-like topics. Andy McGrane gave another impressive speech even though this was only his second effort. Andy’s speech titled “Voting” gave many good reasons why every registered voter should turn out at the polls this November. He spoke about how our individual votes really do matter even in a national presidential election Andy noted that only 537 votes in Florida separated Bush and Gore in 2000 and that an election for the US congress was decided by one vote: 20,685 to 20,684. He spoke about how hard fought voting rights acts were passed for African Americans and women. Andy mused upon what a disappointment that 40% of registered votes will not vote, mostly because of apathy. “It’s your right. Use it! If we do not vote, then we will have the government we deserve.” These three excellent speeches were given evaluations under the direction of General Evaluator Marie Leoffler DTM. As Chi and Monique’s speeches were essentially one speech with two parts, Ken Walley DTM handled both of their evaluations. Susan Storma CC, CL did the honors of evaluating Andy’s speech. This beer-garden would not have had its tuba-beat melody of success had it not been for the Klerikal Prost! [Translation: Clerical Cheers!] (KP) of revelers Grammarian David Slaten, CC, Timer Benjamin Rodriguez, Bier un Brezel Fotograf Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Pam Klein and Vote Counter Chandra Ewell. At the end of the meeting some Toastmasters who had not had a chance to speak, Amy Sims, Alex Guzman and Eddy Cezalien CC, CL all had a chance to speak, each of them extolling their favorite part of the meeting. Our guests Camdon Jones, Rose Urena, Cecilia Wang Xuany, Quinn Cheng, Latisha Simpson, Alphaeus Flood, Terri Griffith, Mileana DeVincenzo, Francis Obiozov, Lilly Tang and Vincent Duong Son spoke of their admiration for the meeting. Remarkably, even for having a record 30+ guests and visitors for three straight meetings, everyone had a chance to speak. I wish this meeting could have gone all night, it was wunderbar!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was in a state of euphoria over the September 8, 2016 “States” theme meeting. Andy McGrane started the meeting without an invocation instead opting for immediate reciting of the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America. Walk Jones DTM took the helm as our Toastmaster and reminded us that “states” can be almost any situation at a given time. He pointed that that there are “constitutional states” like Florida, part of a country or “state can even mean an entire country such as France or Japan. “There are medical states” said Walk, “like Good or critical”. He even mentioned “quantum states like solid, liquid or gas.” Walk remembered a newspaper from South Carolina that called itself “The State” and that the paper was unable to post the late baseball scores for the St. Louis Cardinals. He also spoke about the five states in which he has lived in but admitted that he considers himself “from Tennessee” where he was born and raised. Walk even mentioned the mostly forgotten MTV comedy group “The State”! Also creating a positive state of mind was the Table Topics Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara welcomed back Laura Dowler ACB, ALB who was asked if she had belonged to any groups like the girls scouts (founded in the state of Georgia.) Laura said that she belonged to a group called the model UN based upon the United Nations, where they get together, represent different countries and try to solve the world’s problems. Ken Blake DTM was asked what his idea of the most exciting sport event is. He said he had a personal connection with Karate and remembered once taking on his instructor in a Thai Kwon do match. The results not being very good for Ken. Daphne Hart CC, CL was asked what “extra curricula activities she enjoyed doing. Daphne said that she had “a love of the hula-hoop!” When she was younger she was pretty good at it and now she has a blast hula-hooping with her 9 year old granddaughter. Another retiurning member Kim Silvia was asked what her favorite breakfast food was. She admitted to eating “breakfast on the run” as he was going to work. She found that “oatmeal in a cup” was her solution to a hasty breakfast. Toastmaster Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked if she had ever been in a log cabin. Her answer was “no” and she added that “log cabins reminds me of Abe Lincoln.” Diana also was remembered having to sleep on the hard ground in a sleeping bag while following a cross-country biking trip. “It was like the early pioneers.” Guest Joey Jacobson was asked to tell us about a traffic ticket he had received. Joey did not remember ever getting a traffic ticket. He said that his parents thought that Florida was a “state of tailgaters!” Our three speakers each had a statement to make themselves starting with Alex Guzman who was giving his Ice Breaker speech titled “You Want to Know Me!” Alex wanted us to get to know him in “three different areas: ‘What make me happy’, ‘What make me sad’ and ‘what gives me hope’“. We found out that Babies and dogs (especially puppies); acting, yoga and relief from back pain makes him happy. Today’s political climate and unfair school funding make him sad and that the competitive spirit of sports and his faith gives him hope. It was a very well done 1st speech! Speaking second was Nick Toporkov who gave a continuation of his Ice Breaker Speech for his second speech titled “Nick 2”. In this speech we went back in time to his home of orgin, the Ukraine. We learned that Nick’s full name is Mykyta Sergeyevich Toporkov (in Ukrainian) or “Nikita” (in Russian) which was shortened to “Nick” when he got to the USA. We learned how they dress in the Ukraine and why he became a vegan there. We traveled with Nick to America where learned that he had a talent for math and physics, wearing speedo swimsuits and smiling like an American. We also learned he had quite a flair for power-point presentations and giving fascinating speeches. Our third speaker Benjamin Rodriguez‘s speech titled “The Glory of the Hebrew Alphabet” gave us a brief introduction of Ancient Semitic. He showed us how each letter is also a number, picture and meaning. He gave us many examples of this rich, complex and yet beautiful language. Our Evaluators, faced with a shortened time frame, each produced a masterful assessment of the presentations. Led by General Evaluator David Slaten CC the team of Christopher Fama ACS, ALB; (for Alex) Daphne Hart CC, CL (for Nick) and Chi Simons CC (for Benjamin). Another group adding to the state of excellence was the Functionary State Universals (FSU) which featured Grammarian Robyn Lesser, Timer Ken Walley DTM, State Photographer Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Andy McGrane and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. Our guests Lilly Tang, Vincent Son, Maggie Stiskin, Conchita Browne, Joey Jocobschagen, Alphaeus Flood and Latisha Simpson all spoke highly of this meeting! Due to the overwhelming number of guests and members present for this meeting, not everyone was able to speak. It should be noted that 32 attending is one of the most for a regular meeting on record. Those who attended were: Chi Simons CC, Christopher Fama ACS, ALB; David Slaten CC, Daphne Hart CC, CL; Monique Smith-Trager, Marie Loeffler DTM, Laura Dowler ACB, ALB; Pam Klein, Ken Blake DTM, Silvia Kim, Andy McGrane, Robyn Lesser, Linda Klein, Renee Ellis, Latisha Simpson, Alphaeus Flood, Steve Wood CC, CL; Ken Walley DTM, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Clidetra Flood, Amy Sims, Vick, Maggie Stiskin, Conchita Browne, Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Benjamin Rodriguez, Nick Toporkov, Alex Guzman, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Walk Jones DTM, Joey Jocobschagen, Lilly Tang and Vincent Son. I am glad so many people showed up for this meeting as it was simply a state of the art Toastmaster’s meeting.

On the evening of September 1, 2016, with Hurricane Hermine barreling down on Florida, and the Herndon Branch Library, courageous Toastmasters bravely defied the threatening weather and made the yearly pilgrimage for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests! These contests indeed were well worth flaunting the dangers of high wind and pelting rain. The masterful job of our Contest Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB on this magical evening proved to be an enlightening lesson on the perfect way to orchestrate Toastmasters contests. Exceptionally paced, fair and laced with both wisdom and humor; Kara’s effort was worthy entertainment in itself. It was a textbook lesson on how to run a contest! From the moment Sgt. At Arms Benjamin Rodriguez opened the meeting with the Pledge to the Flag, the excitement started to build about the first contest: The Evaluations Contest. Expectations grew even more when Kara announced that the contest “Test Speaker” was to be the highly respected former Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB! Scott surpassed even these expectations with his speech titled “My Thesis”. The speech started as a scholarly instruction on the wavelength spectrum and our ability of perception. The speech then took a decidedly strange turn when Scott explained that he would use this data to prove his “thesis” that “unicorns fart rainbows.” After that Scott, still speaking as if he were in a Harvard classroom, attempted to demonstrate to us what a unicorn rainbow fart would smell like by using various perfumes of flower and fruit fragrances. After the speech, our four contestants were ushered out of the room to prepare their evaluations. Moments later Contest Sgt. At Arms Ken Walley DTM returned Robyn Lesser, Walk Jones DTM, Monique Smith-Trager and Ken Blake DTM back into the room. Each gave a compelling, useful and at times very funny evaluation of Scott’s speech. This evaluation contest featured four brilliant and vary different evaluations! There was a five minute intermission before the “main event” of the evening was once again called to order by Benjamin Rodriguez. Contest Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB called upon the Chief Judge Troy Palmer DTM to affirm that the contestants had all been briefed on the rules. Receiving the go-ahead, Kara declared “Let the Humorous Speech Contest Begin!” Speaking first was Toastmaster Daphne Hart CC, CL with a speech titled “Addicted” who explained how she came about having a compelling love for sugar. She blamed this on her grandfather who treated his grandchildren to handfuls of candy while he partakes in his own addiction of chewing tobacco. Seeing the joy of her granddad’s “chaw”, six-year-old Daphne one day decided to help herself to some of her grandpa’s “good stuff” when he was not around… The second speaker Monique Smith-Trager remembered the night that she first made a real impression upon her future husband in a speech titled “Fireworks or Psychopathic for ‘I Love You!’” This touching love story, combined the ingredients of an exhausted and sleeping object of love, a drunken group of college students, bottle rockets (without the stabilizing sticks), fire, very loud noises, banana throwing,… and a lot of other stuff. Amid the havoc, confusion and drunkenness, Monique managed to capture the attention, and the heart of her true love. The last humorous speech of the evening by Robyn Lesser was titled “Trick Horses Drink Two”. Robyn told the story of her father’s two highly trained horses that eventually became more human than horse. One horse made sure that her dad would get home from the pub in the Australian outback where “drinking was one of the only things you could do” in her little town out in the middle of nowhere. The horse would not only make sure that her dad did not fall down, but also open the gate when he got home! The horses themselves would often partake in a few drinks, coming into the bar and ordering a drink. Two was the limit for the horses and then they would remind Robyn’s father it was time to leave. This was a truly amusing story of incredibly smart horses as well as life in the outback! The quality of these speeches were so close that the judges could have come back with a “3-way-tie for 1st place Humorous Speech”. However the judges had to pick winners to advance to the Area Contest coming up later this month. On hand to present the trophies for our winners was Club #28 President Chi Simons CC, CL and our Area 31 Director Hasheem Francis CC. Coming in 2nd place for the Evaluation Contest was Walk Jones DTM and going on to the Area Evaluation contest is 1st place winner Ken Blake DTM. In the Humorous Speech Contest, the 2nd place winner is Monique Smith-Trager and a drum-roll please for our 1st place Humorous Speech winner: Daphne Hart CC, CL! Congratulations! Without the help of many of our fellow toastmasters this contest could not have been such a gigantic success. Thanks to our contest staff including Timers Amy Sims and Paula Summa DTM; Ballot Counters Nick Toporkov and Chandra Ewell; Club #28 Sgt. At Arms Benjamin Rodriguez, Contest Sgt. At Arms Ken Walley DTM, Cameraman Steve Wood CC, CL; Chief Judge Troy Palmer, Contest Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB and Club #28 President Chi Simons CC, CL. As usual thank you to our judges who will remain anonymous. Many guests, toastmasters and dignitaries were present. Those attending the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 2016 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests were: Chi Simons CC, CL, Zack Ruman, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Epple Bang, Walk Jonbes DTM, Marie Loffler DTM, Chandra Ewell, Troy Palmer DTM, Hasheem Francis CC, Andy McGraine, Renee Ellis, Joey Jacobschagen, Amy Sims, Paula Summa DTM, Terri Griffith, Clidetra Flood, Steve Wood CC, CL; Stacy Watson, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Debbie Vick, Alex Guzman, Nick Toporkov, Benjamin Rodriguez, Alberto Collazo, Ken Blake DTM, Daphne Hart CC, CL; Robyn Lesser, Monique Smith-Trager, Jerome Kadisz DTM, Timothy Latty and Scott Maloney ACB, ALB! Everyone here helped to make this an historic contest event.

With all of the hoopla of a opening night, the August 25, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s “Opening Nights” theme meeting was truly a gala affair! The curtain went up at the Everglades University, with a quote of Eleanor Roosevelt read by Renee Ellis: “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.” Monique Smith-Trager was our Toastmaster for the evening and she spotlighted both wildly celebrated grand openings as well as some more personal “coming-outs.” She remembered the hype and anticipation of the latest premier of the Star Wars saga: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens!” After having to buy her tickets months in advanced and being escorted into the theater just so they could “pack each and every seat”’ Monique realized that almost no event could live up to such high expectations. She also remembered how opening nights added an “extra layer of excitement”. She spoke how a first time unveiling ramps up both the chance of legendary success or becoming a total bust. This works both ways even at an international level such as the Olympics or at an event closer to home like the first day of school or soccer tryouts. Lastly, Monique made note that each Toastmasters meeting was an “opening night to help prepare you for all of your other opening nights.” Well prepared was our Table Topics Master Walk Jones DTM who challenged our members and guests with a few questions about how they saw some of their “opening events”. Steve Wood CC spoke about how some of the 1970’s movies such as the original Star Wars series stuck in his head, both because of the special effects film innovations and how they often got the science wrong. “The sound effects of the battles scenes could not be heard because space is a vacuum and there is no sound, the light from the light saber would just continue on into space until it dissipated and lasers can’t hurt anyone.” David Lynch our guest, spoke about how as a sports fan the first game of the season always brought excitement. Monique Smith-Trager remembered being in a school musical “Bye, Bye Birdie” that never actually got performed in front of anyone but they took pride in perfecting it through hours of practice. Renee Ellis spoke about how hard it was to pick her favorite Mel Brooks movie. Some of his most beloved movies (“The Producers” “Blazing Saddles” “Young Frankenstein”) came to mind while others (“Spaceballs, History of the World, Part 1”) were described as “sometimes misses.” Another guest, Elton Craig spoke about going to a Miami Heat opening season game with his father and cherishing the memory. Three speakers made a grand entrance into oratory excellence starting with Christopher Fama ACS, ALB. Christopher’s speech titled “Inspired to Change” told about the 1st time he tried to start a Toastmaster’s club at the university where he was a newly minted Professor. Soon after he tried to form the club, he found himself being brought before a union grievance board… with the threat of losing his job! Christopher had to explain what Toastmasters was and why it was no threat to the English Department. He succeeded, even inviting the board members to a meeting and the club is still going to this day! Another entertaining and Toastmasters-friendly speech was Chi Simon CC, CL‘s “Happy Hunting!” which featured ways that the club could earn bonus “Toastmasters money” by gaining new members. She explained the times for membership drives, which could earn the club money. She spoke about reaching yearly membership goals, which could earn the club money and getting our dues paid quickly… which could also earn the club money! Along with Christopher’s starting a new club theme and Chi’s membership building our third speaker Daphne Hart CC, CL gave a speech about the Toastmasters Promise in a speech titled “Commitment” Using the equation V+C+V=P (or 2V+C=P) which translates to twice the Value of a program plus the Commitment that you put into it, equals the Purpose you want to reach from that program. She spoke of keeping your eyes on the result through your dedication to that goal. Daphne used the example that “many Olympians train their entire life to earn a gold medal. The value they put into earning that gold, is worth any commitment to it, and it defines them and their purpose to excelling, to becoming the best in the world.” Daphne had all of the Toastmasters stand and read the “Toastmaster’s Promise” as a way for us to re-commit to achieving our goals as Toastmasters. Inspiring as they were, these speeches still needed the purpose of finding value through evaluations. General Evaluator Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB showed us by example giving Daphne’s speech appraisal as well as introducing two other insightful evaluations from Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Christopher) and Walk Jones DTM (for Chi). This opening night extravaganza would hot have been such a triumph had it not been for the Premiere Toastmasters Revue (PTR) who “lit the lights” with some bravo reports thanks to Grammarian David Slaten CC, Timer Andy McGrane, Red Carpet Reporter Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Renee Ellis. The reviews from our guests John Simon, Ryan Conrad, David Lynch and Elton Craig were glowing. It’s easy to see that when opening night comes for Club #28 when the proverbial curtain rises, when the trumpets blast, when we run out from the tunnel onto the field in front of the roaring crowd… we’re ready to bring it on!

The August 18, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Making Conversation” theme meeting was the talk of the town. Linda Klein started the meeting with some words of wisdom with a quote from Maya Angelou “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Our Toastmaster Jack Wharton ACB, ALB was not just blowing hot air on the topic of making conversations but instead gave us an inclusive list of conversation starters, communication mechanics and the many levels of human connection and interactions that went far beyond the “gift of gab.” Negotiating strategies, body language, “small talk”, mind set, naming and open answers were just some of the subjects he covered under the umbrella of intelligent discourse. Opening up the conversation even more was Table Topics Master Robyn Lesser armed with some probing questions such as “What is the best ‘one-liner’ you’ve ever heard or said in a conversation?” This question was asked of Amy Sims. Amy spoke of a number of famous lines she heard in the movies such as Eastwood’s “Make my day”, Brando’s “Going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” and others, but Amy settled upon a rather shocking, and really funny… line from the movie “Something About Mary.” Robyn’s second question centered upon “sticking your foot in your mouth and attempting to pull it back out.” Daphne Hart CC, CL remembered blurting out to a friend of hers “It’s not you, it must be the mirror!” Chandra Ewell was asked to comment upon “conversations without words.” This brought back memories of how her mother could say a lot things with “just one stern look.” Ken Blake DTM when asked to remember an awkward state of affair, spoke about how he diffused two situations, with an angry customer and another with a disgruntled employee. Linda Klein when prompted to reminisce upon a “small white lie”. Recalled trying to put on a “refined act” for her future husband’s parents… until she tripped face-first on the floor. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL spoke about a communication breakdown which happened at his job when a party from England ordered “a two piece chicken” instead of the “#2 on the menu.” Completely different things. He also told a story of a masked man who asked Eddy to hold a “bag of money for him” until the police had left. “It’s not my money, officer,” explained Eddy, “It’s just a big misunderstanding!” Steve Wood CC covered the last question about our need to be heard by saying “You can’t handle the truth!” He then forgot the question admitting that “he wasn’t really listening.” Steve soon recovered “Oh yes, you asked about people not listening to you!” Everyone was fully tuned in to our three speeches. A jaw-dropping Ice Breaker Speech that will have Club #28 buzzing for a long time was Nick Toporkov‘s self titled speech “Nick Toporkov”. Nick used a power-point presentation on steroids to illuminate a background of his life that includes dancing the salsa and Zumba workouts along with vipassana meditation, learning Chinese, vegan-ism, and a PhD. In engineering. All of this guided by his simple motto: “Fake it to you make it.” It has gotten Nick a long way. Speaking second was Benjamin Rodriguez who was turning to the Lord for divine guidance for his speech “My Dream Continued.” Ben noted that there “must have been more” to his last speech so he asked the Lord “for the rest of the story. What he got was an inspired speech about the holy spirit. “The seed is the spirit. The seed is love, joy, patience, gentleness, harmony. Lord, I need more! It is healing and self-control, and faithfulness. It is the fruit of the seed, the fruit of the spirit.” Christopher Fama ACS, ALB gave us a lesson on how to give a review of a student’s work in “The Student Appraisal”. Professor Fama explained the delicate balance between pointing out the need for adjustment and the need to encourage the student. He also spoke as the appraisal as a tool for “raising the bar” and helping the student to extend his or her potential. He then gave a “mock” appraisal to his “student” Daphne Hart CC, CL. One excellent piece of advice for her was “Take the word ‘can’t’ out of the equation.” Three of club #28’s best evaluators, led by General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM all weighed in on the conversation. Walk Jones DTM (for Nick), Eddy Cezalien CC, CL (for Benjamin) and David Slaten CC (for Christopher). Also giving testimony were the Comforting Communal Conversationalists (CCC) with reports by Grammarian Ken Walley DTM, Timer Daphne Hart CC, CL; Autofocus Scanner Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Renee Ellis, and Vote Counter Amy Sims. Our guests David Darby, Phillip Butalis and John Simon were talkative as well, spinning yarns about how wonderful the meeting was. After a meeting like this, only one thing is certain that all can agree upon: that if the discussion was about communication, if the give and take is about leadership… then Toastmasters Club #28 is in the conversation. Discuss.

The August 11, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Pets” themed meeting purred with joy all the way to the last gavel. The first of three meetings at the Everglades University campus in Maitland Florida, started with our newest member, Renee Ellis who opened the meeting with a inspirational thought about how being brave is partly about accepting your fears. Quoting Corra Harris: “The bravest thing that you can do when you are not brave is to profess your courage and act accordingly.” Toastmaster Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB retrieved some remarkable facts about owning a pet. She spoke on how pet owners had lower blood pressure and lived longer. She noted that owning a pet often helped Alzheimer’s patients retain memory and even helped those who were dealing with severe depression. Kara even commented that pets were a “date magnet”. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM threw out some questions that were fetched back in style by our members. The first question for Daphne Hart CC, CL was to tell us about a pet you had or that you still have. Daphne spoke lovingly about Spikey, an adopted stray cat without a tail. Amy Sims gave both an impassioned and yet logical answer to the question of why people own pets. She listed companionship, stress reduction, security and unconditional love as just some of the reasons. Chi Simons CC, CL spoke of the strangest pet that she had ever heard of… her Siamese cat! Her cat often has feline/human personality conflicts and “tries to speak in my language.” The question of should animals be used for entertainment was addressed by Jerome Kalisz DTM. Jerome mentioned that a rewarding part of pet ownership is being entertained by your pet but admitted that “ entertainment and animals have a checkered past”. He said that it was important to judge on how the animal is being treated. Nick Toporkov gave us some ideas for dangerous pets we should not own including tigers, alligators and other wild animals. He also noted the disastrous environmental impact by abandoned pythons in Florida. Renee Ellis commented on what is required to be a responsible dog owner. She mentioned, grooming, feeding the dog a healthy diet, taking the dog to the vet for shots and checkups, flea and tick control, exercise and play as well as a home with love and stability. Any dog that has Renee as an owner is a lucky dog indeed. Linda Klein put forth some solutions to the problem of pet abandonment. She supported highly pet adoption from local shelters and spoke about how she herself adopted a dog. Alex Guzman was asked to comment from a pet’s point of view to “tell us about your human.” Instead he told us about a beagle that he loved to walk and said that the golden rule should include pets as well: “Treat your pet the way you would like them to treat you.” Benjamin Rodriguez was given the question of “Can a pet really be ‘part of the family?’” Ben hilariously told of his daughter’s favorite dog named Tiger. “That dog barked so much and protected her like a tiger…that’s how he got the name.” Later he told how Tiger kind of took over the house. Ken commented that Tiger the dog was “not part of the family, but the head of the family.” Three speakers were on the agenda and each gave remarkable performances. Andy McGrane‘s Ice Breaker titled “My Life Circles” was both unique and entertaining. He told his story by introducing us to the different circles of friends at his 60th birthday party. We found out a lot about Andy from his friends, not to mention that he is very popular. Christopher Fama ACS, ALB took on the part of a Professor at Everglades University giving an orientation safety briefing for his speech “Lock it Down”. Christopher, who actually is a professor at Everglades University, told us what we should do in case of a shooting attack on campus. “Turn out the lights, pull down the blinds, keep quiet make is seems as if there is no one in the room…” was just part of the advice. He also answered questions about how we would defend ourselves against an attacker. We all felt a little more secure after his speech. Robyn Lesser’s 8th speech ( 8? Wow!) titled “Champions” told us what to watch for at the 2016 Rio Olympics that just started last week. There is no doubt about where Robyn is going to be: hunkered down on the couch and not moving for three weeks! She spoke about the intensity of the games, the talent, the “4th place” finishers and most of all the Olympic spirit as a reason to enjoy the games. Also happily wagging their tails with some wonderful speech reviews were the evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Steve Wood CC. Steve expertly led this segment of the meeting which featured evaluations from Chi Simons CC, CL (for Andy), Ken Blake DTM (for Christopher) and Jerome Kalisz DTM (for Robyn). Another group, “The Speaker’s Pets” (TSP) had us begging for more reports thanks to Grammarian Daphne Hart CC, CL, Timer Nick Toporkov, Good Videographer! Steve Wood CC, Chew Toy Squeezer Alex Guzman and Vote Counter Linda Klein. It was announced that Renee Ellis had joined our club. Welcome Renee! So we had no official guests for this meeting. That only left us to ask “Who’s our favorite meeting? This one is! Yes it is! Atta’ meeting!” Arf! Arf!

Winning the gold metal in the “best meeting ever” category was the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 8, 2016 “Olympics” theme meeting. Exploding out of the blocks to start the meeting was Daphne Hart CC, CL with a quote from Zig Ziglar: “Our problem is that we make the mistake of comparing ourselves with other people. You are not inferior or superior to any human being… You do not determine your success by comparing your accomplishments to your capabilities. You are ‘number one’ when you do the best you can with what you have.” Before the official start of the festivities we had a new member induction ceremony of Alex Guzman, Andy McGrane and Nick Toporkov! Our Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM took us to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Ken covered some of the controversies surrounding the games and described a few events to watch for in the coming weeks. He highlighted some of the athletic heroes of past games which are probably playing in their final Olympics including Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Kerri Walsh-Jennings. Ken also introduced us to some of the next wave of sports super-stars like Gymnast Simone Biles, swimmers Ryan Murphy and Lilly King and Bubba Watson in Golf. Ken also re-created his version of his favorite Olympic moment: Kerri Strug winning gold on the vault in the 1996 Olympics with a third-degree lateral sprain to her ankle! Setting a new world record in Table Topics, the Club #28 team answered Table Topics coach David Slaten CC‘ s  tough questions with ease “What is your favorite Olympic event?” was answered by Latisha Simpson. She like track and field and remarked that it was “wonderful to see the incredible talent at the games. Another guest, Zack Ruman was asked about his opinion of the recent doping scandal. He remarked that drug testing is not going to be the ultimate answer as in every Olympics there have been those who are trying to find an edge to win. Money was the focus on the next question. Some host cities have suffered a financial loss putting on the Olympics while other have flourished. “Should Orlando host a future Olympics?” Guest Detra Flood thought so. “It might pay for fixing the pot-holes, but it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the games with my family.” Following her answer up, David asked Nick Toporkov “Is the high cost of the Olympics becoming to high to produce them?” Nick responded that countries are willing to be a part of the games because it promotes pride in their country and it make a statement to the rest of the world about their country. “That statement, about being a world player, is the real reward of being in the Olympic games.” Ken Blake DTM was asked if he could “combine any events” to lower the total of 306 competitions. Ken said that he would like to bring a spotlight instead upon a 16 year old ping pong player from the United States named Kanak Jha who could bring home a medal. With the same competitive spirit in the quest of excellence and perfection exemplified by the Olympian athletes, our two speakers Benjamin Rodriguez and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB produced pure gold speeches! Benjamin’s Speech (“My Dream”) used a metaphor to show that while enriching spiritual life, a needy soul is is the productive place to start. “To grow the best fruit a farmer looks for the blackest soil. There he will till and plant the seed.” said Benjamin. “I saw this in a dream. When the Lord speaks to you. You get it. You understand.” Benjamin said that this Revelation told him to seek out as a pastor where he was needed most.” A powerful point made by Pastor Ben, in a powerful speech. Kara’s speech touched the heart of all who heard it. A simple project in the 2nd grade, to make a time capsule that would be opened in 10 years produced a treasure when re-discovered 30 years later. The cardboard-tube time capsule was first made as a 7 year old in July of 1986. A future seventeen year old Kara was unimpressed with the child-like writing and simple notes when she opened the “time capsule”in 1996. But recently she found it again while clearing out her mother’s house. In the time capsule among the garbage-pail kids cards, was a forgotten letter from her father who had since passed away. The letter was encouraging and hopeful for her future and beyond precious; it was a voice from the past pledging to always be there for her. She encouraged us to make our own “time capsule” for our kids letting them know how much we love them. A message that will be far more powerful even than time itself. Effortlessly jumping the hurdle of wisdom was General Evaluator Daphne Hart CC, CL. Also on her coaching staff were Evaluators Monique Smith (for Benjamin) and Christopher Fama ACS, ALB (for Kara). This meeting scored high in Artistic Presentation and Technical Precision thanks to the Vocal Freestyle Relay Team (VFRT) of Guest Grammarian Enrique Moran, Timer Alex Guzman, Synchronized Individual All-around Photography Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Andy McGrane and Vote Counter Guest Renee Ellis. We had so many new and returning guests that they almost out-numbered our members! Zack Ruman, Renee Ellis, Detra Flood, Alphaeus Flood, Latisha Simpson, Alex Guzman and Enrique Moran. All of them pledged to return and gave the meeting “Perfect 10’s”. While as Toastmasters we usually stand behind a lectern, in tonight’s meeting Club #28 deserved to stand at the top of the podium.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 held its semi-annual “Moments of Truth” meeting on July 28, 2016. “Moments of Truth” is a Toastmasters International “checkup” on the organizational health of the club. It is safe to say that Club #28 is in fantastic shape! The meeting started with David Slaten CC leading us in the Pledge to the Flag and quoting Ronald Reagan: “You know, by the time you reached my age, you’ve made plenty of mistakes if you have lived your life properly.” Club President and meeting Toastmaster Chi Simons CC announced that this would be a different agenda from our usual meetings. She introduced many guests that were in attendance including our new Area 30 Director Emphases Francis along with two members of the Orlando Conquerors Club 1066 Robert Donnenfeld DTM and Conquerors President Angela Holly CC. Other guests were Theresa Pinto, Detra Flood, Latisha Simpson, Heddy Tusi, Renee Ellis and Stacy Watson. As part of the educational theme of “Moments of Truth” Chi introduced Susan Storma CC, CL to to give a presentation from the Leadership Excellence Series titled “The Visionary Leader”. Susan brilliantly explained what an “organizational vision” is and how it could be used as a blueprint for accomplishing the success of the company’s goals. She used vision statement examples from major corporations and non-profits such as Disney (“To make people happy”), The Oceana Group (“To protect and restore the world’s oceans”) and the Alzheimer’s Association (“A world without Alzheimer’s disease”). Susan also touched on how vision statements can be a guide for the company and also serve to unite employees to work towards a common goal. Toastmaster’s vision statement? “Toastmasters International empowers people to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams.” Part of that vision was accomplished with the evaluation of Susan’s speech by David Slaten CC. David gave some superb advice as well as supportive wisdom in his review. “The Moment of Truth” section of the meeting was next as members were divided up into small groups, each group assessing specific aspects of club quality and growth: First impressions, Membership Orientation, Fellowship and Variety, Program Organization, Membership Strength and finally, Achievement Recognition. On the whole, the club was judged to equal or exceed the highest standards of excellence in almost all phases that were covered. There were some areas to improve upon but the “Moments of Truth” exercise proved to be a statement of strong encouragement that the club is definitely on the right track towards creating the best possible toastmasters environment. A bonus speech was added on to the end of the meeting by visiting distinguished toastmaster Robert Donnenfeld DTM titled “Alien Love” a story of his son who went on to become “the best of the best” in the Marine Corp. and leaving his father more than a little confused as to what had happened to his not-so-responsible teenager. With a gentle humor, Robert reminded us that you can never really tell a book by it’s cover. Thanks also go out to the “Moments of Truthers” (MOT) who helped to make this meeting a true success: Grammarian Andy McGrane, Timer: Benjamin Rodriguez, Moments on Video Person Steve Wood CC and AH Counter Ken Walley DTM. Those present at this meeting were: Chi Simons CC, David Slaten CC, Ken Blake DTM, Robert Donnenfeld DTM*, Angela Holly CC*, Linda Klien, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Andy McGrane, Ken Walley DTM, Renee Ellis*, Steve Wood CC, Benjamin Rodriguez, Stacy Watson*, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Monique Smith*, Heddy Tusi*, Latisha Simpson*, Detra Flood*, Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis, Theresa Pinto*, Daphne Hart CC, CL, Robyn Lesser and Susan Storma CC, CL.(*denotes guest) This was a truly excellent meeting even if it was one of the club’s more clerical missions. We learned a lot about the club and also about who we are as individuals. I liked what I saw.

[Editor’s note: I was unable to attend the July 21’s meeting and I thank Jack Wharton ACB, ALB for sending in the following report. -KHW]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting on July 21, 2016 had them rolling in the aisles! The “Comedy” themed meeting was a smashing success. Sergeant at Arms Benjamin Rodriguez brought the meeting to order and led the club in some applause for themselves to start the meeting. Guest Charles Wharton gave an invocation and pledge from an anonymous source: “study hard, learn things, help others.” Leading the way in our comedic journey was the newly hyphenated Monique Smith-Trager. According to her, comedy “gives us a common point to focus on.” During table topics, Daphne Hart, CC, CL served up a series of entertaining questions. Christopher Fama, ACS, ALB told a tale of his tricky twin students switching places on him to confuse him. Andy McGrane reminded us that the humerus was indeed our funny bone, and told of his ongoing jokes with his sister. Returning guest Chuck Wharton regaled the audience with a legendary tale of the comedian Steve Martin interrupting his comedy show to take his audience across the street to get French fries. Jack Wharton ACB, ALB told of funny times with his family and gave his best Beavis impersonation, identifying his visiting brother as Butt-head. Steve Wood CC told us about mischievous squirrels. David Slaten spoke slowly and spoke of the value of not taking oneself too seriously. Guest Detra Flood talked about a comedic story between her and her sister. Benjamin Rodriguez introduced us to the towering figure of William Penn in his speech, “Who Is William Penn?”. He worked the audience and spoke of “quaking” in the Lord’s power. Robyn Lesser returned to the lecture for her speech “Dog Universe”, giving us a world tour of the most popular dog breeds, ultimately crowning the Labrador retriever as “Miss Dog Universe”. Chandra Ewell gave a moving speech (“Body Language“) about her experience doing a 3 day walk to fight cancer, and its inspirational effect on her. Club President Chi Simons, CC led the club in the evaluation part of the meeting, in which Christopher Fama, ACS, ALB (Benjamin), Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB (Robyn), and Susan Storma, CC, CL (Chandra) gave actionable advice to our speakers in their evaluations. Monique Smith-Trager kept us all laughing throughout the meeting, including references to her favorite comedians, which included Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Jerry Seinfeld (complete with imitation!), and Nick Offerman. The meeting was completed by the supporting comedic actors grammarian John Simon, timer David Slaten, ah counter Linda Klein, and vote counter Pam Klein. The meeting was a family affair, with Chuck Wharton, Karen Wharton, and Charles Wharton all appearing as visitors of longtime member Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB. Brenna Droege, CC and her mother were also in attendance. All in all, this was a meeting that really left us all in stitches!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 14, 2016 “Heat of the Summer” theme meeting was Hot! Hot! Hot! Andy McGrane started the meeting with a reading of a quote by Normal Vincent Peal “Believe you can and you can. Belief is one of the most powerful of all problem dis-solvers. When you believe that a difficultly can be overcome, you are more than half-way to victory over it already.” Keeping a scorching pace as our Toastmaster was Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. Jack reminded us of ways to stay cool in the insane heat of a Florida summer. He also pointed out that summertime is also a time for vacations (650 million long distance trips are made each year) and that in Florida temperatures above 80 degrees can last from April until November. Another tanned toastmaster, ready to surf the waves of table topics was Table Topics Master Ken Blake DTM. His first question was for Steve Wood CC “Should weather personalities be made accountable for the weather?” Steve said emphatically “No!” He said that the weather was just to unpredictable, even in our technologically advanced times but there have been countries and times in which weathermen have been jailed just for being wrong! Andy McGrane was asked if some summer sports should be suspended because of the dangers of heat exhaustion. Andy said that those who run track and field, race in NASCAR events, play soccer and other outdoor sports “know what they are getting into before they play.” He said that the heat is often “part of the game.” Chandra Ewell was asked if weather-personalities should “just tell us what it feels like outside instead of giving us a number of different temperatures. She said that the main information should be the heat index which is often more accurate than the actual temperature. “Keep it simple.” She also expressed a high praise for the work that weather forecasters do. Ken Walley DTM was asked about jumping into a pool that was to hot. Ken said that it was so hot that his pool had “turned green” overnight and that he had to treat it with so many chemicals that if you did go swimming “you would dissolve.” Daphne Hart CC, CL said her pool was “nice and blue” but her favorite summer color was green because everything is green! The trees, the grass and I’m even turning green with envy.” Our guest Bill Tomlinson tried to convince us to take him to Disney as if he were a child and we were his parents that did not want to leave the house in the heat. “We have reached an impasse, I see.” he said “I assure you that will not sleep again until I go to Disney!” Manuel Michel replied to Ken B.’s question of “How long can a mango last in the sun?” He said the longer it stays on the tree the riper the mango gets. The cycle from flower to fruit is 3 to 4 months and the juice can get hot enough to burn you if not picked in time. At the end of the meeting we heard from returning Amy Sims who told us about her love of Air Conditioning and said that she was happy to be back with the club! One thing is for sure is that the club did not get burned by our speakers! They fired up some smokin’ speeches starting with Robyn Lesser and a presentation titled “Crickets with Wickets”. Robyn explained the “sport” of Cricket to those Americans in the room who did not understand it. That included just about all of us. Admitting that she loves a competition that often takes days to play, she had us understanding what it means to hit a “4 or 6 without a LBW.” Her speech was undoubtedly much more exciting than the real game of Cricket. Next, Monique Smith spoke on an educational topic titled “The Myths of Homeschooling Children” Monique, a public school teacher debunked such untruths as “the social life of the children will suffer”, “Parents are not qualified to teach”, “Parents will do the work for the kids” and “home-schooled kids are not prepared for everyday life.” In a very organized and well researched presentation, Monique made an excellent case for home study. Susan Storma CC, CL delivered the Toastmasters International’s “The Successful Club Series” module “Evaluate to Motivate” Susan covered a complete overview of the dynamics of useful and uplifting evaluation techniques. Using the study guide, personal stories and also the examples of past real club evaluations, Susan took the fear out of evaluations and made the part art and part science of evaluating accessible and understandable to both new and seasoned toastmasters. The evaluations themselves were like a cool glass of lemon aid on a shady hammock during a sun-soaked Florida heat wave. General Evaluator Daphne Hart CC, CL introduced her team of evaluators Chi Simons CC (for Robyn), returning Club #28 member Betsy Carvajal CC (for Monique) and Ken Walley DTM (for Susan). The Florida Summer Fun Bunch (FSFB) also added to the meeting covering our reports like a big beach umbrella thanks to Grammarian David Slaten CC, Timer Christopher Fama ACS, ALB; Video Orange Juicer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Chranda Ewell and Vote Counter Linda Klein. Our guests Omar Pradhaw, Bill Tomlinson, Nick Toporkov, Alex Guzman, Terrica Wallace and Riana Carpenter, all of them were upbeat and very positive with their comments during the meeting. Some are on the verge of joining! Be it soaking up the sun, surfing at the beach or jumping after a volleyball in the sand, the best way to beat the heat this summer was at this Toastmaster meeting!

The best fireworks were at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 7, 2016 “Fourth of July” theme meeting. The meeting started with a bang as Ken Walley DTM did a reading of the lyrics to Woody Guthrie‘s song “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land”. Chi Simons CC presided over her first meeting as Club #28’s president and introduced our Toastmaster for the evening Christopher Fama ACS, ALB. Christopher remembered a time when he was younger, celebrating the 4th by firing off firecrackers and some more powerful explosives such as the dangerous “M-80s”. He also gave us some incredible 4th of July trivia such as the 3 presidents who died on the Fourth and the one that was born on America’s birthday. (Died: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Born: Calvin Coolidge.) Christopher also told us that the original congress had wanted the date to be July 2nd, when most of the Representatives had actually signed the Declaration of Independence, but it was not adopted until July the fourth. Our Table Topics Master Jack Wharton ACB, ALB came prepared with a full picnic basket of questions for this patriotic holiday. His first question tor Linda Klein was “How did you celebrate the 4th?” She said she was unwilling to fight the crowds so she went shopping at Target and saw the fireworks from the store. Said Linda, “They were all around me, just a bit smaller.” Andy McGrane was next, he was asked “What does the 4th mean to you?”. Andy was most impressed by how the community comes together in a “celebration of gratitude”. He said that this year it seemed even more poignant because of the recent Pulse nightclub shootings. Returning guest Marcel Camey was asked about his thoughts on fireworks. He commented that he was often moved by the incredible effects they had on people and on how many people came out to see them. Marcel also commented on how far that the “Chinese technology” has come from it’s basic black-powder roots. Brenna Droege CC put together a fabulous meal when asked “What’s to eat and drink on the 4th?” Her menu included roasted corn on the grill and watermelon but she admitted that her boyfriend does the cooking. Steve Wood CC gave a scientific answer on how to beat the summer heat. He said that reducing the fat content in a diet would enhance the body’s ability to cope with high temperatures, especially in the brain. He noted that “60% of your brain is by volume fat and if you could lose 17% of that…” I did not really understand the rest, it might be easier just to jump in a cool lake. Our speeches declared our independence from the mundane by starting with Benjamin Rodriquez‘s fourth speech titled “The Science of Dry Cleaning”. This was a fascinating tutorial from a man who had been in the dry cleaning business for almost 50 years. “I was born into the dry cleaning business! As a baby I slept in the laundry baskets.” He told us many of the secrets of the profession including 500 lbs load machines, using less soap to avoid spotting, removing blood, body oil and wine stains and more. “I sold my store after 30 years, but I still dream of dry cleaning.” Our second speaker Ken Walley DTM gave a speech to cover for a speaker that did not show up. His speech titled “TLI” was an informative speech about the upcoming Toastmasters Leadership Institute, AKA “officer training.” Ken explained that TLI was so much more than officer training. He explained that there was something for every Toastmaster at TLI, even if they were not club officers. Ken made sure that everyone remembered the date for TLI: July 30th! Speaking in the final spot was Daphne Hart CC, CL who gave a riveting speech titled “Design for Purpose”. She went into detail what it means and what it takes to mentor others, especially in everyday life. “What are you doing for others?” is the basic question asked by Daphne “It does not have to be huge” she said, pointing out that just setting “an example of being trustworthy and dependable… will have an important impact on others.” Her point was that “everyone can be a mentor to someone and that every mentor is important.” Daphne implored us to “invest in the lives of others.” The verbal sky lit up in bright colors with the brilliant testimonies of our evaluators. General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM headed the committee of evaluators Monique Smith-Trager (for Benjamin), Jerry Fitzgerald DTM (for Daphne) and Ken Walley DTM evaluated his own speech! The Continental Toastmasters Congress (CTC) set forth a number of articles of review thanks to Grammarian Susan Storma CC, Timer John Simon, Feather-quill Secretary Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Chi Simons CC and Vote Counter Marcel Camey with assistant VC Andy McGrane. Waving proudly the flag of praise were our guests Alex Guzmen, Nick Toporkov and returning guests Jerry Fitzgerald DTM and Marcel Camey. This meeting in a way was like the 4th of July. It had plenty of food for thought, beautiful verbal fireworks and we celebrated our independence from the state of fear.

