Friday, November 30, 2012

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

A man and a parrot sit next to each other in a plane. The service in the plane is really bad, the man hasn’t had a drink for hours and he’s starting to dehydrate. The parrot on the other hand is getting drink after drink by the harrowed cabin crew. Each time the parrot orders a drink it does so with a lot of cursing and shouting. The man decides to follow the same tactic and starts shouting: “he b*tch get me a whiskey!”. To his surprise he gets his whiskey and follows through with the same tactic. Soon, both man and parrot outdo each other in shouting and insults until the cabin crew has had enough. They grab the man and parrot and throw them out of the plane. Now both of them are plummeting towards the ground below when the parrot says to the man: “boy, for someone who can’t fly you sure do curse a lot”.


Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #116 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, November 29, 2012

". . . To the beat of a different drummer"

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
    
At the website Yahoo!Answers, an unknown respondent wrote the following in response to this prompt: “Henry David Thoreau said.....march to the beat of a different drummer....?”  “In the conclusion to 'Walden,' Thoreau writes, "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." He meant,” said this respondent, “that one should do things in one's own way regardless of societal norms and expectations.”
    
There is no doubt that society encourages (forces?) conformity, so the question, “How do you march to the beat of a different drummer?” is a legitimate one.  Or, to state it a bit differently, “How can you make yourself stand out?”  The essential bottom line has to do with social skills, and there are many things you can do.
    
There are two underlying characteristics that will lubricate the social skills I will discuss in this essay.  The first, is confidence.  Confidence, alone, will convince others of your credibility and worth.  What you need to do is reveal the characteristics that demonstrate confidence:  When you act independently, assume responsibility, take pride in your abilities, deal maturely and intelligently with your emotions, willingly accept new challenges, and handle problems effectively and efficiently, you convey confidence.
    
The second underlying characteristic that will lubricate your social skills is a sense of humor.  How do you develop a sense of humor?  First, observe others who are funny, and mimic their behavior.  Start laughing when other people laugh.  Make this a  habit.  Natural laughing will follow, and it will become automatic when funny things take place.  Also, see the funny side of things even if they are difficult or embarrassing.  Injecting lightheartedness into situations filled with angst, fear, and unhappiness, if done in good taste and without stepping over the line where mourning, death, loss, and pain are involved, is often appreciated and a valuable commodity..
    
Now, what are the social skills for which both confidence and a sense of humor are catalysts?  The following ideas were listed on WikiHow where a number of authors have weighed in and offered suggestions for “How to make your personality stand out.”  The first is, “don't be loud.  Other people find noisy people to be obnoxious and annoying. We don't want that, do we?”    The second suggestion is, “know when it is right to argue with someone. Learn to accept that others may be right and you may be wrong. Nobody likes to be around someone constantly pointing out that they are right.”
    
There are four other suggestions for making your personality stand out.  Third, “know when to speak up. Defend friends in tough situations.”  Fourth, “don't be afraid to talk to others. Always look people in the eye when you're talking with them. It makes you appear more confident. Nobody wants to talk to someone who can't stop staring at their feet. Remember to stand up tall. Never slouch.”
    
I have skipped their fifth suggestion, “having a sense of humor” since I use that as an element that can positively affect all of these suggestions.
    
Their fifth suggestion, then, I have re-written so it makes better sense.  It is the importance of your personality.  Revealing your personality “doesn't mean that you should have [good] looks.”  It means letting others know who you really are.  The confidence referred to above must show in your eyes, voice, and it must be reflected to others.
    
Sixth, “don't be afraid to be different. People will admire you for your unique personality.”  If you hold ideas or opinions that are different from others, express them with conviction.  If you have knowledge and experiences that are unique, work them into conversations and discussions.  If you have hobbies, read sources, know people, or do things that vary from the norm, be certain that others become aware of them.
    
The seventh and final social skill they mention could, too, be listed as an overriding element that affects all the others.  It is, “be kind and considerate. People who truly practice these virtues to everyone they meet can be true to themselves and still stand out.”
    
I would add several more social skills to their list.  The first would be to keep an open mind.  Do not automatically stonewall or block out people who hold contrary views to your own, rather, look at them as an opportunity to learn new things.  Every person who touches you in some way can offer something positive to your knowledge, background, and experiences.  They have the potential of expanding your horizons and opening your mind even further.  Allow these possibilities; encourage these opportunities; invite these situations.
    
The second social skill that I would add to theirs is to become a more effective listener.  At EssentialLifeSkills.net the essay there, “10 Ways to Improve Your Personality,” lists being a better listener as their first item for improving your personality.  You can make a better impression through effective listening to others than by asserting yourself or injecting yourself into conversations.  Look others in the eyes, hang on their every word, and make them feel important.  “There is nothing more appealing than having someone listen to you intently making you feel like you're the only person in the world.”
    
 At “”10 Ways to Improve Your Personality,” a second item not yet mentioned in this essay, and one I feel is essential, is their seventh item: “Have a positive outlook and attitude.

Who wants to be around people who are negative, complain a lot, or have nothing good to say? In fact, most of us run when we see them coming. Instead, be the kind of upbeat person who lights up a room with your energy when you enter it. Do it by looking for the best in people and things. Smile warmly, spread good cheer, and enliven others with your presence.”
    
Some of the items discussed in this essay may require giant leaps, and to accomplish and develop these skills requires baby steps.  Begin in small ways, and you are likely to make large gains.  Be patient with yourself, however, as you grow and change in positive ways.   Thoreau had it right.  To march to the beat of a different drummer, Thoreau said, “Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away."
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At Essential Life Skills.Net (referred to in the essay above), the suggestions include a number of additional items in the essay, “10 Ways To Improve Your Personality” to what have been mentioned in my essay.

At the website Knowear the essay, “Building an Attractive Personality” (August 9, 2008), offers a number of additional suggestions and ideas in a rather long, but interesting, essay.
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Copyright November, 2012, by And Then Some LLC

    
    

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Distinguish yourself from others.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom"The spirit is the true self.  The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure."  ---Marcus Tullius Cicero
Day #338 - Distinguish yourself from others.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #338.  

Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And Then Some News

Thursday's Essay Preview

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, ". . . To the Beat of a Different Drummer,'" reads as follows:

At the website Yahoo!Answers, an unknown respondent wrote the following in response to this prompt: “Henry David Thoreau said.....march to the beat of a different drummer....?”  “In the conclusion to 'Walden,' Thoreau writes, "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." He meant,” said this respondent, “that one should do things in one's own way regardless of societal norms and expectations.”
    
Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay

Some of the items discussed in this essay may require giant leaps, and to accomplish and develop these skills requires baby steps.  Begin in small ways, and you are likely to make large gains.  Be patient with yourself, however, as you grow and change in positive ways.   Thoreau had it right.  To march to the beat of a different drummer, Thoreau said, “Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away."




And Then Some News

Monday, November 26, 2012

The rough