With all of the fun and without the bleary-eyed hangover of the next morning, the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Bachelorette / Bachelor Party” theme June 30, 2016 meeting paid tribute to the soon-to-be newlyweds partying the night away. This meeting was inspired by recently engaged member Monique Smith who while not present… she was actually at her batchlorette party… was remembered by Club #28 in high spirits throughout the evening. Comin’ out so we better get this party started was Kara Newcome ACG, ALB with the inspirational message of Maya Angelou. “I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel.” A very perfect message for a bachelorette bash indeed… if people even remember anything at all. A man soon headed to a bachelor party himself, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB, our Toastmaster; led us through the minefield of jello-shots of Tequila, balloons with inappropriate slogans on them, drunken toasts and of course, strippers… along with the other sorted things well-wishers impart on those faced with quickly approaching matrimony. None of which were actually present at the meeting. That would have been a major violation of the Edgewater Branch Library regulations. Monique left Jack some Table Topics questions for our club to answer so we videotaped our responses as a Club #28 pre-wedding gift. The first question “How did Monique’s husband propose?” was answered by Daphne Hart CC, CL. She said in much the same way as they met, with a surprise awakening, complete with fireworks. Very romantic. The next question “What did you do at your bachelorette party?’ was answered by Chi Simons CC who remembered wild drinking and dancing along with “entertainment and gifts”. Don’t worry Chi… “What’s said at the Edgewater Library, stays at the Edgewater Library!” Question three was for Kara Newcome ACG, ALB, “describe Monique’s first date with her future husband.” Kara decided that since Monique is a schoolteacher, they met at an old bookshop, where they looked at books then they walked around the lake at a nearby park before going to a coffee-shop to read to each other. Awesome date, very beautiful, very cheap. Monique’s next question was for our guest Theresa Slaten, “create the ultimate bachelorette party list.” Theresa’s “5 must-have things list” started out with Champagne. Perfect. Next balloons, “all black, because that’s a pure color.” OK. Let’s see…number three: we had “gifts”. Right, gifts. Good. Then… “The phone numbers of the bride’s past boyfriends!” What? Lastly, number five would be “taxi vouchers so that everyone could get home safely.” The best thing on the list! Monique had one more question for Ken Blake DTM. “Please give us a toast to Monique” Ken raised his glass and said “Monique the first time I saw you I knew you were special! I now leave you as your Toastmaster mentor and now become your marriage councilor, along with still being your automobile mechanic.” There was not a dry eye in the house. Our three speeches tonight were all excellent showing a wide range of growth from each of our speakers. The first speaker Chandra Ewell told about her friend Amelia in a speech titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. Mentioning that she had met her on a flight that was landing in Baltimore, Chandra told of her friends remarkable travels over the last 24 hours that included an Uber taxi drive, an Amtrak train journey, a metro subway jaunt and two round trip airplane flights! Amelia was a flight attendant who Chandra said was “well named because she reminded me of Amelia Earhart.” Another effort that had us completely entranced was Bren Bedford‘s speech titled “Which One Are You?” Bren covered a subject we all hold drear in Toastmasters: Glossophobia, or the fear of Public Speaking. She explained that speech anxiety effects 70% of the population. She also gave us some helpful suggestions on how to cope with this frequent dread. “Prepare yourself at the optimal level, then challenging yourself to make an outstanding result!” She mentioned other techniques such as pacing, deep breathing, positive affirmations and seeking help from others as ways of dealing with speaking fears. Jerry Seinfeld once said that “the fear of speaking is so bad that at a funeral most would rather be in the coffin than give the eulogy.” Bren asked: “Which one are you?” Our third speaker Robyn Lesser gave another brilliant presentation, or I should say performance titled “Left Side / Right Side: Diving Me Crazy” This humorous speech acted out the dilemma of having people drive on the opposite side of the road in different countries. Robyn, who is from Australia told about having to adjust to driving while at college in France and then living in England before moving to the US. She explained how her children pointed out one day she was driving down the wrong side of the road and another time when she got in the wrong side of the car to drive. “Where’s the steering wheel?” she thought! Anywhere in the world this would be an entertaining speech! Our evaluation team was headed by Chi Simons CC, CL who like a dutiful bridesmaid at a bachelorette party, had everything set up for her speakers. The evaluators were David Slaten CC (for Chandra), Ken Blake DTM (for Bren) and Jerome Kalisz DTM (for Robyn). The “Boastful Bachelors and Batchelorettes Bouncers” (BBBB) all gave remarkably sober reports thanks to Grammarian Daphne Hart CC, CL; Timer Ken Walley DTM, Mug Shot Photographer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Susan Storma CC, CL and Vote Counter guest John Simon. Standing ovations were given to Daphne Hart CC, CL and Susan Storma CC, CL for earning their Competent Leader Awards! Another standing ovation celebrated David Slaten CC for achieving his Competent Communicator Award! Congratulations! Our guests Theresa Slaten, John Simon and Jerome Kalisz DTM both highly praised the meeting. Everyone at this meeting should get a rose. Even without the lampshades on the heads, the dancing on the tables, the fire in the bathroom and alcohol induced lunacy; this meeting was better than any bachelor/bachelorette party… we wish you were here Monique!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 23, 2016 “Installation of Officers and the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony”  celebrated the Summer months and the the last days of the Toastmasters International leadership cycle. Club #28’s Having won many awards and accomplishing all of it’s goals, the atmosphere in the room was festive and full of joy! For this special evening, the Herndon Library meeting room was a welcome place for our guests and members. The room was indeed packed for this annual commemoration as well as one of Club #28’s most important meetings. We had a number of guests attending including former Toastmaster Jerry Fitzgerald, returning visitor John Simon and Marcell Camey who was attending his first Toastmasters meeting. The club was happy to also welcome back past Club #28 President Marie Loeffler DTM who had been away for some time. Starting the meeting was Susan Storma CC with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, `It can’t be done.’ “ The first order of club business by Club #28 President Kara Newcome ACG, ALB was to welcome our guests and then introduce the Master of Ceremonies for this special night, Ken Walley DTM.  Ken explained that there were two parts of the meeting, the first with two featured speakers and then evaluations of those speeches and the second part of the meeting being the “Changing of the guard” or the Installation of our new officers. Our first featured speaker for the night was Benjamin Rodriguez who gave an informative speech on one of the strangest bodies of water on Earth titled “Why The Dead Sea?” Ben told us of many facts about the Dead Sea including that it has a salt content 10 times the ocean, that nothing can live in it and it is one of the deadliest places to swim because it it so hard for people to turn over in the water! Our second featured speaker was Christopher Fama ACS, ALB who earned his Advanced Communicator Silver Award with a speech from the Better Speaker Series titled “Concluding Your Speech!” His presentation gave many thoughtful ideas on how to leave a lasting impression with any public speaking address. Some ideas such as using quotations, reinforcing a call to action, asking a rhetorical question and referring to the beginning and the main theme of the speech; were perfect for creating an impression that stays with the audience long after the speech is over. Evaluations were given of our speakers by two of Club #28’s best: Monique Smith (for Benjamin) and Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Christopher). Both evaluations were helpful for not only the speakers but for our members and guests as well. Starting the ceremonial phase of the meeting was outgoing President Kara Newcome ACG, ALB‘s “State of the Club Address”. She gave a long list of accomplishments the club had achieved including reaching the 30 member goal and an incredibly successful membership drive which won the “Beat the Clock ribbon. She spoke of high quality meetings including a very popular and successful Moments in Truth session. Kara remembered our first ever Club #28 auction that netted the club over $300. There was also the “7 of 7” honor, the recognition for all of Club #28’s seven officers attending the Toastmaster Learning Institute. President Newcomb touched on the strong mentorship program we have developed. She was most proud of the club earning it’s 8th straight President’s Distinguished Award, it’s 14th in 16 years. Kara gave lavish praise on her fellow officers for their hard work and dedication. She was “extremely optimistic about the future as already some of the DCP goals are being met for the next term!” Ken then introduced Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB for the Installation of Officers and the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony, the new officers inducted by Director Maloney were:

Sergeant at Arms:Benjamin Rodriguez Secretary: Linda Klein , Treasurer: Robyn Lesser Vice President of Public Relations: Chandra Ewell, Vice President of Membership: Daphine Hart CC; Vice President of Education: Monique Smith and President: Chi Simons CC. (Daphne Hart CC and Linda Klein were unable to attend the ceremony) 

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(l to r: Chi Simons CC, Monique Smith, Chandra Ewell, Robyn Lesser, Benjamin Rodriquez and Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB.

The Inaugural Address by Chi Simons CC was one of the most inspiring and powerful messages ever delivered to a Toastmasters Club by an incoming President. Chi explained how she procrastinated at joining Toastmasters until finally coming to a meeting less than a year ago and then discovering Club #28 on October 1, 2015. ”I knew right away that this was the perfect club for me!” Chi had made a list of 14 things in her diary about what she wanted to gain from Toastmasters BEFORE she even crossed through the door to her first meeting. Here is that list: 1. More confident! 2. Speak better! 3. Write better! 4. Earn more respect. 5. Promotion!!!!!! 6. Participate in conversations with a large group of people. 7. Gain more friends. 8. Meet more people outside of work. 9. Hear more interesting stories and speeches.10. More competitive.11. You get NOTHING to loose here! 12. Just GO!, if you don’t like it you can quit, that way at least you can say: “I’ve tried”.13. A year from now you might be better than today.  You have to be!  Because practice makes perfect! 14. A year from now, you can be able to say “I’m glad I did it!” instead of saying: “I wish I did it!” Chi found that Toastmasters had done all of those things and more! Chi voiced a strong hope for the future of the club and a vision of success. The atmosphere during her speech was electric and she was given a rousing standing ovation. With this speech Chi also achieved her Competent Communicator Award. Another standing ovation was given to Christopher Fama ACS, ALB for reaching his ACS awards as well. Speaking of Awards, Past Presidents Marie Loeffler DTM and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB were present to confer the The Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award , deservedly bestowed upon Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. Of course Ken Walley DTM was also there to congratulate Jack on his award. Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB made a number of announcements including an invitation to attend a “Demo Toastmasters meeting” for a new club the Lighthouse Club. That club is a rare sight-impaired club just starting up in Orlando. Scott, of course, also reminded us of the upcoming TLI Officer Training on July 30th at the Calvary Assembly Church in Winter Park. He announced as well that Club #28 would be in a new Area next term moving from Area 31 to Area 32. .Ken also took the time to thank our timer for the evening, Robyn Lesser.  At the end of the meeting we had a “surprise Parliamentarian Report” from Jerry Fitzgerald DTM, a veteran Toastmaster of the Winter Park Club 3674. While reminding us why Club #28 no longer has a Parliamentarian, he was also able to work in some very high praise for the club and of the meeting. Extraordinarily positive comments on the speeches and events of this evening were also voiced by both members and our guests! With this leadership team and the backing of a remarkable membership, the future of Club #28 has never looked  so bright! Members and guests attending: Kara Newcome ACG, ALB; Andy McGrane, Monique Smith, Robyn Lesser, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Ken Blake DTM, David Slaten, Marie Loeffler DTM, Brenna Droege, Jerry Fitzgerald DTM*, Steve Wood CC, Susan Storma CC, Bren Bedford, Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Christopher Fama ACS, ALB, Ben Rodriguez, Chi Simons CC, John Simon* and Ken Walley DTM. (* Denotes guests.)

The Orlando Toastmasters Club June 16, 2016 “Practical Jokes” theme meeting was no joke. It was a lot of fun. Ben Rodriquez started the meeting with a thought of the day “If you believe, than you can do amazing things!” from the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. First time Toastmaster Robyn Lesser had us all looking first before we sat down and kept us richly amazed with tales of tricks played upon the unaware. Robyn explained that Practical Jokes “make others feel foolish but are not meant to humiliate people.” She also told of some diabolical deceptions that have been played historically such as the “Sidd Finch baseball story”, the “fake moon rock” caper and the “Taco Bell buys the Liberty Bell” hoax. She also told us of a worthy jokester, her 17-year old daughter that had a penchant for making bogus phone messages directing friends to hit non- working digits… “If this is Bonnie, please press ‘2’”… much to her ever-ending delight! Also ready with some pranks of her own was Table Topics Master Daphne Hart CC. Daphne remembered a trick her sister played upon her father replacing his coffee sugar with salt that got hilarious results. She then asked Steve Wood CC if he ever played a trick on one of his siblings. Steve remarked that as the youngest sibling, the practical jokes were more often played upon him. He once remember his bike once ending up in a tree. He also remarked on the April 1st edition of New Scientist Magazine about a “mole-animal that could “burrow through ice like butter.” It was, of course, a fake. Susan Storma CC was asked if she had played any prank upon someone else. She said that an annoying chipping bird Christmas tree ornament seemed to “appear wherever her brother went, driving him completely crazy. Our guest, Newton DeSouza CC also told about a favorite practical joke: asking a friend to get out of the car and close the garage door, then re-opening it with the remote as the friend was walking away! “We had him go back like three times and he never caught on!” The last question was for Ken Walley DTM was asked about his feelings towards practical jokers. Ken said he was not a big fan of practical jokes but enjoined a truly creative one now and then. He sighted the TV show “The Carbonaro Effect” which has a professional magician play tricks on unknowing victims, as an example. Like a good practical joke, our two speakers both came completely prepared. Their speeches held us transfixed. Chi Simons, with her 9th speech, titled “Chi Energy” told about a crazy scavenger hunt that was required as part of a training program to teach teamwork. Following clues and going in many directions, Chi’s group of 6 thought they were defeated when they came to the finish line only to find another group had beaten them back. They found out however that they were really the official winners when it was revealed that it was about how many clues that they had solved and not how fast they could get back! It turned out that Chi was in a Toastmasters training session for Area Directors and that she had just been named the Area 34 Director! Congratulations Chi! The second speaker, close to attaining his Advanced Communication Silver award, was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. Christopher was giving a presentation from the Toastmaster’s International Better Speaker Series titled “Controlling Your Fear”. Christopher covered our anxiety triggers such as fear of failure and facing the unknown as well as some tried and true Toastmasters fear management methods such as visualization, relaxation techniques and by challenging yourself. “It is normal to feel nervous” said Prof. Fama, “but there are ways to master fear.” The evaluation committee was aptly headed by General Evaluator Susan Storma CC who was supported by evaluators Ken Walley DTM (for Chi) and by Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Christopher). Also not pulling the chair out from our speakers was our Practical Bureaucracy and Jokers (PB&J) who delivered some brilliant reports thanks to Grammarian Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Timer and Crazy Calamity Cam Controller Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Karla Newcomb ACG, ALB and Voter Counter Newton DeSouza CC. Newton was just one of our guests including returning guests John SimonEmmanuel Mitchell and Lily Thuone Tang. All of our visitors had excellent things to say about the meeting. Although mentioned at this meeting, you won’t find a whoopee cushion, pie in the face or bucket of water over the door, no tack on the the chair, underwear in the freezer or “kick me” sign on the back… not here, just another fabulous Toastmasters meeting!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 9, 2016 “Wine Trivia” meeting was like a fine glass of wine, well-balanced with a clean, crisp classy taste. Called upon with any prievious warning to give the Invocation and Pledge was club #28 President Kara Newcome ACG, ALB. Kara opened it up to the floor for any “thought of the day” and was rewarded by the suggestion of the quote: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” by Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR himself was a honorary member of Club #28. During the club business part of the meeting it was confirmed that the club officers for the July-December 2016 term would be Sgt. At Arms Benjamin Rodriquez, Secretary Linda Klein, Treasurer Robyn Lesser, Vice President of Membership Monique Smith, Vice President of Public Relations Virginia Gonzalez, Vice President of Education Daphne Hart CC and President Chi Simons. Congratulations to all! Our Toastmaster for the evening was Susan Storma CC who admitted to appreciating a nice glass of wine now and then. Susan gave us a plethora of facts about wine starting from the first known vineyard dating back to 8000 BC in Turkey. We found out that while France and Italy were tied for the #1 wine producing country, the United States came in at #3. Also we learned that China (at #5) had become a major international wine producing country. As far as consumption goes, the USA not surprisingly drinks more wine than any other country. We also found out that soon screw caps are going to replace the traditional cork seals of the bottles. Susan reminded us that many things go into how a wine will taste such as location, soil, rain, sun, slope, average temperature, wind, fog and other variables that all have an impact on the final product. Susan also filled in as our Table Topics Master popping the cork with some excellent questions. Noting the role wine plays in family gatherings she asked Linda Klein what was her “most memorable holiday dinner?” Linda remembered a family Thanksgiving that featured a before-dinner food fight that resulted in there being nothing left to eat! Our guest Tessa Henley was asked which popular wine producing country, France or Italy; would she like to visit. Tessa told of how she won a poetry prize that resulted in staying with a family for six months in France. She told of her adventures (“Even though I was not quite 16, I still sampled the wine!”) and her yearning to return again to France. Another guest, Gary Prince was asked if there was something that he had bought that was not as it was advertised. He told us about a 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII that he drove for so many miles that the owner who loaned it to him had him buy only to have it completely disintegrate on him. Gary spent almost as much in repairs as what he spent to buy it. Susan remarked that wine prices can vary incredibly so she asked our newest member David Slaten if cost was a good indication of quality. Gary responded with a definite “No!” He sighted that price can be as much a test of emotions, especially greed as much as quality of the product. He said however that one time he was able to find a good beer for 50 cents a bottle! There was nothing cheap about our three speeches. Ken Walley DTM was challenged by his project from the Public Relations Advanced Manuel to take a stance on a “controversial issue” and then hold a mock press conference afterwards. Ken’s speech was titled “Donald Trump is Unfit to be President of the United States”. He used Mr. Trump’s own words against him as he made a case that he was (quoting Hillary Clinton) “Dangerously incoherent” and “temperamentally unfit.” Ken gave 30 different examples of the Republican Party’s nominee’s actions and statements that taken together (or in some cases separately) might cause grave concern if he is elected. He then defended his position by fielding questions after the speech. Speaking second was a brilliant speech by Robyn Lesser titled “Damned From the Onset”. She told how her family went on a fishing trip when she was a child and caught some fish which they made into a delicious meal! Soon afterward, Robyn and a friend decided to go fishing on their own. They made their own fishing rods and even made hooks from bent nails! They found a perfect, quiet, beautiful place to fish: at Murphy’s dam. They could not understand after hours of fishing why they did not even have a nibble. That is of course until they got home. “You went fishing at Murphy’s dam?” said her mother, “There are no fish in Murphy’s dam!” But Robyn did learn some wonderful lessons that day. Speaking last with a very interesting speech was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. The title “An Unsolved Mystery” posed the question “Did Adolf Hitler survive WWII?” He pointed out that there was no real proof of Hitler’s death in Berlin. Christopher also showed how he could have escaped to San Ranon, Argentina by submarine. Christopher even produced a photo of someone who did look kind of, maybe, like Hitler in his late years. “Some believe that Argentina is where Hitler died at age 95” said Christopher, “we may never actually know if he truly committed suicide or somehow escaped!” These three very different but compelling presentations were given excellent feedback from the Evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Chi Simons. Chi was supported by evaluators Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Ken), Monique Smith (for Robyn) and Daphne Hart CC (for Christopher). More oratorical tastings were provided by the “Word Selection & Pairing Stewards” (WS&PS) who refined the gathering by sipping from the Champagne flute of knowledge thanks to Grammarian Linda Klein, Timer Virginia Gonzalez, AH Counter Bren Bedford and Vote Counter Andy McGrane. Our guests John Simon, Greg Prince and Tessa Hendley each commented positively of the evening proceedings. This meeting could be summed up as a sweet convergence, with notes of brilliance and humor; a hint of wisdom and balancing out nicely with a palette of fellowship, joy and fun. A fine meeting indeed!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 2, 2016 “Eye Contact” theme meeting was “outta sight!” Chandra Ellis started the meeting with a perfect quote from Maggie Grace “I am very superstitious about toasts. I never toast with water, and I am very careful to make eye contact with everyone I toast with.” This was our smallest meeting in years but it turned out to be a lively, fun and truly interesting affair. Much of this was due to the exceptional work of the Toastmaster Chi Simons. Chi introduced us to the story of John Elder Robison who related his life with Asperger’s and his inability to look people in the eye. Chi mentioned from his book “Look Me In The Eye: My life with Asperger’s” that it was such an over-whelming experience for him to do so that he would often lash out physically when he was forced to make eye contact. Chi also told us how to use eye contact as a speaking techiqune and how to “work a room.” Also with an eye on the proceedings was Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM. Ken reminded Laura Dowler ACB, ALB that eye contact is just one of the many techniques that can be used to create an excellent speech. He asked her “What are some speaking methods that you might use for give a knock-out presentation? Laura listed three essential techniques: enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence. Andy McGrane was requested to reply to “what was the most spectacular thing that he had ever laid eyes upon.” Andy remembered discovering for himself the magnificent ruins of the great temple at Petra, Jordan that was carved into sandstone with the stark backdrop of rugged desert canyons! Table Topics Master Walley then called for a response to the query of “What safety precautions should we take to protect our eyes while working around hazardous materials?” Daphne Hart CC responded that using goggles and keeping a safe distance from heat were always important. A completely different inquiry for Linda Klein was “Is there love at first sight?” Linda gave a very interesting answer in that one can fall in love with many things; beautiful scenery, a car, a diamond engagement ring, a first home or a new-born child. Relationships even with a strong first attraction, take work. Our newest member David Slaten was right on target with his answer for “What was meant by the quote ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul’”? He said that when you express something with your eyes, it relates attention, empathy, respect and sincerity. Chi Simons spoke about what she saw as an “eye sore”. Besides seeing the red light come on while she was speaking, Chi noted that people who were texting while driving struck her as both unsightly and dangerous to her. Guest Gary Kranz was asked if he ever had to “stare down” something threatening to him. Gary told of when he had a job to collecting used furniture and was confronted by a very angry 6’8” 300+ pound man who was not happy he was taking some of his belongings. Remembering the quote “a soft answer turns away wrath” from the Bible, he started whispering to the man and got him to claim down! He was able to explain that he had been called out to the house and was able to finish his job. Christopher Fama ACB, ALB was asked what it meant to “look someone in the eye” He said it was a sign of respect and trust. He also noted that looking someone in the eye was also to be free of fear or embarrassment. We had two exceptional speeches starting with a milestone speech from Daphne Hart CC who earned her Competent Communicator Award titled “Pieces of the Puzzle.” Dressed as a desperate homeless person carrying a sign that simply said “Please Help” Daphne gave us soul-searching facts about how homelessness effects our communities. “46 million people live below the poverty level, the poverty wage is $5.00 an hour, 2.8 million people are homeless and 1 in 30 children live homeless.” She told the story of Tori, a homeless child that later as an adult dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate. Daphne encouraged us to find a way to help, by giving money to a charity, volunteering your time or mentoring a child in need. This was an important and powerful speech. Christopher Fama ACB, ALB on his quest to earn his ACS by the end of the month, came prepared with a brilliant speech on a often ignored subject: “The Community College” He told of how truly important these institutions have become to the communities in which they are located by providing academic quality education, small class sizes, a high variation of subject, low tuition, sports, campus life and a community culture that can be shared outside of the college itself. At the end of the speech Prof. Fama answered questions about Community Colleges from the audience. Doing double duty and evaluating Daphne’s speech while also serving as the General Evaluator was Laura Dowler ACB, ALB. She introduced Ken Walley DTM to give the evaluation of Christopher’s speech. Both evaluations were excellent! The “I Can See Clearly Now Revue” (ICSCNR) came up with some excellent reports thanks to Grammarian Linda Klein, Timer David Slaten, AH Counter and Vote Counter Andy McGrane. It was announced that David Slaten joined our club before the meeting! Welcome David! The eyes have it… that even though this was a small meeting, anyone could see for themselves that it was our best meeting ever!

The best example of teamwork that anyone could find would have been the May 26, 2016 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Teamwork” theme meeting. Stepping up to present the thought of the day was Toastmaster Jack Wharton ACB, ALB reminding us that “Teamwork makes the dream work!” Susan Storma CC and Chi Simons gave a joint report of the Spring District 84 Conference. Jack was also serving as the meeting toastmaster. Using the “Legend of the Porcupine” as an example of teamwork, he explained how the prickly rodents managed huddled together to get through a cold winter working around their pointed barbs. Jack also spoke on teamwork outside of the workplace, in marriage, social situations and even in Toastmasters. He reminded us of the important roles the officers play in the coming together of a creative and professional organization like our club. “Club #28 is a perfect example of teamwork!” Putting teamwork into action was our Table Topics Master Monique Smith. “Tell us about a time that you received helpful criticism.” was her first question for Andy McGrane. Andy admitted that he was “not the best team player” but admitted that receiving feedback, even negative feedback often provides a chance at self-improvement and growth, which can be highly rewarding in the end. Monique’s 2nd question, Have you even been “part volunteered and part told… or ‘voluntold’?” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB noted that she was “’offered’ the role of evaluator for tonight, but that she was happy to do it. She also had a few times at work where she was told that “You do not have to do this, but we could sure use your help.” She admitted that usually she is glad to take on the extra responsibility. “Tell us about a time that you worked on a project with others.” was the query provided to Chandra Ewell. Chandra, a professional event planner, spoke about a college commencement program that was going off perfect, except for one detail: they forgot to have the sprinkler system turned off! “That is now the first thing I check into for an outdoor event!” Chandra admitted. “Working with a difficult team member” was the subject of Manuel Michel‘s table topic. He admitted that it was “not uncommon” to have a staff member that was not up to the job. “Each team-member must be ready, willing and able, otherwise the entire project will suffer. The most important thing is to set the example yourself and to be willing to put in the extra time. Monique asked our guest Asia Nazario-Grzechowiak “What is your portrait of an ideal team leader?” Asia added to Manuel’s answer by saying that “to be both a team member and a team leader, you must make a common effort to achieve a goal, not be separated from the team and most of all, lead from example. It is important that a leader must take on the role of the co-worker.” We had three speakers working in tandem to produce a brilliant prepared speeches segment of the meeting. The first speaker was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB with a highly interesting power-point presentation on the technical preparation for a major rock concert titled “Concert Set Up” This extensive review included charting, the unloading, the power drop, hanging rigging, flying the system, mixing console placement, running audio cable, instrument setip and much, much more! At the end of his speech we were all certified roadies! Benjamin Rodriguez gave us a completely different subject: King David of Israel in his speech titled “A Man After My Own Heart!” In this animated speech, Ben told of the rise to power of King David and his inspiration to all of the generations that followed as well as to him personally. We followed David from his birth to his rise to power, from his days as a shepard, his victory over Goliath and his wise rule as king. “Handsome, valiant, brave, skillful, cunning; he was a skilled musician, prophet, writer of the Psalms and worthy King!” said Benjamin. Chi Simons speech titled “Gold-digger” had everyone wondering just what was going on. There was sneaking about, the hammering of walls, ducking for cover… gold everywhere! Was it a bank robbery? No, just her family hiding the family savings in Viet- Nam when there were no banks around. “You had to keep moving your money from place to place to keep thieves from finding it and taking it!” Said Chi. “Even from the mailman.” These three excellent speeches were given the fruit of the labor of the Evaluation team led by General Evaluator Susan Storma CC. Working with her to create a wealth of advice and guidence were evaluators Kara Newcome ACG, ALB (for Christopher), 1st time evaluator Robyn Lesser (for Ben) and new mwmber Brenna Droege (for Chi). Also doing excellent work were the “The Working Team” (TWT) of Grammarian Bren Bedford, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Group Stabilizing Effects Monitor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Chandra Ewell and Vote Counter David Slaten. Our guests were in unison with praise for our hard earned efforts thanks to David Slaten, Asia Nazario-Grechowiak, husband Raul Nazario, Olga Dunham and Tiffany Frison. It was also announced that long-time past member Brenna Droege had re-joined our club! Welcome back Brenna! It goes to show that if we can all come together sharing ideas and effort; the teamwork of this club can produce results of pure excellence, like this meeting!

We got what we needed: a fantastic May 19, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters “Needs” theme meeting. Ken Walley DTM set the mood for the evening with a quote from Author Phillip Pullman: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship; stories are the things we need most in the world.” Monique Smith brought everything we could ever want for an amazing night. She covered Abraham Maslow‘s “Hierarchy of Needs” from the basic, psychological needs up to self-actualization. Monique also told us some incredible, little known interesting facts about Abraham, such as he was mistreated by his parents and was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as “mentally unstable” as a young adult. Monique noted that “Those we think have the most clouded perspective, often see things most clearly.” Many of Maslow’s own basic psychological needs were barely met. First time Table Topics Master Virginia Gonzalez kept the theme going with a reading of Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda:

“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

Virginia asked visiting Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB if one of his basic needs, sleep had ever been deprived. Scott said that his job kept him up and caused him to develop a coffee addition. For good measure he also gave us a very brief history of coffee and a plug for his new Speaker’s Bureau Club. Maslow’s next step up the needs pyramid was “Safety” which prompted Virginia to question Jack Wharton ACB, ALB about a stress-filled time in his life. Jack remembered when he changed jobs, broke up with his girlfriend and moved to a new house…all at once. “It was a stressful time” said Jack, “These are the times that define you. You have to find a way to use this, to improve and grow.” Jack also spoke highly of the support he received during this time from Club #28.” Love of course, was also in the needs development of Maslow. Virginia next questioned Ken Blake DTM where his “happy place” was. Ken told about coming to Club #28 as a guest 17 years ago. “I did not even know where I was going. If you had mentioned public speaking, I might never have come along.” He also said that the reason he has been a Toastmaster for so long is because he “Enjoys giving back.” The last of Virginia’s questions delt with self-actualization and self-esteem. Andy McGrane was asked who he looked up to. He instantaneously mentioned his older brother who became a lawyer, in the footsteps of their father. Even though they are very different he admired his brother for his independence. “He did it ‘his way’, and succeeded!” At the end of the evening Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was asked how he is reaching self-actualization. Eddy embraced the well quoted phrases of “one step at a time” and “day by day” to highlight the process of self discovery and learning from the world around him. There was a great deal of self-transcendence in the words of our three featured speakers starting with Christopher Fama ACB, ALB who has given some excellent speeches recently and tonight spoke on the subject of self-realization in a speech titled “Everything Disc”. Christopher challenged us to conceptualize our individual pace and priorities while defining our personalities. Using a disc drawn on paper, we filled in our different traits such as are we “fast pace” or “slow pace”, “task priority or people oriented?” Once we filled in the different quadrants of the disc, we had a good idea as to how we fit in personality styles as well as increasing our own self knowledge. Speaking second was Chandra Ewell with a helpful and interesting speech titled “Having Fun with Digital Fitness!” Chandra told us how a high tech bracelet health device can keep you in shape. “These bracelets count steps, track your heart rate and even help you to control your weight and sleep better!” said Chandra. She gave us three excellent reasons for using one: ” Creating healthy habits, they are easy to use and they give you a competitive personal accountability. When I first started, I only took 3,000 steps a day. Now I am up to almost 16,000 steps!” She told how her family was using the bracelets in a quest to defeat family genes that were prone to diabetes and hypertension. “These devices could add years to our lives.” Linda Klein was the third speaker with a delightful and an astonishing speech titled “God Forgives but Does Man?” Linda told us how remarkably she went to court three times to fight traffic tickets… and won each time! Linda found flaws in the officer’s perception of the situation and was able to convince a judge that it was impossible to slow down going over a hill, that the “No Turn on a Red Light” sign was not visible from the street corner and that the “one way street” was really not a street at all, but her backyard! Linda might have a second career as a traffic ticket lawyer! Helping our speakers to reach self-actualization and transcend themselves were the mission of our evaluators led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Ken was rewarded with some brilliant evaluations by Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Christopher), Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (for Chandra) and Chi Simons (for Linda). Also meeting the needs of our speakers were Maslow’s Minions (MM) made up of Grammarian Andy McGrane, 1st time Timer Rose Bash, AH Counter Pam Klein along with Photo Hierarchy Pyramid Schemer and Vote Counter Steve Wood CC. Our guests, including two visitors from Florida Technological College, Professor Racine Steward and Steven Langford as well as Anthony Rose and Jay Fiarro each met our need for glowing, triumphant praise. As Star Trek’s Spock would have said about this fantastic meeting: “It is logical. The needs of the many… outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.” Maslow would have been proud.

We had the time of our lives at the May 12, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Time” theme meeting at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church. “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is right now” was the Chinese proverb quoted by Susan Storma CC to get the meeting started. Walk Jones DTM was on time to be our Toastmaster. He said that he was to busy today to prepare for the meeting and he ran out of time, but not to worry because time is infinite. Walk told us about the how time zones came into being from Greenwich Mean Time to Railroad Standard times to Daylight Savings Time. He also spoke about the plethora of timers that have seemed to have taken over his life: alarm clock, dishwasher, microwave oven, porch light… etc. Walk commented that we have a tendency to “self regulate ourselves by mechanical and digital timers!” Someone with a lot of time on her hands was our first time Table Topics Master Robyn Lesser. She gave some thought to some truly excellent questions. Her first question featured a song lyric from the Rolling Stones tune “Time is On My Side”. Robyn asked Pam Klein “ When was time on your side?” She said that it was when she took on a new job and moved to Florida. “The kids just graduated and things just kind of fell into place.” Susan Storma CC was asked if she had ever seen time fly. Susan said “many times especially when I have a deadline at work. Minutes seem to get compressed into seconds. Somehow I always seem to make it work, even if that requires extra effort and my own personal time.” Ken Blake DTM was reminded that whatever time is it here, that it has already passed in Australia… so why worry about anything? Ken said that reminded him of an upcoming classic Mustang car show in Carlisle Pennsylvania and the memory of the late car designer Carroll Shelby. Shelby was also one of the first people to receive an artificial heart. Living on borrowed time, he became a force for saving lives by promoting organ donating. “People gave their hearts to follow him” Ken said. Another timely question was asked of Chi Simons. “What do you do with extra time?’ Chi admitted to spending far too much time on Facebook. Chi exclaimed “I am upset with how I have completely wasted my time! With nothing to show for it!” A quote by Jean Racine “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” was the basis of a probe for Laura Dowler ACB, ALB, “What secret would you like to reveal?” Laura proudly reveled that as a librarian that she is steadfastly obligated to protect privacy. That even what you check out from a library is a closely guarded secret. “Our profession is built upon trust. Librarians are the guardians of secrets!” Daphne Hart was another toastmaster presented with a quote, this one from Steve Jobs: “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Daphne commented that material stuff is not what is important at all or even remembered, it is the what is “beyond description” such as the love for your children or your faith; that you will never really part with. Benjamin Rodriquez was asked “what he had lost in time time and that would never be found again.” He gave us some very good advice: “The Lord gives you a gift… but what you do not use, he does not take back. Do not waste what God has given you. Use it, do not wait, do it now.” Perfectly timed to add to this brilliant meeting were our three speakers, starting with an Ice Breaker speech by Rose Bash. In her Speech “A Rose By Any Other Name but Without the Thorns” Rose told of a harsh and challenging childhood in which she made the vow to overcome the fear that had so dominated her life. She talked about how embracing her faith gave her power over fear and ability to discover gifts that she had never even dreamed of using. Public speaking is just one of her first steps to a new life and a stronger Rose. This was another in a series of inspiring and moving Ice Breakers speeches that Club #28 has been so fortunate to hear lately. The second speech was a humorous and completely different topic given by Monique Smith. She described how she met her future husband by explaining a hilarious college prank played out upon him in her speech “Fireworks: A Tale of Unrequited Love”. This really funny speech involved the surprise awakening of her future boyfriend from a deep, work-induced slumber with a poorly planned plot that included firecrackers, gas-masks, rotten bananas and badly-disguised beer posing as “apple juice.” It was a complicated, high tension farce that exploded the entire room in laughter! Completely changing topics once more was the third speech presented by Christopher Fama ACB, ALB titled “Pay Yourself First”. Christopher noted that many of his students and one in particular, were facing extreme financial crisis and were coming to him for advice. The one student was in over $30,000 of credit card debt. His advice was to “pay yourself first.” Professor Fama explained how saving for the future by paying someone to set up a 401K, investing in an IRA (either Roth or Traditional, depending on your circumstances) and other debt protection plans could not only secure a stable financial future but also be the start of taking control of present money woes. As long, of course as “you pay yourself first…” Now was the time that everyone was waiting for, the Evaluations section of the meeting headed by General Evaluator Steve Wood CC. Steve did an exceptional job of presenting the evaluators Ken Walley DTM (for Rose), Ken Blake DTM (for Monique) and Daphne Hart (for Christopher). Steve also gave a memorable meeting review that will stand the test of time for excellence. The All-Time Time Teaching Travelers (TATTTT) were also giving advice thanks to Grammarian Susan Storma CC, Timer Virginia Gonzalez, Frozen in Time Developer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Laura Dowler ACB, ALB and Vote Counter Pam Klein. Our guests Steven Moros, Susan Burton and Roza Visit took time out of mind to give us highly valued praise. Like the time at hand, time after time, in good times and bad times, in no time at all, like this meeting Club #28 always provides a great time to remember .

The May 5, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Google it: Surfing the Web” theme meeting went viral. Starting the meeting with a sentiment of profound wiseness from Winston Churchill was Linda Klein who quoted “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” You can look that up on Brainyquote.com. Ken Walley DTM took us on a web adventure as our Toastmaster. Ken gave us some statistics about the explosive growth of internet usage over the past 30 years, from an implement for amusement and relative curiosity to the indispensable research tool that has invaded almost every aspect of our everyday lives. He gave us a list of the 15 most visited websites including Google, YouTube, Facebook, MSN and others. With a show of hands, everyone in the room had visited at least one of these sites. He also gave us a list of the “strangest and completely weird” sites that he had come across including: Thenicestplaceontheinter.net; Fallingfalling.com; pointerpointer.com; anasomnia.com; ilookliklebarackobama.com and the bizarre afterlifetelegrams.com. Table Topics Master Daphne Hart gave us a tour of the company that produces the largest website on earth: Google. Daphne first asked Andy McGrane if he used Google to stay organized. Andy admitted that he was not organized, at least not enough for his wife. He did say that he uses Google and other search engines and finds them useful and helpful. Daphne noted that the Google company feeds all of their employees a free, healthy meal each day. She was wondering what Amy Sims would get from the Google employee cafeteria. Amy said that she would eat fruits, veggies, nuts, lean proteins and yogurt… but she would still have a cookie for dessert. The “Googleplex” also offers free haircuts to its work family. Daphne asked Bren Bedford what her worst haircut nightmare was. Bren told us the horror story of a perm-gone-bad the day before a friend’s wedding. She also mentioned a hair coloring that gave her unintentional and extremely premature gray hair. The Google work philosophy of “Give employees enough reasons to be there and they will want to stay” including free rental cars to traveling Googleites which prompted the query “where would you go if you had a free rental car?’ to Guest Chris Krill. He said he would travel to all 50 states and every capital. He admitted that “It might be a little hard to get it to Hawaii.” Finally Debbie Vick was asked “what product would you like to give to Google?” Amy suggested a nature app that would give a number of ideas for hiking spots.  “They probably already have that. They have all of the apps!” she said. Our speeches, like Google, covered a wide range of topics starting with our first speaker Chi Simons who volunteered on the spur of the moment to give a speech but still came prepared with a power-point presentation on the scrub jay in a speech titled “Bird Watching”. We learned that the scrub jay lives only in Florida because of it’s sandy soil, eats insects, even small mice and learns to fly in only 18 days! Another thing we did not know is that they are monogamists, share chick rearing duties and have a strong sense of family. According to Chi they are strong willed, brave and plan ahead by burying food in the sand (up to 8000 nuts!) for the future. For something completely different was the speech by Walk Jones DTM. Walk, another last minute addition to the agenda, gave an impromptu speech made entirely from a random selection of topics by his audience: Two people: “Tony” and Henry Ford; a dilemma: “the car breaks down” and a sound: “a bell”. From these, Walk wove a tale of a young man, Tony working in a service station who was tending to the broken and love-bug covered car of a newly discovered sweetheart. Tony cannot fix the car but guess who pulls up to help save the day? Yes, Mr. Ford himself! Walk made this difficult speech experiment look easy. The last speaker was Ken Blake DTM who was giving a “different kind of Ice Breaker” He told his version, titled “How I Actually Met My Wife”… the version not known to his wife! His wife thought they met because he loved her coffee. The real story was that he was unable to fix her sister’s TV set. It’s complicated. It’s also funny and it was a wonderful speech. The site for the best advice would be with our evaluation team led by General Evaluator Susan Storma CC. She had no need to type in a URL, only to search the minds of fellow evaluators Manuel Michel (for Walk) and Chi Simons (for Ken B.). Susan herself did Chi’s evaluation. The World Wide Wisdom-web (WWW) had no 404 errors on their way to transferring data in their cyberspace thanks to Grammarian Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Timer Chandra Ewell, AH Counter Benjamin Rodriguez and Vote Counter Amy Sims. We also found a silver lining in our cloud computing with the wonderful comments made by our guests: Mary Russell, Daniel Polite, Bobie Polite, return guest Chris Krill and a former Toastmaster from the Christ Church, New Zealand Club, David Slaten! With such wonderful meetings like this, there is no need for direct digital marketing because the EDI will increase e-commerce with many emoticons of joy! For any of this to make sense… all you have to do is visit www.toastmasters28.org. Wait you’re already there! Yahoo!

 

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The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 went on a “road trip” for a April 28, 2016 visit to the prestigious “You Talkin’ to Me?” Toastmasters Club 1716558! We were welcomed warmly by the club that meets at the Renaissance Community Center in the South Econ Park in south Orlando. Starting the meeting was the Club Vice President of Education Jasmine Luong. She had each of our visiting members stand and “tell something that others might not know about us” Daphne Hart mentioned that she liked to “build things and work with her hands”; Club #28 President Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB said that she was the past president of another Toastmasters Club, Chi Simons said that she recently “discovered Marshmallows”, Ken Walley DTM mentioned he had a degree in Sociology from FSU and Benjamin Rodriquez announced that he is graduating from Bible college in May! Our Toastmaster for the evening was Chip Keefer who announced that the theme of the meeting was “Life Long Learning”. Chip remarked that “change is everywhere and that everything changes” he also made the observation that it is when we “fight change, when we try to hold on against change, that is when we get into trouble.” He spoke of Toastmasters as a place where you learn to adapt and grow as a matter of course. Also attending from Club #28 was Debbie Vick who also spoke at the end of the meeting. Due to the two scheduled speakers canceling at the last moment, brave Jasmine Luong stepped up to give an impromptu speech titled “How to Give an Evaluation”. The speech turned out to be a concise guide to giving advice to speakers which was helpful to any toastmaster, new or seasoned. She suggested the “sandwich approach” by (1. “the bread”) pointing out what the speaker did good, (2. “the stuffing”) giving helpful advice on how to improve and (3. “more bread”) encouraging the speaker. She pointed out that an evaluation is only the evaluator’s own opinion and that the body language, the tone of voice and the use of  vocal inflection all play a large part in an evaluation of a speaker. Table Topics was expertly presented by Table Topics Master Loyda Torres. Her first question, on the theme of “life-long learning” was “Do you rearrange your living room?” for Benjamin Rodriquez. Ben said that the “other rooms in the house might fall behind a bit, but the living-room must be kept in tip-top shape. It shows respect to the house and to your visitors.” Chi Simons was given the question of has there been a recent change in her life? She said that joining Toastmaster, even though she had put it off for almost a year, was a positive and big change. Perry Smith CC when asked about his “biggest physical change over the years” said that once he had an impressive Afro haircut but it had to go when he got a more serious corporate job. He still misses his ‘fro however! Daphne Hart was asked what she would do with a million dollars. She said that she would give most of it away and “invest in the lives of people.” Loyda wondered if Mabel Burridge ACB had ever moved to a new place or city? Mabel said that she was used to moving and had moved three times in Orlando alone. She was however, very happy to be settled now! Serving as the General Evaluator was Ken Walley DTM who had the pleasure of introducing fellow #28 member Daphne Hart to give the evaluation for Jasmine’s “off-the-cuff” speech. Daphne was very impressed with the ability to put together such a well crafted speech on the spur of the moment. In the General Evaluator’s meeting report, Ken also praised the YTTM club very highly on the excellence of the meeting as well as the warm welcome to Club #28 members. Also helping to make this club a pleasure and a must-see place to visit were the functionaries: Timer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Grammarian Mabel Burridge ACB, AH Counter Titus Ash and Vote Counter Perry Smith CC. At the end of the meeting, another Club #28 member Debbie Vick also had a chance to speak saying that the meeting was interesting, enjoyable and that it was good to see another Toastmasters club in action. Her thoughts were echoed by Ken, Kara, Ben, Chi and Daphne. While this visit was in part because of our library room being booked, it is also hoped that Club #28 members will be able to visit other Toastmasters club in the future. As Kara, our Club #28 leader said, “We can learn a lot from watching others and improve on our meetings as well.”

The April 21. 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Herbs” theme meeting was minty fresh! Appropriately our meditation of the hour by Christopher Fama ACB, ALB gave us a quote from Susun Weed: “Every breath is a giveaway dance between you and the plants.” Probably no Toastmaster has come to a meeting more prepared than Susan Storma CC. Susan gave us a complete history of herbs starting from the per-language era to the present time! Susan told us that the invaders of the Roman Empire once held a city hostage for gold, spices and herbs. We learned that Columbus sailed in search of cinnamon and pepper and many other interesting facts. We also heard about Susan’s herb garden that started from the Simon and Garfunkel song “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”. Susan’s first time as Toastmaster was truly a delicious success! Table Topics Master Chi Simons served up a herb- flavored tasty plate of questions starting with one for Virginia Gonzalez “What motivates you to grow?” Virginia said her “soil is ‘curiosity’” she said “I always want to know more.” Virginia also said that she was “watered” by being a mom to three kids. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was given a leafy herb and asked to make a drink with it. He created a Gatoraid concoction that will give you the “hydrogens” (a word ? a thing?) to do amazing feats. This drink also will grow money! How? “give me $10 and I will tell you…” said Eddy. His leafy plant was Ginger, a blood-thinning herb. Daphne Hart was asked ”Speaking of thyme, what would you do if you had extra thyme?” Daphne said she would, like Eddy make a drink with sparkling water, blueberries, cucumber and strawberries. It would like a colorful painting, to be enjoyed under a large oak tree in a hammock.” Chi noted that it is hard to live without using some kind of herb so she questioned Steve Wood CC “what could you live without?” Steve mentioned that it is illegal to shoot down a drone but he did get around to answering the question: “oxygen, water and atmospheric pressure.” Manuel Michel was asked to make a dish with herbs. He opted for a “chicken pesto sandwich” with roasted garlic, basil, olive oil all topped with Parmesan cheese. The last question went to Francisco Campos asking how he would sell herbs to a distracted woman. He said he would suggest first a mojito beverage made with with fresh mint and then suggest other herbs that could soften bathwater as well as heal sore skin. The speeches were both perfect examples for our guests of how Toastmasters can improve communication abilities and personal growth. Speaking first was Monique Smith who was giving a speech, Books are Friends that she did a few weeks ago for a second time to focus more on the aspect of body language. Her speech, which introduces us to characters in young adult literature that highlight overcoming personal and social challenges, was just as powerful a statement of self-validation as the first time that it was presented. This time however Monique perfected some new and ingenious gesture techniques that created an even more spellbinding performance. A second brilliant speech by Chandra Ewell titled “Three Passions” told of a disappointment and a pledge to improve. Given the chance to blend two of Chandra’s “passions”, working with the elderly and planning social events; she was turned down for a job doing both after a disastrous interview. Chandra then added a third “passion”: joining Toastmasters and earning her Competent Communicator award. She said she was determined not to let insufficient communication skills ever stand in the way of showing her talents and reaching her goals! This was a very inspiring speech for both new and well seasoned Toastmasters alike. As inspired as a chef with a full spice rack of the finest herbs, the Evaluators cooked up some savory thoughts for our speakers. General Evaluator Daphne Hart led the team of “Kens”, Ken Walley DTM (for Monique) and Ken Blake DTM (for Chandra) with ideas to add some flavor to the verbal dishes. Also giving a pinch of wisdom and a dash of Lovage… I mean love, were the Lavender Sages of All Thyme (LSOAT) relishing the word cooking of 1st time Grammarian Pam Klein, Timer Linda Klein, Angelic Angelica Recorder Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Benjamin Rodriguez and Vote Counter Virginia Gonzalez. Also we heard from a few of our members and a past member who had not had a chance to speak, Amy Sims, Rose Bash and Michael Whitaker all told us what they got most from the evening. Amy was impressed with the speeches and loved Chi’s Table Topics answers, Rose said that she felt “lifted up” by the fellowship of Club #28’s members and Michael said it was good to be back again and he was impressed with how organized everything was. Our many guests also added a delicious zest to the meeting with some wonderful comments by Noreen Monticenx, Trinette Monticenx, Tanya Kayner, Gail Ackerman and returning past Club #28 Member Michael Whittaker. It was hard to Tarragon ourselves away from this meeting, but but Rue the day when we will ever settle for anything less than the best meeting ever!

The April 14th 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Weddings” theme meeting was a magical wedding party! It started with a “wedding toast” titled “Unity” from the book “Love Without End by Glenda Green read by our Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB: “Without the false dominance of manufactured identities, you would have infinite wisdom at your fingertips and the time in which to use it. In the presence of unity, which is God, the one, the supreme, you have all the power you need to fulfill your life and existence.” Our Toastmaster Monique Smith (and soon to be bride) approached the alter, I mean lectern to lead us in holy matrimony, I mean to lead the meeting. It was easy to think that you were at a real wedding because Daphne Hart decorated the room complete with flowers and drapery! It was beautiful! Monique gave us a complete view of the many aspects of weddings including why people get married: family rearing, escape from loneliness, social networking, financial reasons… and love, of course. She told us of the history of weddings including the ancient “tradition” of “Capture the bride” along with the humiliating “bride shoe transfer” and strange wedding dowries often involving sheep, cows and chickens. She also told us about some of her more modern upcoming wedding plans. Another soon to walk down the aisle, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB served as the Table Topics Master and came up with some wonderful questions. Jack planned Table Topics as he would a wedding “from the proposal to the reception”. “Tell us about your future spouse.” New member Andy McGrane said he would not make any changes to his present wife: “someone who would like to travel, see new things, grow together and enjoy life.” Jack next questioned Benjamin Rodriquez on how he met his wife. Ben married now for 54 years, remembered meeting his wife at church. “I was so lucky to find her!” he said. Our newest member Pam Klein was asked “When and where is the wedding?” Pam told about her daughter’s wedding in Cincinnati that was planned to be an outdoor wedding. “It rained everyday that month…except for the day of the wedding!” Steve Wood CC gave a different, more cynical view of weddings when asked “How would you pick the guest lists?’ Steve remembering his hastily put together wedding, compared weddings to “a bad car accident”. “The guest list was anyone standing around the Air Force base…but at least we didn’t spend a lot of money on it!” Next, Jack asked Rose Bash to tell us what her vows were going to be. Rose was poetic with some moving words of devotion and love . “I want these vows to be with me not only in times of joy but to help us get through when times when trouble hits. These vows I will use to remember a love beyond the sky.” The last wedding query, “What is the best wedding gift you received?” was offered to Chandra Ellis. Chandra noted that the best gift was “nothing material” but “having her family there to share the joyful moment. It was very special she noted that both of her grandparents, both in their 90’s were able to be at her wedding. “its a memory that I will cherish all of my life.” Speaking of special gifts, our three speakers each gave us one by showing their own special speaking gifts. Our first speech was special indeed, an Ice breaker speech titled “Who is Linda Klein?” by, of course, Linda Klein. Linda weaved a story that started in the windy city of Chicago where she grew up living in an apartment above a grocery store. Enamored with big city life, she got a job as secretary when women rarely worked, which would lead to her later becoming a bank executive. She got married and raised a family, soon finding herself in the nice, warm State of Florida. Here she started a second career as a Realtor. Now retired from selling houses she spends her time doing volunteer work and enjoying her 8 grandchildren! Speaking second was Virginia Gonzalez with a thrilling speech titled “We Can Fly!” on the subject of skydiving. Virginia told us about her challenge to jump out of a plane and face her fears head on. She found that skydiving had another benefit: “It makes you feel alive!” On the 10th anniversary of her bone marrow transplant she told how she celebrated with her first jump. “I watched the others go before me scared but come back so elated. The worst thing you could do is come back in the plane” she said, “so I jumped!” The third speaker was Scott Maloney ACB, ALB who informed and entertained us with a speech titled “Out of the Box” a speech witch introduced us to the old world musical instrument the Harmonium. Using this rather odd keyboard & reed instrument that uses bellows to produce sound; Scott explained how accepting different ideas are not much different from accepting different sounds. He produced a spiritual, soft and ethereal resonance that was “similar to Bach, only 1000 years before his time” and yet a basis for what we call “New Age” music today. Said Scott about the Harmonium, “There does not have to be any discomfort in learning about something different.” These three exceptional speakers received counseling from the Club #28 evaluation staff led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM with the help of evaluators Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for Linda), Chi Simons (for Virginia) and Manuel Michel (for Scott). In Ken W.’s evaluation of the meeting, he gave high praise to the Toastmaster Monique Smith (“Wonderful job as Toastmaster…your future husband is a lucky man!”) to the Speeches (“exceptional all!”) to the Table Topics session (“fantastic theme and excellent inclusion of all of our members!”) and evaluations (“they were all contest worthy!”) Ken should have added the amazing work of the Best Men, Bridesmaids, Ushers and Ring-bearers (BMBMU &R-Bs) who were Grammarian Laura Dowler ACB, ALB, Timer Bren Bedford, Wedding Photographer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Rose Bash. Tying the knot to this meeting were the fabulous comments made by our guests Delilah Rivera, Ariesa Bryant, Naomie Petron, Karl Ruddock, Tichinnia Towns and visiting Toastmaster from the Technically Speaking Toastmaster Club Francisco Campos. Another joyful announcement arrived that Pam Klein was joining our club! Welcome Pam! With a meeting like this one we are safe in knowing that this club is headed towards a future that will live happily ever after!

The April 7th 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Breaking the Ice” theme meeting was a truly special meeting. This evening Club #28 ventured into uncharted waters and we we even got to know some of our newer members a little bit better. To start the meeting Susan Storma CC read a quote from basketball legend Michael Jordan who said “I missed more than 9000 shot in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I was trusted to take the game winning shot and I missed. I failed over and over and over again. And that’s why I succeeded.” A short new member induction ceremony was presided over by Vice President of Membership Chi Simons as Debbie Vick, Bren Bredford, Amy Sims and Benjamin Rodriquez were officially welcomed into the club. Our Toastmaster Jack Wharton ACB, ALB who commented on having three Ice Breaker speeches this night and made the observation that we were lucky to have such a wealth new perspectives and wisdom coming into our club. “I cannot remember having three Ice Breakers in a single evening” said Jack, “and it reminds me of how far many of you have come in this club from when I heard your Ice Breakers.” Always looking to try something new, Table Topics Master and middle school teacher Monique Smith explained how she gets her students to introduce themselves to each other. “We play a game called ‘Two Truths and a Lie’!” Monique challenged us to come up with two accurate statements and one deception and then we would all guess which one was the falsehood. This was a lot harder than you might think. Daphne Hart, the first called upon, gave us 1. “I love learning new things!” 2. “I won a hot dog eating contest !” and 3. “I am a body builder and I work out!” In reality Daphne never won a hot dog eating contest. Next, Amy Sims presented us with 1. “I am a ballroom dancer” 2. “I raise and train show dogs.” and 3. “I own three dogs that are champions of the prestigious Westminster Dog Show.” The answer? Ballroom dancer and dog trainer, yes! Champ owner? Not yet. Club President Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB left us to ponder 1. “I had a purple bellybutton” 2. “I swam with the dolphins at Seaworld!” and 3. “I traveled to Africa and got really sick there.” We all knew that Kara never swam with the dolphins. Even one of our guests got in on the game. Miau Chookul said that she 1. Had her own business in Thailand… or 2. Joined the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or 3. Travels often and has been to many places. Although she does love animals, Miau has never joined PETA. This was a triple special evening because we featured three Ice Breaker speeches. The first one by Debbie Vick titled “Who, What, Where am I?” We learned that Debbie was born at ORMC hospital and grew up right here in Central Florida! She attended High School at Colonial High and remembered a time when there was a “smoking area” for the students. Smoking she remember probably was not a good idea for a member of the swim team. She would take a love of swimming and anything water related with her throughout her life. She still lives in Orlando with many of her family near by. She also did mention her daughter Brittney who just earned her PhD. in California! I have a feeling we might hear more about that in future speeches. Our next Ice Breaker was by Bren Bedford titled “I Am”. We quickly found out that Bren is proud of her Indiana roots. “I am a Hoosier!” she declared and then told us about growing up in the open country among “good people from a simpler time that work hard and play hard.” She also told us of the incredibly hard work of being a “corn tassler” which required getting up at 4:30 in the morning and cross pollinating corn rows by removing the tops of the corn plant.. Along the way, she served honorably in our military, earned a masters degree in non-profit management as well assisting in pet rescues. In her speech she said that “Hard work equals fulfilling achievement.” Her life so far has been a great example of that. The last Ice Breaker was from Benjamin Rodriquez titled “Me, Myself and I”. Ben told us of a life that was “impacted in two fronts.” at the age of twelve. “In one side of my life, I grew up in the dry cleaning business and the other side was as a student at a Bible college studying for the ministry.” We found out that Benjamin owned his own business in New York City by the age of 18. “I have to say that I still dream of the dry cleaning business to this day!” Now that he has time, he is graduating from bible college in May and looks to continue in full time ministry. “ He did mention that he has been married 54 years, with 4 children and 8 grandchildren! “I am truly a blessed man!” We were blessed by three wonderful Ice Breakers as well as three nurturing evaluations presented to us by General Evaluator Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. Dispensing gentle guidance were evaluators Susan Storma CC (for Debbie), Daphne Hart (for Bren) and Chi Simons (for Benjamin). The New Frontier Word Masters (NFWM) set sail for the unexplored expanse of Toastmasters excellence with the help of Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Movie Mogul Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Linda Klein. Our guests Kannapat “Miau” Chookul, Vorarut “V” Vorasiangsuk, Nicole Marie Needham, Perry Foster and Taz Farhad all had wonderful things to say about the meeting! A very welcomed and frequent visitor Jerome Kalish DTM helped to make this meeting special well. At the end of the meeting Virginia Gonzalez gave us a brief preview of the topic of her speech next week: skydiving! For some many bravely stepping up to give their first speech and with the brilliance with which they spoke, Club #28 looks forward to many wonderful speeches in the future.

The March 31, 2046 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Sweet tooth” theme meeting was, well… really SWEET! Reminding us that the next day was April Fool’s Day, the evening started with a thought of the day by Walk Jones DTM that “It is the fool who can speak the truth to the King.” Our toastmaster Daphne Hart served up a sugary toastmaster treat throughout the evening even though she announced that she had gone without sugar for over six months and had lost 30 pounds. The average American eats 76.6 grams of sugar a day!” Daphne noted. The highlight of the evening was when she told a story about how she mistook he grandfather’s chewing tobacco pouch as “the good stuff” candy he saved for himself! Table Topics Master Laura Dowler ACB, ALB brought to the lectern treasure of tasty Table Topics delights of his own. Using real-life cultural culinary candy concoctions, she asked each table topic question recipient to tell us what we thought it was. The first was “Irish Potato candy”. Eddy Cezalian CC, CL decided that it was a “delicacy” made with… among other things… potato, bananas, radish, sugar and ice cream; all mixed together in a bowl. In reality it is a dish from Philadelphia made without potatoes using cream cheese and coconut! Next was “Spicy Groundhog” in which guest Andy McGrane said the recipe called for real groundhogs. Said Andy about cooking groundhog, “They are like lobsters, they don’t know anything until you drop them in the pot.” Actually, “Spicy Groundhog” is a spice cookie. When asked to describe “CCBs” Rose Bash said that it was a Valentine’s Day tradition to invite the entire neighborhood over to her house to have a “CCB party” where everyone “shares love and jive dancing”. It could happen as “CCBs” stand for “Chocolate Crumble Balls.” Laura asked Susan Storma CC what “Buckeye” candy were. One of the few to get it right, Susan answered that it was a Ohio goody that had peanut butter covered by chocolate. Like a marble sized Reese Cups that came in a tin.” Monique Smith was also right on target with her answer about “Elephant Ears” a fried dough covered in powered sugar, that she first saw at a county fair. As a very young girl she was confused because there was no elephant involved! Our guest, James Brown had a little harder time giving a description for “Run for the Roses Pie”. Weaving a story about how he “almost drowned” dunking his head in a tank and pulling out a candy rose, James told us to “just look for the Leprechaun so you know you have right tank.” James would have been better off, and drier just eating the actual version: a Chocolate Bourbon Pie. Lastly, another guest Pam Klein had to come up with something to describe “Sugar in the snow.” She told about walking to school, collecting snow and you guessed it, putting sugar on it. The correct description is pretty close: a maple taffy made from tree sap and snow. Also sweet and yummy were our two prepared speeches this evening starting with Walk Jones DTM‘s speech titled “Body Language”. “How we speak is how we move.” said Walk, “Our bodies speak sometimes more than our words.” Walk told how to adapt to the changing size of the speaking area and audience. He gave wonderful examples showing that body movement improves our speech by adding clarity as well as involving the audience. This speech was completely helpful to any professional speaker! Christopher Fama ACB, ALB giving his second advanced speech in two weeks, titled “Motivation + Passion” this time played the part of a High School administrator speaking to a group of High School dropouts. His goal was to convince us to stay in school and go to college. He gave an inspiring example of his father who after 52 years as an educator, still loves his job. “I have an equation” said Christopher “Dreams+ work + faith = Love” His story of his father was worthy motivation for any student to want to hang in there, to go beyond graduation and as Christopher put it to “find your life’s passion.” The General Evaluator Chi Simons was in charge of the “dessert” of the meeting: the evaluations section. She served up a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down with evaluations by Jack Wharton ACB. ALB (for Walk) and Ken Blake DTM (for Christopher). Also making a delicious impact on this evening were the “Sugarcoated Confection Delights” (SCD) who had scrumptious reports to offer thanks to Grammarian Monique Smith, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Candied Candid Camera Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Linda Klein and Vote Counter Rose Bash. Due to the large turn out for this meeting we had to wait to the end of the meeting to hear from other attending members Debby Vick, Bren Bedford, Robyn Lesser and Amy Sims. All of them answered the question “What’s on your mind?” All of them said they were impressed with this meeting. So too were our guests James Brown and Pam Klein. Club #28 was also honored to have return Barbara Lott CC, a past president of our club. Welcome back Barbara! This meeting was the icing on the cake!

Being inventive was a big part of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 24, 2016 “Invention” theme meeting. Acting President Chi Simons presided as if she was rehearsing for the office for an upcoming term and introduced new member Debby Vick to start the meeting by quoting one of history’s greatest inventors, Leonardo Da Vinci,: “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature. Because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” Ken Blake DTM as the evening Toastmaster pointed out that in 1947 the first “Radar-range” was five feet, 11 inches tall, weighed over 750 pounds and cost $5000.00! Other amazing inventions he covered was how Dr. Spencer Silver accidentally invented the glue for the Post-It Note while trying to come up with just the opposite type of glue. Post-It-Notes would earn 3M untold millions of dollars. Ken covered the secret ingredient for the success of Coke-a-Cola: Cocaine. He also praised the great Ron Popel inventor and TV pitchman. Lastly, he reminded us of the famous quote of US Patient office director Charles H. Duell that “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” and the ironic observation of Bill Gates that “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” Bringing the ingredients to a successful Table Topics session was Table Topics Master Walk Jones DTM. Walk’s first question for Manuel Michel was what he saw as the most important agricultural invention of modern times. Manuel pointed to the tractor which allowed for “bigger fields to be cleared and planted as well as saving vast labor and time.” Returning guest, Toastmaster Brenda Droege was asked what was the most significant invention for the kitchen. Brenda nominated the can opener but noted they were made much better in the past. Benjamin Rodriguez was asked what needs to be invented. He said we should look at what has been invented and then “try to reinvent it!” Guest Rosie Ortiz was asked what she would invent for her car. She instead sang the praises for the wine opener. Probably though not a good idea for a car invention. Another guest, Andy McGrane was asked what he believed to be the most monumental invention of all time. Andy found a good one: the wheel. He said it would be “hard to ride a bike with square blocks instead of wheels.” Ken Walley DTM was questioned as to the importance of the invention of the neck tie. He pointed out that industry, government and business could not function without it. “The neck tie pushes the blood to the head and ideas start popping out!” Virginia Gonzalez was asked about what she would like to see. “A pill that will make me look 20!” was her first idea. Virginia also lamented “Where are the flying cars?” but she also reminded us about the first time we saw a smart phone. “What an amazing device that we hold in our hand!” Also wondrous were our three prepared speeches. We started with an profound speech by Chi Simons titled “Kitchen Stories”. It was more of a performance with a heartwarming story of how as a child Chi found a recipe book of her great-grandmother while trying to make a fire. She found out that it was passed down through generations but it was not the recipes that were important but bridge of connection over an ocean of time. “It was not what was in the book but what was written upon my heart.” she said. Daphne Hart revived her contest winning speech “The Mighty Oak” in which she told her story of founding an organization to help at risk teenage girls. It was the second time around just as moving, powerful and inspirational as when she delivered it at the Club #28 International Speech Contest. It will be hard to beat at Area! The last speaker Christopher Fama ACB, ALB gave another excellent speech from the Advance Manuel “The Professional Speaker” This time he played the part of a College administrator speaking to prospective college applicants on the university selection process titled “Starting College”. This helpful and insightful speech covered the different types of programs from the high-end universities, public and private to the state and community colleges as well their ratings, tuition, payment plans, grants, scholarship opportunities and many other important information needed for a well informed applicant. It was a speech well worth hearing. Also worth hearing was the perceptiveness and imaginative evaluations from the speech review group head by General Evaluator Susan Storma CC. Offering clever speech support were Ken Walley DTM (for Chi), Jerome Kalisz DTM (for Daphine) and Area 31Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (for Christopher). The Creative Oratory Design Staff (CODS) invented a new standard of excellence with their reports thanks to first time Grammarian Linda Klein, Timer Robin Lesser, Digital Daguerreotype Director Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Diego Fuentes and first time Vote Counter Debby Vick. Our guests Brenda Droege, Andy McGrane, Rosie Ortiz, Daniel Hughes, Derri Gantt and Jerome Kalisz DTM all devised ingenious ways to explain their enthusiasm for the meeting. “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Tonight Club #28 built a better Toastmaster meeting… so we better have a few more chairs ready next week.

‘Twas the “luck of the Irish” that produced the charming Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 17, 2016 “St. Patrick’s Day” theme meeting. One of our newest members, Bren Bedford gave us an Irish blessing to start off this St. Patty’s evening : “May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true and the kindness you spread keep returning to you.” Wearing a green luminescent tie and the grin of a leprechaun was our Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM. Ken told us of the legend of St. Patrick and even dispelled a few myths. We found out that St. Patrick was not Irish but British and that there were no snakes in Ireland in the first place for him to drive out! Ken also gave us a glimpse of how St. Patrick’s day was celebrated in Ireland, Malaysia, Argentina, Russia and other far away places… even on the International Space Station! Irish at heart was our Table Topics Master Susan Storma CC who brought us something almost as good as the gold at the end of the rainbow: a Table Topics session with power-point! She showed us slides of many places around the globe and asked us to persuade everyone to visit there. “Let’s hear your ‘blarney’ on why your destination is the best place to be!” Susan started, of course with the Leprechaun crossing in Killarney, Ireland. Laura Dowler ACB, ALB said it was a place of “good luck (four leaf clovers), good food (cabbage and corned beef) and good drink (Irish whiskey).” The next slide took us to a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB told us of all of the remarkably beautiful “dry country” and the many interesting things to do there including a city “ghost tour” and of course a visit to Carlsbad caverns. Debby Vick was given a picturesque view of a Grand Canyon cabin at the North Rim Lodge to comment on. She told us about camping and watching the eagles and other wildlife. She also mentioned base jumping for those who are a little more adventurous. Shark cage diving off the coast of Mexico was offered to Ken Blake DTM who told us it was really safe because the shark was just an old prop from the movie “Jaws”. Linda Klein romantically described the Grand Canal of Venice, Italy with singing gondoliers, mandolin players, fine wine, Italian food and a beautiful evening on the water. Traveling the Rocky Mountain Railroad in Canada, Bren Bedford depicted a breathtaking view of the mountains while being snug and warm in the comfort of the train. “And don’t worry about the heights! You’re on a train!” she said. Completely different was a “camel dinner tour” in Alice Springs Australia where Daphne Hart told us to go for the “bloomin’ onions!” An over-water bungalow in Tahiti found guest Reggie Greataouse looking for “baby Nemos” enjoying the sun and the breeze while sipping a Margarita. Chi Simons told about some wonderful seafood at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong but warned us of pick-pockets. Our last destination was an amazing 390 ft. yacht off the coast of St. Barts in the Caribbean. Steve Wood CC suggested that you rent the yacht because it would be very expensive to buy. “You will also need money for gas.” he said. Someone found a four-leaf clover because we were lucky enough to have two wonderful speeches starting with Virginia Gonzalez giving her second speech titled “Podcasts”. Virginia related that the easiest way to get a speech idea was to check out podcasts on your computer. She told us about “The moth” with podcasts about “everything and anything!” She also told us about the National Public Radio “podcast serial” which takes a story and looks at it from ever possible angle. The last podcast she suggested was the NPR podcast “Invisibilia” in which causes of behavior are investigated. “You will find your favorite but best of all these wonderful resources for public speaking are free!” Speaking next was Monique Smith who brought to life some fantastic books in a speech titled “Books are Friends.” She gave us an overview of three books that have the potential to redefine the world of a young person and reshape their understanding of life. The three books: “The Boy who loved Words” by Roni Schotter, “I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President” by Josh Lieb and “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli all were brilliant stories told from a personal view of a young adult with encouraging, life-affirming messages. It was however Monique’s speech that held us spellbound. The best evaluation team this side of Ireland was on hand to spread a wee touch of the wisdom for our speakers. General Evaluator Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB made us green-with- envy as she introduced her magically proficient evaluators Laura Dowler ACB, ALB (for Virginia) and Chi Simons (for Monique). Also the Interlocution Reasoning Administrators (IRA) spread shamrocks of thought for our speakers with the help of Grammarian Daphne Hart, First time Timer Linda Klein, Vote Counter with Pint o’ Guinness & photo jig Steve Wood CC, and first time AH Counter Debby Vick. Our guests Tichannia “TC” Towns and Reggie Greatsouse were most enthusiastic about the meeting and both said they plan on returning. It was as if Irish eyes were smiling in this evening in the spring, with the sound of Toastmasters laughter, You can hear AH bell ring…

When Toastmasters hearts are happy

O’ library’s bright as a Sun’s ray

Yes, when Club #28 members are speaking

They will win away the day…

Going once… going twice…. SOLD as the most successful auction in the history of Club #28! The March 10, 2016 “Table Topics Auction” fund raiser and meeting earned over $300 for the club! The gathering was again held at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church where Rev. Walk Jones DTM gave us a brief history of, and led us in the “Serenity Prayer” to start the meeting. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB did the honors as Toastmaster and changed the usual agenda order for the meeting as we only had one scheduled speaker. Kara introduced new member Chandra Ewell to give her first speech titled “Never!” In the speech she told about how contented she was to live at home after high school. “I am never going to leave home!” she said but “my parents had other ideas.” Soon she found herself getting married and traveling from state to state, each state or city with a wonderful reason to stay. “I’m never leaving Texas!” was followed by “I’m never leaving Washington DC!” then “I’m never leaving California!” as her husband was often transferred in his job. She learned to do many things and made many cherished friendships but now that she is in Orlando, she realizes that this is the place she wanted to be with great weather and Club #28… she’s NEVER going to leave! It was a wonderful 1st speech, full of grace and humor. Next came the main event of the night, the Table Topics Auction which was hosted by “auctioneer” Ken Walley DTM. Members were asked to bring an item and then explain what it was, set a starting bid and sell it to us in the standard 1 to 2 minute Table Topics time-frame. Ken would then start the bidding and the proceeds of the sale would go to the club. Ken started with 2 jars of Barbara Cuscack ACS, CL‘s treasured Four Tias Black Bean & Corn Salsa. Which sold for a remarkably high price! This followed by Benjamin Rodriguez touting John Maxwell‘s book on the laws of leadership, Monique Smith with a selection of books for young adults, Chandra Ewell offering some high quality kitchen chopping blocks, Chi Simons with a selection of backpacks, carrying bags and cookbooks; Steve Wood CC with an automatic change counter and a utility knife; Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB dealing earrings and a Cheesecake Factory gift card! Susan Storma CC did an amazing job of marketing some homemade cookies. Daphne Hart brought beautiful, handcrafted jewelry made by a teenager in the Daughters of Valor program. Linda Klein supplied the board game “Cranium” which was scooped up quickly by one of Club #28’s many intellectuals. Virginia Gonzalez had some “decorative throws towels” which were very pretty and lastly, the evening’s biggest item was presented by Walk Jones DTM: two tickets to the Orlando Soccer Club’s games next month! Bidding was brisk and exciting, but the spirit was both fun and uplifting for a very worthy cause! As if this meeting was not successful enough, Kara introduced Daphne Hart for an evaluation of Chandra’s Ice Breaker speech which was very perceptive, helpful and rewarding to everyone who heard it. The “Sold To the Functionaries in the Back Bidders” (STTFITBB) gave some calls with high appraisals for our speakers thanks to Grammarian Chi Simons, Timer Walk Jones DTM, Eyeball Bid Assistant Steve Wood CC, Ah Counter Jack Wharton ACB, ALB and Vote Counter Virginia Gonzalez. Both our “guests” Linda Klein and Rose Bash became our newest members! Wow! Welcome Rose and Linda! Do I hear a bid for the best meeting ever? Sold!

The Club #28 2016 International Speech and Table Topics Contests were Milestones in Contest Excellence! Expectations were extremely high, as they are for all Orlando Club #28 Contests but the March 3rd 2016 International Speech and Table Topics Contests held at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church often redefined the parameters for club-level speech performance. Indeed, these contests will be remembered as a milestone for future contests to be compared against. Sgt. At Arms Daphine Hart called the meeting to order. As the gavel fell she looked over a room filled to capacity with members and guests. Chairs had to be hastily brought out of storage to accommodate the quickly growing throng. Among this legion were some of the most honored and revered of the Central Florida Toastmasters elite including such Toastmasters legends as Helen Joseph DTM, Barbara Cusack ACS, CL and Jerome Kalisz DTM. The atmosphere was thick with excitement because both contests featured some new talent as well as some crowd favorites from past Club #28 contests. Area 32 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB led off this very special evening with a remarkable invocation about how the mind is often led by the heart. A perfect introduction to the evening’s festivities. If one had come only to enjoy the exceptional, and professional work of the Contest Master Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; they would not have left disappointed. Jack did a first-class job of guiding both contests while injecting warmth and humor throughout the evening. He went immediately into the first oratory battle: The Table Topics contest. The question asked by Jack was simple “What role model in your life has most influenced you?” Answering that deceptively hard question were Monique Smith, Ken Walley DTM, Ken Blake DTM and Eddy Cezalien CC, CL Four of Club #28’s finest speakers. All offered insightful, even moving answers, all very different from one another. Each contestant gave a flawless presentation. Contest winner Ken Walley DTM and runner up and first time speech contestant Monique Smith both had answers that featured a respect of family wisdom. The International Speech Contest came next after a short intermission. In the past it was noted by Jack Wharton ACB, ALB that a number of Club #28 speakers had tasted victory at the Area and Division levels. Even at the District 84 Level this club has excelled, including John Kirchner CC‘s 2nd place finish last year. The first speaker, club president Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB paid a worthy tribute to a remarkable man in her speech “I am Harold Newcomb’s Daughter”. The meaningful and moving word portrait that she painted of her father, left a impact on all who heard it. A kind, genuine man who even faced death with a positive outlook while teaching his daughter a lesson that she brought to us. This was speech that was both powerful and uplifting. The second speaker Daphne Hart captured our imagination about what is possible in the human spirit with a speech titled “The Mighty Oak”. She recalled her struggle to help poverty entrapped young women to succeed in life. “In every acorn is a mighty oak!” said Daphne telling how a belief in self-worth opens many doors to self-discovery. This was a wonderfully inspiring speech! Speaking third was Ken Blake DTM with a speech “To Breathe Again” about how he was made responsible for the welfare of two SCUBA divers and the aftermath of their disappearance on a dive in Key Largo. Unknown to him for years that they had been picked up safely, Ken lived with the guilt and mystery of the missing men. The last speaker, Susan Storma CC gave another magnificent performance titled “Tap, Tap, Tap” about a heartwarming and life empowering mission to a nursing home where her mother was staying for rehabilitation. Not content to accept the drab and often depressing atmosphere of the home, she enlisted a giant stuffed rabbit to lift the mood of the residents. She also put a giant smile on all of our faces as well. All of these speeches were worthy to be presented at the upcoming Area contest. Faced with what could only be termed as an impossible task, the judges were pressed to make a decision. They awarded Susan Storma CC with 2nd place and Daphne Hart the winner’s trophy. Congratulations to all of our speakers. High praise was also given to those who produced such seamless contests: Vote Counter Benjamin Rodriguez, Timers Robin Lesser and Chi Simons, Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB, Chief Judge Walk Jones DTM and of course Contest Master Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. The 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests will be remembered not only for the excellence of their production but for the wonderful memories of a significant and moving experience.

In the great balance of the universe the light of the world rested upon the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Thursday, February 25, 2016 “Yin and Yang” theme meeting. The meeting started with a quote by Ken Walley DTM from Anthon St. Maarten on that very subject: “If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.” Leading through our enlightening journey to find the symmetry between the Yin and Yang was Jack Wharton ACB, ALB as our Toastmaster. Jack explained that opposites are not opposing but complimentary, each needed for the understanding of the other. He pointed to the Chinese classic text the Daode Jing from the Zhou dynasty as the first teachings on “perfect balance” and the “leveling out” of opposing natures. He spoke of the finding balance even among different groups of people noting that Club #28 finds a balance in our diversity and a strength within that balance. Also using the theme of Yin and Yang was our Table Topics Master Daphne Hart. She asked for our newest member Benjamin Rodriguez observations on what are some of his positive and negative aspects in his life. Benjamin said that something that is a “negative” is that he always has a story to tell everyone. The positive is that the story is always a positive one. Eddy Cezalian CC, CL was asked if there was something that turned out right for him in his life. Eddy said that “being born” was something that turned our right. “Life is always risky” but no one wrote a check for not trying. Risk is a part of living.” Daphne next came to Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB in a quest to discover her favorite “pick me up food.” Kara said that she was “not much of a junk food person” but that she did have a weakness for dark chocolate. Stanley Nwizu CC was asked to give advice to his “teenage me”. Stanley said that life is a challenge and that life is craving for you to succeed. “I would tell myself to read more, learn all that I can.” Ken Blake DTM was challenged with what was his greatest attribute. He said he was a proud father of 3 incredible sons. One son started a successful moving company, another followed his father into being an auto mechanic and one earned his PhD. And is a geneticist at the University of San Diego. Our guest Brittany Smith shared an interesting “life blessing” with us. She said that “not knowing where I was going” when she was young opened her eyes to experiences that she might not have had otherwise.” Susan Storma CC nominated her mother as being someone who influenced her but was her opposite. Noting that her mother “accepted me even if she did not really understand who I was sometimes.” Ken Walley DTM was asked to explain what “kind of season” that he was. Ken explained that one can also be like a season and change with the seasons or have it be any season at any time. At the end of the meeting Chandra Ewell braved a sore throat to express her love of the meeting tonight, especially the table Topics answers. We had a balance of new and advanced Toastmasters, seasoned speakers, a first time effort, a highly polished speech and one performance without any preparation at all. Ice Breaker speaker Diego Fuentes titled his first speech “Joy”. He told how even on the playground he made friends with the unpopular kids and found that he had a gift for bringing people together. This lead to some great parties in High School and College. Later he found that it was also a perfect skill to use in his present career as a Technical recruiter”. “ Instead of inviting people to a party, I now invite them to a business. A goal in my life is to find the joy in giving joy to to others.” Giving her 5th speech from the Basic Manuel was Chi Simons titled “Stress Relief” which told how to use physical activities such as having a “stress doll” to slam on a desk in frustration instead of hitting a fellow worker, going zip-lining and flying from tree to tree while screaming and kickboxing. The later Chi gave examples of and looked pretty dangerous doing so! The last speaker Walk Jones DTM asked for two people, an object and a place. He got: Barack Obama and Teddy Roosevelt, a rose and Disney World. He came up with an enchanted (by the rose from Beauty of the Beast) Hall of Presidents! At night the presidents all come to life thanks to the rose left there by a visiting Belle! Obama gets advice from T.R.; “silent Cal” can’t shut up and George is always complains about his wooden teeth! It was wonderful fun and a remarkable job of creating a speech on the spot by Walk. Leading the next section of the meeting, Ken Walley DTM was the General Evaluator with a cast of evaluators that found just the right Yin and Yang of excellent advice and encouragement. Doing the Honor were Monique Smith (for Diego), Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for Chi) and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Walk). Also giving the balance of appreciative praise and helpful guidance were the Divine Life Lessons Masters (DLLM) thanks to Grammarian James Armbrust CC, Timer Eddy Cezalien CC, CL, AH Counter Jerome Kalisz DTM and Vote Counter Susan Storma CC.We had many guests and they all had extremely positive things to say about the meeting, they were Rose Bash, Brittany Smith, Linda Kline, Angel Ramos, Kevin Mitchell and visiting Toastmasters Deverika Gallatin CC and Jerome Kalisz DTM. It is meetings like this when everything falls into place, the yin and the Yang, when a cosmic plan enlightens our existence and that blend of a perfect force makes itself known.

You might want to flag the February 4, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Flags” theme meeting as one of the best Club #28 meetings ever! Starting the meeting was Walk Jones DTM who quoted from the “Love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 and the led us in the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America. Before also introducing Walk as the Toastmaster for the evening, Club #28 President Kara Newcomb ACB, ALB and Vice President of Membership Chi Simons officially induced three new members Robyn Lesser, Diego Fuentes and Silvia Kim into the club. It was also decided that March 3 would be the date for our International Speech and Table Topics Contests. After the meeting the date would later be moved up to February 25. Walk Jones DTM told us about the many different kinds of flags, from flags representing countries to “flags” that football referees throw when the see an infraction. He told about how different flags, such as the Florida State Flag that have deep symbolism as well as other flags that are rooted in events, stories and milestones. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM brought examples of flags for the session and asked questions as he displayed them. He started with the Flag of the United Nations and asked Stanley Nwizu CC how can we make the world a better place. Stanley said that people have to be willing to listen to other beliefs and viewpoints and not just think that “their way of living is the only way.” The next flag Ken showed us was the English Union Jack and he asked Amy Sims where she would go on a trip to England. Amy said that England was “a country of a extraordinary history” and that she would love to visit Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guard. Ken next waved the flag from Norway but admitted it was far to cold a place for him to live. He asked Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB where was the coldest place that she had ever been? Kara named a place that was not even out of the State of Florida: The Gaylord Palms Hotel “Christmas on Ice” program! She mentioned that sub-freezing temperatures give her “freezing fingers.” Much warmer Jamaica was the next flag that Ken brought out which prompted a question of Steve Wood CC about his best vacation ever. Steve said that it was in the near-by Cayman Island where he flew his own private plane, hoping it would make it there. Ken made the analogy that Canada was the United States closest neighbor and sort of our “best friend”. He then asked Silvia Kim to tell us about her “best friend”. She said that after high school she decided “not to have a best friend.” That changed however when she met the man who would later become husband. He is still her best friend to this day! The last question was for Diego Fuentes when he was asked what all of the things on the Florida State Flag met. He said that there were oranges, palm trees, a ship in the ocean and a beautiful woman, all of which are representative of Florida. We had three speakers, all of them with unique and different types of speeches starting with (can you believe it) Susan Storma‘s 9th speech titled “Know Your Neighbors”. She told about how her husband and her had an idea to have a neighborhood party in their driveway so that she could get to know them better. After passing out fliers to all of the houses around her with the directions to “bring a chair and some snacks” she was impressed when people started showing up. The Stormas handed out table topics question cards to the guests to get them to start talking to each other. Now they are having these “parrot parties” on a regular basis and the neighborhood is closer, safer and friendlier than it has ever been! Great idea! Jack Wharton ACB, ALB was our second speaker and gave a technical speech titled “High Deductible Health Plans and How to Use Them”. He explained complex health insurance such as Obamacare and how to make it work for you. Jack deftly described this multifactorial system and then answered questions after the speech. The third speaker Daphne Hart, also racing through the CC Manuel with her 5th speech titled “Champion!” She entered to the music theme of “Rocky” and showed us how to use body language both in giving presentations and in everyday life to be positive, motivating and most of all, victorious! This was sheer verbal and non-verbal dynamite! Entertaining and enlightening us at the same time were our Evaluators headed by Master Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. His team of experts Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Susan); Marie Loeffler DTM (for Jack) and Laura Dowler ACB, ALB (for Daphne) all came through with uplifting opinions and solid advice. Also waving the flags of success were the Linguistic Signal Corp (LSC) which produced a banner crop of wonderful reports: Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Robyn Lesser, Visual Masthead Embellisher Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Chi Simons and Vote Counter Diego Fuentes. Emblematic of the meeting were the closing comments by our guests Benjamin Rodriquez, Bren Bedford, Phyllis Germany, Denis Louis and Debbie Vick. All of them were most positive in their responses. If this meeting were a flag, it would have a purple field for royal, excellence; stripes of gold and green for brilliant communication and leadership, red stars for bright entertainment and a beaming sun showing joy and happiness!

[Editor’s Note: I would like to thank Jack Wharton ACB, ALB for filing the meeting reports for 2/18/16 and 2/11/16 while I was away out of town.]

Orlando Toastmasters Club 28 celebrated “Valentine’s Day” in splendid fashion on February 18th, 2016. Toastmaster and President Kara Newcomb, ACG, ALB gave us all a history lesson on the various legends surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day. One proposed that in 3rd century Rome, the emperor Cleodius thought that single men made better soldiers, so he forbade his troops to be married. Valentine was a saint who was secretly marrying soldiers and was later put to death. Another theory put forward that St. Valentine sent the first “valentine”, a letter to his wife while he was in prison, which was signed “from your Valentine”. Who knows? But we do know that this was a fantastic meeting. Club 28’s newest member Debbie Vick delivered the invocation and pledge. Table Topics Master Laura Dowler, ACB, ALB stepped up on short notice and had some great questions. Amy Sims wanted her dream Valentine’s Day basket to include a bicycle! Returning guest Bren Bedford told of an unforgettable hot meal during her military service in Germany, which consisted of “something that resembled tuna.” Chi Simons recommended several romantic movies including Sleepless in Seattle. Guest Linda Klein chose to be a tulip, out of all flowers, because they brighten people’s day. New member Benjamin Rodriguez expressed his love of clothes, and memorably stated that: “if she is wearing something nice, then people notice the lady”. Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB described a Valentine’s Day date. Robyn Lesser gave her 3rd speech titled “Have Your Pizza and Eat It Too”, which delivered on its purpose to inform and persuade us on how to eat better. Daphne Hart entertained us with her 6th speech entitled “The Seasons of Life”, which drew on an analogy with a pear tree to encourage us to practice patience, understanding, and determination. Susan Storma inspired us all with her 10th speech, her CC graduation, “Memories”. The speech encouraged us to start traditions, spend time with our loved ones, and make memories. “So often we are making money to buy things, that we forget to do things.” Congratulations Susan! First time general evaluator Chi Simons ably steered the club into the evaluation portion of the meeting, where Jack Wharton ACB, ALB, Ken Blake DTM, and Christopher Fama, ACB, ALB encouraged our speakers and offered constructive feedback. Fellow romantics Amy Sims (grammarian), Eddy Cezalien, CC, CL (timer), Steve Wood, CC (ah counter), Bren Bedford (vote counter) were integral to the meeting. This was a meeting for the annals of romance!

Orlando Toastmasters Club 28 is alive and well after a fantastic February 11th 2016 meeting on “Health”. Toastmaster Eddy Cezalien, CC, CL led us through this educational, positive journey throughout the meeting. Describing his reason for picking this theme, he said “well, I like you guys, and I want you to stick around a little longer”. Walk Jones, DTM delivered the invocation and pledge for the second year in a row, and wove it together nicely with the previous meeting’s theme of flags, providing information about the American flag, then leading us into the pledge. Club Vice President – Education Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB filled in as Acting President admirably. He informed the club that the International Speech and Table Topics Contest will indeed be on March 3rd, 2016, at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church. Table Topics Master Steve Wood, CC offered a variety of insightful questions about health and related topics. Susan Storma said that she “absolutely would not” give up delicious food in order to live longer. Chandra Ewell shared her favorite exercises including hot yoga and walking. Monique Smith told a story about an unfortunate dental problem she had as a child. Returning guest Bren Bedford told us about one of her favorite movies, Deer Hunter. Robyn Lesser spoke about an engaging exchange between her and her vitamins in the cabinet. Returning guest Benjamin Rodriguez gave some simple advice to people to stay healthy: “stop eating so much!”. The two speakers tonight both gave engaging, entertaining speeches that the audience enjoyed thoroughly. Chi Simons gave her 4th speech titled “Unforgettable Tours”. She chose descriptive and imaginative language to share with us the journey of loggerhead turtles as their eggs hatch. Her and her husband actually have saved many turtle eggs when they were living on the beach. She had dynamic gestures and vocal variety and even used several visual aids! Christopher Fama, ACB, ALB gave his 3rd speech out of the Professional Speaker book entitled “Learning to Sell”. The speech gave a 5 step method to successful sales: 1. Clarify wants vs. needs 2. Learn to develop confidence 3. A solution: solve a problem or issue 4. Deal with objections 5. Closing the sale: make sure the customer is happy. Both seasoned salespeople like Virginia Gonzalez and evaluator James Armbrust, CC sang the praises of this speech, along with other club members without sales experience. Monique Smith led the club into the third phase of the meeting, delivering a general evaluation of the meeting as well. As a teacher, she gave the meeting a “solid B”, but I beg to differ! It was an A+! Walk Jones, DTM evaluated Chi’s speech, offering encouragement and practical advice. James Armbrust, CC returned to the club to deliver an outstanding evaluation for Christopher’s speech. Eddy Cezalien, CC was given help in his healthful journey by a team of nutritionists: Grammarian Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB, timer Amy Sims, ah counter Susan Storma, and vote counter Bren Bedford. Steve Wood, CC provided the camerawork for this Food Network episode. Jack Wharton, ACB, ALB closed out the meeting; guests Benjamin Rodriguez and Bren Bedford said the meeting left them healthy and well! This meeting was truly a nourishing, pleasant meal for all!

You might want to flag the February 4, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Flags” theme meeting as one of the best Club #28 meetings ever! Starting the meeting was Walk Jones DTM who quoted from the “Love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 and the led us in the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America. Before also introducing Walk as the Toastmaster for the evening, Club #28 President Kara Newcomb ACB, ALB and Vice President of Membership Chi Simons officially induced three new members Robyn Lesser, Diego Fuentes and Silvia Kim into the club. It was also decided that March 3 would be the date for our International Speech and Table Topics Contests. After the meeting the date would later be moved up to February 25. Walk Jones DTM told us about the many different kinds of flags, from flags representing countries to “flags” that football referees throw when the see an infraction. He told about how different flags, such as the Florida State Flag that have deep symbolism as well as other flags that are rooted in events, stories and milestones. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM brought examples of flags for the session and asked questions as he displayed them. He started with the Flag of the United Nations and asked Stanley Nwizu how can we make the world a better place. Stanley said that people have to be willing to listen to other beliefs and viewpoints and not just think that “their way of living is the only way.” The next flag Ken showed us was the English Union Jack and he asked Amy Sims where she would go on a trip to England. Amy said that England was “a country of a extraordinary history” and that she would love to visit Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guard. Ken next waved the flag from Norway but admitted it was far to cold a place for him to live. He asked Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB where was the coldest place that she had ever been? Kara named a place that was not even out of the State of Florida: The Gaylord Palms Hotel “Christmas on Ice” program! She mentioned that sub-freezing temperatures give her “freezing fingers.” Much warmer Jamaica was the next flag that Ken brought out which prompted a question of Steve Wood CC about his best vacation ever. Steve said that it was in the near-by Cayman Island where he flew his own private plane, hoping it would make it there. Ken made the analogy that Canada was the United States closest neighbor and sort of our “best friend”. He then asked Silvia Kim to tell us about her “best friend”. She said that after high school she decided “not to have a best friend.” That changed however when she met the man who would later become husband. He is still her best friend to this day! The last question was for Diego Fuentes when he was asked what all of the things on the Florida State Flag met. He said that there were oranges, palm trees, a ship in the ocean and a beautiful woman, all of which are representative of Florida. We had three speakers, all of them with unique and different types of speeches starting with (can you believe it) Susan Storma‘s 9th speech titled “Know Your Neighbors”. She told about how her husband and her had an idea to have a neighborhood party in their driveway so that she could get to know them better. After passing out fliers to all of the houses around her with the directions to “bring a chair and some snacks” she was impressed when people started showing up. The Stormas handed out table topics question cards to the guests to get them to start talking to each other. Now they are having these “parrot parties” on a regular basis and the neighborhood is closer, safer and friendlier than it has ever been! Great idea! Jack Wharton ACB, ALB was our second speaker and gave a technical speech titled “High Deductible Health Plans and How to Use Them”. He explained complex health insurance such as Obamacare and how to make it work for you. Jack deftly described this multifactorial system and then answered questions after the speech. The third speaker Daphne Hart, also racing through the CC Manuel with her 5th speech titled “Champion!” She entered to the music theme of “Rocky” and showed us how to use body language both in giving presentations and in everyday life to be positive, motivating and most of all, victorious! This was sheer verbal and non-verbal dynamite! Entertaining and enlightening us at the same time were our Evaluators headed by Master Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. His team of experts Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Susan); Marie Loeffler DTM (for Jack) and Laura Dowler ACB, ALB (for Daphne) all came through with uplifting opinions and solid advice. Also waving the flags of success were the Linguistic Signal Corp (LSC) which produced a banner crop of wonderful reports: Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Robyn Lesser, Visual Masthead Embellisher Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Chi Simons and Vote Counter Diego Fuentes. Emblematic of the meeting were the closing comments by our guests Benjamin Rodriquez, Bren Bedford, Phyllis Germany, Denis Louis and Debbie Vick. All of them were most positive in their responses. If this meeting were a flag, it would have a purple field for royal, excellence; stripes of gold and green for brilliant communication and leadership, red stars for bright entertainment and a beaming sun showing joy and happiness!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 28, 2016 special “Moments of Truth” meeting was an essential workshop for all club members to get the most of the Toastmasters program in helping to reach their individual goals and also to improve the club. Before the workshop started the meeting was called to order by Sgt. At Arms Daphne Hart and Christopher Fama ACB, ALB led the club in the Pledge to the Flag and gave us the emancipated opinion of Aarti Khurana to “Collect moments not things, earn respect not money and enjoy love not luxuries.” Leading us tonight was Toastmaster and Club #28 President Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara introduced our guests Bren Bedford and Debbie Vick and explained to them that even though this was a “different than normal meeting” that guests were more than welcome to give their feedback and ideas for our Moments of Truth workshop. The featured speaker for the evening was Past District 84 Mentor Chair Marie Loeffler DTM who gave a presentation about leadership and work kinetics titled “An Introduction to a Workshop about Leadership.” Marie, a professional hand-bell musician used a set of hand-bells as a metaphor for workplace dynamics. With her hand-bells, she explained that employees given the least amount of recognition are often doing some of the most important work. She explained that a central plan of action, such as sheet music for a song; is imperative on the job. Using a “hand-bell tree” she illuminated the use of organization to make employees more effective and reduce job stress. Said Marie “Each bell plays a different note but together they can make beautiful music.” Marie was given an evaluation by our Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB. Scott was impressed by how Marie made group dynamics not only interesting but ingeniously musical through the use of hand-bells. Marie’s speech was a perfect lead in to the MOT workshop. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB divided those present into groups of three and had each group discuss and rate our club on a number of different categories such as: First Impressions, Membership Orientation, Fellowship, Variety and Communication; Program Planning and Meeting Organization as well as Membership Strength and Achievement Recognition. After a brief time, each group gave their assessment of their particular assignment. Then the club put the focus on two major areas: Membership Orientation and Membership Strength using the feedback of our new members, established members and even our guests. Giving feedback were our newest members Diego Fuentes and Chandra Ewell with some excellent insight through the eyes of brand new members. Other helpful feedback came from Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Susan Storma, Steve Wood CC, Chi Simons, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Manuel Michel, Ken Walley DTM, Marie Loeffler DTM, Frank Adams CC, Daphine Hart and Monique Smith. Both of our guests also took part and made important contributions. Every comment and idea was useful in the effort towards making better an already remarkable club. In many areas it was found that Club #28 exceeded all expectation of excellence. Also assisting in making this meeting an unqualified success was our Moments of Truth Seekers (MOTS): Grammarian Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Timer Susan Storma, Lens Focus Steve Wood CC, first time AH Counter Chandra Ewell and Vote Counter Diego Fuentes. A list of ideas was put forward to help create better communication and leadership practices, improve the website and become an even more welcoming, warm and inviting haven to our guests. Ken Walley DTM added that “Club #28 should always strive to be a perfect atmosphere, a balance of learning, fellowship, support and fun.” In a moment of truth… we proved that tonight with this workshop!

A wise man would have instructed any scholar to heed the advice of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 21, 2016 “Mentor” theme meeting! To start the gathering, a return visitor Chandra Ewell imparted wisdom from the talk show host/ philosopher Oprah Winfrey: “I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.” Our guide through this mentoring experience was Toastmaster Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. Jack spoke of many of his life-teachers from those he had in Toastmasters, those whom he admired on a public scale, those within his field of business, his friends and family. Jack mentioned that the term “mentor” comes from the meaning of “wise adviser” in Greek and that it is often the mentor who learns as much from the experience of guidance than the student that he is directing. Like any great mentor, Jack encouraged us to be mentors. Another sage, Table Topics Master Laura Dowler ACS, ALB came up with a genius idea of assigning us a superhero as a mentor and asking what we had learned from them. Ken Walley DTM was asked what he had learned from Captain America. Ken said he had learned the power of defending truth and justice! The importance of fighting evil; where-ever,whenever and at any cost to protect the innocent and downtrodden! She next questioned what Susan Storma had picked up from “Batgirl: the Librarian!” “That’s right” said Laura, “Batgirl was first a librarian.” Susan said that the future superhero learned how to research her villains and find out their weaknesses! Past Club #28 and longtime missed member Carolyn Stapleton CC was assigned the mentor of Ironman! Carolyn delved into the inner psyche of his tortured soul and pointing out his fragile vulnerability. “The actor, the inventor, hidden behind the armor… all that he truly is, lies buried underneath the violence and the responsibility of protecting others!” Steve Wood CC commented on what he gained from being tutored by Batman. “The first Batman movie, was a tragedy for everyone involved.” said Steve. “there was no happiness. I would rather have been Superman and made a fortune by putting satellites into orbit.” Another longtime missing Club #28 member Diego Fuentes spoke about lessons he had gained from the Incredible Hulk. “I learned he was intelligent. He taught me about controlling emotions and harnessing them into a positive direction.” Another guest, Chandra Ewell was given Wonderwoman as a teacher. Chandra said that she was taught how to be fearless. “Like being able to speak in front of 20 people. It’s a real superpower!” she said. Stanley Nwizu CC had the last super-being: Batman. He had to rely on his own intelligence. “He had no superpowers so he had to invent his way to success.” noted Stanley. All three of our speakers mentored everyone on how to give a great speech. Daphne Hart presented another masterful performance with a speech titled Going Deep”. Dressed in a wet-suit she told us about her first SCUBA dive in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. She described the beauty of diving in a reef at night. Then disaster happened. While over 40 feet down her equipment malfunctioned and she started a desperate climb to the surface to keep from drowning. Thanks to the advice that she had received from her diving instructor, she found a way to make it back to top! Speaking second was Robyn Lesser with a very fascinating speech titled “What Drives You?” Robyn covered the different forces that motivate us to action such as time, people, money and power or opportunity. She also brought to light that most of the things that drive us also can have an equal and opposite negative effect. “Money can mean advancement or power but while these things can seem really important they take away from from other things that really are important, like family.” Our third speaker Walk Jones DTM is going through the Basic Manuel for a second time. He delivered a speech titled and about “Volunteerism”. Walk’s speech covered many aspects of this very important topic. He told about ways to get involved in community activities and helping to change lives in the process. He spoke about the rewards of serving others and told stories about how even a small effort might snowball into something greater. “A man started cleaning up the area in front of his house. Soon the neighbors started pitching in as well. After time, the Dixon Azalea Park became a favorite place for the whole community to visit!” In charge of the evaluations for these masterful works of articulation were a family of mentors led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Giving sound advice and helpful tips were evaluators Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Walk); Ken Blake DTM (for Robyn) and 1st time evaluator Manuel Michel (for Daphne). All of them were gave on-target evaluations! The Teaching Yodas Society (TYS) were also terrific mentors thanks to the excellent reports given by Grammarian Chi Simons, Timer Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Sagacious Image Pedagog Steve Wood CC, Ah Counter Amy Sims and Vote Counter Susan Storma. Our guests Chandra Ewell and returning members Diego Fuentes and Carolyn Stapleton CC all seemingly tried to out-do themselves with praise for the club and the meeting! Toastmasters after all is a perfect mentor for a wonderful evening.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 13th 2016 meeting lived up to the theme of “Inspiration.” The meeting started with some inspiration from Ken Walley DTM quoting from St. Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” The first time meeting Toastmaster, Daphne Hart also encouraged us with many great quotes to excite our imaginations as to what is truly possible from Maya Angelou, Charles Swindoll, Kevin Cruise Babe Ruth, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan and many others. The most inspiring quote came from Daphne herself as she spoke about where we find inspiration. To paraphrase Daphne: “It can come from anywhere, any place, from without or within, from being prepared or completely out of the blue. In the mundane or in the unlikely… Inspiration is all around us.” Another animated and moving force was our Table Topics Master Monique Smith. Monique’s questions challenged us to use our own experiences to redefine our perceptions of achievement. For example Manuel Miguel was asked what inspiration he drew from as a child. Manuel was enticed into the world of action-archaeology by the Raiders of the Lost Ark star Indiana Jones to the point of wearing a similar hand made hat and welding a whip! Mercedes Vicuna was asked how she was inspired to join Toastmasters. She said that she had encouraging friends that urged her to join and when she came to Club #28, Daphne Hart prompted her to wholeheartedly believe that she was in the right place. Returning Toastmaster Rev. Walk Jones DTM was asked if inspiration was “internal, external or something else? Walk tended to think that it was unique. He said that some nights he was tired and did not feel like going to Toastmasters, but once here he found himself revitalized and very glad that he came. Our Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB was asked about the opposite of inspiration. He said that the opposite of inspiration is negativity. “The focus of inspiration is to stimulate and create while negativity draws away from creativity and imagination.” Steve Wood CC was asked if he was “someone’s inspiration?” Steve gave a short answer to that: “No!” and then reminisced about how as a child he was inspired to be an astronaut in NASA. While not ever becoming the required jet pilot, he did eventually get his pilot’s license. Steve said that he was ”often inspired by others only to find out later that they were idiots.” Amy Sims was then re-cycled Steve’s original question of “Are you someone’s inspiration?” She said that she was changed for a lifetime by her mother’s devotion to walking two miles a day, even as her mother became elderly. It would be a basis of Amy’s own dedication to physical health as a fitness coach… and cause her to inspire others. Silvia Kim was given the query of how she was inspired to make changes in her life. Silvia remembered a medical mission trip in Laos where as a volunteer she assisted the pharmacists while supplying life-saving immunizations and other medications to hundreds of patients. “At the end of the day, completely tired and exhausted, we spontaneously started singing.” Silvia would later be inspired to become a pharmacist herself. If anyone still needed inspiration, they had only to stay and listen to the three remarkable speeches that followed Table Topics. Many of our members have been impressed with Susan Storma lightening-fast journey trough the Competent Communicator manual and the high quality speeches that she has given. Her eight speech, “How to get Free Library E-Books on Your Kindle” was just as impressive. Susan took us through the different steps on how to used the library website to find, reserve, borrow and return library e-books. She even told us how to download via WIFI e-books that never expire!Many did not know that this service was even available. While Susan’s speech was more informative in nature our second speaker Chi Simons, tugged at our heart strings and displayed her wonderful sense of humor with her third speech “My Humongous Family”. She detailed how important humor must have been while painting a portrait of growing up in in Vietnam in a family of 9 brothers and sisters. “Ten kids is like running a daycare that never closes.” said Chi. “Lunch lasted from noon to three in the afternoon and dinner from five to eight at night! Mom put an end to this by announcing that the last person to eat had to clean up!” The third speech by Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB that took us on a train misadventure from Virginia to Sanford, Florida that “started” with a 5 hour delay due to bad weather. During the trip Kara and her family faced other delays such as cars attempting to beat the train at crossings, conflicting schedules, sleeper car mishaps that resulted in the train being so far behind time that they had run out of food and the passengers were forced to eat the only thing they had in storage: cans of beans! When she did arrive home, Kara later found out that the delay was caused by another train derailment that had cost the lives of 12 people. In retrospect, it had not been such a bad journey after all. All three of these speeches expanded our knowledge and enjoyment but it was up to the wizards of evaluations led by Master Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL to help our speakers in their pursuit of oratorical perfection. Giving superb advice were evaluators Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Susan), Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (for Chi) and Rev. Walk Jones DTM (for Kara). Everyone in the room gain from their insight. The same could be said for the Invigorating and Emboldening Speaker Cheer Squad (E&ICS) with Grammarian Manuel Michel, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Instamatic Inspiration Installer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Mercedes Vicuna and Vote Counter Amy Sims. If ever there was a meeting that inspired us, that made us believe that we could improve and better the world around us, THIS was that meeting!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 got the new year off to a tremendous start with the January 7, 2016 “New Beginnings” theme meeting. New Sgt. At Arms Daphne Hart slammed the gavel down to begin what is going to be the best year ever for Club #28. Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB started our first meeting with some hopeful words of wisdom and directed us to “Look at the life before you with an innocent perception. See the world once again as new.” Ken Walley DTM popped the proverbial cork on a bottle of linguistic champagne with a list of his new year’s resolutions. Some of them, for example: “I will not say anything bad about anyone” he had already broken. Others were easier such as “Be more positive and upbeat!” and “Eat healthier snacks.” He did make note of one resolution that every club member should keep: “Be supportive of Club #28’s officers and help every member to meet their goals.” Ken also read quotes about new beginnings from such diverse sources as T.S. Eliot, Carrie Underwood, Saint Francis of Assisi, Buddha, Franz Kafka, Steve Jobs, Theodore Roosevelt, Desmond Tutu and many others. Also opening a door for some new thoughts and ideas was Table Topics Master Scott Maloney ACB, ALB. The first Table Topic question of the new year went to Monique Smith: What is your resolution for 2016? Monique decided that the focus of this year would be on improving the educational experience of her students and dedicating herself to finding ways to excel as a teacher. Asked about a memorable New Years Eve story Laura Dowler ACB, ALB told of an excellent New Years Eve tradition she shares with those close to her, that of watching one of her favorite movies “Little Shop of Horrors” to start the year! One of our guests Michele Hixon was asked if there was a “new beginning” in her life recently. Michele said that she had recently been given a business opportunity of being a “dragon boat captain” and Toastmasters was giving her a chance to improve her communication skills. Marie Loeffler DTM was asked if there was ever a time in which she had to “re-invent” herself. She told about how she made the transition from being a dance instructor to becoming a life and career coach. Scott was curious if another guest, Stanley Nwizu CC had anything in his past that he would like to go back and change. He said that the past mistake that you make help define who you are and there is nothing that he would change. The last question that Scott posed was for Silvia Kim “Should we be hopeful for the future?” Silvia thought so. She commented that the power lies within us as to how things will turn out. “If we are hopeful, often it turns our to be alright.” At the end of meeting Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was asked if he had found any new beginnings because of being in Toastmasters. Eddy commented that being able to communicate better and the leadership skills he had learned in Toastmasters had given him the power to envision a new future. “Anything you do to help yourself will have a positive impact somewhere in your life.” The new year started out with a new beginning for Robyn Lesser who was giving her first speech at Club #28 her Ice Breaker was titled “The Places You’ll Go!” Borrowing her speech title from the Dr. Seuss book, Robyn told of some incredible places that she has been. She grew up in the outback of Australia where she found that she had a love for rodeo bull riding! Incredibly that was just the start of a very impressive life that included studying at one of the world’s premier Universities at La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, becoming a lawyer in America and raising two fantastic children. If this speech is a small taste of projects yet to come, Club #28 is in for some great speeches! Chi Simons who only a few weeks ago gave her Ice Breaker showed that her brilliance with that speech was no accident. Chi came through with another impressive effort titled “Flashback”. Chi told how she decided to put “Toastmasters to the test” at her work place. With some lessons that she had learned here, she challenged her boss that if she could find a way to cut her company’s business meetings in half … she would earn a bonus! Using the simple principles that she learned as a Timer, Grammarian and Vote Counter, she found a way to make the business meetings more productive, more helpful and shorter! Toastmasters passed the test! Our third speaker was Susan Storma already giving her 7th speech with the captivating subject of “Clowns!” Susan provided both an amusing and instructional presentation about clowns. We learned difference between the white face european and the straight face clowns; the grotesque, auguste (foolish) and character clowns as well as the difference between a tramp and hobo clowns! We also had a lot of fun doing it! These three remarkable speeches were followed by an equally remarkable evaluation session led by General Evaluator Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. Helping him to impart a generous amount of wisdom and guidance were Christopher’s assistants, evaluators Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Robyn), Ken Blake DTM (for Chi) and first time evaluator Daphne Hart (for Susan). Not only were the evaluation 1ast class but so was the work done by the Better Speaker Resolution Makers (BGRM) consisting of Grammarian Laura Dowler ACB, ALB; Timer Silvia Kim, Happy New Year 2016 Video Creator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Monique Smith and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. Our guests Stanley Nwizu CC, Michael Cannady, Michele Hixson, Matthew Esteven and Cecilia Claude had many excellent things to say about our meeting. Stanley even pledged to join our club! Welcome Stanley! If this Club #28 meeting is an indication, this will indeed be a happy new new year!

It was an enchanting, magical, wonderful evening with the sparkle of of lights and shimmering of ornaments on the tree, stockings were hung with care and even joy and happiness could be felt in the air. The December 17, 2015 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Holiday Party and Installation of Officers soon would start with the sound of the gavel by new Sgt. At Arms Daphne Hart. A quote she gave from wise James Russell Lowell: “It’s not what we give but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare!” When what to our wondrous eyes did appear, the Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley DTM this (and every) year! Ho! Ho! HO! this right jolly old elf cast greetings and memories of Club #28 months past: many of these were really a blast; incredible ice breakers, spectacular speeches, mesmerizing meetings and astounding accomplishments came with a flash! Even a table topics question or two was given as presents to a gifted few. Say, Amy Sims could you tell us a Christmas Season memory or so? Was answered with childhood recollections that seemed to flow! Another query Barbara Cusack ACS, ALB was given: “Where have you been and how have you been living?” This was answered with glee as she stood in sight “A merry time I have had thanks to this club alright!” But soon we got down to the business at hand, Our featured speaker Manuel Miquel, that was the man! His speech titled “Do You Know Why the Wind Blows in Idaho?” told us that the answer to that question it is not only because “Oregon sucks” but because “the wind is a metaphor for challenge. To be like the seeds and take advantage of opportunity.” In Florida now he teaches his daughter the same lesson he learned from his father “have ideas of your own and learn from change. A tremendous speech with a noble message. Giving insight to insight was evaluator Jack Wharton ACB, ALB‘s challenge which he succeeded with some of his own profundities of his own. The next part of the meeting was the tradition “changing of the guard” of officers. This started with her “Second State of the Club Address” by outgoing Club President Marie Loeffler DTM. Marie was proud of the resiliency of the club overcoming such challenges such as a number of officer positions becoming open in the middle of the term as well as having to cover for a place to meet on a few occasions. She was impressed with her new officers, some who have stayed on to serve in the upcoming term. President Loeffler was encouraged by this leadership and certain of the club’s abilities to reach all 10 goals in our quest to earn our 8th straight President Distinguished Award. “The club is in good hands. “ she said as we have been under her leadership. Our Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB was present to preside of the Passing of the gavel Ceremony. He talked as if the gavel was Thor’s hammer and the president was a Zeus-like figure with the ability to throw lightening bolts! Here is the picture he brought to inspire our new president:
It was the best Gavel Ceremony ever!
Inducted were Sergeant at Arms Daphne Hart
Secretary Ken Walley DTM
Treasurer Susan Storma
Vice President of Public Relations Monique Smith
Vice President of Membership Chi Simons
Vice President of Education Jack Wharton ACB, ALB
President Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB

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(Lto R) Daphne Hart, Ken Walley DTM, Susan Storma, Monique Smith, Chi Simons, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB and Area 32 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB

Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB‘s “Inaugural Address” was a powerful statement of hope and encouragement for the club. This positive and upbeat speech included definite goals that the club could accomplish included achieving the President’s Distinguished Award, reaching a membership of 35 toastmasters, having a “Moments of Truth” Club meeting and improving mentorship. “I would like to hear what you would like to gain from being in Toastmasters. Your goals. This Toastmaster experience is for you!” At the end of the meeting, both Kara and Marie were given standing ovations for their dedication to leadership. At the end of this session This meeting was an extra present under the tree and as Ken adjourned the meeting and sped out of sight, he wished the incredibly diverse and amazingly incredible, best Toastmaster Club in the universe, Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 a Happy Bob Marley Holidays to all and let’s get together and feel alright!

If you had the good luck to have attended The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Superstition” theme meeting, you must have had a pocket full of rabbit’s foots and four leaf clovers! Fortunately Steve Wood CC was on hand to open the meeting and introduce Manuel Michel who had a wise sentiment to share, another famous quote from George Bernard Shaw: “You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” Chi Simons must have found a penny heads up on the way to the meeting because she was fantastic in her first time time as Toastmaster! Chi explained that even though superstitions were not based in fact, in experiments groups wearing a “lucky bracelet” preformed better than those without one. She covered the origins and beliefs behind some very interesting superstitions such as why there is no 13th floor in hotels and no gate #13 at airports, black cats, broken mirrors, the gambler’s ‘lucky 7′ and walking under ladders. There was also a belief that if you stepped in manure with your left foot, you were lucky as opposed to bad luck with the right foot. Chi commented that she thought it was “unlucky to step in poop either way.” Jack Wharton ACB, ALB, a man who does not eat a lot of apples because his job requires him to see doctors every day, served as our Table Topics Master. Jack must have brought a cricket with him as the questions and answers came out superb. He first asked Monique Smith if she was superstitious. Monique said that she did not really believe in the supernatural but she really wants to believe in vampires and werewolf. She said that she would love to be a paranormal investigator even though she does not believe in ghosts. “The supernatural is real, if it is real inside of your own head.” she said. Steve Wood CC was asked about the “placebo effect” of superstitious thinking. Steve said that “Your brain can deceive you.” Steve gave examples of optical illusions, confirmation biases and receiving false information. He noted that “When the brain screws up, it still tries to use reason to make sense of it all.” Mercedes Vicuna was asked if she had a “memorable superstition experience.” She said that she was told that it was bad luck to walk under a ladder and that you could reverse that by walking backwards. She admitted that sometimes in life when she does something distressing, she might try to find a way to “walk backwards” and undo what she has done. A very missed returning member Frank Adams CC was asked if he had a “lucky charm”. Frank said that when he is separated by a pole from a friend, he was told to say “Peanut butter and jelly!” Now Frank thinks about it every time that that happens, “so peanut butter and jelly must be my lucky charm.” Jack remembered the song “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and wondered if our guest Darrell Talley had a song that had a positive impact upon him. Darrell said that the classic song by the Temptations “I Wish it Would Rain” always moved him and made things a little bit better. That is truly a powerful song! Manuel Michel was requested to explain how he might “calm himself down”. Manuel said that he recently found “a religious side” of himself and that the practice of meditation had paid dividends to him by providing peace in stressful situations. The last question was for another guest Sharon McDonald who was asked if she was ever the victim of bad luck. She told the story about how as an 8 year old, an argument with her brother ended up with the accidental blinding of her one good eye. “ I should have gone with my mother when I had the chance.” she said. It was bad luck that all three of our scheduled speakers canceled out during the week (and there was no Friday the 13th this month) but someone must have ate black eyed peas last New Years eve, or maybe because they had a buckeye in their pocket… because we had two speakers fill in at the last minute! Ken Walley DTM gave a “hip Pocket” speech about the upcoming Toastmasters Leadership Institute titled “TLI” . Ken told about how TLI was “more that just officer training” and that there were reasons for every Toastmaster to attend including, excellent seminars on many different topics, meeting the district, division and area officers as well as other Toastmasters from all over the State of Florida. Somehow, Ken made TLI sound exciting and inviting, not just for the officers but for everyone. Our second speaker Susan Storma, racing through her CC manual gave her 6th speech, “Tap, Tap, Tap” about her experience of visiting a nursing home while her mother was undergoing a six month rehab. She noticed how “dreary and depressing” the institution was and made a pledge to be upbeat and positive to all those she met there. Susan and her husband were compelled to buy a “4 foot tall stuffed pink bunny that pleaded ‘Take me with you!’” at a thrift store and then gave it to her mother’s roommate in the home. The pink bunny not only raised the spirits of the roommate but of the everyone in entire building! Susan exclaimed “That pink bunny became the star of the nursing home. People from all over came to see it!” In the end, when her mother returned home, she believed that they, along with the pink bunny, had made a positive a difference in the lives of those at the home. The evaluation session by General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM was like find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Excellent evaluations were given by Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for Ken) and Eddy Cezalien CC, CL (for Susan). The Make a Wish Upon a Toastmaster Foundation (MAWUATMF) also had some excellent reports thanks to Grammarian Robyn Lesser, Timer Kara Newcomb, Video Wishbone Decider Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Monique Smith and Vote Counter Manuel Michel. Our guests Darrell Talley, Sharon McDonald and Fior Marmol all were as pleased with the meeting as someone who had blew out all of their birthday candles on the first try. They got their wish: an amazing Toastmasters meeting! Next week’s will be just as good as this one! Knock wood.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 December 3, 2015 “Holiday Food From Around the World” theme meeting was completely “yummy!” Calling the meeting to order as her last time as Sgt. At Arms was Kenza Wilhite who has done such an outstanding job for the club over the last six month. Susan Storma used a perfect quote for our holiday food theme from Barbara Johnson: “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” Before the Toastmaster was introduced, Club #28 President Marie Loeffler DTM asked Vice President of Education Jack Wharton ACB, ALB to preside over the elections of the new club officers for the January – June Toastmaster term. Voted into office were President Kara Newcomb ACS, ALB; VPE Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; VPM Chi Simons, VPPR Monique Smith, Treasurer Susan Storma; Secretary Ken Walley DTM and SAA Daphne Hart. Congratulations to all of our new officers! Jack Wharton ACB, ALB also was our Toastmaster and guided us on a sumptuous buffet of holiday feasts from all over the globe. We visited French Quebec and had Tourtiere and then went on to Spain, England, Romania and in Brazil we celebrated the Mass of the Rooster. We also had Dumplings and whole fish in China, buckets of wheat noodles in Japan and ended up at a Holiday celebration with Jack’s family enjoying a special sauce that can be put on anything and drinking Heikeken Beer. Also providing a delicious spread of Table Topics questions was Table Topics Master Kenza Wilhite. Her first question was for Milka Dersima CC of what was her favorite holiday food. Milka told about a traditional Haitian holiday meal she had at Thanksgiving with her family that featured fried plantains. Steve Wood CC was requested to ruminate upon if he enjoyed the holidays more for the social aspect or for the food. As for the social aspect Steve said that depended upon “who you are with.” The food however might not be healthy, but pizza we found out is his favorite holiday food! Chi Simons was called upon to speak about the “most important celebration in her home country”. She immediately responded that it was “New Years!” She spoke about the elaborate food preparation for the holiday and “there is no cleaning up or anything, just eating for three days!” Virginia Gonzalez gave voice to her “Christmas list” by saying that she had already gotten a ring this year (congratulations!) and she just feels gratful for what she has, more than wanting anything else. Welcomed visitor John Askavold postulated about his “holiday guilty pleasures”. He said that he was secretly addicted to Netflix and could be found sneaking away to view past episodes of “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad”. Guest Eddy Palermo was asked to put the concept of tradition in perspective with the recent trends towards globalization. Eddy, up to the task, said despite tradition “there are no rules for life” and that new generations have a tradition of “making new traditions.” Kenza was curious as to how “picky about the food she was” when Susan Storma went out to eat in a restaurant. Susan admitted that she was “just happy not to be at home cooking.” Although Susan did point out that the Chef’s food was often compared to her own home cooking! Kenza inquired of returning guest Belkis Rodriguez what food that she had hated as a child but could eat today. Belkis said that as a child a holiday tradition, “Easter soup” made with codfish was much despised. She only gave a lukewarm endorsement of it even as an adult. Noting that most of her goals from past year were re-cycled to be the goals of the new year, Kenza needed Eddy Cezalien CC to tell us about what goals that he had set for 2016. Eddy was confident that he would run a marathon in 2016 because he said that he “wants to see who’s really the fastest out there.” At the end of the meeting Amy Sims had left before we were able to ask her a question, but Robin Lesser was asked about her favorite holiday tradition. Robin spoke about a truly cool tradition of giving 12 members of her family and friends a Christmas ornament each with a part of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” on them. Then they would sing the entire song and each person would fill in their part! As rewarding as any holiday meal could be, our three speeches tonight were completely satisfying! We had an amazing 1st speech ingeniously titled “Me” by Mercedes Vicuna who explained that her name gave a clue to her family history “The name Mercedes does not refer to the car but is a title of Spanish origin for the Virgin Mary, meaning ‘Our lady of mercy.’” She told about growing up in Ecuador and coming to the United States to start a career and a family. She showed a great sense of humor especially with a story of how her family told her that she “looked so Asian that she could get lost in China” but when she went actually went to China, she found out that was not the case at all! Her speech was not only a great insight to Mercedes but also a heartwarming story of a brave young woman. The second speaker Daphne Hart also gave a compelling and inspirational speech titled “You Can Make A Difference!” Using baseball as a metaphor for Mentoring, Volunteerism and Philanthropy; Daphne brought to our attention the serious challenges facing today’s youth and the need for adults to get involved in the community. At the end of the speech she showed that we can “strike out apathy” and make a difference! Our last speaker, Laura Dowler ACB, ALB also came up with a remarkable speech titled “Cross Cultural Understanding” as part of a Toastmasters project that required her to “have a conversation with someone who is of a different culture.” Laura found a woman she works with, “A Latino, living in the United States who grew up in Jordan and lived in China!” She found that there were also many ways to learn from cultural disparity. “Even such a difference from a rural to an urban setting can have a large influence upon our lives.” said Laura, “so many things effect our identity such as age, hobbies, cooking, occupation even who our sports teams are.” This was an intriguing look at how our environments effect us. Our “head food -for- thought Critic” of tonight’s oratorical fare was General Evaluator Marie Loeffler DTM who served up a feast of word pudding cooked up from evaluators Ken Walley DTM (for Mercedes), Kara Newcomb ACG. ALS (for Daphne) and Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for Laura). Also baking a language pie were the chefs from the Articulate Culinary Communicator Restaurant (ACCR) made up of Grammarian Chi Simons, Timer Eddy Cezalien CC, CL, Picture Cook Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Susan Storma and Vote Counter Terri Hundeby. A standing ovation was given for Mercedes Vicuna‘s Ice Breaker speech. Our guests, Brad Henderson, Eddy Palermo, Wendan Wang and John Askavold were untied in praise for this meeting. Our other guest, Belkis Rodriguez announced that she was joining our club! Welcome Belkis! A Toastmaster meeting is like a great meal; no matter on earth where you have it, you know that it is fabulous. This meeting was simply delicious!

The best meeting in memory was the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 19, 2015 “Memory” theme meeting. It is all coming back to me, Ken Walley DTM started the meeting with an inspirational note from George Bernard Shaw: “If there were nothing wrong in the world, there wouldn’t be anything for us to do.” Betsy Carvajal CC returned from a small absence from the club to lead the meeting as our Toastmaster. She had not forgotten how to be a fantastic Toastmaster! Betsy covered memory building techniques, told us about amazing people with genuine recollection that surpassed even the abilities of some modern computers and the message that our memories are the brushstrokes in the portrait of our lives. Betsy gave some examples from the book “Moonwalking with Einstein: the Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by Joshua Foer, including a man who had to re-learn things on an almost hourly basis and another man who had the gift of instantaneous and complete recall but only had an IQ of 86! Our 1st time Table Tables Master Susan Storma also remembered to bring some fabulous questions for our guests and members. Her first question for Amy Sims was “What was a great childhood memory?” With Thanksgiving around the corner, Amy thought of a time as a 10 year old child when she picked apples and made fresh apple pies with the kids in the neighborhood. Robyn Lesser was asked what she would change if she could go back to being 10 years old. Robyn told of a time when a favorite horse died and how she might have saved it. “A favorite family dinner” was the next memory called for by Susan from Virginia Gonzalez. Virginia’s answer was about the time that she too, was also 10 years old and had a surprise birthday dinner at a fancy restaurant where everyone sang her “Happy Birthday”. Our guest, Danny Sanz was asked about his first car. Danny, who grew up in New York, said that he did not even drive until he was 29! “We used the buses to get from place to place. When I did finally get a car, I found it very liberating.” When asked for a High School memory, Mercedes Vicuna said that she was interested in fashion while growing up in Ecuador and was always temped to drink liquor by her friends. Would you erase any of your memories? Daphne Hart said that she would not erase any of her memories, even some of the painful or hard ones because they were important for her development. She told the story of a man who “never had a bad day” due to the fact that he had so many wonderful memories of his late wife to fall back on and re-live in his mind. We had three memorable speeches starting with a remarkable Ice Breaker titled “Energy” from Chi Simons. Chi explained how after coming from her homeland Vietnam and finding a job as a financial analysis, that she was told by her doctor to “exercise at least 15 minutes every day.” She then “joined a gym and exercised 10 minutes a day for at least one day a week!” But it was not until Chi found a Zuma class at the gym that she ended up changing her lifestyle and her health forever! Because of her new obsession with Zuma the gym became a place of accomplishment and pride! She even discovered that she wanted to be involved with other groups such as a volunteer group that make ornaments for charities and another group called the “Happy Hookers”… not what you think… they are a knitting and crocheting organization. This was a fun and truly entertaining first speech! Professor Christopher Fama ACG, ALB gave the second presentation with a speech titled “Learning Fun!” in which he told of the lighter side of teaching a college course. This included a very funny story about one student that kept changing clothes during his class! It was only later he found out it was identical twins playing mind games with him. Christopher turned the tables on another one of his English students when he gave him an Advanced Theoretical Calculus test as a pop quiz to get across the point that he should be paying more attention. The entire room laughed all the way through Prof. Fama’s speech and everyone wanted to be in his class! Steve Wood CC‘s speech “Vitamin D and Vitamin KZ” told us about the necessary Vitamin D that has become much more insufficient in human systems due to mankind spending more time indoors since the invention of electric light. He explained  how Vitamin D have a strong, and positive effect, upon calcium levels as well as our general lifespan. Steve also explained that if used with Vitamin KZ, it can add even greater benefits and reduce the chance of over-exposure to Vitamin D levels. Steve also explained other rewards and insights to supplementing diets with D and KZ. These three very different speeches all were given evaluations as diverse as the speeches themselves yet alike in having excellent advice and encouragement. Jack Wharton ACB. ALB acted as the General Evaluator and the evaluator for Steve’s speech, the other evaluators were Marie Loeffler DTM (for Chi) and Ken Walley DTM (for Christopher). Let us never forget the the Merry Memory Makers (MMM)who reminded us of how reports should be given: Grammarian Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, AH Counter Robyn Lesser, Timer and Acting Retentiveness Module Operator Kenza Wilhite and Vote Counter Virginia Gonzales. A loud standing ovation was given to Chi Simons for giving her Ice Breaker speech. We also heard some extremely positive reviews of the meeting from both of our guests Belkis Rodriguez and Danny Sanz. This was indeed, a night to remember.

The best advice was to be at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 12, 2015 “Government Advice: Laws and Education” theme meeting. Walk Jones DTM our host at his week’s meeting place, the Park Lake Presbyterian Church, called the meeting to order as our Sgt. At Arms. The meeting started with Chi Simons offering an idea of empowerment paraphrased from the mind of Albert Einstein: “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of minds to think.” One of Club #28’s outstanding thinkers, Steve Wood CC, covered the subject of how we are influenced often “for our own good” by control-driven, profit motivated and bureaucratic entities such as government programs and massive corporate monopolies. Included in some of Steve examples were transportation safety regulations, diet restrictions and health-care standards. Some of them often needed at first but later abused and others utterly unnecessary. “Government advice that has gone horribly wrong is hardly ever the result of a sinister conspiracy, but more likely because of bad science, large egos and a lack of critical thinking.” said Steve. Opening the floor to our opinions on the manipulation and mismanagement of laws and regulations was Table Topics Master Jerome Kalisz DTM. “Government education vs. government guidelines” was the first subject to be examined by Terri Hundeby. Terri bought out the point that many government decisions are directed by lobbyists and special interest groups. Terri remarked that “It’s far to often about the money.” Ken Walley DTM was asked about misinformation in the media and in the corporate world. Ken said that “misinformation is everywhere and you have to be careful” citing an example of a news media organization that uses the Orwellian newspeak motto of “Fair and balanced” but is often completely the opposite. Steve Wood CC was asked if the “free market would be a better guide than government to regulate society?” Steve answered emphatically “No!” He made the point that “runaway companies focused on making money do not have the interest of the individual citizen in mind and that “regulations are important if nothing more than to control greed.” Commenting on if the authority structure takes advantage of the free thinkers, Area 31 Director Scott Maloney ACB, CL used the example of Galileo Galilei the famous astronomer to show how interference from “self-appointed knowledge tyrants” can interfere with progress and the creation of a better world. Remarked Scott, we need to look towards a more “love structured dichotomy.” Amy Sims was brilliant in her answer of the question of when children should be encouraged towards critical thinking. She believed that it is developmentally appropriate to teach a child to question even at the youngest of age. She underscored the importance of critical thinking as a “building block of intelligence.” Robyn Lesser pondered what concept would she like everyone to understand. Her answer was that leadership or government based upon fear and paranoia will lead to a dysfunctional society. “Many prey upon fear as a way to gain power and by using terms to invoke fear, they try to take advantage of others.” Mercedes Vucuna was asked about how the use of labeling groups and individuals effect our social fabric. She pointed out that labeling, while limiting the effectiveness of many causes, often defines the “socialists and the conservatives” and creates “a balance.” Mercedes noted that it is “usually better to be somewhere in the middle.” Marie Loeffler DTM dealt with the subject of the creation of a “liability law”. Marie was concerned that we are in many ways “legislating common sense” and that we should have put more faith in the education process rather than rushing to create laws. Jerome presented Daphne Hart topic of if we should be held libel for our own use of drugs and abolish many of the drug laws that are currently in effect. She said that “human made decisions are not always in the best interests of other humans.” To Daphne it is “important that laws protect the innocent. Laws are not perfect and they will always be that way.” She made the point that it was impossible to protect all people from themselves. Chi Simons spoke about if she thought that the United States was losing its competitive edge. Chi agreed seeing how we stand educationally with the rest of the world. She wondered why we do not have enough teachers even though the US has the resources to be a world leader in education. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was also given the chance to speak at the end of the meeting: “What concept would you like to leave us with?” Eddy said that government is looked to for all of our answers, but we become victims when we blame the government. “That will not solve the problem.” said Eddy, “we are the government and we are the answer.” This was an extra special evening as our featured speakers boasted two Ice Breakers by Silvia Kim and Virginia Gonzales as well as a fourth manual speech by Monique Smith! Silvia’s Ice breaker, “Why Toastmasters?” chronicled her journey to the Club #28 lectern. Along the way we learned that Silvia Kim has been married for four years (“communication is important in marriage”), she had a business background and in her current job she has to explain healthcare plans to clients (“I have to learn to speak clearly, that is essential for me to my job!”) and that she joined Toastmasters to be a better leader. “I was born as a follower but now I want to put myself out there and get out of my comfort zone!” You are in the right place Silvia! Speaking second was another powerful Ice Breaker from Virginia Gonzalez with the title of “Fearless!” Virginia started by reading a poem “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson. Then she talked about facing fears she had struggled with throughout her live, some overwhelming like finding herself pregnant with twins at 18 and others life- threatening being diagnosed with a extremely serious blood disease. “I have even become grateful of fear” she said, “fear is a worthy adversary but I have won every battle. I have learned I am stronger than I think I am.” She told of her victories today and of a bright future ahead. Monique Smith‘s speech was interestingly titled “It Is What It Is”. While mulling over a speech subject she asked herself the question “what is my catch phase?” Noting that Spock had “Live long and prosper.” and X-files FBI agent Fox Mulder had already claimed “The truth is out there.” Monique decided upon “It is what it is.” Being a Middle School teacher she came to the realization that somethings will not change like unresponsive parents, unruly students, not fully supportive or funded systems, etc… and that sometimes just doing your best is all that you can do. “What does my motto say about me? It says I have a sense of humor, I can cope in any situation and that I never stop trying.” This was a wonderful speech… It was what it was. Our government had educated us that learning is the key to success and General Evaluator Walk Jones DTM not led us but led by example by also giving the evaluation for Virginia’s Ice Breaker. Giving helpful advice were first time Evaluator Susan Storma (for Silvia) and Scott Maloney  ACB, CL (for Monique). The Supreme Advice and Regulatory Idea Exchange Council (SARIEC) ruled in the speakers best interest thanks to Grammarian Daphine Hart, Timer Terri Hundeby, Visual Ordinance Enforcer Eddy Cezalien CC, CL, AH Counter Robyn Lesser and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Our only guests tonight were many time visitors Jerome Kalisz DTM and Area Director Scott Maloney ACB, CL who both praised highly the meeting and club. Recognized were first time Evaluator Susan Storma and standing ovations for Ice Breakers Silvia Kim and Virginia Gonzalez! If the government required by law. every man and woman over the age of 18 to attend a Toastmasters meeting like this one every week. I don’t think anyone would complain.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 4, 2015 “Being a Kid Again” theme meeting had all  the youthful energy of a day at the playground! Susan Storma got the meeting going with the perfect quote from George Bernard Shaw that “Youth is wasted on the young.”  Before introducing the Toastmaster, Club #28 President Marie Loeffler DTM invited Vice President of Membership Eddy Cezalien CC, CL to induct our newest members. Those present who were voted into the club were Virginia Gonzales, Daphne Hart, Chi Simons and our newest members Amy Sims and Mercedes Vicuna.

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Amy Sims, Virginia Gonzales, Eddy Cezalien, Chi Simons, Mercedes Vicuna and Daphne Hart.

Young at heart Ken Walley DTM was the Toastmaster who remembered games he used to play as a kid, building forts and riding his bike everywhere. “Most of the things I did when I was younger like playing games and riding a bike, I can still do.” said Ken, “I should do them more because they are the type of things that keep me young.” Keeping everyone young was our first time Table Topics Master Chi Simons. Chi had everyone form a circle and toss a ball to who they thought should answer the next Table Topics question!  The first to catch the ball was Ken Blake DTM who was asked what he got away with as a kid. Ken told the story of drinking his father’s scotch as a 14 year old with his friends and being caught in the act by his dad. Said Ken “I don’t drink at all now, that memory is part of the reason why.” Ken Walley DTM what he would do differently than his parents with his children. Ken remembered as a 7 year old getting his “mouth washed out with soap” for using bad language. he admitted that “After that experience, I would never do that to my daughter.” Virginia Gonzalez was given the question of her best memory as a child. She remembered a plane trip as a little girl and how excited she was to be going up in the sky to “see heaven.”  She was disappointed when angels did not appear in the clouds. “How much would you pay to get rid of worry?” was the next challenge for Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Eddy said that he would pay “anything” to have a time with no worries. He remembered a less stressful world when he was younger and how the trouble of then sees inconsequential to what he faces as an adult.  Eddy tossed the ball next to Manuel Michel who was asked when was the last time that he learned something new. Manuel said that it was “toda” and that he still learns something new almost everyday. “It is the learning that make each day worth living.” “Today” he said “I learned that I was way behind in understanding social media.” Catching the ball for the last toss was Amy Sims who spoke about going back in time and changing something from her past. She said that she would have spent more time with her grandparents and maybe have focused a little less on school and traveled more. Later in the meeting Mercedes Vicuna spoke about her youth in Ecuador. She pained a vivid picture of swimming in a nearby river with her friends and picking mangoes in a grove. Daphne Hart also told us about what she liked to do as a kid including making mud-pies and watching cars in the winter attempting to get up a ice covered hill. Steve Wood CC said he would go back to his childhood and “change a lot of things but that would effect everyone’s timeline.” We had two brilliant speeches, both very different and both excellent. Jack Wharton ACB, ALB spoke first with a speech titled “Healthcare IT: An Industry Overview” from the Speaking to Inform Advanced Manuel. Jack spoke about a vast need to computerize and modernize the healthcare industry and find solutions to sharing medical information or “Interop” short for “interoperability.” Jack gave compelling answers to this challenge such as merging methods that different companies use, giving patients the ability to access their records online and having a single payer health insurance. All of which would over time bring medical cost down. Speaking second was Susan Storma who was giving her 5th speech from the Basic Manuel titled “Camping Critters”. Susan completely entertained us with a hilarious story (maybe not so much at the time) of a snake in a campsite bathhouse. With the “help” of her husband, they removed a rather large snake that seemed content to inhabit a valuable human facility. Her husband’s plan of “you hold the door open while I get the snake to leave” was much more complicated than it sounded. This speech was truly a lot of fun to hear! These two speeches were reviewed by two of Club #28 best evaluators introduced by General Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Ken Blake DTM reviewed Jack’s speech and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB spoke on Susan’s speech. Both gave helpful and insightful evaluations. It was Red Rover, Red Rover send the Toastmasters Play Planners (TPP) right over with some wonderful reports thanks to Grammarian Manuel Michel, Timer Daphne Hart, Video SquarePants Steve Wood CC and AH Counter as well as Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. This meeting actually made you feel like a kid again!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 19, 2015 “Let’s Dance!” theme meeting had a real “twist” to it! Starting the meeting was Chi Simons leading us with a power-thought from Zoey Sayward: “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, make the moment perfect.” Kenza Wilhite as our Toastmaster got us up on our feet, literally by attempting to teach us how to Belly-dance! Some of us were more successful than others but everyone had a fun time trying! Kenza also covered the joyfulness, the expressions of emotions and the artistry of the different forms of dance. Leading the way was our Table Topics & Dance Master Monique Smith who performed for us a new dance that is presently popular with the Z-generation called the “Nay Nay”. Monique danced the Nay Nay very well. Her first question was for Ken Blake DTM “What was the most popular song you danced to in your 20’s?”  Ken told how his mother took him to “Swing Dance lessons” and it turned out to be the best thing ever for meeting girls. He said his favorite dance song was “Hips Don’t Lie” by  Shakira! Using a quote from the famous dancer Mikhailk Baryshnikov, “I do not try to dance better than anyone else, I only try to dance better than myself” Kenza asked Chi Simons what that meant to her. Chi said that she does not dance very often in public but she does challenge herself with a Zumba class she takes! When asked to compare today’s dances with other years, Ken Walley DTM described going to his High School prom in the 1970’s and how strange that all seems now.  Our guest Stanley Nwizu  was asked what celebrity he would dance with and what dance he would dance. Stanley said “My wife is a celebrity to me” and noting that she is a Zumba instructor, he would only dance with her. For her last query Kenza used another Baryshnikov quote, “Dance is the only thing that makes sense in the world.” Kara Newcomb ACG. ALB responded to the question  “What helps her to make sense of the world?” Kara listed many awesome things such as walking her dog, meditation, taking photos, playing tennis, a good workout and going to the park. We had three speakers that were all at the top of their game starting with Daphne Hart who’s speech asked the question “Why am I Here?”  She explained that the most important part of our existence is what we do with the “dash” between the dates on our tombstone. Daphne spoke about having the “3 Ps” in our lives: “Purpose, Passion and Persistence”. She mentioned that it was important to do what you want to do rather than being pushed towards what might be more convenient, giving the example of Alisa Latimore who was encouraged to become an engineer but instead found a love for studying law that would lead her to becoming a judge. Daphne’s speech was both inspirational and meaningful towards finding a true joy in living life. Speaking second was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB with a speech titled “Listen Up!” about the art of listening. Prof. Fama is the author of a book “A Listening Curriculum for Lower Division Collage Studies” and he covered the important elements of listening. Christopher noted that “In some professions, like healthcare it is dangerous not to be a good listener.” Among Christopher’s adv ice was to remove distractions, wait for other person to stop speaking, never assume things, seek clarity and to ask questions. Excellent advice! The third speaker was Steve Wood CC giving a rare presentation titled “The Power Point Demonstration“. This highly useful and much needed speech covered the “do’s and do not’s” of giving a power point presentation. Steve used actual situations that had come up during Club #28 speeches and how to prepare for any “surprises” that might occur. This was a perfect speech for a Toastmasters meeting! Like the “pros” with the “stars” our Evaluation team led by General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM glided across the floor of wisdom with precision and beauty thanks to evaluators Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Daphne), James Armburst CC (for Christopher) and Betsy Carvajal CC (for Steve). Cutting the rug of linguistic correctness was our Verbal Ballet Troupe (VBT) consisting of Grammarian Ken Walley DTM, Timer Manuel Michel, Popper Photo Popper Eddie Cezalien CC, CL; AH Counter Susan Stoma and Vote Counter Chi Simons. We also had some wonderful comments from our guests Robin Lesser, Stanley Nwizu and Mercedes Vicuna. It was announced that Robyn Lesser was joining our club tonight! Welcome Robyn! Has this Club #28 meeting been a dance Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would have been proud!

The October 22, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Treasure Found” theme meeting was a hidden gem! Unearthing an inspirational jewel from Oscar Wilde to start the meeting was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB who quoted “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” Our Toastmaster and treasure hunter was Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB who told us of a number of astounding hoards of fortune that just waited to be stumbled upon. These included a treasure worth over a billion dollars found in a Hindu temple in Kerala, Province in India (including one ton of gold in the form of rice trinkets) another palace treasure from Kathmandu was found in a forgotten storeroom stuffed with gold, silver and jewels. Kara also mentioned two discoveries made by Englishmen with metal detectors that turned up a horde of Roman coins, precious metals and archaeological artifacts. Bringing to light some valuable questions was Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM his first question being asked of Silvia Kim: “A treasure can be something you hold very dear. What is a treasure in your life?” Silvia said that she had a series of video tapes in which her husband proposed to her and those tapes were priceless to her. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was given this scenario: “You are looking at a book in an obscure Ye Old Used Book store. It is written in French, from the year 1587 and titled “Explorations of the New Caribbean”.  All of the sudden you realize it was written by a ship’s mate of the famous French pirate captain Jacques de Sores. Even more intriguing is a worn, yellowed hand drawn map hidden inside of the book cover itself. Although in old-style French, you can make out the word “treasure” and what looks to be a very small island off the coast of the Dominican Republic marked with an ‘X’. By the way, the book cost $2,400.00… the map, well maybe nothing…what do you do?” Eddy said that he would leave the book alone and that pursuing the treasure might end up costing him more than finding it. “Who knows where that is? I could get robbed!” Ken’s next inquiry was for Christopher Fama ACB, ALB “Have you ever stumbled upon anything materially valuable?” Christopher told of when he was 10 years old, his friend and him came across a blue savings account book on the side of a road with a balance of $10,000. Rather than try and withdraw the money, they did the right thing and had it returned to the rightful owner who then rewarded them with $5 each. “A lot for a 10 year old in those days!” noted Christopher. Quoting Sophie Tucker who once said “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” Ken asked visiting past Area 30 Governor Michael Tufarelli ACS, ALB “We would all like to be rich, but what are the drawbacks to being wealthy?” He mentioned such things as “friends and family coming out of the woodwork to ask for money”, having to deal with it “going to your head” and finding ways to protect the wealth from bad investments. Michael did admit that “I would not trade those problems in exchange for being poor.” A guest Michael Gentitella was asked “What makes you feel like you have found a treasure even though it cost very little or nothing at all?” Michael G. gave the practical answer of “finding a good book or website on how to make money” … and then make real money! Ken admitted that he was thinking more in terms of “a sunny day or a catchy song.” Chi Simons was challenged with “If you were a billionaire would you leave a thousand dollar tip on a whim because you liked the service? ” She said “absolutely! Maybe even two thousand!” saying that it would make her happy to bring joy to others with her generosity. Ken next asked Steve Wood CC “What is, to you, a scientific treasure that we have found?” Steve said that “Knowledge” is the true “gift of Science.” He also observed that knowledge is a “double-edged sword” and the more we know, the more likely it will be that we can destroy ourselves. Daphne Hart was asked “Do you own something that someone else might consider a treasure if he or she found it?” to which she replied that she once had a set of wedding bands from a divorced couple that she gave to a couple looking to marry but could not afford to buy their own rings. They lived happily ever-after! Our newest member, Amy Sims was asked a question based on a true news story, “Recently a 23 pound bale of marijuana dropped out of the sky and through the roof a man’s garage crushing his dog’s plastic house. The dog was not inside. There, unknown to anyone, is a bale of marijuana worth over thousands of dollars and very unlikely to be claimed. What would you do?” Amy said that she would not want the pot to fall into the hand of youth because it might cause in them a drop in their IQ but also noted the good it could do as medical marijuana. She would most likely call the police and turn it in. Another guest, Karla Colina was asked “Have you ever had a treasure returned to you?”  Karla told about how she had done a difficult school project and thought that she had left it in her hotel room overseas when she arrived back home. She was relieved to find it in a hidden compartment in her suitcase after all! The speeches for the evening were like finding a treasure of joy behind the lectern. Speaking first and giving her fourth speech from the Basic Manual was Susan Storma with a speech titled “What is so Special About the Society Islands”. She told us about the Society Islands which include Tahiti and Bora Bora in the French Polynesia, and described in detail the natural beauty of the islands. Susan explained the history of this paradise and its volcanic roots. “As you approach the island, you notice how tall and green it is. The crystal clear blue waters of the lagoon and the breathtaking plants and trees.” We all really, really want to go there now. Speaking second and also giving her fourth speech was Terri Hundeby with a completely different travelogue titled “Journey through the Pacific Northwest” which covered the United States Northwest including the states of Washington and Oregon. Terri took us to (by description and Power-point) such icons as Mt. Hood, The 4T trail, The Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, Seattle and the Pike Place Fish Market. My favorite was the “Smallest City Park in the World” located in Portland, Oregon. This speech was like going on a fantastic road trip! Speaking about road trips, James Armbrust’s performance titled “We Ain’t in Kansas Anymore!” was a re-enactment of the Wizard of Oz starring James playing the part of Dorothy! It was all there; the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, wicked witches, the tornado, flying monkeys and even “your little dog too!” This presentation was completely entertaining and a whole lot of fun! These three chests of verbal riches were given excellent reviews by the Evaluation crew led by 1st time General Evaluator Kenza Wilhite. Ken Blake DTM (for Susan) Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Terri) and Michael Tufarelli ACS, ALB (for James) all revealed an opulence of mentoring gold. Also revealing jewels of wisdom were the Verbal Treasure Booty Finders (VTBF) thanks to Grammarian Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; 1st time Timer Chi Simons, Visual Loot Plunderer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Silvia Kim and Vote Counter Daphine Hart. We also had some positive riches with our feedback from guests Yvonne Sabblah, her daughter Ama Boateng, Chris Colina, Karla Colina, Michael Gentilella and visiting Toastmaster Michael Tufarelli ACS, ALB. It was also announced that Amy Sims was going to join the club! Welcome Amy! Indeed, going to a Club #28 Toastmasters meeting is like finding a spacious library conference room just packed with dazzling treasures! Each week you will never know what jewels that you will uncover!

The most interesting Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting in the world took place on October 15, 2015 with the theme of “The Most Interesting Man on Earth”. One of the most interesting women on earth, Susan Storma started the meeting with a quote from Anatole France: “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan but also believe. Leading the meeting was a man who taught Michael Jordan how to play basketball during his lunch break as well as being the most fascinating Toastmaster on the planet, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Inspired by the beer commercial played by Jonathan Goldsmith for Dos Equis beer. Eddy explained: “You’ve heard them, for example on one of his commercials it said ‘in his past life he was himself’, ‘if opportunity knocks and he’s not home, opportunity waits’, ‘he gave his father the talk’… he is the most interesting man in the world’.” The commercial ends with Goldsmith saying “I don’t always drink beer but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friends”. Eddy had us laughing with numerous other quips on how fascinating the most exciting person on the globe was. Eddy also gave us his “short list” of some of the people that he thought are the most interesting people in history including Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King. “What made him interesting is that he was willing to die for his dream” said Eddy. Motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas made the list. Eric’s motto is “All you need to succeed is average skill, but if you have phenomenal will, there’s nothing you can’t do. Speaking of Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, Eddy said “what made this man interesting is the great confidence he had in himself. He once said ‘I am the greatest. I said that even before I know I was.’” Also mentioned was brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking who refused to let his disability halt his research. Eddy then introduced the Table Topics Master Kenza Wilhite as “once running a marathon because it was on her way.” Kenza’s first question was for Laura Dowler ACB, ALB asking her what makes a TV commercial successful. Laura said some are close to being art in that they ‘stick with you, create characters and become synonymous with the culture.” Susan Storma was given the quote “If opportunity knocks and he’s not home, opportunity waits” to explain her thoughts on opportunity. She said that “we make our own opportunities. It is important that we make ourselves ready for them so that we can make opportunities work for us when they happen.” The next question Kenza took directly from the commercial asking Julie Durakis “what are you thirsty for?” Julie admitted that she was looking for direction in her life and that she wanted to “find something that she enjoyed doing which would bring her life meaning.” Kenza noted that the Dos Equis beer ad increased sales 20% during a time when other beer companies were losing sales, she asked Ken Blake DTM what his favorite TV ad was, Ken mentioned it was a Publix commercial with a loving family having a holiday feast that he sees every Christmas season. Although he found once while searching for stuffed green peppers, the shopping reality was not always the same as the “shopping pleasure” of the commercial. Steve Wood CC asking him to comment on the statement “Find out what you do in life that you do not do well… and then don’t do it.” Steve said that he did not watch TV commercials very well. He said that “big sugar has become the new big tobacco” leading people towards their destruction while making it look enjoyable. Silvia Kim was asked to remark on “awkward moments.” She said that speaking about something that you do not know anything about and trying to fake it, were some of her most awkward moments. She admitted to never having seen the Dos Equis commercial! Her Table Topics question itself was one of those moments! Marie Loeffler DTM was asked to fill in the blanks of the following: “I don’t always _______ but when I do I ______ .” Marie also said that she had never seen the Dos Equis commercial but she did love AFLAC duck. “That duck is the most honest character in the commercial!” Making Public Speaking look like child’s play were our two speakers for this evening starting with Monique Smith who gave both a explanation and an example of live- streaming our Club #28 Toastmaster meetings titled “Down Periscope, Up Live-Stream”. Using an example of a drunk driver who used the web-friendly Periscope app to broadcast her inebriated adventure, Monique made the case that we could live-stream our Toastmasters meetings and post them on our Facebook page. Monique, who is our newly tech-savvy Vice President of Public Relations, actually did so during her speech! This was a highly innovative speech that opened up a world of possibilities for Club #28! Speaking second was Jack Wharton ACB, ALB with an advanced speech titled “The Role of the Physician Assistant”. Jack not only clarified the duties of the PA but gave us an insight into their world. He brought to life the responsibilities of one of the most demanding and expanding professions in the medical field and also painted a human picture of the dedication and compassion involved in the duties of the Physician Assistant. It was both an educational and enlightening speech. The team that would guide these speakers to even more success was our evaluation team led by Daphne Hart who Eddy introduced as “our General Evaluator, who was once bit by a snake, and after 5 days of unbearable pain, the snake died.” Daphne was assisted by evaluators Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for Monique) and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALS (for Jack). Another group that played a big role in our meeting was also the team that Einstein stole exam answers from… The Most Interesting Functionaries on Earth (TMIFOE): Grammarian Laura Dowler ACB, ALB who once taught her horse to read her email, Timer Susan Storma who can mail a letter without postage and it will still get there, Photographer Steve Wood CC who filmed our meeting using the camera on the Mars Rover, Ah Counter Ken Walley DTM with a charm so contagious that vaccines have been created for it and Vote Counter Chi Simons who once gave a pep talk so compelling that both teams won. We had one guest, Amy Sims who was even more impressed with our meeting than she was for the most Interesting man in the world. It was also announced that Chi Simons had become our newest member! Welcome Chi! Our meetings are so good that United Nations turns to Club #28 for advice. Why not? We are, of course the most interesting Toastmasters Club on Earth. Stay thirsty for knowledge my friends.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 7, 2015 “Super Powers” theme meeting truly had super powers. The meeting started with a thought of the day from Susan Storma about the powers of persuasion. Ken Walley DTM was our Toastmaster and he covered the subject of super powers and super heroes. “We have an obsession with superhero movies, because it is a way to escape the unforgiving realities of a tough world. For a moment, we can smash our problems with a powerful hammer, outrun them with amazing speed or create a force-field around us in which they can not get in.” Ken also looked at such super-powers as “Audiokinesis”, “Elemental Transmogrification” (“I would just turn a tree into solid gold and that would be the end of my superhero career”) “Melting” and various form of super-vision. Ken also noted that we have achieved all of the “powers” of the Superman TV show introduction showing that the quote by Walt Disney “If we can dream it, we can do it.” may not be far from the truth. Ken also took on the role of Table Topics Master showing his super power of making up questions off the top of his head. His first question was for our newest member Virginia Gonzales was “What super-power would you like to have? Virginia said most of all that she would like to fly and that it would be “incredible to be able to get places so fast.”  Susan Storma was asked “How would you stop an evil villain from using a giant vacuum cleaner-type machine from destroying an entire city?” She said she would first investigate by asking the people who were being sucked up into the sky “what is going on?”  Then she would “un-plug the machine from the wall.” Returning visitor Chi Simons was asked “Who are your favorite super-beings?” Chi responded that she loved the family from the Pixar movie “The Incredibles” and that it would be wonderful to be a part of a family with powers like that. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL was questioned about how he would feel about having superpowers. Eddy said that if someone gave him superpowers, he would “feel grateful.” His favorite super character is The Flash and he has always wanted to have that kind of speed. Steve Wood CC was asked about the “science of Superman”. Steve said that the only superpower one should have is the power to “alter reality” and that Superman himself would be a “huge help to NASA” merely by asking him to go to some alien world and collect samples. Daphne Hart was asked what was she thought was the “most evil villain” that she could think of. She said it was the villain of “low self-esteem” and “lack of education” among our youth. “It is a crime that robs us of our future. It can be defeated with the tools of love, support and respect.” Another guest, Ken Atkins was questioned “Can you tell us about a real-life super hero?”  Ken said that his Grandmother was a true role model to him always being a source of caring, support and strength. The last question was for our other guest Lily Cummings who was asked what her “super-home”, (“like Batman’s bat-cave or Superman’s ice-retreat”) would be like. She said that she would love to be able to fly to her home in China and see her family and that “China has amazing places to see.” We had two super speeches as well starting with Terri Hundeby’s 3rd speech from the basic Manuel titled “The Happiness Advantage.” Terri built the case that there is a physical connection between our bodies and our thoughts. She introduced us to the field of “Positive Psychology”. “It is possible to retrain and re-wire your brain…” Terri said speaking on the idea that while many see success as leading to happiness, it is happiness that really defines and ultimately leads to success. Among the many suggested steps towards happiness were “eat healthy foods,” “connect with others” and “practice conscious acts of kindness.” Terri’s message had both meaning and practicality for everyone’s life. Speaking second was Walk Jones DTM who is going through the Basic Manual for a second time and continuing on a series of speeches about his open road bicycling adventures with a speech titled “A Team of New Bicyclists”. Walk told us about how a new group of cycling enthusiasts who looked up to him both as an encyclopedia of bicycle knowledge and the grand master of riding instruction. He told us of gaining personal insight though accepting responsibility as a coach as well as learning from the group itself. “If one member was unable to go on, the entire group stopped to support him or her.” Like this speech, Walk explained what leadership by example should look like and be. These two inspiring, daring and brave speeches called into action the team of champions known for their intrepid evaluations. Led by the mild mannered General Evaluator Christopher Fama ACB, ALB and his force for goodness and truth; Marie Loeffler DTM (for Terri) and Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Walk) they made the meeting safe again with courageous and honest speech reviews! Look in the back of the meeting room! Is it a researcher? Is it a clock? Is it a bell? NO! It’s the League of Public Speaking Avengers (LOPSA)!! Grammarian: Daphine “Queen of Words” Hart, Timer: Eddy “Slamdunk” Cezalien CC, CL; Protector of Space and Time: Steve “Captain Marvelous” Wood CC, AH Counter: Susan “Wonder Bell” Storma and Vote Counter Chi “The Countess” Cummings; to all of you, we are grateful for saving our speakers from their evil flaws. We are also thankful for our guests who played such a big part of our meeting, Lily Cummings and Ken Atkins. Wherever fear threatens the world of Public Speaking, there will be Club #28 fighting the unending battle for truth, justice and the International Toastmasters way!

The Orlando Toastmasters club #28 October 1, 2015 had a theme of “Fast and Furious” which actually matched the meeting itself perfectly. Daphne Hart got the meeting started with a quote by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale “All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.” Our Toastmaster for the evening Jack Wharton ACB, ALB playing the part of Brian O’Conner (he even dressed for the part) re-created a scene from the original 2001 “The Fast and the Furious” movie, which included a high speed car chase, a daring rescue and a lot of explosions. “That is just from the first film” he said “it get a lot wilder in the next 6 movies!” Jack also introduced to some of the many characters of the Fast and Furious series including O’Conner, played by Paul Walker, Dominic Toretto played by Vin Diesel, Letty Ortiz played by Michelle Rodriguez and Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham, among others. The entire evening was filled dangerous, face-paced action adventure tales of speed, daring and astounding car stunts, much like the movies. Table Topics Master Frank “Roman Pierce” Adams CC another Fast & Furious fan used some quotes from the series to ask his questions. O’Conner once said that he had to have “a hanger” to store all of his cars. Frank asked Kenza Wilhite if she had a hanger, “what fast objects would she store there?” Kenza said that he was not that much into cars but she did like speed, especially in skiing where it “took two accidents to slow her love for speed.” Kenza related that speed “makes you feel alive and forces you to lose control.” A quote from Vin Diesel about his character Toretto: “This time it isn’t about being fast, it’s about being too fast” had Frank asking Christopher Fama ACB, ALB about a time in which he was “going to fast.” Christopher remembered a time in which his wife left him, a student of his passed away, at the same time that he was holding down two jobs and trying to get his masters degree. Christopher said that “I made up a schedule and just stuck to it.” Frank’s next question centered around when Letty Ortiz said “Make sure Dominic stays out of trouble” Which of course, was the one thing he could not do. Frank asked visiting past Club #28 member Stokley Gittens CC “What hobby could he not stop doing”. Stokley said that it would be fishing and that “if they took fishing away I would have to go sit in a chair, have a beer and think about it.” Another action-adventure actor, Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” who played Luke Hobbs in “Fast and Furious 6” always seemed to be arguing over who was working for whom, Frank asked Steve Wood CC “if you had to work for an adversary, who would it be. Steve said that he got along with everyone and then told us about his hobby that he wished no one would take away from him: sky watching with his telescope. Using a quote from the actor Jason Statham “People take chances now and then and you don’t want to disappoint them.” Frank asked our guest Robin Lesser about a time that she took a big chance. She said it was when she went to law school at the age of 47 and would later go on to a successful law career. “Try not to do it blindly and have a ‘safety net’ when you take chances.” Ken Blake DTM was asked about the “marriage between a perfect engine and a perfect car.” He said that Carroll Shelby put a Ford V8 engine into a 1961 AC Bristol Cobra that to this day is still the fastest production car ever made. He also said that the cars used in the Fast and Furious movies were “unimpressive rice burners!” Impressive is the perfect word to describe our speeches this evening starting with Area Director Scott Maloney CC speech titled “A Change for the Better” which centered upon a story of how he learned a life lesson after being caught as a young man doing juvenile mischief… to be more precise, egging the local movie theater with his friends. He was able to make important, long term changes for the positive that came directly from his “punishment” of working at the theater and later finding faith in a bible study group. A very inspiring speech! Ken Walley DTM gave us a tour of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 website in his speech titled: “www.Toastmasters28.org”. Ken brought to light the incredible club website he called “the best in Toastmaster website in the world, for the best Toastmasters club in the world.” He also did a lot of bragging about his writing skills. “You have to check out this website! www.toastmasters28.org!” said Ken. Our third speaker was Laura Dowler ACB, ALB who spoke about a “project” she had challenged herself with to meet local people in a speech titled “Networking!” Laura attended a recent meeting of the “United Nations Chapter of Orlando” a group we learned that was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt herself! Laura met a number of people, many from outside of the United States and made a start at meeting people here in Orlando. “I just moved recently from Ohio” she said and “I am glad that I challenged myself to do this Networking.”  All of these speech had evaluations that “put the petal to the metal” with heart pounding insight and advice. Like a great street racing team General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM had a superb crew of evaluators in James Armbrust CC (for Scott), Eddy Cezalien CC, CL for Ken Walley DTM and Marie Loeffler DTM (for Laura). The “Fast and Furious Los Bandoleros 28” (F&FLB28) crew also shifted into high gear exploding onto the scene with some hard hitting reporting thanks to Grammarian Monica “Han” Smith, Timer Christopher “Tej”  Fama ACB, ALB; God’s Eye Controller Steve “Mose” Wood CC, AH Counter Stokley “Deckard Shaw” Gitten CC and Vote Counter Daphne “Suki” Hart. We also had many guests who gave rave reviews of the meeting: Robin Lesser, Olga Reynoso, Lily Cummings, Chi Simons and Carolina Alvarez. Another Toastmasters visitor, an Area Director from California Susan Friesen ACB ALB gave us high praise as well! This fast and furious meeting was a turbo charged thrill that was almost 2 fast and 2 furious to believe, if you catch my Tokyo drift!

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 went to the head of the class with its September 24, 2015 “Back to School” theme meeting. Leading us with a thought for the day and the Pledge to the Flag was Monique Smith with a quote from Rev. Jessie Jackson that “Your children need your presence more than your presents.”  Monique also was the Toastmaster but to be more accurate, she was our teacher for this session. The first thing she did was hand out a “pop quiz”, an 8th grade arithmetic test from 1912 that had most of us completely stumped, except of course for Steve Wood CC. The first question read:

  • Write in words the following: .5764; 00003; .123416; 653.0965; 43.37.

And the test got much harder from there. Ms. Smith, a schoolteacher by profession, also compared the test to a modern math exam that no one could answer any questions from either. She showed us the similarities and the differences of education using photos of classrooms from 1915 and 2015.  She also expounded upon of her teaching philosophies as we went through the night. We learned a lot! Presenting a test of his own that no one had studied for was Table Topics Master Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. Prized student Steve Wood CC was asked “What were your favorite subjects in school?” Stemming from wanting to become a jet pilot as a child, Steve said that his favorite subjects were math and science. Steve also found out that he “loved school.” Jack next asked Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB what was the “hottest thing to have” when you were in school. Kara said she went to school during the “grunge era” and everyone had to have “Doc Martins jeans and plaid flannel shirts” that somehow she incorporated into her school uniform. She also said that “jelly shoes” were popular then and we found out they were also making a comeback! Kenza Wilhite was asked what kind of student she was in school. Kenza said that she was a “good student” and that one time the teacher put her in charge of getting new students “caught up” with the curriculum. She said she loved “everything about school especially the learning and my friends.” Our guest Michelle Jean Baptisk answered the question of what her favorite “back to school moment” was saying that she had fond memories of shopping for clothes at the start of the new school year. Another visitor, Christian Kyaing related that his “hardest class” was not really a class but having to adapt to the culture shock of moving from Burma to New York City. Guest Irma Campos said her favorite teacher was a high school math teacher Mr. Thompson who took the time to help her understand complex problems and was very encouraging. The last question was for our newest member Virginia Gonzales who was asked what were her favorite books in school. She said that she was impressed with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic “Crime and Punishment” as well as the Gabriel Garcia Marquez tome “100 Years of Solitude” although she seemed disappointed with the ending. We had two excellent speeches, one an Ice Breaker speech and the other a reprise of a presentation by a Distinguished Toastmaster. Daphne Hart’s 1st speech at #28 was titled “Born to Lead Intentionally” Daphne said that she was the “CEO of her own life and that her mission statement is that she was ‘born to lead’ and that her manual was ‘The Bible’!” She told of growing up the youngest of 5 siblings, being the 1st in her family to own a business while challenging herself by SCUBA diving. Daphne also mentors teenage girls as a way to giving back to the community. She even brought along a “Brief commercial”, a slide show that introduced us to her family, friends and the highlights of her life! Excellent Ice Breaker Daphne! Ken Blake DTM gave a repeat performance of his speech “Pretty Boy” which told the story of the day his father’s pet parakeet escaped and the complete havoc that it caused on Ken’s family. It was more of a one man show than a speech and it was completely entertaining. It was even better if you were seeing the speech for a second time. The best part of this speech was the “surprise ending” and watching the astonished looks on the faces of the audience! These two wonderful speeches were given assessments by the staff of the head educator General Evaluator Marie Loeffler DTM. With help from her meeting room assistants Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Daphne) and Ken Walley DTM (for Ken B.) both of their pupils were awarded A+ reviews. The Educationalist Union of Personal Advancement (EUPA) also played a part in the academic growth of every Toastmasters student, thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Kenza Wilhite Video Principal Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Virginia Gonazles. All of our guests Irma Campos, Pritam Shah, Michelle Jean Baptisk, Joyce Thammabutr and Christian Kyaing all gave positive and reaffirming statements about what they saw during the meeting. It was also announced that Virginia Gonazles had joined our club! If this meeting was a student in a classroom, it would be the “teacher’s pet”!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 17, 2015 “Great American Novel” was itself worthy of a place in historic literature. Held at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church the Rev. Walk Jones DTM started the meeting with a quote by the author of “The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain who said “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”  Our definitely well read Toastmaster for the evening and professional librarian, Laura Dowler ACB, ALB spoke of many of her favorite novels such as John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”. What makes the great American novel” said Laura, “is the ability to bring us closer together even when showing us our differences.”  She also praised the works of Zora Neal Hurston and Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” noting that much of the history of American literature was often dominated by those with “white and male” traits but that minorities and women have created monumental works as well. Also scripting an amazing evening was our Table Topics Master Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Eddy started the discussion with a question for Toni McIvor CC, CL asking her to “tell us about a novel you have read.” Toni said that a work that left an impression on her was “The Women’s Room” by Marilyn French and told how once when discussing the novel with a friend she was overheard by someone in the room who thought they were speaking of Toni’s actual life! Sadly, she had to confess that her real life was not as scandalous as the novel. Remembering the book “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, Eddy asked Monique Smith “What would you teach an animal if animals could talk?” An admitted vegan, Monique though it would be good in a way if animal could indeed talk because most people would not eat something that could talk back to them [Editor’s Note: see Douglas Adams’s “Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe”] saying that it would be “most creepy.” Steve Wood CC chose to speak on the same subject as Monique even though he was asked “tell us about his new novel ‘The Little Girl With Blue Eyes’.” Steve wondered how future generations would look back on us for eating “beef grown in a lab.” “They will think we are monsters!” he said.  “Where do you draw your inspiration from?” was asked of Daphne Hart. Daphne said she was glad that her pet can not talk because they would complain too much and urged us to watch the TV show “Drunk History” for inspiration. Club #28’s newest member, Siliva Kim was asked “If your life was a novel, how would it end?” She told us a brief, exciting story of her life in health care and her plans to live abroad but admitted that she was curious to find out how it would end as well. We had three remarkable speakers and three awe-inspiring speeches starting with Betsy Carvajal CC’s brilliant CC Graduation speech titled “Mind over Matter”. Betsy told about her challenge to become healthier by changing her lifestyle after watching the Joe Cross movie “Fat, Sick and nearly Dead.” She even created a dynamite health drink using Joe’s health juicer! She also told of becoming a vegan and facing her fear of public speaking in Toastmasters. “I found I had the power to change my life for the better and I sometimes surprised myself with that power.” It was no surprise to us as we have seen Betsy change lives in our own club! Congratulation Betsy! Our second speaker, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB told us about the delightfully insane world of online courting in her speech “Welcome to the World of Internet Dating!” Kara used some of her own hilarious experiences attempting to find a meaningful relationship through modern electronic communication only to end up with mixed results, at best. “I’m not 36, but 46. I lied because I look 36, that’s OK right?” was the conversation ice breaker for one guy and it went downhill to the guy who liked to chew on milk bones. Good luck Kara! Our last speaker was Jack Wharton ACB, ALB who earned his Advance Communication Bronze award with a tribute to his late grandmother Beatrice Walker Wharton titled “Over Center”. He painted a picture of a caring and compassionate woman with a true joy for living. “She was a teacher who took it on her own to teach in the hospitals, the rock of our family through three generations and forward thinking to the end.” Her legacy came to life in Jack’s speech. These presentations were well served by the evaluation team led by General Evaluator Walk Jones DTM. Evaluator Ken Walley DTM, a known Coca-Cola addict, toasted Betsy’s CC award with her health drink! Ken Blake DTM went overtime praising Kara’s speech and highly respected past Club #28 President Helen Joseph DTM made a special appearance to Jack’s ACB award winning speech! The Great American Commentators (GAC) were also a major force in the telling of this panoramic meeting-saga thanks to Grammarian Monique Smith, Timer Terri Hundely, Picture Poet Laureate Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL and Vote Counter Daphine Hart. At the end of the meeting, our acting President Marie Loeffler DTM announced that Siliva Kim was going to join our club! Welcome Siliva! Marie also had our two guests Virginia Gonzalez and Virginia Valverde give their thoughts on our meeting. Both of them were extravagantly astounded with the depth and scope of this meeting. Yes, much like reading a great American novel.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Success and Failure” theme meeting held on September 10, 2015 had success written all over it. Area 31 Director Scott Maloney CC started the meeting with an inspirational testimony on the theme of “love” and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Ken Walley DTM was the evening Toastmaster and compared the gloried past success of his beloved Atlanta Braves baseball team with the recent pathetic failure of the present season.  “What have I learned from the Braves?” He asked, “Well, what goes up must come down and the more success you have, the harder it will be to deal with failure.” Ken also gave us a list of the 10 richest people in history which included Genhis Kahn, Bill Gates, Joseph Stalin, Augustus Caesar and the wealthiest man who ever lived, the King of Timbuktu Mansa Musa. Giving us a wealth of wisdom was Table Topics Master Ken Blake DTM. Ken quoted Winston Churchill “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Monique Smith commented on this by noting how her students often define success not in terms of how they score on tests or by the grades they make but by comparing their progress against how they have achieved in the past.  Ken next asked Terri Hundeby “Other than your children, if you have any, what is your greatest success?”  Terri said that joining Club #28 was one of them and doing it in spite of the nerves. A quote from Zig Zigar, “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure” prompted a response from Ben Quiroz CC, CL that “You should feel comfortable going up the ladder of success and even stop on a rung and do a few pull-ups!” Steve Wood CC came up with an answer for Yoda, of Star Wars fame that: “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.” “In Star Wars” said Steve, “they flew spaceships like airplanes, which you can not do because there is no air.” He pointed out a number of other scientific discrepancies but admitted that the movie was a success. “Failure is not failure except when you fail” Steve added.  Ken B. asked Frank Adams CC if he agreed with Albert Schweitzer’s statement that “Success is not a key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Frank said that “if we strive for happiness, we might reach perfection.” And that it is important to be passionate and believe in what we are doing. Ken Walley DTM was given a quote from Casey Stengle “You gotta lose ‘em some of the time. When you do, lose ‘em right.”  Ken compared Stengle to another baseball legend, Yogi Berra saying that they had they had “profound wisdom wrapped in common sense” and that life is going to throw you some curves now and then but it is giving it your all that is all that you can do. “Tell us a humorous tale about when you failed at something” was asked of Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Eddy remembered the first speech he gave at Club #28 which included the “longest pause in Club #28 history”, over two minutes… “but I finished the speech and went on to become the club’s president.” Eddy said that “Success is just the realization of an idea.”  The last Table Topics speaker was our guest Kathy Allen who spoke on the Napoleon Hill statement “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” Kathy said this was especially true with children and that they can be often frustrating. “You should count to 10 sometimes before you react in times of anger or stress.” Great advice! All of our speeches were outstanding successes! Our first speaker was Walk Jones DTM. Walk, who had been away from the club to focus on his family and his passion of cycling. He wished to re-introduce himself with an Ice Breaker speech titled “Summer Vacation”.  Walk told about being an “assistant coach” for a local cycling club that prepared for a 100 mile trip to Jacksonville. He told about how he learned from the diversity of his club as well as learning from teaching others how to face such a grueling challenge. Only 45 out of an original 100 people made the trip he said but he took pride in being a part of what became “almost family” in such a determined group to reach their goal! Our second speaker, Allen Monroe ATM gave an amazing performance titled “We’re all Sheep?” Allen’s speech brought to the forefront his belief that “we take our mistakes far too seriously.” Using hilarious quotes from celebrities Marion Berry, Brooke Shields, George W. Bush and Mariah Carey he made the case that we often follow those we assign importance to even when they have no idea what they are talking about. He made the point that it is the intentions of our actions that are most important “We should not worry about the material stuff in life but we should be known by our acts of love.” Allen said “Faith, love, self-control and caring are the truly important things.”  Our last speaker Marie Loeffler DTM on the eve of the 14th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks gave a speech titled “Through the Eyes of the Firefighter” to honor the firefighters who bravely risk their lives to protect the public. Her father, a New York firefighter, inspired the memories of courageous men and women who risked their lives that tragic day and those who still stand at the ready to make any sacrifice to safeguard us from danger. Marie’s haunting hand-bells rendition of “Amazing Grace” in her speech was a perfect tribute to firefighters everywhere. Those who heard this speech will remember it for a long time. There was no room for failure, or any failure at all with the triumphant evaluations of our speech review team led by General Evaluator Frank Adams CC and supported by evaluators Jerome Kalisz DTM (for Walk), Angela Abreu CTM (for Allen) and Scott Maloney CC (for Marie). All of them were perfect. The Lifetime Achievement Committee in Successful Functionary Reporting (LACISFR) also defined victory thanks to the exploits of Grammarian Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Timer Monique Smith, Successful Deed Computer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Eddy Cezalien CC CL and Vote Counter Terri Hundeby. Our guests Kathy Allen, Siliva Kim, Amy Sims and David Anusontarangkui were also impressed and used lot of glowing compliments to describe the meeting. To sum up this evening it would be best to quote William James: “It is our attitude at the beginning of a task which, more than anything else, that will affect the outcome.”  This club has a fantastic attitude.

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 September 3, 2015 “All Things Space” theme meeting was out of this world!  Appropriately, Laura Dowler ACB, ALB started off the meeting with a quote from Neil Armstrong: “I think we are going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul … we’re required to do things just as salmon swim upstream.”  Club #28 President Ben Quiroz CC, CL was our Toastmaster and commanding astronaut for this mission. Ben spoke about the planets of our solar system including the dwarf planet Pluto, which was recently visited by the New Horizons space probe. He also told how the planet Uranus was the first to be discovered by telescope and originally named “Herschel” after its discoverer William Herschel, but then unfortunately re-named after the Greek deity of the heavens. We also sped warp-speed through the universe of Table Topics with Table Topics Captain Steve Wood CC. Noting that a model of an atom with the nucleus the size of a pea would have its electron swinging around a space larger than a sports stadium, Steve asked Toni McIvor CC, CL what her favorite sport was. Her answer about rugby, Scotland vs. Ireland, rowdy friends and “competitive spirit” had everyone completely entranced. A brief lesson about neutron stars led his next probe of what would you do with 50 billion dollars (one penny for each ton of a neutron star the size of a matchbox). Laura Dowler ACB, ALB took this on explaining that that was “too much money” and after paying off her bills, she would give vast sums away for worthy charities. “I would become a philanthropist like Bill Gates, without the brains or the hard work!” Doing the math, Steve told us that “A one inch Earth would need 30 inches of paper to draw the ¼ inch Moon.” He then asked our newest member Julie Durakis “How long do you think it will be before we go back to the Moon?”  She said that the Russians are already planning a trip back but she herself would never go as she is afraid of heights. The space probe that photographed Pluto and its moon Charon became the focus of Steve’s next search. He asked Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB her thoughts on Pluto’s demotion to “dwarf planet”. Kara said that she was simply awed by the sheer vastness of space and that she finds space to be amazing, almost incomprehensible. Manuel Michel when told that “there is five times more ‘dark matter’ than all of the ordinary matter that we know about and that dark energy makes up 95% of all of the matter in the universe, meaning we know only about 5% of what the universe is made from” said that it did not really bother him at all. Manuel said that he does enjoy star watching for satellites at night and long discussions about space with a scientist friend of his. Steve quoted the latest survey as over 2,000 known planets orbiting stars outside of our universe. He asked Kenza Wilhite “Where are the aliens?” Kenza said that she believes there is life out there but what kind of life we do not know. She hopes that they are “really friendly creatures.”  Two other questions were asked at the end of the meeting, the first for Allen Monroe ATM when told that landing on the moon made Buzz Aldrin famous he was asked “What are you famous for?” Allen said that if he was well known for anything it was for something that “happened by chance and he just took the credit for it.” Angela Abreu CTM was asked that if Martians showed up at her door what she would cook for them. She said it was hard enough to cook for her family and make everyone happy. “Everyone has different tastes!” We had three speeches all of which rocketed to excellence. Terri Hundeby’s Ice Breaker took “one small step” towards her CC award. Her speech titled “The New Chapter” made a “giant leap” of an impression on her audience! She looked back realizing that “the perplexing issues of my youth now seem like simple things.” Spending her youth in Southern California, she excelled in sports, particularly soccer at Ohio State University while earning a business degree. Terri now does complex and highly technical sales productions for a major development company. Terri even gave an example using a 6000 5-D animation speech presentation!  Speak about making an impact for a first impression! Having to follow that was Ken Walley DTM who was giving a spur-of the moment speech titled “A Goodwill Speech for Toastmasters” from the Advanced Public Relations Manuel. Ken told a personal story about how he first came to Toastmasters and his battle with an overwhelming fear of public speaking. He told how he developed stage fright which led to a true case of Glossophobia. With the support of Toastmasters he found his way to control it. This was a very good speech for our old and new members and our visitors as well! Our third speaker Milka Dersima CC presented yet another dynamic speech titled “A Health Scare” about being diagnosed with diabetes. After having to deal with the panic, shock and worry of being told of this dangerous disease, Milka explained the steps that she took to eat healthy, lose weight and become diabetes free. It was an inspiring and helpful speech to anyone who is in that situation. Ken Walley DTM did double duty as the General Evaluator but found that his crew of able evaluators, Marie Loeffler DTM (for Terri), Monique Smith (for Ken W.) and Ken Blake DTM (for Milka) launched a Satellite of knoweldge into upper orbit! Also lending a light year of wisdom was our National Auditory Space Admonishers (NASA) who’s constellation consisted of Grammarian Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Timer Kenza Wilhite, Cosmic Telescopic Imager Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Daphne Hart and first time Vote Counter Julie Durakis. Nothing could eclipse the stellar comments made by our guests Kathy Allen, Robin Lesser and former Club #28 member Max Pena and his wife Alisa Pena at the end of the evening. Like a meteor pulled by the gravity of our atmosphere, the learning, entertainment and fun of this Club #28 meeting lit up the Toastmasters sky!

The Florida sun was shining upon the Herndon Branch Library for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Florida Reading” theme meeting. Manuel Michel led us in the Pledge to the Flag and started the meeting with an inspiring quote from Aristotle: “Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; men come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp. In the same way, by doing just acts we come to be just; by doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we become brave.” Our Toastmaster was well-read Jack Wharton CC, ALB. Jack said that Florida summers are the perfect time to read. He also championed keeping a journal as well, “I have found that a journal gives me a balance between writing and reading. It makes me better at both.”  Jack also shared memories of “reading contests” as a child in school with the prize being a certificate for a Pizza Hut deep dish pizza. Jack said that this led to him to counting the number of pages that he reads in a year! “Right now I am reading James Carville’s  ‘Shogun’ !” Another voracious reader, Ken Walley DTM  (“If I could,  reading is about all I would do”) was our Table Topics Master. Ken came prepared with some interesting questions that got some very lively responses! “What do you like to read?” was addressed by Toni McIvor CC, CL. She told how a friend of hers spoke about writing a book on the subject of “brain fog” a symptom of Lyme disease that makes it hard to concentrate to read. She noted the irony that “If you wrote a book about brain fog, who is going to be able to read it?” The next question: “ If you were writing a book about Florida what attributes of this great state would you highlight?” was given to Kenza Wilhite who spoke about palm trees, warm water, beaches and the impressive “variety of people” in Florida.. Ken stated that “According to the Florida Literacy Coalition, one in five adults in Florida lacks basic literacy skills.” He asked Frank Adams CC what his suggestions were to combat illiteracy in Florida.  Frank said that he would like to see a mentoring program and a place where people can learn to read without any social stigma and be rewarded for their progress. Ken’s next query, “Recommend a book that you have read and tell us why we should read it!” was requested of Julie Remington. Julie started with a quote by Florida writer Dave Berry “Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.” She also recommended the book by John IrvingA Prayer for Owen Meany” as one of her favorites. Ken noted that “Famous authors who spent their time writing in Florida include Earnest Hemingway, Dave Berry, Zora Neal Hurston, Jack Kerouac and Tim Dorsey. Do you have a favorite author?” New member Daphne Hart thought the books of the “Love Language” series by Gary Chapman were exceptional. Is it important to read to your kids? Our guest Julie Durakis answered with a resounding “yes” and even gave an example of how reading to a child, even at a very young age can be a positive developmental tool. She also told of a study that showed how reading to a child helped brain function while watching TV might even slow a child’s development. “Do you use an e-reader, ipad or other electronic device instead of an actual book? What are your views on electronic device vs. book?” was the question that Angela Abreu CTM answered. She said that both sides had good things about them. E-readers are easy to read and help in the understanding of a second language while books make it easier to go at your own pace, but either way reading is of high importance. Ken’s next question was more of a challenge: “Do you think you could write a Florida themed children’s book and finish writing it by this time next year…do you have an idea for your book? What is keeping you from starting this project?” Tim Latty said that he is working on a “book, a paper…something” with advice and stories for an “unborn” child so that there will always be his experiences and a guide should something happen to him. “What kind of book would you write that takes place in Florida an Autobiography, mystery, romance, family saga, biography, poetry, art book, children’s book, political diatribe, Florida history… what?”  Our guest, Monica Barascout said that she would write a book about Florida Reading! She said that English is not being taught in the “most efficient ways” in today’s educational system, and she would like to explore ways to improve upon how not only English but math and science as well are approached. Lastly, Ken asked the question “Where would you go in Florida to write about a nature adventure? Another guest Silvia Kim said she would go to “Miami” for her adventure. She might go to the beach and then explore the city! That is an excellent adventure idea! Later in the meeting, Steve Wood CC also gave us a short explanation of why the Ronald Reagan “Star Wars” anti-nuclear space-laser attack plan could never work. “You do not need to send up missiles into space, you could hide the bombs in the cities and blow them up by a signal,” said Steve. “Remember the movie “True Lies”?” We also had two entertaining and fun speeches! Our first Speaker Susan Storma, gave her 3rd speech titled “Never Leave Home Without It” in which she explained the things you should bring on a trip: kindle, i-pod, ear plugs,  a red lanyard (for the room key and red because it is easy to find) but most importantly don’t forget to bring a sense of humor! She told how that came in handy when she ripped the bumper off her rent-a-car on a trip to Ireland or the time that an aggressive Canadian goose stood guard on top of her car! The second speech was an advanced speech by Ben Quiroz CC, CL titled “The Conch Republic”. Ben gave us a slide show describing the 1982 “succession” from the United States of Key West and the “invasion” of army troops complete with colorful descriptions and even an absolutely brilliant song, written by Ben which should be the national anthem of The Conch Republic. Not only was the speech entertaining and fun but it captured perfectly the unique lifestyle of Florida’s weirdest escape-from-reality destination. Leading the Evaluation part of the meeting was General Evaluator Wilner Luders CC, CL who would provide a textbook meeting report that was the perfect companion for the two excellent evaluations by Ken Blake DTM (for Susan) and Monique Smith (for Ben). The Sunshine Readers Club (SRC) also turned the page on the meeting with some wonderful reports thanks to Grammarian Manuel Michel, Timer Daphine Hart, Sunscreen, Bookworm & Lens Viewer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Terri Hundeby and Vote Counter Tim Latty. We also heard many sunny comments from our guests Monica Barascout, Nadia Afganie, Julie Durakis, Sheri _____, Kathy Kute and Silvia Kim. Also visiting us as a guest was Frank Adams CC’s daughter Jaden Adams. It was announced that at the end of the meeting that Julie Durakis had joined our club! Welcome Julie! This meeting was like a good book poolside on a sunshine soaked Florida afternoon… entertaining, energizing and fun!

[Editor’s Note: Due to an emergency I was unable to attend the August 20, 2015 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests. I would like to thank Marie Loeffler DTM for filling in and writing the large part of the following recap. KHW]

As torrential rain fell the evening of August 20th  and amid one of the worst lightning storms of the new century, 14 brave members and 14 visitors defied the danger to be part of one of the most anticipated Division 84 Toastmasters events: The 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests. The excitement was palpable throughout the library far ahead of the start of the contest as functionaries and contestants gathered well before the meeting room was open. Our Sgt. at Arms Kenza Wilhite started the meeting at 7:00 pm sharp… by announcing a five minute delay to allow for safe arrival of guests and contestants who were still navigating through the intense rain while the crackling thunder and strobe-light lightning lit up the sky causing screams of terror from the children in the Herndon Branch library. The contest officially began at 7:05. The Invocation was given by Marie Loeffler DTM – a quote from the competitive world of sports  “The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” – Howard Cosell. Contest Chair Laura Dowler ACB, ALB enthusiastically welcomed all and introduced the dignitaries in attendance, many of the most revered and respected names in Central Florida Toastmasters memory. Among them were Former Area Governor and Toastmasters icon Helen Joseph DTM, District 84 Contest Growth Director Bob Fisher ACG, ALB, Division C Director  Paula Summa DTM and Area 31 Director Scott Maloney. Control of the meeting was transferred to Contest Master Susan Storma. Even though this was her first experience with any Toastmasters contests, Susan shared the opening comments and guidelines for the competitions with the polish of a wise and seasoned Toastmaster. “Let the Contest Begin!” soon echoed through the room producing a wave of excitement! The Evaluation Contest began with a speech titled “Pray for Bikers” by our Test Speaker Michelle Detlaff DTM.  Michelle, herself a biker encouraged us not to get mad at those bikers who commit “Acts of Foolishness” on the road, but rather to pray for their safety and the safety of others on the road. She recounted stories when she witnessed some of those foolish acts and she was reduced to tears thinking of the possibility of disastrous results.   A personal story about her own act of foolishness was recounted when she was riding with others from a popular bikers event, was riding in the middle of the pack, and she lost her focus as she tried to negotiate a sharp curve.   She ended with front wheel in the sand and her body thrown over the windshield and handlebars. Thankfully, Michelle was not seriously hurt but that was an “Acts of Foolishness”.  All were left with the reminder: If you are witness to one of those “Acts of Foolishness”, Instead of getting upset, say a prayer. Our Evaluation Contestants were escorted from the room for their 5 minutes of preparation time. While they were out, Susan interviewed Michelle and we found out that the first meeting Michelle attended was actually a backwards meeting – where everything in the meeting is done in reverse order. She enjoyed herself so much at that meeting, she never looked back, earned her DTM in 11 years and loves the Toastmaster way of setting your own pace to achieve your awards in your time and do what works best for you. Susan continued to fill the time with stories of a team competition devised for a corporate meeting where she and her associates used armadillos to show the progress of the teams on the score board.  Her story included stories of high level executives forming unlikely alliances and working together in unpredictable ways – all for the honor of having their armadillo place first on the score board! With the five minutes complete, a minute of silence was asked for. Our first contestant, Ken Blake DTM was escorted to the front of the room.  Ken gave a thorough evaluation noticing the clarity of the message but he wanted more action – he wanted to see the action in the speech. Ken ended by confirming the value of the message. Most uncharacteristically, Ken asked where his lights were as he delivered a thorough evaluation before the green light was lit!!  Not to worry – he quickly recovered and offered more comments to fill out the time. Back to his form, the red light came on… now we held our breath wondering if he would finish on time!Second contestant, Milka Derisma CC, delivered her evaluation in the motorcycle formation that was described during the speech.  She led with the strengths of strong tone and passion.  She put suggestion of using the room more in the middle of the formation and she ended with mention of the great visuals and images of motorcycle riders. Our third contestant, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL, delivered an organized and well thought out evaluation noting that Michelle had us right from the start and the message was spoken from the heart. His suggestions included taking more advantage of the space and exaggerating the action of the story.  Eddy concluded by commenting on the positive impact of the message to pray for those motorcyclists who do create acts of foolishness. As two minutes of silence was observed, the judges completed their ballots, ballots were collected and ballot counters left the room with Chief Judge Ben Quiroz CC, CL. As the ballots were being counted,  Division C Director, Paula Summa, DTM entertained us with announcements of upcoming events including Division C Contest being held on Sunday, October 8 from 1-4 pm in Altamonte Springs and the District 84 Conference  “The Rhythms’ Gonna Get You” being held in Daytona Beach November 20 & 21. While many were left exhausted from the fierce Evaluation competition, a decision was made to call for a small break so that the crowd could catch its breath. Sgt. at Arms Kenza Wilhite called the meeting back to order at 7:40 and Contest Master Susan Storma reminded us of the reason we were all there, inviting us to laugh out loud, while reviewing the rules for the main event: The Humorous Speech contest. The first contestant, Allen Monroe ATM, presented “BOB” where he played the part of Bob, the enterprising entrepreneur of the Road Kill Grill who boasts the tag line: “If you kill it, we grill it!” His menu features awesome possum, swirl of squirrel and includes items like narrow sparrow for those watching their calories. Boasting of the nutritious and cheap offerings, Bob decided to give a demonstration. This time, he offered up a gopher and we think he found the gopher from Caddy Shack as a golf ball appeared during the gutting process.  Desserts were not forgotten as Bob showed his specialty “Bear Cake” topped with bear head and beautiful red frosting. The second contestant, Milka Derisma CC, presented “Take It and Speak It“. She was a pharmaceutical sales representative with a pill to take the place of working through the CC manual.  If successful, ZerSpeak will cause Toastmasters International to declare bankruptcy. Milka promised that the pill will allow you demonstrate all of the benefits of the CC manual without the work.  As with all newly developed drugs, especially those not approved by the FDA, there are side effects but Milka assured us they were minor.  She did not succeed in convincing anyone in the room to try the pill so she ingested one of the pills to prove its safety.  She showed signs of mood swings, twitches, and other demonstrable side effects but never the less, the company feels it is worth the risk and for $19.99 you too can experience the benefits of achieving your CC in a fraction of the time currently required. Third Contestant, Barbara Cusack ACS, CL , presented: “A New Thrill”. Beginning with body, soul, and voice fully engaged, Barbara announced she had found an new thrill (and it was not chasing young men) Her new thrill was bidding on abandoned storage units and then searching through the contents to discover the forgotten treasures.  Barbara recounted how her husband won the bidding for a very interesting looking unit. He had to dodge the threats of the previous owner as he made his way to clear out the unit.  Barbara recounted the hunt through the treasures back in the safety of her house. As with all treasure hunts, some things have value and some (the x-rated pictures of the former owner) quickly found their way to the trash.  This is only the beginning of Barbara’s new adventures into the thrilling world of abandoned storage units. As two minutes of silence were observed, the judges once again filled out their ballots which were collected.  The ballot counters and Chief Judge left the room to determine the results. Our Area 31 Governor. Scott Maloney assisted by Contest Chair. Laura Dowler ACB, ALB and Contest Master Susan Storma thanked all of the contestants and the functionaries and presented them with certificates of participation: Contest Chair Laura Dowler ACB, ALB Contest Master – Susan Storma, Chief Judge Ben Quiroz CC, CL Sgt. at Arms Kenza Wilhite, Timers Edwin Mercado DTM & Paula Summa DTM, Ballot Counters – Eppie Bangs DTM & Marie Loeffler DTM! Thank you! Scott announced that the Area 31 Contest is being held on Saturday, August 29 starting at 12:30 in the Maitland Library. Drum roll please…………………………… The moment all were waiting for – The Results.

Evaluation Contest Second Place: Ken Blake DTM

Evaluation Contest First Place: Milka Derisma CC

Humorous Speech Contest Second Place:  Allen Monroe ATM

Humorous Speech Contest First Place:  Milka Derisma CC 

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Contest winners: Allen, Milka and Ken

Milka will represent club 28 at the Area 31 Contest on Saturday, August 29. Ben Quiroz CC, CL Club #28 President presented the Club with it’s “7 of 7″ Award for having all of the club’s officers trained during the past year’s training sessions. Ben gave recognition to Marie Loeffler DTM and Eddie Cezalien CC, CL the two past Presidents that were responsible for Toastmasters highest training achievement!

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Ben closed the meeting by thanking the many members of from Apopka Foliage, Orlando Orators and Wyndham Clubs that helped us tonight. He asked that some of our members consider helping them in their upcoming contest Thursday, August 27 at 1:45 – 3:00.

The August 13, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters “Florida Summers” theme meeting was like a cool breeze on a hot August night! Monique Smith started the meeting off with a quote from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Our hostess and Toastmaster Kara Newcome ACG, ALB gave us plenty to do in Orlando on a summer’s day with a list of activities (besides the theme parks) that included climbing the Ponce de Leon lighthouse or going to the top of the Citrus Tower. Other ideas were learning to fence at the Orlando Fencing Club, go indoor sky diving on I- Drive, watch an outdoor movie at Lew Gardens, count butterflies at the Lucas Butterfly Encounter, take a boat tour of the Chain of Lakes, make chocolate at a chocolate factory… and much, much more! Kara did an awesome job as our toastmaster adding insight and humor though-out the meeting! Also bringing some sunshine was out Table Topics Master Julie Remington. Julie pointed out that Florida sunshine can bring some high temperatures which led her to ask our newest member Daphne Hart if she would prefer a Florida summer to a northern winter.  Daphne choose a Florida summer after remembering some brutal winters up north. Ken Walley DTM was asked about the hurricane season of 2004. Ken remembered living in hotel rooms while being out of power for 12 days and how the neighbors came together to help each other. Timothy Latty spoke about having a “staycation” by going to West Palm Beach and visiting some of the places where he grew up. A returning guest, Ceser Tellez was asked about his “favorite water sport”. Ceser picked jet skiing and told about the first time he tried the sport. “It is harder than it looks. I kept falling off in choppy water!” Noting that we might see a rain drop or two every now and then in Central Florida, Julie asked Terri Hundeby what her favorite thing to do was during a thunderstorm. She said that her pets “run for the nearest bed” at the sound of thunder but she enjoys it. She also said that a earthquake was preferred over a hurricane because you can prepare for a hurricane ahead of time. Later in the meeting Susan Storma was given the question of what her favorite “summertime song” was. She said she enjoyed listening to Jazz stations on Sirius XM and she also mentioned the Rippingtons’s 1989 song “Tourist in Paradise”. Our speeches were all hotter than a sunny Florida mid-afternoon. Marie Loeffler DTM started with a speech “Progress Report” about focusing on the positive. She referred to the classic book by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale underscoring that the “first step is believing in your-self.” Marie gave us some advice from her mother as well: when in times of stress and insecurity, her mother said “Take a shower, wash your hair, have a cup of tea and then call me back.” Marie and her mom gave us some great advice for focusing on the positive and defeating our fears. Our second speaker Barbara Cusack ACS, CL’s speech “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” was based on the Bible story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob. Barbara “modernized” the tale to highlight how its message is still meaningful today. Speaking last was Milka Derisma CC who told of an amazing saga of self-determination in her speech “Knight in Pink Armor”. She related the endless, intimidating and frustrating battle against red-tape, muddled bureaucracies and impossible regulations that popped up on every occasion to thwart her transfer from a Community College to the University of Central Florida. She even found that there was a “beauty in every storm” and ended up creating her own company to help students in the transfer process. Three outstanding Toastmasters, as well as Floridians helped General Evaluator Ben Quiroz CC with the evaluation part of the meeting; they were Monique Smith (for Marie), James Armburst CC (for Barbara) and Kenza Wilhite (for Milka). Along with their wonderful help was the guidance provided by The Florida Summer Suggestion Counsel (FSSC) consisting of Grammarian Wilner Luders CC, CL; Timer Ken Walley DTM, Polaroid Pointer Steve Wood CC,  AH Counter Timothy Latty and Vote Counter Terri Hundeby. Also supporting Club #28 with some highly encouraging and constructive comments were our guests Xavier Ordonez, Ceser Tellez, Michelle Elsaid, Ron Shirley, Chandra Ewell and visiting Toastmaster Chris Terrell from the Leader Communication Club. It was also announced that Daphne Hart had joined Club #28 as well! Welcome Daphne! Like a cool glass of Orange Juice on a beautiful beach; this Club #28 meeting was the perfect way to spend a summer evening in Florida!

“If there is a will there is a way” and the Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 August 6, 2015 “Will-Power” theme meeting was way better than anything else happening in Orlando. Starting the meeting was Susan Storma with a very motivational quote from Charles Dickens: “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and to start saying ‘I will’.” Another motivational speaker and a perfect example of will power was our Toastmaster for the evening Eddy Cezelian CC, CL. Eddy spoke to us about the nature of will power, “it runs out like the power in a battery” he said “to get the hard-to-do things out of the way before your willpower gives in to you losing control.” Eddy also noted that willpower is “something that you control yourself and it is possible to even surprise yourself with the ability to achieve what you once thought unrealistic.” Speaking of surprises, Table Topics Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB found our moments before our meeting started that the assigned TT master was unable to make it to the meeting. She took up the challenge and then challenged our members and guests to respond to some words connected with the concept of willpower. “Strength” was addressed by Manuel Michel who said there were two forms of strength, the physical and the mental. He said that physical strength is important, often taken for granted until you get ill but it is mental strength that is paramount because it keeps you sharp as you age. “Desire” was not addressed by Steve Wood CC who wanted to speak more about strength and noted that according to Albert Einstein “Free will is only an illusion.” “Push” was put on hold while Marie Loeffler DTM spoke about “Steve’s word” desire. She said that she has to “want to do something in order to fully accomplish it and give it that final push. It is so important to keep self-motivated.” “Achieve” was answered by our visiting toastmaster Dr. Dan Wheeler who said that when he was younger he wanted to achieve everything in his field but as he grew older he came to see that other priorities such as being a father and grandfather were a higher calling. “Goals” were to Grace Wheeler what keeps her going in a certain direction and thinking about “life beyond.” Another guest Chandia Ewell said that the word “Will” brought to mind her finding strength since moving to Florida and “re-directing to a new culture”. At the end of the meeting Milka Derisma CC spoke about “Challenge” recalling being challenged by a tenacious “random 7 year old to a hoola-hoop contest at a local Toys-r-us store” in which she was taunted by “I can do better than that!”  Milka was determined to win! Having the drive and willpower to complete three fantastic speeches were our speakers starting with a remarkable performance by Monique Smith titled “Pet Peeves”. With a gum-chewing and floor littering start to her speech she had our attention, but that was her plan! Monique told us how she copes with her (and our) pet peeves such as crying babies on airplanes, gossipers, toilet seats in the wrong position… and a myriad of others things that irk and drive her crazy. “You have to admit to it, decide on an action and either address it or ignore it.” Good advice for staying sane while something is trying to drive you mad. Our second speaker was Kenza Wilhite with her speech titled “Learning From Your Mistakes”. Kenza had much wise advice to overcome the feelings of guilt and failure while become a stronger person by taking the time to understand the mistakes we make. She told how her sister and her became closer from sitting and talking things out once they recognized that arguing about everything was a mistake. “It is not easy to listen to your flaws sometimes,” she said “but sometimes you must admit to them to improve.”  Speaker #3 was Allen Monroe ATM with a wildly entertaining speech titled “Stay Cool!” In an effort to “build his legacy of being cool” in the eyes of his 22 year-old daughter, he took her to see “a bunch of 70 year-old men”! He was of course, referring to a Rolling Stones concert! We had front row seats as Allen described the mayhem and music of the Stones concert recently held at the Citrus Bowl here in Orlando. Did it make him cooler in the eyes of his daughter? Maybe, but it sure did the trick with his Toastmaster’s club! The Evaluation team was led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM who was rewarded with tremendous acumen from fellow vocalizations analysis James Armbrust CC (for Monique), Ben Quiroz CC, CL (for Kenza) and Ken Blake DTM (for Allen). Showing the courage to go on and succeed was the “We Can Do It Idiom Dissectors” (WCDIID) staring Grammarian Frank Adams CC, First time Timer Terri Hundeby, Determined Diorama Director Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Angela Abreu CTM and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. All of our guests, Dr. Dan and Grace Wheeler, Juan Lopez, Genevieve Cautino, Chandia Ewell, Daphne Hart and Xavier Ordonez, all were an unstoppable force of positive and uplifting feedback. Club #28 proved that if we put our minds to it, if we were unwavering, if we believed, if we had the willpower, that we could, no… that we DID, have the best Toastmasters meeting ever!

Emotions ran high at the July 30, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Emotions” theme meeting. Ken Blake DTM started the meeting with a perfect quote from the evening by Norman Vincent Peale: “Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.” Ken Walley DTM served as the Toastmaster. He started by reading off the 72 listed emotions (from Affection to Zest) from the Wikipedia “Emotions” article. Ken said that he was going to focus on just five of those,  which are also the five main characters from the Disney movie “Inside Out”: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Sadness and Joy. He pointed out that the emotion disgust “played an important role in human development as well as in the creation of a human moral framework.” Ken also said about the emotion fear that “Most of us would already be dead if we really had ‘No Fear!’”. He also described the difference between types of anger such as passive and aggressive anger. On the emotion of sadness Ken observed that it might be the most “relatable of all emotions.” On the other hand Ken described the emotion of Joy as something to truly “cherish in your life.” Bringing satisfaction, almost euphoria, along with his questions was Table Topics Master Steve Wood CC. Steve first asked Christopher Fama ACB, ALB “Tell us about the ideal job you would like to have that would maximize your happiness.” Christopher said that he already had that job, in teaching others. “When it all comes together, like at a graduation when I meet the extended family; it makes it worth it.” Angela Abreu CTM was asked about feelings of regret. “If you could go back and change something in your life, what would it be?” Angela said that as we get older we “grow to regret not having the knowledge that we learn from life and not being able to apply it.”  The next query was given to Barbara Cusack ACS, CL: “Please tell us about some of your most embarrassing moments?” Barbara admitted that as she got older, memory loss seemed to create a few of these moments such as the time she went across town to a house for a cleaning appointment only to find out she was a day early! Our guest Silvia Kim was asked what it was that excited her. She said that because of conflicting schedules, time with her husband is precious and it is a very special time to spend a date night with him. Julie Remington was asked about envy when Steve inquired “Have you ever wished you could trade places with someone else?” Julie admitted to having a great family and a good life but regretted that she did not go to college. She then concluded that “if something was different in the past, my present might not be as good as it is now.” Musing upon happiness, Steve asked Milka Derisma CC how her life would change if she won the lottery. She had some practical advice that was formed when she daydreamed about this as she worked as a cashier at Wal-mart. “I would invest in stock and then live off the [matured] shares when I reach the age of 45.” The opposite of happiness was the subject of Eddy Cezalien CC. CL’s thoughts about “loathing” while answering the question “What are some jobs you would really hate to be stuck with?” Eddy admitted being grateful for work and proud of when he does any job well but he did mention “the guy cleaning out the Port o’ Potties” as a job he would not relish having. Ken Blake DTM when given a question about what emotions that he would include in this table topics session said “guilt” especially about lying. He admitted feeling frustrated by simply not lying to get help for his sick guinea pig while ordering medication online. Later, at the end of the meeting Terri Hundeby spoke about what makes her emotional. She had both positive and negative feelings for her grown children leaving home but also for being at home. She was both happy to see them seek their dreams and yet glad at the times when they are with her at home. Our speeches created many different emotions. Starting with Timothy Latty’s second speech titled “Prove it!” Timothy’s speech had a powerful message about the discrimination and bigotry directed towards African-American life in America in both past history and in the current reality. He expounded upon the attempts to undermine the “Black Lives Matter” advancements toward social justice and shed a light on the history of government sanctioned sabotage of Black movements towards civil rights and equal justice. Timely and powerful, this speech provided insight from a far- too-often neglected perspective. Our second speaker, Ben Quiroz CC, CL gave a speech from Toastmasters International’s “Leadership Excellence Series” titled “The Visionary Leader”. Ben’s speech explained the definition of a “vision” and how leadership can best translate vision into action by communication, collaboration and personal example. This speech had plenty of excellent advice for any future visionary team leader. Marie Loeffler DTM led a team of evaluator that featured the emotion of excitement in their reviews of the speeches. Giving her first evaluation, Kenza Wilhite spoke with passion about Timothy’s speech and Jack Wharton CC, ALB showed extreme pleasure with Ben’s offering. It was also with tremendous self-confidence that the Smiley Emoji for Progress (SEFP) delivered some brilliant reports thanks to Grammarian Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Timer Julie Remington, Curious Camera Cohort Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Barbara Cusack ACS, CL and Vote Counter Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. The guest comments from Silvia Kim, Ceser Tellez, Daphne Hart, Patti Roberts, Rob Herbert and Juan Lopez were filled with glee and a sincere affection for the meeting

If I had to sum up my feelings towards this meeting I would have to go with the emotion of  awe, or maybe euphoria… don’t forget gratitude, excitement, wonder, zeal, happiness, hope, joy, love, pride, satisfaction, surprise, not to mention ecstasy… contentment … a zest for Toastmasters…     It was quite a roundup for the July 23. 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “All things Cowboy” theme meeting. Getting the horses pointed in the right direction first was James Armburst CC with a few words of wisdom quoted from Will Rogers: “Always drink upstream from the herd.” Our meeting Toastmaster, Barbara Cusack ACS, CL lassoed up enough facts and trivia about cowboys to keep a whole posse entertained by the campfire until the last baked bean was ‘et. We learned what a “dude” actually was (“a pimple or boil on a greenhorn’s backside”). We learned all of things you do on the ranch like making horseshoes, branding cattle, mending barbed-wire and a whole slew of stuff. We were told what it was that made Billy the Kid go bad. Barbara also listed the best cowboy westerns and TV shows and even read a right pretty poem “My Western Poem” better known as “Home on the Range”. Table Topics Master Eddy Cezalien CC, CL moseyed on up to the lectern with a hankerin’ to rope- tie us with some questions. Eddy loved watching “Walker Texas Ranger” on TV and he wondered just what Steve Wood CC’s favorite western show is?  Steve thought it might be “Sky King” if that qualified as a western. He also commented that “if the skies are not cloudy all day, then they must be partly cloudy”; he also praised John Wayne and recommended the movie “A Million Way to Die in the West”. Eddy noted that cowboys sang to entertain themselves and to “sooth the cattle” and he asked Wilner Luders CC, CL what would he sing to the cattle. Wilner made up a song on the spot with the lyrics of: “Hey, Hey, Hey / sleep, sleep, sleep”. Timothy Latty was reminded that a cowboy’s life was challenging and he was asked when was a challenging time was in his life. Tim said that he was preparing for a body building contest and that he had to “eat clean”, all good, natural foods and no “chips, dips or cookies.” Eddy said that cowboys take pride in their hats as they often cost a lot of money and wondered what our guest Silvia Kim thought was of great value to her. Silvia said that her boyfriend proposed to her on video and that video is really precious, if she could only remember where she put it. The last question was “given the choice of the following wild- west jobs: sheriff, farmer or gambler; which one would Jerome Kalisz DTM choose?” Jerome said he “would rather be an outlaw than a sheriff and that no one wants to be a farmer. That is something you have to do to make a living but being a professional gambler, provided you had the courage… would be very exciting.” We had three completely awesome speeches starting with Susan Storma’s 2nd speech titled “The Many Uses of Vinegar”. Susan said that she heard that vinegar was a cure for warts and when she had one on her foot she gave it a try and was astounded to find that it worked! She wondered what other uses there was for vinegar and found out that vinegar can be used for a myriad of health, household and cleaning ideas such as using it on insect bites, for fading bruises, cleaning mineral deposits, removing rust stains on laundry and is a fantastic counter cleaner and disinfectant… among many other uses. Besides being an entertaining and informative speech, her presentation gave us many surprising uses for vinegar! The second speech was from a guest speaker District 84 International Speech champion Mark Gia ACB titled “The Time of Your Life”. Mark encouraged us to sign up for and participate in the upcoming Humorous Speech and Evaluation contests as well as telling us what it takes to master a District contest winning speech. “I gave that speech over 60 times to any club that would let me give it” Mark added: “I’m even sick of giving it!” He told that sometime it was the hardest criticism that helped him the most. He urged us to push ourselves to find out what we can really accomplish. Due to confidentiality restraints, only the briefest outline of the third speaker, Marie Loeffler DTM’s speech can be mentioned here. So secret was the information involved in her speech, that I can not even reveal the title of it. It can only be said safely that as VPE, she reveled a new educational program and opened an opportunity for the club to participate in its rollout. These three exciting and rewarding speeches each received an equally high-quality review thanks to General Evaluator Laura Dowler ACB, ALB and her staff of highly trained evaluators Allen Monroe ATM (for Susan), Ken Blake DTM (for Mark) and Jerome Kalisz DTM (for Marie). Also the Double Small Circle Brand Dude Ranch Trailblazers (28DRTB) kept us rollin’, rollin’. rollin’ even though’ they’re sometimes disapprovin’ they keep us doggies movin’! Rawhide! … Sorry, I got carried away there…but a big “Yee-haw!” to Grammarian Ben Quiroz CC, CL; Timer Ken Walley DTM, Video Chuck Wagon Cook Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Terri Hundeby and Vote Counter Monique Smith. Much obliged. Even our guests Mark Gia ACB, Silvia Kim, Jerome Kalisz DTM and Anyoli Samuels all had downright kind and generous things to say about our meeting. Seldom was heard a discouraging word at this meeting and it was better than any wild west show this side of the Rockies!

[Editors note: While the website is under construction, I will be using the meeting minutes with a few of my own notes. The regular meeting recaps will return shortly. – KHW]

The minutes for The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 16, 2015. LOCATION: The Herndon Branch Library. PRESENT: Members:  Wilner Luders CC, CL; Manuel Michel, Jack Wharton CC, CL, Marie Loeffler DTM, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Tim Latty, Kenza Wilhite, Steve Wood CC,  Terri Hundeby, Ken Blake DTM, Monique Smith, Ken Walley DTM, Susan Storma, Julie Remington, Betsy Carvajal, James Armbrust CC, Frank Adams CC, Allen Monroe ATM and  Ben Quiroz CC, CL (19). District 84 Officers: Area 31 Director Scott Maloney CC (1). Visitors: Jamara Wilson (Winter Park Toastmasters Club (1). Notes on attendance: Joined the club: Frank Adams CC. Welcome back Frank! Call to Order: 7:00 pm. (Sharp) by Sgt. at Arms Kenza Wilhite. Invocation and Pledge: Julie Remington (Quote from Buddhist teacher Shantideva: “How much suffering and fear, and how many harmful things are in existence? If all arises from clinging to the “I”, what should I do with this great demon?” Presiding officer: Ben Quiroz CC, CL (President). Before the introduction of the Toastmaster, Area 31 Director Scott Maloney CC introduced himself and explained some of the duties of the District 84, Division C and Area 31 officer roles as well as upcoming events. Toastmaster: Wilner Luders CC, CL. Grammarian: Timothy Latty (1st). WOD: Foment: To stir up; to cause change. Timer: Kenza Wilhite. AH Counter: Monique Smith. Vote Counter: Ken Walley DTM. Table Topic Master: Scott Maloney CC – On spur of moment to replace absent Table Topics Master! Question 1: “Ideal Vacation Music?” answered by Betsy Carvajal who said that she liked reggae, calypso and steel drum music after a cruise to the Caribbean.  (1:30) Question 2: “Best vacation climate?” answered by Monique Smith who said she liked rainy, stormy, gloomy, dark and foul weather. “While some say that Seattle is depressing, a vacation there would have the opposite effect on me” said Monique. (1:10) Question 3: Given a quote from the Moody Blues: ‘Thinking is the best way to travel’ Susan Storma related that some of her best memories are of vacations past. And it is best to share those memories with the loved ones that you went o the trip with.” (1:21) Question 4: “Should you go alone or with others on a vacation?” was answered by Manuel Michel who said that one person can get lonely and too many will be counter-productive. He recommended a group of 2 to 4 people for a vacation. (0:55) Question 5: “Where would you visit in space?” was asked of Allen Monroe ATM who was happy to see the dwarf planet Pluto finally get some recognition. He also said he liked to listen to Justin Bieber music. (1:16) Question 6: “What is your most wonderful vacation experience?” Marie Loeffler DTM told of a camping trip on the beach when she was a kid and running up and down the beach with her sister and friends. (1:28) Question 7: “Where would go on a religious pilgrimage?” was answered by Eddy Cezalien CC, CL who told of being a church summer camp councilor and having a great time with the kids there. He also learned how to play ping pong. (1:05) Question 8: “If you could go to any time and have a vacation what time period would that be?” was asked of Ken Blake DTM who instead talked about meeting Ken W’s FSU college roommate Randy Noles and learning that Ken once had hair down to his waist. (2:50) There were three speeches: Speech #1 “Women’s Soccer” by Manuel Michel Speech #3 from the Basic Manual [4 to 6 minutes] (5:40). As the president of the National mango Board, Manuel Michel proudly announced that mangos are the “official superfruit of the national women’s soccer league”! Beyond the endorsement, Manuel explained why women’s soccer was better to watch than the men’s version. “Women’s soccer is played cleaner and with more skill” said Manuel. He also told us about some upcoming women soccer events that we will not want to miss including the 2015 Olympics! This speech had everyone excited about women’s soccer and even a little excited about mangos! Speech #2: “A Pail of Milk” by Ben Quiroz CC, CL (Advanced from the Storytelling Manual) (6:04) Ben truly brought a story to life with a re-enactment of a classic children’s tale about a frog, a fly and a mouse that fall into a pail of milk. Ben showed that he had hidden acting skills that kept everyone completely entertained. “Be like the frog! Kick off of the mouse, keep reaching and don’t give up!” Speech #3: “House Guest” by: Jack Wharton CC, ALB (Advanced from the Humorous Speech Manuel) (5:19) Jack had the entire room in howls of laughter with a tale about his new house guests: his girlfriend’s father George and his 13 year old Chihuahua named Burrito! Jack’s description of that dog (“2 inch nails, mangy and foaming at the mouth with 10 years worth of teeth plaque.”) did not seem to be the stuff of endearment. Jack even renamed him “Burrito the Savage!”  But love is strange, and when George moved out Burrito moved in permanently.  General Evaluator: Allen Monroe ATM. Evaluator #1: Frank Adams CC (for Manuel) (3:00)  Evaluator #2: James Armburst CC (for Ben) (2:50 ) Evaluator #3: Betsy Carvajal (for Jack) (3:00). Best Speaker: Ben Quiroz CC, CL. Most Improved: Manuel Michel. Best Evaluator: Frank Adams CC. Best Table Topics: Susan Storma. President’s remarks & club business: Steve Wood CC and Ken Walley DTM spent all day Wednesday getting webpage back on line but it is still a work in progress and will not be finished for a couple of weeks. Meeting Adjourned 8:36pm (late)

The minutes for The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 9, 2015: LOCATION: The Herndon Branch Library. PRESENT: Members:  Ben Quiroz CC, CL; Monique Smith, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Alexander Rivas CC, Marie Loeffler DTM, Teri Hundeby, Laura Dowler ACB, ALB; Manuel Michel, Steve Wood CC, Ken Walley DTM, Susan Storma, Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Barbara Cusack ALS, CL; James Armbrust CC*, Wilner Luders CC, CL; Timothy Latty, Kenza Wilhite and Jack Wharton CC, ALB* (18). Guests: Julie Durakis, Frank Adams CC, Milka Dersima CC, Samantha Brooks, Michael McCray, Billy Charles, Horics Ionescu (guest of Jack Wharton) (7). Notes on attendance: * Unofficial James Armburst CC. earned Competent Communicator Award; Jack Wharton CC, ALB  earned ALB award. Joined the club: Terri Hundeby. Call to Order: 7:00 pm. (Sharp) by Sgt. at Arms Kenza Wilhite. Invocation and Pledge: Susan Storma (Quote from Barack Obama) (1st time as Inv. & Pledge). Presiding officer: Ben Quiroz CC, CL. (President). Toastmaster: Jack Wharton CC, ALB. Jack spoke about his Honda Civic and spoke about how cars sometimes define where we are in our lives besides serving as a place to retreat from life.  Grammarian: Manuel Michel, WOD: Sagacity: Wisdom (Used by Ben, Ken Jack, Frank and Barbara ?). Timer: Ken Walley DTM. AH Counter: Laura Dowler ACB, ALB. Vote Counter: Terri Hundeby. Table Topic Master: Kenza Wilhite: Question 1: “Of trains, planes, boats or cars which has had the most impact on society?” asked of Ken Walley DTM (time 2:04). Ken said that car have had the most effect upon society, not only through transportation but also how we define ourselves in fashion, status and class. Question 2: “What is your most memorable experience in a car?” asked of Billy Charles (1:31). Billy spoke about his Ford Gran Torino with an 8-track and some loud speakers that rocked the neighborhood and woke up his dad while Billy and his date were in the driveway. Question 3: “Given a choice of the cars owned by Kanye West, which car would you be most envious of?”  asked of Ben Quiroz CC, CL (1:13). Ben said that he would be more envious if Kanye had a truck. Question 4: “The need creates the product or the product creates the need?” asked of Monique Smith (1:36). She remembered the “razor phone” that was the coolest thing for a time and now land-fills are full of them. Question 5: “Longest trip in a car?” was asked of Frank Adams CC (1:23). Frank used the time to pray and mediate on long trips from Atlanta to Orlando. “The drive gave me a chance to reflect and come to know myself.” Question 6: “Willing to give control of car to a robot?” asked of Marie Loeffler DTM (1:29). Marie said that she has to be “in control” while on the road. Besides her car has a manual shift and “no robot is going to touch it!” Question 7: “Common features of women and cars?” asked of Alexander Rivas CC. (1:36). “Women and cars should be organized and not cost you a lot of money.” Manuel said. Question 8: “What car would you like to see your new date pull up in?” asked of Julie Durakis. (:56). Julie thought that while you should not judge a person by their car, it is still important that you make a good first impression. There were three speeches: Speech #1 Timothy LattyA Proud Product of my Environment”  Ice Breaker from the Basic Manual [4 to 6 minutes] (5:22). Tim spoke about growing up in a tough neighborhood, surrounded by poverty and fear. Even though he was faced with a lot of negativity, even from his teachers, he still proved that he could make by graduating from college with honors! Now he works with kids in neighborhoods like the one he grew up in, helping to pull them out of a life of poverty and crime. This was a very inspirational Ice breaker! Speech #2: Wilner Luders CC, CL: (ACB final requirement) “Sales and Use Tax Audit: Lifting the Veil” Advanced Technical Speech Manuel [20 to 40 minutes manual time / requested 8 to 10 minutes] (12:48). Wilner told us what the job of a tax auditor is like as well as going over the rights of the companies that get audited. This was an extremely comprehensive speech that still was able to be inforavtive and interesting. Speech #3: James Armburst CC: (#10 Basic Manuel / CC Graduation speech) “Who Inspires You?” (9:12). James listed a number of local celebrities and sports heroes such as John Morgan, Josh Freeman and Grant Hill but confessed that none of them really inspired him. It was those closest to him that truly influenced his life. He told of many wonderful things that his family did to bring real meaning to his life. Congratulation James!  General Evaluator: Monique Smith (1st time as General Evaluator). Evaluator #1 Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for Timothy Latty)   (3:40). Evaluator #2: Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (3:09). Evaluator #4: Alexander Rivas CC (2:28). Best Speaker: Tim Latty. Most Improved: James Armburst CC. Best Evaluator: Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Best Table Topics: Billy Charles. President’s remarks & club business: 1.) League of Volunteers and Club Ambassador information on handouts. 2.) Reminder of TLI July 11, 2015 at the Calvary Assembly 8:30 am for sign in $10.00 at door includes lunch. Meeting Adjourned 8:36pm (late).

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 2, 2015 “Independence” themed meeting was a star-spangled affair honoring the upcoming July Fourth holiday. Appropriately Monique Smith started our Toastmasters assembly with a quote from Denis Waitley: “The greatest gifts that you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” Chairing our congress as toastmaster this evening was Marie Loeffler DTM. She gave us a definition of “independence” including the hope of teenagers to establish their own identity apart from their parents and expanding to the concept of human nature pursing life, liberty and happiness. She gave a history of the Declaration Independence, explaining the 1776 document’s origin. “Thomas Jefferson had the help from a committee of Ben Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman”. The Declaration of Independence was “very specific” said Marie “it listed 29 causes for leaving English rule.” She also underscored the great risk for those who signed it. Adding to that theme was Table Topics Master Allen Monroe ATM who told of the hardships that followed the founding fathers once they had signed their names. Hunted as criminals and traitors by the British many lost their property, family and health and others faced prosecution, even death. Allen used quotes from America’s founders and asked for our members and guests to comment on them. 1.) “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” – Ben Franklin.  Believing that this quote still has great meaning for the United States, Christopher Fama ACB, ALB suggested that if Democrats and Republicans cannot find ways to compromise our system is in peril. Christopher said that “Freedom should never be taken for granted.” 2.) “The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” – John Adams. Club #28’s newest member Timothy Latty commented that those who wrote of “all men being equal” themselves owned slaves and that their prosecution at the hands of the British did not seem unjust in the face of the founders hypocriticalness. He noted that racial injustice and imbalance persist to this day. 3.) “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams.  Comparing this quote to a movie Kenza Wilhite saw about the arrest of a man, by the brutal secret police of the Shah of Iran, Kenza told how he was freed by western intervention. She wondered how many real-life people are held without rights and no hope of intervention. 4.) “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin” – Samuel Adams. The corruption of vanity and greed in politics came to mind when Manuel Michel commented on this quote. Manuel noted that “Most politicians care more about themselves than they do about running the country.” 5.) “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry. Remembering a visit to her native Haiti, Milka Dersima CC commented upon how very different perceptions are in less-prosperous countries. She told a story of how when she complained that there was a bug in her drink in Haiti, it was her that was criticized for complaining! Milka remarked that “there is an ‘American privilege’ that we are often unaware of.” 6.)  “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Thomas Jefferson. This Jefferson saying brought about a strong rebuke… of FOX News specifically and the news media in general from Steve Wood CC.  Steve also commented on the State of Texas attempting to “re-write history” (to be more pro-Christian in the school text books) and wondered if the colonization of Mars would be less susceptible to the manipulation of facts because it is so far away. 7.) “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Attributed to Jefferson but derived from a similar quote by John Basil Barnhill. Our guest, Candra Calicoan commented that the “Founding fathers gave a lot so that we can enjoy our freedoms.” He also thought that the government had become “far too regulated” and that we should seek a way to “simplify the government.”  We had speeches that would have made even our founding fathers proud starting with an Ice Breaker titled “The Life of Susan in Six or Less Minutes” by Susan Storma. Susan, born in Orlando, at first wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps as an engineer but ended up at UCF learning computer and software development. After fighting her way up a stress-filled ladder she became the program director for a major company and often had to make announcements of “bad news to hostile crowds.” Susan decided to “hit the pause button” recently and take some time off to travel. She has visited Florida state parks in a camper with her husband along with trips to Portugal and Ireland! Next year it will be back to work but she hopes that Toastmasters will help pave the way for a smooth transition back. It was an excellent 1st speech! Alexander Rivas CC gave a very polished speech about the art of giving a humorous speech titled “Leave Them With A Smile!” Alex had everyone laughing along the way as he reminded us that the audience is “not judging you as much as they simply don’t care about what you think.” He had some wonderful speaking advice “Make it about the audience and not about you”, “get into your audience’s head” and then gave us a long list of very successful people who were terrified of public speaking. Inspirational and humorous, Alex’s speech was the perfect Toastmasters speech! Our General Evaluator Barbara Cusack ACS, CL led a crack evaluation team of DTM’s: Ken Walley DTM (for Susan) and Ken Blake DTM (for Alex) who not surprisingly both went overtime. The Freedom of Speech Movement (FOSM) also brought us liberty to be free from the tyranny of grammatical error: Thank you Grammarian Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Timer Angela Abreu CTM, Modernistic Town Crier Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Julie Remington and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. We had a number of returning guests that made this“2nd of July” celebration a memorable one: Tim Latty, Candra Calicoan and Terri Hundlby. It was also announced that Tim Latty was joining our club tonight! Welcome Tim! We hold these truths to be self-evident, that this was a Yankee-doodle dandy of a meeting! [Cue fireworks!]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 25, 2015 Installation of Officers and the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony celebrated the last six month Toastmasters term with many honors and sheer elation! For this special evening, the Herndon Library meeting room was packed for one of Club #28’s best attended meetings* on record. Many dignitaries such as past District 84 Governor Scott Hoehn DTM, District 84 Program Quality Director-elect Nancy Hoehn DTM , Area 33 Governor Edwin Mercado DTM, District 84 Sgt. at Arms Jerome Kalish DTM and the incoming Area 31 Director Scott Maloney CC were there. Adding greatly to the numbers was a large contingent of members from the “You Talking to Me?” Toastmasters Club 1716558 which was lead by their club President Perry Smith CC. There were also some “regular guests” as well that were warmly welcomed: Jasmine Caraballo, Robert Crapanzano and John Kirchner CC’s father, John Kirchner Sr. Starting the meeting was Barbara Cusack ACS, CL  with a quote from Vince Lombardi “If you will not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish”. The first order of club business by President Marie Loeffler DTM  was to introduce Vice President of Membership Angela Abreu CTM to officially vote in and administer the “Toastmaster’s Promise” to all 33 members of Club #28! It seems that no member has been officially voted in to the club in many years, so it was decided to induct everyone at one time! Hosting as the Toastmaster was Ken Walley DTM. Ken described that there were two parts of the meeting with a featured speaker and an evaluation of the speech and the second part of the meeting being the “Changing of the guard” or the Installation of our new officers. Our featured speaker for the night was to be Allen Monroe ATM but he turned into his “long lost cousin ‘Bob’” who seemed to wander into the meeting room by chance and then give a presentation about “Road Kill” complete with a road-kill bear cooking lesson that was, well… rather grizzly. He introduced us to his “road kill café” along with its menu and such items as “Center Line Bovine” (Tastes real good, straight from the road!) and “The chicken” (That didn’t cross the road!). Allen aka “Bob” had us in tears with laughter! Next, Alexander Rivas CC gave an excellent evaluation of Allen’s speech. Starting the ceremonial phase of the meting was outgoing President Marie Loeffler DTM’s “State of the Club Address”. She explained that she had re-named the traditional “Farewell Address” because she was “not going anywhere!” She had many wonderful things to say about the state of Club #28 including the club’s accomplishment of earning 7 straight President Distinguished awards.. She gave acknowledgement of specific achievements to each of her cabinet members saying she was “blessed” to have such a team. She listed the Moments in Truth, meeting, becoming a “30 club” in membership, a “7 of 7” leadership award club” and much more. Most of all, Marie declared that she was returning as the VPE and “not leaving this club for anything” (well maybe a place on a cruise ship waving goodbye) and that Club #28 is well on the way to an eighth President’s Distinguished Award! Marie’s speech was inspiring and a wonderful way to kick-start the new term! Before the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony Ken introduced the Area 31 Director-elect Scott Maloney CC who had some awards to present! The first award was to the club for having all 7 officers training during the last TI training sessions, the “7 of 7” award. Next, Ken Walley DTM was presented a “triple crown pin” by earning three educational awards (his ALS, ACB and his DTM) over the last year. The next award The Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award was bestowed upon Steve Wood CC by Marie and last year’s winner Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Congratulations Steve!  The introduction of District 84 Program Quality Director Nancy Hoehn DTM with the Installation of Officers and the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony, the new officers inducted are:

Sergeant at Arms: Kenza Wilhite, Secretary: Kenneth H. Walley DTM, Treasurer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Vice President of Public Relations: Wilner Luders CC, CL, Vice President of Membership: Alexander Rivas CC; Vice President of Education: Marie Loeffler DTM and President: Benjamin Quiroz CC, CL

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The Inaugural Address by Benjamin Quiroz CC, CL will be remembered as one of the most inspirational and positive presidential speeches in club history. He started by thanking the outgoing officers and then told the story of how he had become an “extreme introvert and recluse” until (after being rejected by one club) found Toastmasters Club #28. He talked of the welcoming warmth and acceptance of the club, throughout his journey and how he now stands as the club’s president; something unthinkable to him at the start. He spoke of an acronym: SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timeliness and his plans to reach club goals following that formula. Quoting Ronnie Coleman “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!” he noted that “growth is in the doing.” Ben’s call to action was “Club #28, let’s do it!” At the end of his speech Ben was given a rousing standing ovation!  The end of the meeting featured announcements and many excellent comments from both dignitaries and guests on the events of this extraordinary evening and of the excellence of Club #28. With this leadership team and the backing of a remarkable membership, the future of Club #28 has never looked  so bright!      * Members attending Angela Abreu CTM, Ken Blake DTM, Betsy Carvajal, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL (timer); Barbara Cusack ACS, CL; Laura Dowler ACB, ALB; Errica Jamil, John C. Kirchner CC, Marie Loeffler DTM, Wilner Luders CC, CL; Allen Monroe ATM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Ben Quiroz CC, CL; Alexander Rivas CC, Susan M. Storma, Ken Walley DTM, Kenza Wilhite and Steve Wood CC (Outstanding Film Director in a Toastmaster Role).

If there is one thing for certain it is that the Special Wednesday June 17, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “It’s a thing” theme meeting was something to behold! Club #28 President Marie Loeffler DTM thanked everyone for the good turnout on a Wednesday night and said that she would have to leave to teach a class on the other side of Orlando.   Christopher Fama ACB ALB started the meeting with a reading of a missive about things: “Enjoy the little things in life for one day you will realize they are the big things.” Our Toastmaster Ben Quiroz CC, CL did a lot of exceptional research and came up with a number of curious, bizarre and amazing items that make you question “Is that really a thing?” They included a dog muzzle shaped like a duckbill so your dog does not look as mean; the slang words “fleek” and “bae” meaning “unsophisticated” and “before all and anyone” respectively; the fashion craze Zentai which is being Spiderman-like dressed head- to- toe in spandex and my favorite, the “Liger”, a half lion and half tiger mix. Doing her thing as the Table Topics Master for the first time was Monique Smith. Monique came ready with some excellent questions such as her first one for Barbara Cusack ACS, CL “What colloquialisms or slang did you use growing up?” Barbara said she hung out at the mall and said the WOD “Kiosk” a lot and also said “back in the day” which was “back in the day.” Ken Walley DTM was asked about the worse picture ever taken of him. He said it was when a fellow server accidentally dumped a tray of food on him while one of his guests was taking a snapshot of him. James Armbrust was asked “if you could a brand, what brand would you pick to be?” He liked the idea of “Jurassic World” but noted there were some very bad executive decisions made at the upper levels of that fictional company. Monique noted that “a thing in advertising” these days was to have cute animals selling un-cute products, she asked Steve Wood CC to pick an animal to sell something he would like to sell. Steve picked John Oliver who makes videos on Youtube with advice on how to help solve problems (making bail) and fixing things (the infrastructure). Our guest, Tim Laddy was asked to pick a movie and give it a different ending. Steve picked the movie Titanic and had Rose “scoot over” on the floating door so that Jack would not die. “Jack lives! Titanic can have a happy ending!” Another guest Terri Hundeby was asked to tell us about a time when a smart phone was used inappropriately. Teri remembered a plane flight where kids played annoyingly loud videos all flight long. At the end of the meeting Milka Derisma CC was given the question of what book would she publish and what would be the subject. Milka picked the titled “Scaredy Cat” because she gets terrified of scary movies. She said how she feat being eaten by a dinosaur on the way home from the original “Jurassic Park” movie even though dinosaurs have been extinct for thousands of years. The two speakers had very different types of speeches but came to the same result: entertaining everyone! Kenza Wilhite’s speech (titled “Ghosts!”) was more of a story… about a story. Kenza’s father told of how his sister’s nighttime wanderings awakened a dormant ghost in the house and scared the family because it had been upset. The father said that the ghost was still active if crossed during the night. With that scary tale in mind, Kenza then told of a harrowing trip to the bathroom one night with the support of her brave sister. Nothing happened… but that daring walk through the dark brought the two sisters closer together than ever! Speaking second with a speech from the Advanced Interpersonal Communications manual titled “Calm Assertive Energy” was Jack Wharton CC, CL.  Jack explained the 3 ways of being assertive and yet keeping tension to a minimum. “Act immediately, be direct and be nice” said Jack, he even used an example from barroom bouncer. With the help of Ben, Jack play- acted an example of a Toastmaster that had given a “chainsaw evaluation” and showed how to handle that situation. Jack also gave a question and answer session after the role-play. It was a positive learning experience for the entire club. Ken Blake DTM did double duty as both the General Evaluator and as the evaluator for Kenza’s speech. Evaluating Jack’s speech was Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. Also giving a touch of brilliance to the meeting was the work of the Doing Our Thing Group (DOTG) with Ken Walley DTM serving as Grammarian and AH Counter, Timer Barbara Cusack ACS, CL, Video Thing Man Steve Wood CC and first time Vote Counter and guest Terri Hundeby. Our four guests Julie Durakis, Terri Hundeby, Tim Laddy and Oyanda Ayllen all were very positive in their meeting comments. It was announced that while she could not stay for the meeting Laura Dowler ACB, ALB had come in before the meeting and officially joined Club #28! Welcome Laura! To end the meeting Ben even read us an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in The Hat starring “Thing 1 and Thing 2”! I can only say two things myself: 1.) This was a wonderful meeting and 2.) Club #28 is a beautiful thing.

The Dominate Toastmaster Meeting of June 11, 2014 was the Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Don’t Time Me” theme meeting. Julie Remington started the meeting off with a power thought and leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. Jack Wharton CC, CL was our Toastmaster and explained that “Don’t Time Me” was really just a “back -acronym” for DTM, or Distinguished Toastmaster, Toastmasters International’s highest award.  Jack explained that SOS did not originally stand for “Save Our Ship” it was simply a fast way to signal for help in Morse code and that the University of Central Florida’s ‘UCF’ has become “back-acronymed” as “You can’t finish”. He also pointed out that timing ourselves often “limits our belief in what we can do” reminding us that that the 4 minute mile track record broken by Roger Bannister was once thought unbreakable. He spoke of ways of living within the moment such as focusing on breathing and meditating as well as how Buddhist tradition sees the beauty, even art in the state of the temporary-ness of nature. The Table Topics Master was introduced by Jack as being a DTM: “Someone who Does, Teaches and Motivates” Ken Walley DTM. Ken mentioned that people would be timed for Table Topics and asked Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB if she “worked more or less efficiently under a deadline?” Kara said that it depended upon the project, if she liked the project, she did not work as well and if she did not like the project, then it was probably good to have a deadline. Julie Remington was asked why we time people at all, especially in races. She noted that we run against our personal bests to improve and that there was a swimming meet in the Olympics which it was too close to tell. She was referring to the Michael Phelps gold medal in the 100m butterfly won by 1/100th of a second! Visiting toastmaster Jerome Kalish DTM was asked if we are living our lives in half-hour and hour segments. Jerome said that before TV and other mass media there was a time when the “Universe was not ruled an arbitrary calendar system” and a time in which we “found a natural connection to the world between sun rise and sun set”. The question “Why do you think regular vacations are required to be taken on some jobs” was answered by Club #28’s newest member Susan Storma. Susan said that it required escaping and reinvigorating your life but now with mobile technology, work can follow you anywhere. Monique Smith was asked how much would she have to be paid to work a 12 hour day, 6 days a week schedule. She said that it was not worth any job to be away from those you love and having your own interests outside of work. When pressed for a numerical answer, she said $80,000 a year. Kenza Wilhite was asked if she was going to try to accomplish her DTM in toastmasters. She said to her, mastering public speaking is an “expression of courage’ and that she is going to “go for it!” Another guest Tim Latty was asked if he would work differently if there were no time limits put on him. He said no, that the quality of his work was what was more important than the time it took to do it. Linden Gould visiting us from the Orlando Conquerors Club 1066, was asked if he were a restaurant waiter and he got tripled seated, with the kitchen backed up and the registers down… how would he tell his guests “Don’t time me”? Linden explained that time is viewed differently because of situations and then said that he would “ply his customers with liquor!” Christopher Fama ACB, ALB was asked if we live in a “rat race?” He said yes, we live in a rat race. Chris pointed out that many are trapped by I-4 going to work and coming back and that we live our lives in a rain-drenched drabness. He suggested taking a long vacation and going to the beach to take “leg selfies” of your feet with a backdrop of the waves. Laura Dowler ACB, ALB was asked to explain to her boss why she was a half hour late to work. Laura explained that she was going to be totally honest and that she simply overslept and that there was “no line of baby ducks” that kept her from being on time! Next it was time for our prepared speeches. The presentations started with a very special speech, an Ice Breaker from Franklin Santos. Frankie’s first speech titled “I Need to Tell You Something About This Job” was impressive, not just in how it was presented but in the story of a determined young man to succeed in the field of his choosing. Franklin told his story of rising from a worker in a paint store to putting himself through college (“I had ‘three mornings’ at 5:30 to get up to go to work, at 5:30 in the afternoon to go to class and at 9:30 to study. Each started with a cup of coffee!”) and later to becoming a senior financial advisor for Orange County. This was an inspiring testimony of dedication and hard work!  Our second speaker Angela Abreu CTM’s speech “Our Nature” educated us about how personalities represented by the ancient elements of Fire, Air (earth), Metal (gold), Water and Wood both contrast and interact with each other as human nature does. This speech started with a memorable, even brilliant bit of storytelling with a tale of a snake and the frog. Her effort was both informative and entertaining and another excellent speech by Angela. Having the pleasure to review theses endeavors was our evaluation panel led by General Evaluator Ben Quiroz CC, CL. In his meeting review he gave high praise to his fellow evaluators Ken Blake DTM (for Angela) and especially first time evaluator Julie Remington (for Franklin). Ben also mentioned the Speakers, Table Topics participants, volunteering our time to the community and the work of the Determined To Motivate (DTM) team. FYI they were 1st time Grammarian Laura Dowler, Celebrity Guest Timer Jerome Kalish DTM, Event CEO Steve Wood CC, 1st time AH Counter Monique Smith and Visiting Vote Counter Linden Gould. We had returning VIP guests Laura Dowler ACB, ALB and Timothy Latty as well as a delegation from the Orlando Conquerors Club 1066 visit consisting of Jerome Kalish DTM and Linden Gould. It was also announced that Susan Storma had joined the club! Welcome Susan! There is no doubt that this was another “DTM”, a Divinely Talented Meeting!

A lot of thought went into the June 4, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Exercising the Brain” theme meeting. The meeting started with Ben Quiroz CC, CL leading the club in the Pledge to the Flag. The new slate of officers was announced by Jack Wharton CC, CL and voted upon and passed by the club unanimously. Then our Toastmasters for the evening Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was introduced. Kara spoke about the importance of keeping the mind active. She also gave credit to an article in Toastmaster Magazine (September 2013) by Dr. Judith Tingley DTM that related ways to improve mental acuity. Among the many topics covered was an experiment using jugglers to show that brain activity increases the number of neurons and inactivity decreases brain function. Kara also spoke on reducing stress and regulating emotion, exercise, working memory, strategic allocation and the benefits of Toastmasters in helping to keep the mind sharp. There was no “brain drain” when Table Topics Master Alexander Rivas CC came to the lectern. “What is your way of recalling things from a story or conversation?” was Alex’s first question for Toni McIvor CC, CL. Toni said that she often recalls by “seeing pictures in her mind.” She said that she does not watch TV very often but instead gets most of her information from “alterative media and reading books.” Ben Quiroz CC, CL was asked how he ignores distractions when he needs to focus. Ben had a simple answer: “earplugs!” He also mentioned that “every time I try to take a nap, that’s when the neighbor mows the lawn.” Later in the meeting the same question was asked of Franklin Santos who replied that he grew up in New York City so blocking out distractions comes naturally. He also said that sometimes he listens to a good audio book. Our newest member Yulia Shea was asked how she pays attention to what matters. She told a story about a man who took a job as an accountant for a worried man. “What are my duties?” he asked. “To take way my money worries!” was the answer. “Well, how much am I getting paid?” asked the new accountant. “$80,000!” replied his boss. “You can’t afford that!” he said shocked. “Well,” said the boss… “That’s your problem now.”  Staying alert was subject of the next query of Kenza Wilhite. Kenza observed that to be alert means that you have to have some stress in your life and that “short-term stress is good while long-term stress is not a good thing at all.” Julia Remington was asked if she was able to “play any instrument what instrument would that be?” She told the story of how her son was taking oboe lessons and she decided to take classical guitar lessons at the same time. She was never able to learn the instrument. Although it might have been the really cute instructor distracting her concentration, she said that “like math, musical instruments should be learned from an early age.”  Also answering this question was Rosalyn Porter ACG who recalled her mother teaching piano and how beautiful the music was. Rosalyn said, “I wish I could play such a wonderful instrument.” Steve Wood CC was asked if he ever forgets who some people are, and remembers their names only later. Steve replied that everyone does that. He also told us about a TED video he saw about how to master remembering basic concepts and learning them, in only 20 hours of concentrated effort. The last question was for our guest Laura Dowler ACB, ALB a Toastmaster from Ohio: “How do you make rapid decisions in a complex environment?” Laura a librarian, said that contrary to popular belief, librarians do not just “read books all day” but they have to make many decisions. She is able to “catalogue things” in her mind and “bring them out at will.”  Our three speakers each showed great abilities to exercise their minds by producing wonderful speeches. Betsy Carvajal nearing her CC award, with her 9th speech “Consume Less Animal Products!” inspired us to consider vegetarianism   Remembering a gruesome scene as a child when her grandmother prepared a chicken for a meal, led eventually to her and her husband becoming vegetarians. She spoke of a higher risk of illness and disease with eating meat and sighted the research from the book “The China Study” by T. Colin Cambell. She also warned about milk products and appealed to our sense of morality in that all animals have a right to not be eaten. Speaking second and also giving his 9th speech was James Armbrust with a speech titled “AI: The End of Human Life as We Know It!”   This was a warning that Artificial Intelligence could be the destruction of human dominance on Earth. He pointed out advancements in computer technology, bionic prosthetics and intelligent robotics could produce, soon… a real “Bicentennial Man” similar to the character played by Robin Williams in the 1999 movie. James warned that “AI has already taken over many jobs from the industrial to the fast food industries.” And that “Artificial Intelligence could turn on humans because we are the biggest threat to the earth.” He also pointed out that there have been military use of drones and non-human controlled electronic concepts that bring to mind the movie “The Terminator”. In the end, he voiced the concern of Stephen Hawking that Artificial Intelligence might be the end of human life as we know it. Speaking third with an inspirational speech “Unidentified Dormant Potential” was Wilner Luders CC, CL.  He encouraged us to “look within” to find our true potential. If we look for fulfillment from things outside, it is like “giving a handshake to a shadow; you will not get one back.”  He gave the example of Nelson Mandela as a person who found hope from within and allowed himself to shine throughout 27 years of captivity. “What we have and what we seek are not the same,” said Wilner, “the place to search is from within.”  Having to use every part of their intellectual abilities were the evaluation team led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM who called upon three deep wells of wisdom to guide our speakers: Allen Monroe ATM (for Betsy), Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for James) and Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Wilner). All three evaluations were brilliant! The Brainy Bunch (BB) also played a very thoughtful part of the meeting thanks to 1st time Grammarian Monique Smith, Timer Ben Quiroz CC, CL; Intellectual Developer Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. We had two guests Laura Dowler ACB, ALB and Lena Mirilovic who both gave glowing reviews of the meeting. It was also announced that Yulia Shea has joined our club! Welcome Julia! It’s a no-brainer that a perfect place to exercise your brain is at a Toastmasters Club #28 meeting.

It was no laughing matter that the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 28, 2015 “Laughter” theme meeting was truly a fun time for everyone! Ken Walley DTM started the meeting with a quote from a man who knew something about laughter, Charlie Chaplin who once said “A day without laughter is a day completely wasted.” Our Toastmaster Allen Monroe ATM not only kept us laughing with some jokes but also told us the reasons of why we laugh (1.) in highlighting the weaknesses and frailties of others, (2.) by showing the incongruence in everyday life, (3.) The “Benign Violation Theory” of laughter and with (4.) “The Release Theory of Humor” which is Freudian in nature. “Laughter serves an evolutionary purpose,” said Allen… and then he told us a joke about a blonde and her inability to tell the difference between a sheep and a dog, among other very funny jokes. Also keeping us laughing was our Table Topics Master Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara thought it would be interesting if she started a story and had the club finish it. What follows, is as best as I can figure out; is the rest of the story: Kara’s start of the story was “A cop, a farmer and a crime boss are having a beer in a bar…” Steve Wood CC said that a priest, a rabbi and a minister also walk into the bar and the priest wants to buy shoes for his friend but the rabbi says that his friend is already making her own shoes because she is skinning all of the alligators in town. Julie Remington added to the story by having all of those in the bar, which now includes Don Rickles and Frank Sinatra, abducted by aliens and brought to a bar on the planet Mars. Ken Walley DTM said that this is a new bar on Mars and it has to drum up business by going out and bringing in other beings from other planets and it reminds him of the bar in “Star Wars”. Soon, it is closing time and all of the human patrons are brought back to Earth and dropped off in a crop-circled corn field. Angela Abreu CTM added that there was an attempt to escape the corn field because it was being attacked by a giant octopus. Everyone was looking for a way to get back to the spaceship! The End. We had three brilliant speeches by some of Club #28’s most accomplished speakers, each of them using some ingenious ideas to present their projects. Speaking first from The Advanced Public Relations Manual was Ben Quiroz CC, CL who gave a “press conference” about a beloved missing giant ball of yarn (“The Case of the Stolen Ball of Yarn”). At first he announced that it might have been the work of raccoons, but it was later proven to be three cats trying to pass themselves off as raccoons. At his press conference, he asked for help finding these three furry felons. Speaking second was Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who’s speech “A New Thrill” was about her and her husband’s new hobby of bidding on abandoned storage units. In this case, “semi-abandoned” because the past owner was still very much present and a little bit hostile. Barbara told of the “treasures” she found with their $400 bid which included TVs, golf clubs, trophies and a nude picture of the prior owner! Marie Loeffler DTM gave us an information speech about a great tool for toastmasters “The Member Achievement Record” which explains the two Toastmasters International “tracks”: Communication and Leadership in working your way toward the Distinguished Toastmasters Award. This was an especially useful speech for our newer toastmasters. Christopher Fama ACB, ALB was charged with the evaluation session of the meeting and it proved to be helpful to all involved as well as everyone else that was present. Thanks go out to evaluators Angela Abreu CTM (for Ben), Betsy Carvajal (for Barbara) and Alexander Riva CC (for Marie). The Learning Levity Lifeforce (LLL) gave us much joy with their reports that came from Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Manuel Michel, Keeper of the Cage of  Love & Laughter Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Kevin Phillips and guest and 1st time Vote Counter Susan Storma. We also had some excellent comments from our guests Shayla Carrothers, Susan Storma, Deneika Carter, Daniel Sullivan and the daughter of tonight’s meeting  toastmaster, Aria Monroe. We may learn and grow to be better each week but this meeting proved that laughter will always be cherished at Club #28!

Those who tuned into the May 21, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Music” themed show were transported through the airwaves by the melodious stylings of DJ Mel Lodious and her band o’ Sound Hounds. The first cut played was by Angela Abreu CTM, an ode to “enthusiasm”. Taking on the radio name of our DJ, complete with blue-pink wing and shades, was 1st time toastmaster- disc jockey Monique Smith.

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All night long we grooved on stories of the Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Beyonce and many others… along with adventures in Rock, Jazz, Soul, Disco, Rap and Hip Hop… all the way to her sign off. She even dedicated the Beatle song “I am a Walrus” to her adoring audience!  Throwing out some Greatest Hits of her own was Table Topics Master Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who sent some cool questions out to her listeners. “Can you play ‘Flamingo Air-Guitar’?” was asked of Ken Blake DTM who used few words to prove that he could: “Ummm… Rahh… ERRRRR! OH YEAH!”  Next, Betsy Carvajal was asked about the 1985 Bangles song “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Betsy not only knew the song (one of her favorites) but proved that she could, indeed… walk like an Egyptian. Kenza Wilhite was asked just what love song she would send out as a dedication. She chose Pharrnell Williams’s 2013 song “Happy” Said Kenza, “You just need to turn on the music and you feel great!” Angela Abreu CTM was asked if there was a song that reminded her of her first “crush”. She could not remember a song, but she did tell us about her first crush… and how he drove into a tree trying to impress her! Marie Loeffler DTM was asked what song she would have the DJ play in a club to “get things started in here”. Marie admitted that she did not go to clubs very often but remembered high school dances in the gym where you did “‘The Mashed Potato’, ‘The Twist’ and ‘The Monkey’ and anything else that could make you look like an idiot!” Our guest, Richard Childress was asked what kind of song he played on the Jukebox. For some reason he said that being an engineer prevented him from playing jukeboxes but he has been listening to old songs from 20 years ago and learning them all over again. Milka Dersima CC was given the question of what was her first video that she ever watched. She told the story of sneaking downstairs as a child to watch the Michael Jackson video of “Thriller” and then being so scared by it that she could not sleep!” The last single was dedicated to Wilner Luders CC, CL: “What’s on you play-list?” Wilner said that he just got a new phone so nothing yet is on the play-list, but he likes to listen to classical music, especially Mozart. We had three speeches that would have all won Grammy Awards had they been songs. Manuel Michel was first, giving only his second speech titled “From Paradise to Paradise”. In his speech he admitted that Orlando was the “tourist capital of the world” and that we had many reasons for people to visit but he suggested a get-a-way to the State of Oregon. He told us about the Oregon coast, so different and beautiful than Florida’s. He spoke about visiting Oregon’s “quintessential mountain” Mt. Hood, the many waterfalls and national parks but said the “crown jewel” of a visit to Oregon was the incredible view at Crater Lake. He urges us to go and take a trip from “a paradise to a paradise.”  The second speech was both an inspirational and humorous speech titled “No. 1 Fish” which told the story of Julie Remington’s battle to quit smoking. One day when her little girl said “Mommy, you do drugs!” she realized that her child was right and that she had to give up cigarettes. She told how incredibly difficult it was to do and how she reached a do-or- die moment while waiting in line at a drive up ATM at the bank. She fought hard to quit and in the end she conquered smoking. This speech had everything, drama, humor and a wonderful heroine!  The last speaker was visiting toastmaster from Chicago Charlene Rhinehart DTM who told us the secrets of her meteoric success in Toastmasters in a speech titled “Moving from Fear to Confidence.”  She spoke about how in less than three years she had earned her DTM as well as becoming an Area and District officer! She even used this experience to become the Miss Corporate America pageant winner! She found that she was able to overcome an “expectation gap” by making a stand to face everything and rise to the occasion rather than flee from it. “I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.” She said. This speech was motivational to both the new and the established toastmasters. Leading a group of evaluators who had the daunting task of reviewing these speeches was General Evaluator Ben Quiroz CC, CL. Three excellent evaluations were delivered by Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Manuel), Ken Blake DTM (for Julie) and Rosalyn Porter ACG (for Charlene). In keeping with the tradition of Club #28 the evaluations were helpful, supportive and encouraging; the same could be said for the excellent meeting report given by Ben. The hits just kept on coming from the Funky FUN-ctionries (The F-FUNS!)who were Grammarian “Moondog” Ken  Walley DTM, Timer “Nightowl” Wilner Ludders CC, CL; AH Counter  “Groovemaster” Kenza Wilhite and Vote Counter “Dr. Soulmate” Jenny Ouyang. They made some beautiful music. Our guests Richard Childress visiting us from the Orators Toastmaster Club in Orlando and his wife Lilia Childress along with visitor Makeesha Allen all raved about how good the meeting was. Indeed, had this evening been a record, as the late Casey Kasem would say: “It’s a ‘bullet’ climbing up the Top 40 chart towards #1!”

It was “money in the bank” that the May 14, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “The Federal Reserve” theme meeting was going to be a success. The meeting started with a quote from Zig Ziglar by our newest member Patricia Cryus: “Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do, it is measured by what you do with the ability God gave you.”  Leading us as our Toastmaster through the complex and secretive world of the Federal Reserve System was Betsy Carvajal. Betsy covered the truly interesting history of the Fed from it’s creation in 1913 through its leadership under current director Janet Yellin. She told us about the role of the Fed from “regulating the economy” to the bond-buying stimulus program “Quantitative Easing”. She covered its murky recovery efforts during the recent recession, the need for a public audit and called the Fed a “perpetual debt machine.” It was an awesome and entertaining overview of the premiere economic national regulatory system and one of the most, if not the most important international policy player. Also serving on the board of this meeting’s directors was Table Topics Master Allen Monroe ATM. Allen first wanted to know what Christopher Fama ACB, ALB thought of Andrew Jackson being replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Christopher thought it was a good idea as he grew up near where Tubman lived and he knew of the inspiring history of the anti-slavery activist. Allen thought that it might not be a bad idea to raise money for the government by auctioning off the portrait on the hundred dollar bill. Wilner Luders CC, CL did not like the idea. He pointing out that throwing money at political, commercial or religious viewpoints may not get the best results. He also suggested that maybe we should go back to a gold standard and that “Debt is not bad all of the time.” Noting that some countries play honor to national sports on their currency, Allen asked what sport should “America honor on its money?” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB answered that it was obviously “football” and not the “soccer kind”. She thought that maybe we could “feature a portrait of the MVP every year.” Allen asked Steve Wood CC if they were going to make a movie of the history of the Fed, who would play the leading role? Instead Steve gave a tutorial on “Quantitative Easing.” The program as Steve explained, ended in 2014. But the consequences of the Federal Reserve’s policy to pump trillions of dollars into the financial system in hopes of stimulating the economy will long be with us. Returning past Club #28 member Frank Adams CC was asked if we should simply stop making paper money and go to all coins. Frank also thought this was a bad idea and reasoned that coins made holes in his pockets and he liked “money that you can fold.” Returning guest Justin Lu was asked if we should have a “paperless currency”. He also thought this was a bad idea because of electronic security reasons and that paper currency is used all over the world and it would cause too much protesting. At the end of the meeting Angela Abreu CTM said that she would not like to have her picture on the $100 bill as it would draw a lot of attention to her. Toni McIvor CC, CL said that our money was “boring” and needs to have more color in it like other nations. Barbara Cusack ACS, CL said that for all of the problems that it causes “money is good” and professed “I like money!” We had three speeches, including an Ice Breaker. Each one of them showed natural speaking skills, interesting subjects and motivational messages! Monique Smith started with her Ice Breaker speech titled “The Conversation Dance”. Her inspirational speech told of a young girl who had to overcome intense shyness throughout her growth into adulthood. She related the importance of conversation as the key to understanding others, opening pathways and personal growth. This was very difficult. She told of how she met her future husband by forcing herself to open up. Through communication she had to adapt to college and learn how to teach special needs children and then find a career path to do so. As a life-long learner, this is what brought her to Toastmasters and Club #28. The second speech by Jack Wharton CC, CL from the Advanced Manual Interpersonal Communications, Jack’s speech “The Coach” gave us a step by step guide on how to be an effective coach. Jack role-played with Marie Loeffler DTM (in the part of a new toastmaster who is getting cold feet at doing her Ice Breaker speech) to show how to build confidence with positive feedback and empower others to achieve their goals. Jack even had a short question and answer session at the end of his speech. The last speaker was Ken Walley DTM who gave a speech titled “May is Leadership Month!” to motivate club members to serve as club officers. Ken explained the different officer roles and what he learned from serving in each one. These three admirable speeches were also the subject of outstanding evaluations from the evaluation team lead by General Evaluator Marie Loeffler DTM. All of the speech assessments by Ben Quiroz CC, CL (for Monique) Ken Blake DTM (for Jack) and James Armbrust (for Ken W.) had helpful ideas and strong doses of encouragement. The Grammatical Audit & Bureaucratic Review Board (GABRB) produced a flurry of reports on the state of our speakers with an appraisal that contained an awful lot of praise thanks to Grammarian Alexander Rivas CC, Timer Manual Michel, Pyramid Eye Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Julie Remington and Vote Counter Kevin Phillips. At the end of the meeting one of our other members, Franklin Santos was asked what it was like to have been away from the club for the past few weeks. He said that it was very good to be back and he looks forward to giving his first speech soon! Also returning was past member Milka Derisma CC who said that she was still in school but was happy to be able to visit us again. We also had optimistic and encouraging words from our guests Yulia Shea and Frank Adams CC, a past member who we last saw a few years ago. Frank said he plans to return to the club again now that he is back in Orlando! We also announced our newest member Patricia Cyrus! Welcome Patricia! As far as brilliant meetings go, it can be said that this meeting was, well… “on the money!”

The language of “Communication and Leadership” were spoken at the May 7, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Language” theme meeting! The last of five meetings at the Edgewater Branch Library, was opened by toastmaster Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB with a power-thought from Geoffrey Gaberino; “…measure yourself against yourself and nobody else.” Our Toastmaster for the evening Ben Quiroz CC, CL explained a wide panorama of knowledge on the subject of language including linguistic anthropology, the polyglot linguist Michel Thomas and his teaching method, the science of language division, George Bernard Shaw’s English language revision plans and why the English language is so illogical and so hard to learn. “Depending on how you define language, there are 5000 to 8000 languages presently on earth” said Ben. Speaking in a clear and understandable voice was our Table Topics Master Wilner Luders CC, CL who addressed some basic principles of the spoken word with his questions. “How would you determine how a very first language would be spoken?” was asked of our guest Don Marcucci. Don spoke about how it is often easier to recognize if someone is speaking in their “1st language” as they would find it simpler for them to explain themselves. Another returning guest, Daniel Sullivan was asked if there good things about learning a new language, Daniel thought so, explaining that for example learning Spanish in Florida opens new paths to better communication with many Spanish-speaking people. Betsy Carvajal commented on how language changes over time. When she was young her native language was discouraged at school in America but as she grew older she found that it was an important resource to have. Kevin Phillips was given the same question except to express how language also “expands” over time. He pointed out that new technological languages have emerged recently and that high tech has profoundly affected “common language”. “15 years ago, Facebook, twitter did not really exist! Now even my young niece is making up new words on social media! She said that her homework assignment was going ‘Kuziki’ or, all downhill.” Ken Walley DTM spoke about the effect of TV on language. He said that many people have actually learned a new language from watching TV. Another returning guest Patricia Cyrus spoke about how learning the Latin and Greek roots of language help us to understand not only the basic meaning of words but the journey of how those words have adapted through time. “These roots also give us an understanding of how new words are created.” She said. Later in the meeting, Jack Wharton CC, CL spoke about how language is a powerful thing. He found that by reaching out through a common tongue, our powers of understanding others is strengthened. He said that he speaks English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish but would like to learn Vietnamese and Brazilian Portuguese in the near future! We had two extremely entertaining speeches starting with a speech by Alexander Rivas CC titled “The Coast is Clear!”   Alex’s humorous speech wondered just when our local TV weather report became “worthy of a set like the situation room at the White House?” He asked why a one-man “Storm Team!” needed two “First Alert!” reports followed by an “Action Recap!”… which all said the same thing. “There is probably not a lot of difference between 1 AM and 1:30 AM in the weather” noted Alex.  He also commented on “the 7 day outlook!” the “Bus-stop Report!” and “Triple Doppler Radar!” all with really funny results. The second speaker, Allen Monroe ATM gave a more serious type of report in his speech “Ignorance is Bliss!” He gave a brief but very interesting look at the changes in our Federal Reserve System, the history of the gold standard and why American democracy is doomed. Allen gave us a number of reasons to fear and loathe the future. It was an extremely polished speech truly worthy of Fox News. These two excellent speeches deserved some insightful and helpful feedback. Fortunately General Evaluator Betsy Carvajal came to the rescue leading two of Club #28’s best advisors Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Alex) and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for Allen) and lent not only our speakers, but everyone in the room, wise council and brilliant reports. “Brilliant reports” was the theme of our Linguistical Precision Team (LPT) who led with the gift of fluency thanks to Grammarian Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Timer Ken Blake DTM, AH Counter and visiting toastmaster Justin Lu and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. We had a number of guests including returning guests Patricia Cyrus, Don Marcucci and Daniel Sullivan. We also had some 1st time visitors Rebecca Rabon and Weekenders Toastmasters Club member Justin Lu. All of our guests were very cheerful and constructive in their comments about the meeting.  In any language this was an amazing meeting!

“What time is it?… It’s Howdy Doody time!” started the April 30, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Television Shows” theme meeting at the Edgewater Branch Library. Coming up from the peanut gallery was Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington with a quote from Jimi Hendrix to get the meeting started: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace!” Ken Blake DTM was our Toastmaster and gave us some fond memories of growing up with 1950’s TV shows like “The Howdy Doody Show” and “Captain Kangaroo”. He remembered the introduction of color TV in the 1960’s “My dad was color-blind, but we still had to have one!” said Ken. Ben Quiroz CC, CL did not need any “canned applause” as our Table Topics Master, bringing with him some wonderful questions. His first question, that was asked of Joe Young, was “what would you expect to see as the director of an upcoming ‘Hollywood Hillbillies’ TV reality show?” Joe said that it would show a lot of California and he would expect it to be cancelled soon. “If you were a contestant on the show “Amazing Race” who would be your partner and where would you like to go?” was the query for Betsy Carvajal. She said that her husband, of course would be the one to run the race with and she would like to go through Mexico and South America. Julie Remington was asked a question about her favorite show and gave the most incredible moment -by -moment description of a Seinfeld episode in which George, attempting to be witty, says absolutely the worse things possible! Ben referenced the classic Star Trek show for the question to Steve Wood CC of “what new discoveries would like to see?”  Steve spoke about how even though he did not watch TV, he became addicted to the DVD series after the shows were no longer were airing. Noting that you can watch whole seasons at a time, Steve now has to patiently wait for the next season to come out on DVD. The TV show “Cheers” took part in a place “where everyone knows your name”. Ben asked our guest Scott Maloney just where would that place be? Scott somehow incorporated all of the previously mentioned TV shows “Star Trek”, “Amazing Race”, “Seinfeld”, along with some others into his answer about the bar in “Cheers”! In the TV show “Friends” Ross had a pet monkey named Marcel, prompting Ben to ask another Guest, Jerome Kalisz DTM “what is the strangest pet that you have ever heard of?” Jerome immediately suggested Ken Blake DTM’s pet guinea pig and relayed the awesome powers of this highly evolved beast (see meeting recap 1/29/15).  The Food Channel’s Anthony Bourdain travels extensively and has tasted many odd dishes, “what is the most unusual food that you have never eaten?” was directed at guest Don Marcucci who said he was in China and turned down the delicacy of bull’s testicles (also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters). The first speech was a presentation by Marie Loeffler DTM that was not really a speech at all but a Power-point slide presentation with a voice over that will be on You-tube for the upcoming District 84 Spring Conference. During the slide show Marie covered “What is a Mentor” to entice Toastmasters to attend her “Magic of Mentoring” workshop. She said that a mentor was an educator, coach, friend and most importantly, a role model. This was a very educational and inviting production. Our second speech was by James Armburst titled “Job Box” in which James told us of a device which lets you “try out” your future before it happens! He said he wanted to be a plumber, a boxer, join the Army and explore caves when he was young. Thanks to his “job box” device he found out that he did not want to do any of these, although he did once knock out Mike Tyson. His “job box?” It’s a Nintendo video game player including Tyson’s Punch-Out game, Super Mario Brothers and the Metriod Prime Trilogy!  The third speaker was Wilner Luders CC, CL with a speech titled “Taking Action” that addressed the civil unrest that has engulfed the country due to the tension between the African-American community and the police. Wilner related that the polarization of racial tensions has arisen from “the church of silence.” He made the point that until there is a dialogue, forced or not, that those tensions will not go away and from that, hatred will thrive. Wilner said “It is imperative to speak up about prejudice even if it does not affect your life or situation, for eventually it will. If you do not stand up for the rights of others, then who will be there to stand up for your rights?” Those were three very different speeches tonight: informative, humorous and inspirational. The evaluation team led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM with their speech reviews were also informative, humorous and inspirational thanks to Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for James) and Alexander Rivas CC (for Wilner). Marie’s speech was evaluated by everyone at the meeting with a written survey. The Real Functionaries of Orlando (RFOO) team also gave us some reality reports thanks to Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Kevin Phillips, Candid Camera Steve Wood CC, first time AH Counter Joe Young and Vote Counter Julie Remington. At the end of the meeting were were honored to have our Area 32 Governor Theodora Uniken Venema ACS, ALB address the meeting and award Club #28 the “7 of 7 Officer Training Award”! We also heard glowing comments  from all of our guests Don Marcucci, Patricia Cyrus, Scott Maloney, Jerome Kalisz DTM and Christopher’s wife Barbara Fama. Ken B. (kinda like Aunt Bea) played the theme from the “Andy Griffith Show” to end the meeting. Like that show, this Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was also a classic.

Time was of the essence for the April 23, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Time” theme meeting at the Edgewater Branch Library. Starting at exactly 7:00pm Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington called the meeting to order. At 7:01 Monique Smith began the meeting with an apropos quote from Steve Jobs: “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time” 7:04 brought Club President Marie Leoffler DTM to the podium who introduced our guests Danielle Dobbs, Scott Muhlbacer and Howard Elliot then soon thereafter at 7:10, she presented our Toastmaster for the evening Wilner Luders CC, CL. Wilner wasted no time explaining some of the many mysteries of time and explained that time is an enigma, and yet measurable but still seemingly without end. “It is ironic that the only secret that time can not solve is how that we can make the best use of our time.” Wilner said.  In time, at 7:18, Wilner introduced Table Topics Master Alexander Rivas CC. Alex came prepared with many questions based upon quotes about our theme. A Maya Angelou quote “All great achievements require time” prompted a question to Steve Wood CC to tell us about a great achievement of his. Steve said that all of his “great achievements are sub-par” but he did tell us how to make a clone using a time machine! A Brian Tracy quote led Alex to ask Toni McIvor CC, CL “just what was the most important thing she did with her time?” Toni answered, a Cinderella-esque: “Ignore cleaning, leave the dust to settle and then morph into something else!” Another quote, this one from Jean Racine that “there are no secrets that time does not reveal” led to the question for Betsy Carvajal of what has time revealed to her?  Betsy said that it is that “time flies when you get older.” Nelson Mandela was fond of saying that “we must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” This drew a comment by our guest Howard Elliot that it is important to center our focus on what is really important in life like keeping in touch with family. Mary Kay Ash was quoted as saying that “no matter how busy you are you must always take time to make others feel important” and this was expanded upon by Monique Smith with a story about a troubled child at her school who she found that the key to reaching was through paying attention to the positive, even something as simple as acknowledging as a birthday. An Anonymous saying that “Hard times are like a washing machine… They twist, turn and knock us around but in the end, we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before!” reminded Julie Remington of her struggle to quit smoking even though she really did not want to do so at the time. Another quote by an unknown author was: “What is more important than learning what to do with your time is learning what not to do with your time.” This was addressed by Barbara Cusack ACS, CL who said it was most important not to let negative thoughts take over or complain about things. “Put your focus on creativity. You will amaze yourself sometimes!” The time was now 7:35 and our three prepared speeches took the spotlight. Our first speaker Kevin Phillips gave a remarkable presentation titled “Not Just Another Employee” who told of a worker relating a tale of giving her child up for adoption only to have her long lost son get in touch 18 years later. He said this story had a great effect on her fellow employees, bringing everyone closer together in the workplace, making them more relatable to each other, more than just being “cogs in a machine.” In the end it was Kevin’s story as well, as he unveiled that he was the returned son. Speaking second was Angela Abreu CTM with a speech titled “The Wonders of Knowing How to Tap” Her speech stated with a tale of how a mechanic earned $1000.00 for ten minutes of work and three taps with a hammer. She explained that knowing Chinese medicine and prevention from sickness can save you from hardship and illness in the future. She told of 5000 year-old Chinese medicine, based upon nature cures, the five elements and yin/yang philosophy as well as other eastern techniques such as cupping, electrical stimulation and heat /cold therapy. She explained a dynamic healing belief that is still viable and meaningful in today’s modern world. The last speaker was Kara Newcomb ACS, ALB who was doing the project of telling a touching story from the advanced Storytelling Manual titled “Three Painful Days in July”. Kara explained how an upset stomach at work grew worse and worse until the pain became unbearable during the July 4th holiday week. She told of being sick, then extremely sick, overwhelmingly nauseous and finally almost paralyzed in pain as she went from home rest to a walk-in clinic to her doctor to a hospital emergency room to then being rushed into emergency surgery! Kara related the fear and worry that surrounded her as she discovered that she had appendicitis and that her appendix was about to burst! The time was now 8:05 and the third part of the meeting had just started under the direction of General Evaluator Allen Monroe ATM. Three evaluators did their best to give enlightenment to our speakers. Ken Blake DTM spoke for Kevin, Errica Jamil gave advice for Angela and John Kirchner CC gave wisdom for Kara’s speech. When the clock struck 8:20, The Advisors of Speeches Past, Present and Future ASPP&F delivered some brilliant reports with appreciation to Grammarian Julie Remington, Timer Christopher Fama ACB, ALB, Time-loop Operator Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACS, CL. At 8:25, with time still on our side (yes it is) we heard some wonderful, positive feedback from our guests Danielle Dobbs, Scott Muhlbacer and Howard Elliot. Then at 8:30, like sands through the hourglass, these were the moments of our meeting coming to an end. This meeting will truly stand the test of time.

“Hooray for Hollywood!” and the April 16, 2016 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “At the Movies!” theme meeting at the Edgewater Branch Library! Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington called the meeting to order and led us with some words of wisdom by Star War’s Yoda: “Do or do not; there is no ‘try’.” The Toastmaster and director of this blockbuster production was Ken Walley DTM. Ken gave us a history of film from the 1880’s to the present. Along the way we sighted many, many movies starting with Georges Melies’s “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) all of the way to Disney’s “Frozen”(2013). The stars came out as well from Greta Garbo to Meryl Streep, from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to Sandra Bullock and George Clooney; it was a whirlwind story of the silver screen! Co-starring was first time Table Topics Master Julie Remington who brought with her a few questions involving her favorite actor, Jack Nicholson. Remembering Jack’s role of George Hanson in the film “Easy Rider” (1967) she asked Angela Abreu CTM if there was a time when she rebelled or had “taken a different path?” Angela said that often she disagrees with her husband but it is her daughter who “likes to create her own rules.” Angela said that “sometimes it is your mind that often guides your heart.” Nicholson’s role as Randle P. McMurphy the nemesis of Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1976) prompted Julie to ask Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB if she had a nemesis. Kara told the story of just starting a job and having a new co-worker treat her very rudely without provocation or reason. Working up courage, Kara confronted her colleague and found out why and a solution to the situation. Nicholson won an Oscar for his role as astronaut Garrett Breedlove who falls in love with his neighbor in “Terms of Endearment” (1983). Julie asked Rose Chery if she had any interesting neighbors to tell us about. She said that since she was new to America and barely able to speak English, her neighbor, a policeman, helped her to find her way around Orlando by giving her directions. In the movie “As Good As It Gets” (1997) Jack played Melvin Udall an insufferable man with a challenging case of OCD, leading to the question of “do you have any quirks?”  Steve Wood CC said that he does have a few quirks, one of them being that he is overly “passive-aggressive” sometimes, as in the case on a job that he did not like, Steve “just stopped working.” Amusingly, said Steve “no one noticed.” In the 2003 film “Something Got to Give” Nicholson’s character Harry Sanborn falls in love with his complete opposite Erica played by Diane Keaton while dating Erica’s daughter. Julie asked Ben Quiroz CC, CL if he had ever had a relationship with a big age difference. He said that he had dated older women and some from different cultures but he admired Nicholson for still being able to impress young starlets like Jennifer Lawrence! Tonight was a very special night of prepared speeches as Club #28 featured two Ice Breakers as well as a speech by a Distinguished Toastmaster! Our first Ice Breaker speech was by Dr. Jenny Ouyang who told a story of remarkable scope and academic determination, titled “To Live, To Learn.” Inspired by her father to study hard from a young age, she excelled at a highly recognized university in China but was still unable to find a top medical position after graduation. “I needed more social and political skills.” She said. She was able to secure a post through her family but realized that she was unhappy at the hospital. After getting married, she took an opportunity to study at the University of Miami to earn her PhD in medicine. Working on her doctorate while raising a family caused Jenny a “great amount of stress.” That stress was increased even more by having to move to New York City to train in the field of Pathology, not to mention surviving the brutal winters. At the first chance her family moved back to warm, sunny Florida where she secured a position at Florida Hospital here in Orlando. Joe Young’s speech was titled “The Ideas are Mine!” and it started with the premise that “small men seek pleasure, common men seek things and great men seek ideas.” He told of being brought up in a successful family where his had a “self-indulgent childhood.” But soon learned that getting everything you want really brought nothing. In his youth, he sought to give to others and to give back. He only discovered by doing this that his fellow humans were narcissistic, self-serving and “poisonous to those around them.” He searched intellectually for an answer beyond the materialistic and found that reaching ideals served as a “higher level and an inner light.” That the “world may be beyond your control but you control your own ideals” which has become his life path for now. Our third speech, titled “I Dare You” was presented by Ken Blake DTM told the story of a dare by his brother to let his father’s treasured parakeet “Pretty Boy” out of his cage to fly around the house. Ken took the dare but the beloved bird flew out of an open door never to be seen again! In a panic, the family raced to Woolworths Store’s pet section to find a replacement parakeet with the same markings, size and color as the now lost “Pretty Boy”. Incredibly, they found the perfect bird, an exact replica! When the father came home he knew something was wrong. Pretty Boy had forgotten every word he had taught him and he would not even speak at all! For years the family kept up the ruse. Then one day on his death bed, Ken’s father whispered “I know about Pretty Boy… Pretty Boy never laid eggs!” The moral of course was “Never take that dare!” These were three marvelous speeches! Amazingly the evaluations rivaled the excellence of the speeches themselves. Master Evaluator Ben Quiroz CC, CL started with the review for Jenny’s speech, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB gave uplifting and positive feedback for Joe’s Ice Breaker and Allen Monroe ATM added and insightful look back at Ken B’s speech. It was two-thumbs up for the Critics Corner Popcorn Lovers (CCPL): Roll the credits: Angela Abreu CTM served double-duty as Grammarian and AH Counter, Steve Wood CC was the Timer as well as Key Grip and Monique Smith severed again as our Vote Counter. A wonderful job was performed by all! This meeting was very much like a blockbuster hit of a movie! It had action, love, heartbreak… JOY! We laughed… we cried… we were mesmerized by the exploits of beautiful starlets and their handsome co-stars,,,, The End!

The April 9, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Traditions” theme meeting upheld the long standing tradition of brilliant meetings. Club #28 has moved to the Edgewater Branch Library for five weeks but the change of venue did not even slow us down. Christopher Fama ACB, ALB started the meeting with a quote about traditions by T.S. Eliot: “Tradition without intelligence is not a tradition at all.”  Our Toastmaster for the meeting was Jack Wharton CC, CL who brought to light a number of “Club #28 Toastmaster traditions” He mentioned the three parts of the meeting, how the room was set up, the way the lectern is presented to the next speaker and of our custom of starting the meeting with the Pledge to the Flag. He also told us about some of his own family traditions such as when his uncle and brother play Frisbee golf “tournaments” in order to win an original “Frisbee pie pan trophy”. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM observed the ritual questions and answers session with some very challenging queries. The first question “Tell us of an interesting tradition that you or your family or even someone else you know observes.” Was asked of Kevin Phillips who told of a Thanksgiving tradition with his family where all of his brothers and sisters kids have a blast roughhousing and playing with him after the Thanksgiving meal. The next question was for Ken Blake DTM who was asked “What is important about tradition in society?” Ken told of some of the important Jewish traditions he observed in his family such as Passover and how these teach the heritage and history (often through song) of the family’s beliefs. “Do family values and traditions adapt to each new generation?” was asked of Rosalyn Porter ACG. Rosalyn believed that the traditions and values were unchanging and it was the family that evolves through them! Awesome answer! Steve Wood CC replied that “he keeps the traditions that he likes and throws out the ones that he does not like.” when he was asked about the difference between traditions and superstitions. The next question challenged Julie Remington to make up a tradition… involving liquid chocolate, a small rural village and the month of April… and remember that we are rated “G”. Julie told of April fool pranks that were played in a rural village named “Buffalo” where the villagers collected nuts, berries and twigs from the forest and covered them in chocolate and then feed them to unsuspecting victims! “Some were poisoned” she said. Our newest member Monique Smith was asked if there was a tradition that she would like to start. Noting that her friends at work needed to relax and be friendlier towards each other, she suggested a karaoke night at her workplace! Ken noted that “some traditions are dangerous, like college hazing rites, dropping and catching  babies tossed from buildings for ‘good luck’ or plunging yourself into freezing lakes.” He asked Christopher Fama ACB, ALB if dangerous traditions should be stopped by the government even if it infringes upon the sacred beliefs of a religion or culture?  Christopher said that it was a very tough question but a “safety issue” should be involved and traditions should be protected by the law. “Do traditions slow progress?” was given to Angela Abreu CTM who thought instead that they “preserve something good for future generations.” The last question was bravely answered by Rose Chery . “What is a great tradition?” she said that traditions are renewed in families “after every 10 years.” Wonderful speeches are a tradition with Club #28 and we had three brilliant efforts on this night starting with an Ice Breaker speech by Manuel Michel titled simply “Ice Breaker!” Manuel took us on a journey from his family farm in Idaho where he learned first hand about farming and growing crops. He explained about his growing love for agriculture which led to a degree at Oregon State University and later a law degree from Texas Tech. After some years of working in food research and development he was offered the position as the Executive Director of the National Mango Board which represents growers and distributors of mangoes across the United States. “My vision is to bring a love of mangoes to America!” said Manuel. He also described a loving wife and daughter and a message he would like to give to the youth: “Set goals and then work hard to reach them!”  Our second speaker Alexander Rivas CC gave a speech from the Advanced Humorously Speaking manual which was titled “My Hero is a Billionaire”. Bringing to light that his hero basketball legend Michael Jordan was recently added to the Forbes Magazine “Billionaires List”  and that his former rival Isaiah Thomas was not, Alex read us a letter that Michael might have written to Isaiah reminding him of that fact… and doing a little “trash talking” business- style. It was hilarious! The third speaker, Allen Monroe ATM let us in on some of his speaking secrets in a presentation called “Express Yourself!” Allen gave a great clinic on how to give a powerful speech including how to “set the stage”, “find what your audience wants” (Allen said that the only thing your audience cares about is “what’s in it for me?”), “speaking with passion” and “living the speech!” This was a dynamic and helpful speech for anyone who wanted to become a better communicator! These three speeches all required skillful and adept instruction by our evaluation team led by General Evaluator Toni McIvor CC, CL. Toni’s staff of Wilner Luders CC, CL (for Manuel); Marie Loeffler DTM (for Alex) and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for Allen) exceed all expectations. The Toastmasters Traditions Board (TTB) gave us some wonderful feedback thanks to 1st time Grammarian Julie Remington, Timer Ben Quiroz CC, CL; Memory Collector Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and 1st time Vote Counter Monique Smith. It was announced that Monique Smith had joined our club at the start of the meeting. Welcome Monque! Only a club, like Club #28 with over 80 years of tradition and service could create a wonderful meeting like this one.

The April 2, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Greatest of All Times” was well, one of the greatest of all time. Greatest Sgt. at Arms of this time, Julie Remington called the meeting to order and introduced Allen Monroe ATM who started the meeting with a quote from John Ruskin that “Those who pay little may risk losing it all.” Toastmaster Ben Quiroz CC, CL was our Toastmaster for the day and he mentioned Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina was voted by other authors as the greatest book ever written and Time magazine’s greatest speakers of all time were (in no specific order) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Fredrick Douglas, Winston Churchill, Lyndon Johnson, Patrick Henry, Socrates, and Ronald Reagan. The agenda for this meeting was changed from our regular program so that we could accommodate three advanced speeches that were somewhat longer in length than our usual speeches. The table topics session was moved to the end of the meeting so that we were sure to have time for the speeches and evaluations. Speaking first was Wilner Luders CC, CL with a powerful; and moving speech titled “Dreams in Danger: Rescue Mission” from the Professional Speaker advanced manual. Wilner explained that our hopes and dreams can be “achieved, crushed and restored.” He told us that persistence in reaching our dreams was the key, to go beyond the fear, find the passion, be flexible and get a game plan. “When you stand, your dreams will stand with you!” declared Wilner. The second speaker was Jack Wharton CC, CL who gave a very different type of speech from the Interpersonal Communication advanced manual titled “Defusing Verbal Criticism”. Jack showed us how to use verbal strategies to deflect criticism and negativity. These wise and useful tips were showcased with role playing in a scene where Jack attempted introduce a new computer software system to “Dr.” Ken Walley DTM. Some of Jack’s advice was “do not take criticism personal”, “be open to the advice being given and even validate their right to a point of view” and most importantly, “to listen”. Also giving a speech from the Professional Speaker manual was Toni McIvor CC, CL titled “The Basic ABCs to the XYZs”. This excellent speech, showed the building blocks of selling through a lifetime of Toni’s experience and personal stories. From working in an Algerian wine shop in Scotland, to overcoming prejudice during a job interview and other interesting true life narratives we learned the importance of crafting rapport, carrying on with the task, creating unique products and “to always be closing”… and many other useful and imaginative ways of honing the art of selling. We had three wonderful speeches. Due to the time constraints of the meeting we went directly into the evaluation part of the evening hosted by Angela Abreu CTM as our General Evaluator. Our evaluations were by some of the more distinguished members of our club: Ken Walley DTM (for Wilner), Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for Jack) and Ken Blake DTM (for Toni). Also distinguished was the work of the Greatest Of All Techs (GOAT) who’s reports were another highlight thanks to Grammarian Kevin Phillips, Timer Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Ansel Adams Assistant Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Allen Monroe ATM and Vote Counter James Armbrust. At the end of our meeting Club #28 President Marie Loeffler DTM was able to ask some of those who had not had a chance to speak their opinions of who their favorite “greatest” was. The greatest TV show for Manual Michel was “Little House on the Prairie”. The greatest “sporting event” of Eddy Cezalien was the anime cartoons he watched as a kid. Michael Whittaker said that his pick for greatest talk show host was Jimmy Kimmel. We had two guests, Monique Smith and Shannon Knibble that gave us excellent feedback on the meeting as well.. One question that did not need to be answered was “What is the Greatest Toastmasters Club of All Time?” That, of course, is Club #28.

The only problem with the March 26th 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Parenting” theme meeting was that it could not be placed on the refrigerator door with a magnet. Eddy Cezalien CC, CL started the meeting with an invocation that started  with “A speech is like poetry”. Our Toastmaster-mom was Toni McIvor CC, CL who warned us that if we did not learn our lessons we would be sent to bed without our supper. In reality, she covered a number of important subjects about being a parent including children’s roles in adult situations such as public meetings, statistics on the effects of early-age motherhood, books on how to survive parenthood and how your own parents seemed to grow smarter as you grow older. Also seeing that we minded our P’s & Q’s, or more accurately, our Q’s and A’s, was Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal. Having only a few minutes to come up with the questions, Betsy came up with some tough ones on how to run a household starting with “How would you describe your parenting style?” for Ken Walley DTM. Ken said his was the “trial and error style” and what worked on the first child was used on the second, but “not always with the same result.” The second question was asked of Wilner Luders CC, CL: “What would you tell your kid about being a parent?” Wilner said that he would stress that it is important to “tell the truth” as a parent and to build trust with your sons or daughters. When asked about being “a pet parent” as opposed to being just “a parent”, Julie Remington said, jokingly (?), that “If I had had my two dogs before I had kids, I might never have had the kids.” She admitted to being a “doting and indulgent pet parent.” One of the many guests who became members tonight, Joe Young answered the question, “What did your parents do right?” Joe said that they instilled a sense of discipline, responsibility and confidence in him but that he found that he had to be very strong to live up to their sometimes unrealistic expectations. Steve Wood CC was asked who his favorite TV parents were. Admitting that he does not watch TV, he chose Fred and Wilma Flintstone. On a more serious note, he added that with future over-population we should greatly consider the world in which a child is being brought into. “In a world without enough living space, sanitation or even clean water; having a child is not only wrong, it’s evil.” Ken Blake DTM was asked if he had any parenting regrets. He kind of wished that he had introduced them more to the world of Toastmasters. He noted that he was very proud of all three of his sons to Toastmasters earlier, but was amazed at how different they turned out to be from each other. At the end of the meeting, four other members and future members were asked “What would you regard as an ideal trait of a good parent?” Michael Whittaker said that it would the ability to “recognize and develop the talent of their children.” Rosalyn Porter ACG said that it is imperative to be able to establish a framework in the relationship that gives the child enough space to experience life. Franklin Santos underscored the essential principal of teaching patience. Rose Chery responded that it was important to “become a friend of your child and to share in the joy of their world.” All of these were fantastic and very different answers to the same question! We had another three remarkable speeches, even more so when taking into account that two of our speeches were volunteered on the spur of the moment. Angela Abreu’s (CTM) speech however was a well-prepared presentation titled “Demystifying Acupuncture”. Angela with the help of a number of props and examples, which included a needle in her finger, made a strong case for the scientific validity of Acupuncture. She told a story of how a member of President Nixon’s 1971 China delegation was treated for appendicitis with acupuncture during the trip. This led to more study of this centuries-old treatment in the United States. She described modern experimentation with MRIs that have helped to explain how acupuncture works. This speech was truly educational and insightful. The second speech, a “hip-pocket” speech by Christopher Fama ACB, ALB titled “Change” traced a three year period in his life when he had to redefine himself a number of times as well as dealing the with emotional turmoil caused by personal and professional change. It was a remarkable tribute to his, and in effect all of our, gifts of adaptability. Another “off-the –cuff” speech was given by Allen Monroe ATM titled “Suing Yourself to Prosperity!” Given as the introduction to a lecture series on how to manipulate the legal system by suing others to make you rich; Allen’s dark-humor speech gave a number of examples of those who have earned big bucks by winning lawsuits. “Why work hard the ‘old traditional way’ of holding a job, when you can simply, ACCIDENTLY… fall down in a theme park?” Reminding us that “attorneys are our friends and wet floors are our opportunities” Allen urged us to sign up for the class and “find your lawsuit ticket to a better life!”  Led by General Evaluator Ben Quiroz CC, our three “parental guides” in evaluations were Eddy Cezalien CC, CL (for Angela); Wilner Luders CC, CL (for Christopher) and Ben himself giving the evaluation for Allen’s speech. They all spared the rod and spoiled the speakers. The Positive Parents of Instruction (PPI) also keep the household in order with some astute perspectives thanks to Grammarian Jack Wharton CC, CL; Timer Ken Walley DTM, Watchful Eye Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Julie Remington. This was a special night as all five of our guests and returning past members pledged to join Club #28! Welcome Rose Chery and Joe Young and welcome back Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Michael Whittaker and Franklin Santos. When you think about it, The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 is like a family. We support and help each other to learn and grow. We have fun and we care about other.  We try to have a positive impact on our community and society. Our parents must have done something right.

The March 19, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Volcanoes” themed meeting exploded in an eruption of spectacular speeches, table topics and evaluations. The spacious meeting room at the Park Lake Presbyterian Church was filled with members and visitors even though we were not meeting at our regular venue. Ken Walley DTM got the meeting off to an explosive start with an invocation on the subject of fear saying that we should “profess courage and act accordingly.” Our Vulcanologist and Toastmaster for the evening was Betsy Carvajal who gave us tons of information on volcanoes including the different types of volcanoes and information on eruptions all over the world including Mt. Villarrica in Chile that erupted last week; where Betsy was whitewater rafting just less than a year ago!. Betsy warned us of super-volcanoes such as in Yellowstone where a level 8 on the volcanic eruption scale could blow up it’s 50 miles wide caldera and cause an explosion 1000 times more powerful than the Mt. St. Helen eruption in 1980. Toni McIvor’s (CC CL) incredible Table Topics session also caused awe with her creativity and research that went into her questions. Speaking of some people who lived on or by active volcanoes, she asked Allen Monroe ATM what was the “Craziest place you’ve ever seen or heard of where you would not like to live?” Allen said the craziest place would be in our imaginations like being on the “Titanic with zombies!” Remembering her non-fazed waiter during a dinner in Sicily when Mt. Etna was “grumbling”, Toni asked Helen Joseph DTM if she was ever in a situation where panic ensued but someone managed to remain cool. Helen told a tale of an escaped cow that terrified her whole family until someone came by who knew how to lasso it. On Toni’s menu that night was a dish titled “Grumbling Earth Fungus”, a tribute to the Mushrooms that are grown in the area’s rich lava soil. She then asked Jack Wharton CC, CL if he could tell us of a weird translation that he had heard in his travels. Jack said in China he had many odd translations including a friend of his that took on a rather embarrassing English name. Toni told of over 40,000 black basaltic columns in the Irish seas created by volcanoes but attributed to giants in Irish lore. She asked Ken Walley DTM if he knew any “mythical creatures of folklore” from his childhood. Ken told instead of exploring a “lava tunnel” underneath The Newberry National Volcanic Monument by Bend, Oregon, a mile-long tunnel carved out by receding lava. Toni told of “Fingal’s Cave on Staffa Island” a beautiful place that had inspired Fredric Mendelssohn to compose an overture in the cave’s honor. She asked Angela Abreu CTM if there was a piece of music that had special meaning to her. Angela said that in her native Dominican Republic, Merengue music conveys many emotions. In Fingal’s Cave, the renowned author Sir Walter Scott wrote of the “most extraordinary place I ever beheld.” Toni asked Christopher Fama ACB, ALB if he had read a book which had captivated him. Christopher remembered a book he read on a long flight titled “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell which was so good that he read it on the way back as well. The eruption of Icelandic volcano Mt. Eyjafjallajökull halted thousands of flights and stranded thousands of passengers which prompted Toni to ask: “Can you tell us about a precarious situation that you found yourself in?” Shannon Knibble remembered a time that she accidentally spooked the horses of her riding tour in Hawaii which caused a beginning rider to be bucked off! Noting that human sacrifices have been made to appease the anger of the volcano, Steve Wood CC was asked about his opinion of ritualistic ceremonies. Steve pointed out that through the ages ritualistic ceremonies have been a trial and error way of deleting gods as well as undermining the effectiveness of human sacrifice. Later on in the meeting Wilner Luders CC, CL was asked if there was a book he read as a child that made an impact upon him. Wilner said that a book he read in Haiti titled “The Young Man Facing Life” made a great difference in what he believed to be possible and encouraged him to rise above challenges as he met them while taking control of his circumstances. We also enjoyed three speeches that gave us the verbal fireworks that reminded us of a breathtaking volcano explosion at night! Speaking first was Kenza Wilhite with her 4th speech titled “The Five Languages!” Kenza explained that one of the main reasons that couples have trouble communicating is because they are often speaking a different “love language.” She explained that people often try to show love in different ways such as physical touch, spending quality time, through words of affirmation, in acts of service and by gift giving. “What love language do you speak?” she asked. Speaking second was Alexander Rivas CC. Alex’s project from the “Speaking to Entertain” Advanced Manual was to give a dramatic talk. His speech “Be a Witness” accomplished that and intensity moved his audience. His speech centered around J.T. Lewis, the brother of Jessie Lewis, a victim of the Sandy Hook School shooting who instead of letting his life fall into despondency, learned from the stories of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide a half a world away. After communicating with them he learned that nothing and no one can steal from him his joy and happiness that can be found by giving back to others. It was an essential message for all of us who heard his speech. The last speaker, the Rev. Walk Jones DTM doing a project from the advanced manual “Interpretive Reading” preformed the first part of the famous “I Have A Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The first part of his speech is rarely quoted but is just as meaningful and powerful as it’s more famous ending. Walk did a wonderful job of putting his own style to the speech without losing any of Dr. King’s authority or significance. All three speakers in their own way made an impact on their audience. All three of our evaluators as well made an impact upon our speakers who were led by General Evaluator Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Eddie had tremendous support from his team of Ben Quiroz CC, CL (for Kenza); John Kitchner CC (for Alex) and Ken Blake DTM (for Walk). Like unstoppable lava flows, the helpful advice from the reports of our Molten Knowledge Magma Chamber (MKMC) erupted with wisdom thanks to Grammarian Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Timer Jack Wharton CC, CL; Cello- seismograph Monitor Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Christopher Fama ACB, ALB and Vote Counter Barbara Cusack ACS, CL. We heard a number of animated and open-hearted compliments about the meeting from our guests Rose Chery, Omid Kazravan, Nicholas Marino, Shannon Knibble and Robert Crapanzano. This meeting exploded like Krakatoa with fellowship, fun and insight… what a blast!

The entire room was buzzing with excitement for the March 12, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Bees” themed meeting. Barbara Cusack ACS, CL started the meeting with an invocation about “being myself” and led us in the Pledge to the Flag. Our “queen bee” for the evening was Toastmaster Angela Abreu CTM who told of the different types of bees from the Bumble bee to the Africanized Honey Bee AKA “killer bees”. Angela spoke of the roles that bees plays within the hive: workers, drones and, of course the queen. She also brought to light a major threat to the world’s bee population, the Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Angela told us of the importance that bees have on our ecology. “Bees are the future of our food supply” said Angela, “We depend upon them greatly.” Flying into the hive with some wonderful questions was Table Topics Master Ben Quiroz CC, CL who first sought the nectar of knowledge from Barbara Cusack ACS, CL with a question about what was the busiest time of her life. Barbara remembered, not so fondly, of a time that she took care of her first husband when he was sick. Noting that bees have a “hyper-developed sense” he asked guest Joe Young what his super sense would be. Joe replied that he would “just settle for regular senses” saying that he has challenges with “just everyday” memory and coordination. Saying that hives get attacked from other bees and even wasps, Ben asked Ken Blake DTM if he had had any “most unexpected guests” lately. Ken said that just this morning he got a call from Ken Walley DTM summoning him to his shop to fix his car with a broken serpentine belt he had shredded. Only a couple of days before he had to rescue Ken’s wife Diana, her car had blown its radiator! Christine Abreu was given the task of saving us from killer bees! She said “I’m not! They can send a whole swarm after us, but I love bees!” Ben said that killer bees invaded Florida in 1992 and asked Christopher Fama ACB, ALB what group that he was rocking to at that time. Chris said he was a big fan of the group Rush and remembered meeting them after a party at 4:30 in the morning. Saying that the bee is often used as a mascot, like for Honey Oats cereal, Ben asked Eddy Cezalien CC how he would compete against their bee mascot. Eddy said that he would place misleading and un-true ads demolishing the bee’s reputation and their marketing campaign. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was asked a question that was somehow related to bees, wondering how she would get out of a speeding ticket. “Be straight up and straightforward.” She said commenting on how it worked once, “honesty is the best policy.” Although she did admit that did not work for her the last time that she tried it.  The next question was “Who was your favorite “bees-knees” hero as a kid?” was answered by Manual Michel who remembered the baseball and football legend Bo Jackson. Manual said that “Before he got injured, he was the best!” The last question was asked of Dr. Jenny Quyang who after being informed that bees never sleep, was asked if anything keeps her up at night. Jenny, who works in the health care field, said she worries about having a lawsuit filed against her and is happy that she has the required insurance. This meeting was sure to be a success because of the high quality of the speeches, starting with Julie Remington’s fourth speech titled “Breathe to Relax”. Julie actually gave a demonstration of breathing techniques that help reduce stress and relax the body. Through a three step method, she showed us how to find a small refuge in the mist of an “over-connected and multitasking world” and to find “some peace in the rhythm of our own breathing.” It was a wonderful and practical lesson. Kevin Phillips second speech titled “Three Dragons” a guide to making a positive impact by doing your absolute best.  The three paths that one must travel to ensure maximum achievement according to Kevin are 1.) Serving a valued purpose, 2.) Empower others to deliver results and 3.) work in a fulfilling environment. This speech had excellent and rewarding advice to make a positive impact beyond your-self. These two speeches were given encouraging guidance from our Evaluation team that was headed by General Evaluator Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Both of the evaluators, Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Julie) and Toni McIvor CC, CL (for Kevin) had impressive speaking experience and were extremely helpful in their reviews. It could be said that this meeting would have been a honeycomb of confusion if not for the To Be or Not To Be Keepers (2B/nt2BK) that gave their reports at the end of the meeting… brilliant work by Grammarian Ken Walley DTM, Timer Christopher Fama ACB, ALB, Photo-culturist Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Alex Rivas CC and Vote Counter Betsy Carvajal! Our many guests, thanks to a class brought in by communication teacher Sonia Mariani included Corey Parker, Marie Garcia, Tamara Corredor, Jean Baptise and some returning guests Joe Young, Shannon Knibble and Christopher Fama ACB, ALB. What a buzz! This meeting was a beehive of activity: collecting the sweet honey of fellowship and wisdom. On Thursday night at Club #28 there is no where else to bee.

The March 5, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Computers” theme meeting was a real-time positive result with no 404 errors, in others words, a fantastic meeting! Before moving into cyberspace and beyond, Christine Abreu led us with an invocation using a message about “movement” and moving “from the old to the new with a joy of expectation and discovery.” Introduced next was 3D enhanced uber-digital hologram Walk Jones DTM as our Toastmaster for the evening. He brought with him terabytes of data about the history of computers and little known facts about the men who created these modern wonders. “The word computer came from the term of a ‘person making computations’ first referred as to a  Richard Waitrath in the 1600’s” said Walk who would later trace the computer through  a 1872 tide-predicting machine, the works of Charles Babbage and Alan Turing and on into our times of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Calculating the answers of her questions was Table Topics Master Angela Abreu CTM. Processing the first reply of her input of “What was your first computer experience like?” was Max Pena. Max remembered working with a MacIntosh Apple with DOS and was impressed at being able to change fonts! He also talked about the modern Windows 8 that was so advanced that he went back to Windows 7. Our guest Joe Young was asked about how young people see the future of computers. Joe said that they were being given false expectations “like a gold rush in California but only being able to reach Utah.” He said that social media has made technology the answer to all of our problems. The next topics feed of “What is the value you see in computers?” was developed by Wilner Luders CC, CL. He said that instant access to information and links that can move at a high speed and in a more efficient time were the major contribution of computers. Wilner noted however that it is still “a question of what goes in, is what comes out.” The next question of how children share modern technology was answered by Dr. Jenny Quyang who said that because of the constant use of video games, she has had to put regulations on when her kids can use the computer and how they use it. On the same subject, Elisa Pena noted that a distance between kids is created without the physical contact that is lost through smart phones and tablets. She said that it is important to have kids actually interact with each other. When questioned about what part the internet plays at her job, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB remembered a time when only one computer had the internet at her workplace and everyone had to share it. “In a short 25 years” she said, “the office has become almost completely dependent upon the internet.” We had another three remarkably entertaining speeches this week starting with a brilliant effort by Ben Quiroz CC, CL. Ben’s project from the Advanced Storytelling Manual was to tell ‘a personal story’. His story tiled “Lost in Pride” about his found- then- lost- then- found- again love affair with a Colombian dancer he met in South Korea had everything: romance, heartbreak, fights, thrills and adventure! Ben’s speech should be made into a movie someday. Speaking second was Allen Monroe ATM with another unforgettable speech “Moments in Life”. It started with Allen holding his dying 2 year old son in his hands and feeling helpless. In a flashback he remembered his adoption and then finding out that his son had major medical problems and recalling the incredible lengths his family went to try save him. All of this flashed by him as a desperate prayer came from his lips: “Please God, give us another chance.” At the end of the speech we learned that… Our third speaker giving his seventh speech in the Basic Manual was James Armbrust titled “Advertising: From Word of Mouth to Facebook  James covered the history of Advertising as well as the current tends and how this “bombardment” effects us. “From print ads, billboards, newspapers, the internet, radio, social media, cable, wifi and in other forms and directions, we are incessantly manipulated, even at an unconscious level” said James, “and it is almost inescapable.” General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM headed a group of some of Club 28’s most efficient speech analyst. Alexander Rivas CC (for Ben), Betsy Carvajal (for Allen) and Jack Wharton CC, CL (for James) all lived up to expectations with some excellent advice. The Word Window Toolkit (WWT) also provided a tallying of the positive moments of the evening thanks to Grammarian Kenza Wilhite, Timer Julie Remington, Input/Output Visual/Auditory Streaming Host Steve Wood CC, 1st time AH Counter Manuel Michel and Vote Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL. Our guests Joe Young and Wilner Luders CC, CL were extremely affirmative with their feedback. Wilner announced that he was re-joining our club! Welcome back Wilner! Let’s feed all of this data into the computer, shall we? Processing…Processing…Processing… Best meeting ever!

The February 26, 2015 International Speech and Table Topics Contests proved to be yet another great triumph for Club #28. The International Speech and Table Topics Contests are often considered to be the preeminent event of any club’s Toastmasters year and the 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 contents were some of the best in it’s long and storied history. Among the many of the Toastmaster elite who were on hand or competed in the contests were no less than 9 past Club #28 presidents! A number of other Toastmaster dignitaries, members, past members and guests showed up to pack the Herndon Branch library meeting room to almost over-flowing.

pastpresidents

Club #28 Presidents present at the 2015 International Speech and Table Topics Contests: Back row: Wilner Luders CC, CL, Helen Joseph DTM, Jack Wharton CC, CL; Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Ken Walley DTM. Steve Wood CC. Front row: Walk Jones DTM, Marie Loeffler DTM  and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL.

The contests were called to order by Club #28 Sergeant at Arms Julie Remington and Kevin Phillips led us in the invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Introduced next was our Contest Master Allen Monroe ATM. Allen did a remarkable job of guiding the meeting, keeping the contests on time while also lending humor, entertainment and providing a deeper insight of the contestants as the evening went on. Also assuring the success of this special night was the hard work of our Chief Judge Betsy Carvajal and the Contest Sgt. at Arms Eddy Cezailen CC, CL. Once Betsy declared “Let the contest begin!” the Table Topics Contest started. All three contestants Ken Blake DTM, Ken Walley DTM and Jack Wharton CC, CL answered the same question: “What would you do more of if you could go back five years in your life?” Ken Blake DTM said that he would become even more involved in Toastmasters and he would have joined more clubs. Ken Walley DTM answered that he would have liked to have spent more time with his family and less time “doing things that I thought were important but were really not very important at all.” Jack Wharton CC, CL had a similar answer about spending more time with family but also said that he would “spend less time sleeping” and more time being proactive. All the answers highlighted the contestant’s resourceful abilities of extemporaneous speaking and all of the speakers were very impressive! For the second year in a row Jack Wharton CC, CL won a trophy, this time for 1st place Table Topics. Ken Walley DTM finished in the second spot. In the International Speech Contest we had four moving, meaningful and mesmerizing speeches. Starting with a powerful speech by John Kirchner CC titled “Making Adjustments”. John spoke about the night of his serious, life-threatening accident that left him mostly paralyzed from the neck down at only 17. But the speech was not about John, it was about his father who gave him inspiration, guidance and most of all an example to follow…and even succeed to accomplish his dreams… including flying in a fighter jet! It would be impossible not to have been moved by the wisdom and courage of John’s father in this speech, as well as by John himself. Speaking second with a great message titled “Doing what is Right” was Barbara Cusack ACS, CL.  In her speech, Barbara learned of her ex-husband’s brother’s death in the obituaries and decided to “do the right thing” by visiting her ex-sister in law. Although with mixed and some bitter memories of their past, Barbara discovers that her sister-in-law is a truly beautiful person who has an immense impact on her life. By putting aside Barbara’s negative feelings of the past, she changed both her and her sister-in-law’s future for the better. The third speaker was Marie Loeffler DTM who told a tale titled “The Difference” of coming to grips with defining one’s own flaws and improving on them through a trust in who you are. Her speech featured a story of conflict between Marie and a schoolmate fighting over a crayon when the teacher breaks it up and asks “What is more important… a crayon or your friend?”  It would turn out to be a life lesson that established many of her core values. The final speech was by Errica Jamil titled “Breaking a Generational Curse” another powerful speech with a highly meaningful and important message. Errica told of growing up in a completely dysfunctional family with incidents of fighting, domestic violence, police intervention and other household horrors. “My family should have been on “The Jerry Springer Show” said Errica. She also told of how she was able to escape, find a new life of hope and peace and be able to break the generational curse while raising her son. This speech could provide hope to many people facing such a crisis. All four were remarkable and unforgettable speeches and each in their own way deserved to win this contest. The judges awarded John the 1st place International Speech award and Marie Loeffler DTM came in second place. After each contest, Contest Master Allen Monroe ATM asked the contestants why they chose to participate in the contests, even these answers were inspiring. Also magnificent was the work of those functionaries who made the contests possible: Timers Kevin Phillips and Ben Quiroz CC, CL;  Vote Counter Toni McIvor CC, CL and Kenza Wilhite, Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington, Contest Sgt. at Arms Eddy Cezalien CC, CL and Remembrance Reminder Steve Wood CC. Special thanks go out to Chief Judge Betsy Carvajal, Contest Master Allen Monroe ATM and our club Vice President of Education and the Contest Chairman Ben Quiroz CC, CL! Also thank you to all of our judges! The winners and second place finishers will now go to compete at the Area 31 Contests on Sunday March 22, 2015 at Canvas, located in the Church Street Exchange at 101 S. Garland Ave. Orlando Fl. 32801… We will see you at Area!

There was nothing “quirky” about the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 19, 2015 “Quirky America!” meeting except for how good it was… OK, well, maybe a few things. James Armbrust started the meeting with a quote from “our quirkiest president” George W. Bush who commented on how that “in America that even a ‘C’ student can one day become president.” Our delightfully idiosyncratic Toastmaster Barbara Cusack ACS, CL kept the quirky-train rolling with stories of square-dancing tractors, banana memorial traditions, a Lego braille machine invention, Hemingway’s Key West cat population and a monster Bloody Mary recipe that you can eat with a fork! Also joining in the unusual fun was Table Topics Master Steve Wood CC who came up with some very original questions himself. Remembering coming across a bunch of cars buried nose first in the sand on a trip in Texas, Steve asked Kevin Phillips about his longest trip and the quirky things that he saw. Kevin told about being tired from driving and all of a sudden running over a dead horse in the road after a large truck had hit it first! Observing that American are too lazy to learn the Metric system even though it is easier than what we have now, Steve asked Julie Remington her feelings on this. Julie said she had trouble with math and that the “roman numerals of the super bowl and recipe cooking units” completely confound her. Using the Indian (India) holiday of Holi in which “everyone throws colored powder at each other”, Steve asked Dr. Jenny Ouyang what was the most “quirky holiday” for her. Adjusting to America from overseas, Jenny had a hard time understanding Halloween. She could not comprehend why her friend was dressed as a kangaroo. “Tell us about the quirkiest person you know?” was given to Ken Blake DTM. Ken pointed out fellow Toastmaster Brain Wheeler ATMB and re-told a speech of his that had Brian  posing as man and wife with his sister, dressed like rabbits for a “Let’s make a deal” type show to win a Camero. Which by the way, they did! Allen Monroe ATM was asked about quirkiest performances that he had ever seen. Allen nominated the “American public for voting in the income tax” He stated that they voted for “something so that anyone can owe something on anything!” Steve’s last question was for new member Manuel Michel: “What is your favorite quirky movie?”  Manuel said it was the ultra-weird move “Napoleon Dynamite” which inspired his fellow classmates to throw stuff out of the school bus windows. According to Manuel only “entertained the bus driver.” We had three remarkable speeches by some accomplished Club #28 speakers starting with Errica Jamil giving her 7th speech titled “Breaking the Ice”. Errica told us the story of how her son was afraid to order at a local mall food court and how “Tray and Jay at Chick-fil-A” got him to open up. Errica started her speech with:  “Close your eyes. Now picture you are at a Mall… in a food court… at a Chick-fil-A. Now open your eyes!” Alexander Rivas CC spoke about his family in a speech called “My Family”. He told about the birth of his son and how his daughter Sophie and he had supported his wife Juliana through her pregnancy which included a trip to Naples, Italy and being snowed in while in Philadelphia. He described a beautiful picture of a loving family. Alexander also showed us a picture of his family including his new son Jasiah Rivas. The third speaker John Kirchner CC gave his Competent Communicator graduation speech titled “Getting Out of the Well”. This was a powerful emotional rollercoaster of a speech that spoke to everyone who has faced depression and crisis in their life. He told of major personal challenges to him and his family and how he responded to them. “I had to focus on what I did have, not what had I lost” said John. “I found my soul-mate and if nothing else, all this was worth it.”  This speech was timely and meaningful to all who heard it. Congratulations John on your CC! The General Evaluator was Ken Walley DTM who said he was glad that he was not an evaluator because “the speeches were a challenge to find improvement.” This task was left to Ben Quiroz CC (for Errica), Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Alexander) and Christopher Fama ACB, ALB (for John). All of them excelled in their considerations of the presentations. Also making this meeting a eccentric success were the unique reports of the Curiously Correct Communicators (CCC) who were Grammarian Brain Wheeler ATMB, Timer Kenza Wilhite, Extraordinary Moment Collector Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Jim Stitt and Vote Counter Betsy Carvajal. We heard some peculiarly praiseworthy comments from our guests Christopher Fama ACB, ALB; Brian Wheeler, ATMB and Jim Stitt. It was also announced that Manuel Michel and Dr. Jenny Ouyang had become the club’s newest members! Welcome Jenny and Manuel! It was not odd, unusual or even quirky that this meeting was such a wonderful triumph. At Club #28 strangely fantastic meetings like this are the norm!

With Valentines Day approaching the theme for the February 12, 2013 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was, of course “Love”. Barbara Cusack’s (ACS, CL) opening message was about the theme, comparing love to a fruit. Bringing even more love to the meeting was Toastmaster Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB who expounded passionately about the most powerful force on earth while covering how we are affected in both a romantic sense as well as a society. “About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year, more cards than Christmas.” Was just one of the many interesting things we learned. We had a tandem Table Topics team as Ken Walley DTM covered until Table Topics Master John Kirchner arrived to finished the Table Topics session. Ken asked Rosalyn Porter ACG to define “love”. Rosalyn described love as a “powerful positive emotion that can be hard to control.” When asked to choose between chocolate and flowers, Barbara Cusack ACS, CL chose her Four Tias Black Bean and Corn Salsa, the “salsa that eats like a meal!” She also admitted she was “in sales and shameless.”   Steve Wood CC was asked for his thoughts on a possible alternative to Valentine’s Day for those who are single. He suggested it would be a good day to get a vasectomy. Thankfully at this time John Kitchner took over as Table Topics Master and limited the questions to only one: “What does love mean to you?” Ken Blake DTM recalled his 39 year marriage and how his wife understands him and the trust in each other they have built over the years. Guest Ted Allman CC also said he was married 39 years as well “but to different women” and in those years he still has not figured out what love means to him.  Another guest Pete Gurdal said that love required accepting and helping others unequivocally. Pete said that “Love is almost evil backwards.” Guest Ben Pyle said that love is an appreciation of the beauty of things such as “waking up on a beautiful day” and admiring your garden. The last question John asked was of Errica Jamil who said that love is listening to each other, supporting and encouraging while “being there when things get tough.” We had three speeches that could only be loved. The first speech titled “Paris” by Betsy Carvajal told of the “City of Love” recounting her visit there. She told of the studio apartment she stayed at for only 80 Euros a night, the amazing food and the visits to the Louvre, The National Museum of Modern Art, Versailles and many other amazing places. Betsy still captured the enchantment of romantic Paris. Speaking second and giving her third Club #28 speech was Kenza Wilhite with a speech titled “The Psychology of Stress”.  In this presentation, Kenza covered both the adverse and beneficial effects of stress. She described stress as a natural “fight or flight” reaction to perceived imminent danger. “I am feeling stress right now” said Kenza, “but I can’t fight, there is too many of you and I can’t use flight… I have to finish my speech!” The last speech was by Julie Remington titled “What’s in a Name?” a very interesting, and very funny speech about her grandchild being named Chrysler Napoleon Zingally. She covered the theory of “Nominative Determinism” (you become your name) as well a look at what celebrities have named their kids: Pilot Inspektor, Rocket, Apple, Blanket (Prince Michael II), Audio Science, Thin Muffin and my personal favorite Moon Unit Zappa. What a fun speech! Given the task of ending this epic meeting on time was General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM  who was blessed with three of the club’s most polished discourse tutors Jack Wharton CC, CL (for Betsy), Allen Monroe ATM (for Kenza) and Ben Quiroz CC (for Julie). All gave excellent advice and support. Speaking of support, this meeting would not have been the love-fest it turned out to be without the reports from the Words of Love & Fondness Hearts Club Band (WOL&FHCB) brought together as Grammarian Angela Abreu CTM, Timer Toni McIvor CC, CL; Visual Valentine Cupid Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Kevin Phillips and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. We had a number of guests that truly made this meeting special and spoke with much affection about the evening: returning guests Manual Michel and Afonzo Manuel along with Ben Pyle, visiting Toastmaster Ted Allman CC, Pete Gurdal and Tramiqua Chambers. Another guest, a former Division Governor, Josh Frank DTM paid a notable tribute to one of our members John Kirchner. For a meeting about Love there was nothing but Love for this meeting.

If there was a dynamic duo that would describe the February 5, 2015 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Dynamic Duo” theme meeting they would be named “Awesome and Fantastic!” The meeting started with Christine Abreu giving a “power thought” for the evening and leading us in the Pledge to the Flag. Playing the dynamic duo roles of teacher and entertainer was our Toastmaster Jack Wharton CC, CL who told of great duos of the past and present such as those in entertainment (The White Stripes), romance (Romeo & Juliet), Comedy (Martin & Lewis) and even in his own life with the shenanigans of Jack and his brother Bucky Wharton!  Also bringing a double-dose of amusement to the meeting was Table Topics Master Walk Jones DTM. Walk first asked Julie Remington “What is you favorite comedy team?” Julie said that Key and Peel (Michael Key and Jordan Peel) were her favorites.  Julie said that “they show the absurdity of everyday situations and make it funny.” She also mentioned she was a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld as well. Walk wondered about singing duos and asked Toni McIvor CC, CL what her favorites were. She mentioned that the Beatles were now “a duo” but she also gave praise to the brilliant Everly Brothers. Marie Loeffler DTM was asked about great dancing duos. She admitted that one dance team rose above them all: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers who made the “difficult look beautiful and so romantic.” Our guest Manuel Michel spoke about the “National Mango Board” telling us about the “most consumed fruit in the world” and where mangoes come from. When asked about how electric dynamos work, Christine Abreu brought up the electric duo of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. “Edison was a thief!” said Christine, “He stole from Tesla!” She also mentioned the “rap war” on Youtube between the two scientists. Afonzo Manuel was given the question of “What is the most interesting place you have ever lived?” He spoke of Brazil and other places and said he had a “respect of the planet and for other cultures.” Later in the meeting a “dynamic duo” of our own, Max and Elisa Pena spoke of each other answering the question “What is the best thing you know about each other?” Max said that Elisa is the “friendliest person I know” and that “she can get along with anyone.” Elisa said that Max always wants to “support her and help her in any job and in any way he can.” We had three speeches by three of the club’s more experienced speakers starting with Ben Quiroz CC. Ben did an interpretation of a West African folk tale by Verna Aardema  titled “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears”. Ben added to this remarkable story with a wonderful performance by taking on the characters of a number of animals including a loin, an iguana, an owl, a crow and a mosquito. The story told of the repercussions of lying and the panic it can cause. The second speech was by our newest member Alexander Rivas CC titled “Value Your Mother” It told the story of Rivas’s mother in law who was kidnapped by a heavily armed South American guerrilla gang. He told of the harrowing abduction, the demand for ransom, the family’s intense fear and worry and the heroic rescue. What a story! Ken Walley DTM gave an off -the-cuff speech about the upcoming Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests titled “February 26th”. Ken reminded the club about the importance of the contests, explained what they are and encouraged everyone to get involved. “It takes the efforts of the entire club to make our contests a success!” said Ken. These three speeches were reviewed by our evaluation team led by Allen Monroe ATM who introduced his helpers Toni McIvor CC, CL (for Ben), Ken Blake DTM (for Alexander) and Marie Loeffler DTM (for Ken W.). Besides the excellent speech evaluations, the meeting evaluation given by Allen was most notably helpful and insightful. This meeting would not have been nearly as amazing if it were not for the efforts of the Defiant Defenders of Dynamic Dialect (DDDD) who bravely set forth their reports; thanks Grammarian Betsy Carvajal, Timer Angela Rivera CC, AH Counter Kenza Wilhite, Anti-selfie Creator Steve Wood CC, and Vote Counter Angela Abreu CTM. Our first time guests Manuel Michel, Afonzo Manuel and Lasheen Ross-Williams gave us some excellent feedback on our meeting as did our self-described “ultimate visitor” Michael Whittaker. Also returning after an extended absence was Angela Rivera CC who said it was “like coming home” to be back at Club #28. We are glad to see you again too, Angela! This was a meeting that combined the best of both worlds, it was a dynamic duo of learning and entertainment.

It was “all in the family” for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 29, 2015 “Family” themed meeting. Jack Wharton CC, CL started the meeting with a quote from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. This evening’s Toastmaster was Ken Walley DTM who started the evening telling about how his grandmother and mother kept diaries from the end of the 1890’s into the 1980’s and how he was inspired to keep a journal as well giving his family a 100 year old, day-by-day history. He also told about the different kinds of families covering Nuclear, Extended, pre-American and European families as well as looking into some of the recent trends of evolving family roles. Ken also quoted some poignant thoughts from Sandra Bullock, Barbara Bush, Guy Lafleur and Walt Disney about family. Table Topics Master Betsy Carvajal also came prepared with some questions about the kinfolk starting with one for Kevin Phillips “Describe a dysfunctional family moment.” Kevin told about the day that his sister was giving birth and how the stressed out situation adversely affected the common sense his parents. Kenza Wilhite was asked who her most inspirational family member was. She paid a wonderful tribute to her father. Julie Remington was asked if there were any “pet family members”. She told us about her two dogs, Stella and Stanley and one very impressive incident in which Stanley did his very best to ruin a date. Our guest Bill McVicer was asked if he had a family moment that involved money. Bill thought about not getting paid back a loan that he had made to a family member. Errica Jamil was asked to compare her family to a TV show. Errica picked the “Jerry Springer Show”! She said that “dysfunctional was a good description” of her family but over time, she is starting to re-connect with them. Returning guest Elisa Pena was asked “what family member might love giving advice and telling the same stories over and over again a little too much?” She said it was… herself! She admits that she calls her mom almost everyday and asks “How are you doing?” Steve Wood CC was asked if he had a “Cousin Eddie” from the National Lampoon Chrostmas Vacation movie in his family. Steve said “thankfully no!” although he admitted being entertained by the movie moron. The last question was for Angela Abreu CTM whom was asked for a “memorable family moment”. She related to us of the stories that her Grandmother told her of her family’s past when she was a child. We had three remarkable speeches on this evening, all of them very different in almost every way possible. Starting with James Armburst who gave paid a homage to the movie Die Hard with a speech titled “Nakatomi Tower ”.  James, playing the part of John McClane, told how he defeated the coldhearted Hans Gruber and single-handily destroyed all 13 terrorists who tried to take over the Nakatomi Tower in LA! It was thrilling! Next, using as illustrations Apple Company founder Steve Jobs and GPS technology, Marie Loeffler DTM delivered a speech that told of the ups and downs of achieving success. Her speech titled “Recalculating”, underlined how perseverance truly does pay off. The last speech, by Ken Blake DTM was a “hip pocket speech” that told the personal story of how a “gift” guinea pig took over Ken’s life. The story (as best I can describe it) that he told was of the heroic search and rescue of the guinea pig from a group of hungry cats and it’s new safe-haven home created by Ken at the insistence of his wife. These three brilliant speeches all got VIP treatment from our evaluation team led by General Evaluator Toni McIvor CC, CL. Toni called upon the experienced and wise council of evaluators John Kirchner (for James), Allen Monroe ATM (for Marie) and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (for Ken B.). Also helping to create the positive atmosphere of this gathering was the Toastmaster Nurturing Family (TNF) of Grammarian Kevin Phillips, Timer Angela Abreu CTM, Photo Patriarch Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Julie Remington and Vote Counter Kenza Wilhite. All of our guests Bill McVicer, Alexander Riva, Elisa Pena and Max Pena each had many good things to say about the meeting.  Alexander and Max even joined our club! Welcome Alexander and Max! We are sincerely glad that you joined our happy family!

The January 22, 2015 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “Home Cooking” theme meeting was a tasty treat! Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington called the meeting to order. The meeting started with one of our guests Brandon Kling reading a quote from the Scottish spiritual teacher Eileen Caddy. This was a very appropriate start to the meeting as our Toastmaster was none other than our resident Scot, Toni McIvor CC, CL. In honor of the birthday of one of the most famous Scots of all, the poet Robert Burns; Toni regaled us with a description of his favorite home cooking: haggis, neeps and tatties. We learned that “haggis” was a pudding containing “the extra sheep’s parts” and that “neeps” is a rutabaga dish and that “tatties” are mashed potatoes. “No matter if it is in Scotland or America” said Toni, “the main ingredient that makes home cooking taste better is love.” Returning to the lectern with another edition of “National Enquirer Inquiries” was Allen Monroe ATM , this time with the “Home Cooking version”. We started with a question about the alleged bizarre eating habits of Jade Sylvester who munches on toilet paper with a “roll-a-day habit”. Christine Abreu was asked to comment on that. She wondered if Jade “crumpled or folded?” Christine said she “preferred homemade pizza herself.” The next question was about the “New Fat-Melting Pill” that could put the diet industry out of business by 2016!!” and was directed at our guest Ron Massey. Ron responded that he once ate “nothing but dog food for a month and lost 82 pounds.” Of course he said, “he got very sick…” Elisa Pena was lucky enough to draw National Enquirer’s issue with George Clooney being ordered on a diet by his wife. Elisa suggested that he cut down on fatty foods and work out more. Steve Wood CC was asked if he believed that Bill Clinton really was caught in a teen sex ring that will derail Hillary’s campaign. Steve said that he does not believe anything in the Enquirer and also suggested that to lose weight Cooney should look into the movie “Feed Up.”  He also admitted that for him cookbooks are often to complex for his home cooking. Allen quoted from the article “Curvy Kirstie’s Looking Hot!” asking guest Omar Matos how Kirstie Alley lost 50 pounds. He said that she used a condiment that had a very long and silly name to lose the weight. Ken Walley DTM was faced with the “proof” that Marie Osmond lost weight because of the “Nutrisystem program.” Ken said that more conventional ways of losing unwanted pounds might be better, and healthier than some of these lose-weight-quick programs.” The horror of Bruce Jenner, dressed in a flight attendant uniform photo prompted Dr. Jenny Ouyang to speak about anything else. She told us that she loves to cook at home and teaching kids how to cook. The shocking statement of a young teen that Prince Andrew “Licked my toes and said he loved my feet!” was offered for rebuttal by Max Pena who said that her “hormones were out of control” and that he kind of feels sorry that the Prince and Bruce Jenner being such targets for this kind of trash. At the end of the meeting Kenza Wilhite was asked what she cooks at home. Kenza said she likes to make her favorite Moroccan meals. We had two speakers who both brought to the table a sumptuous offering of oratorical delights. Our first speech was very special as Kevin Phillips gave his Ice Breaker speech titled “Being Engaged in Your Work”. Kevin told how he was inspired by the events of 9/11 while at Oakland University in Detroit to join the Air Force. It was not what he expected, mostly doing paperwork until he was finally sent to Iraq where he led a team for emergency response action. He brought that knowledge home with him and worked preparing cities for emergency as a city manager. After earning his MBA and working as a  company manager he has launched his own project management company here in Orlando. We got to know a driven, resourceful and yet a approachable member (and perhaps a future president) of our club! Our second speaker Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB delivered and amazing speech as a project from the “Professional Speaker” advanced manual titled “Embarrassed? So What?” This speech told of a number of embarrassing situations that Kara and members of her family had found themselves in and how to understand this is a part of life and to simply “move on from it.” At times it was like a vocal Marx Brother’s movie with stories of fire alarms being set off, wardrobe malfunctions, faux pas at dinner with the boss, flatulence workouts, being hit in the face with a softball and many other uncomfortable conditions but having a reassuring message that it happens to everyone and say “Oh well!” and just move on. Ben Quiroz CC handled the duties of the General Evaluator as well as being the evaluator for Kevin’s speech. Another excellent evaluation was turned in by Angela Abreu CTM for Kara’ s speech. The is no doubt that the Chefs de Vocabulaire (CdV) served up a report stew that left everyone wanting seconds thanks to Grammarian James Armbrust, Timer Betsy Carvajal, Celluloid Dessert Cook Steve Wood CC, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Julie Remington. We had many guests: Brandon Kling, Dr. Jenny Ouyang, Max Pena, Elisa Pena, Ray Romero, Patrick Kling, Rhonda Craig, Omar Matos, Katherine Massey and Ron Massey, all of whom had very positive feedback on the meeting. This meeting was like an unforgettable homemade meal carefully prepared and served with love.

It was a “happy-go-lucky” Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 15, 2015 “Words and Phrases” theme meeting! The meeting “started off with a bang” as our “newly minted” Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington called the meeting to order as well as providing a rousing invocation on the subject of enthusiasm! Club “Jack of all Trades” Barbara Cusack ACS, CL kept everyone completely entertained throughout our first regular meeting of the New Year. Barbara told us how powerful phases such as Moses’ “Let my people go!” and Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” had ongoing effects on history and culture. She explained how positive statements actually create “good vibrations” in our physical as well as our mental states. Barbara also gave us wonderful quotes from L.M. Montgomery, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot and others. She said that if she had to choose just one word to represent herself it would be “Mosaic” because of so many very different pieces that have to come together to be who she is. Also doing a “top-notch” job was our Table Topics Master Angela Abreu CTM! Her first question was for Ben Quiroz CC “What occasion makes you the most happy?” Ben said it was “nap time” and that he loves to sleep. He also said that these precious times are often short lived because his cat jumps on his head. Angela wanted to get our guests involved so the next question was asked of our visitor and teacher Vanessa Dyer. “How do you use words to motivate?” was given an excellent response from Vanessa who said she inspires with story telling, vivid descriptions and by painting word pictures. Another guest, Kevin Chrouch was asked what “cried over spilled milk” meant and to give an example. Kevin remembered he bought a 1964 Dodge as his 1st car and he was going to fix it up. However it was beyond repair. In the end, he learned a valuable life lesson that was almost worth the money he had sunk into the car. Another one of our visitors, Ron Masse was asked if he would pay “an arm and a leg” for something he really wanted. Ron explained that he often would try to make something at home that might be beyond his financial comfort zone. He noted that by the time he finished it, the cost of the item would now be a “dime a dozen”! James Armbrust was given the phase “Do you have any Grey Poupon?” to comment upon. James remembered the famous commercial and responded that he wondered just what he would put it on? He said it was far “to ritzy” and that he preferred regular yellow mustard. We ended up having three speeches that were all the “Cat’s pajamas.” Betsy Carvajal started off the speeches with Project 7 from the basic manual on researching a subject. For her project, she chose the topic of coconut oil. We learned more about coconut oil in 5 to 7 minutes than most will learn in a life time! Among the man uses we learned about were as a food, chap-stick, sun screen moisturizer, for oil pulling, as an anti-arthritic, weight loss agent and much more, she even told us of uses for coconut oil for her dog Daisy! She kept the speech interesting and informative! Speaking next with her 2nd speech titled “The Sugar BluesKenza Wilhite told us about the dangers of sugar consumption. She warned that sugar was as addictive as cocaine causing both a “rush” and a “crash” that were both threatening to our bodies. She advised us to “get informed and guard against hidden sugar” and to “get creative” in finding ways to replace sugar in our diets. The last speaker, Allen Monroe ATM took us on a journey to the “ultimate dream experience” of an Alabama football fan: press box 50 yard-line seats at the Iron Bowl and a trip to the victorious Tide locker room afterwards! We were the ones who had VIP seats to an event that Allen described as “Beyond the Bucket List!” Roll Tide! These three speeches were entrusted to the noble sages of the Evaluation team led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Ken himself gave the evaluation for Betsy’s speech followed by the wise advice from Marie Loeffler DTM (for Kenza) and Kara Newcome ACG, ALB (for Allen). Infractions and verbal crutches didn’t have “a ghost of a chance” against the Words R Us Phrase Authority (WRUPA) which was fabricated from Grammarian Ben Quiroz CC, Timer Jack Wharton CC, CL; Shadow Play Detector Steve Wood CC, AH Counter: James Armburst and Vote Counter Julie Remington. Also at the meeting and lending support of our functionaries and speakers were Toni McIvor CC, CL and Eddy Cezalien CC. We had some stellar comments by our guests Karen Gayahan, Vanessa Dyer, Kevin Chrouch, Katherine Masse and Ron Masse. Many of them showed an interest in joining Club #28! I can only say that “life is too short” to miss out on such a beautiful thing as a Club #28 Toastmasters meeting like this one!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 started off the New Year with a very special meeting. The January 8, 2015 “Moments of Truth” meeting was held at the Houlihan’s Restaurant. Most members and guests got there early and ordered from the varied and delicious menu before the meeting itself was called to order. New Sgt. at Arms Julie Remington started the meeting and introduced Betsy Carvajal to give the invocation and lead us in the Pledge to the Flag. Betsy dedicated the meeting to the victims of the January 7th attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper who were “representing our freedoms of the press, speech and expression.” She read a poem by Joseph T. Renaldi titled “Freedom of Speech”  and holding up a pin as a symbol of those freedoms, Betsy called for a toast saying: “Je Suis Charlie!” New Club President Marie Loeffler DTM was our Toastmaster and introduced the Toastmasters International’s “Moments of Truth” module to help evaluate Club #28’s achievement of quality standards and also to develop recommendations for improvement. This was actually a lot of fun and just a little bit of work. Splitting up the room into four groups, Marie had each group evaluate: 1.) First Impressions and Membership Orientation 2.) Fellowship, Variety and Communication as well as Program Planning and Organization 3.) Membership Growth and 4.) Achievement Recognition. After about a ten minute session of brainstorming ideas and assessing how the club is performing in these areas, each group leader was called upon to give a report. Helpful and insightful reports were offered by group leaders Ben Quiroz CC, Walk Jones DTM, Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM and even by one of our guests Sarah Peerani! During the reports, Betsy Carvajal wrote down the ideas and suggestions as they were brought up on a flip chart. We then had a general discussion afterwards about our findings. The “Moments of Truth” session was a truly helpful and constructive way of improving Club #28, a club that is not afraid of change, even after 80+ years! All of those who attended made a contribution. It was announced that Ken Walley DTM had earned his DTM and he was given a much appreciated standing ovation! Congratulations Ken! A sincere thanks go out to our attending members Julie Remington, Betsy Carvajal, Ken Blake DTM, Ken Walley DTM, Walk Jones DTM, Marie Loeffler DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Rosalyn Porter ACG,  Barbara Cusack ACS, CL; Ben Quiroz CC, Eddy Cezalien CC, CL; Karen Climer ACS, CL; Angela Abreu CTM, Christine Abreu and Kevin Phillips. Also thanks to our Division C Governor DeLona Ashby DTM and to our guests Andy Chen and Sarah Peerani! Because of all of those who attended Club #28 will have a brighter future and a happier 2015!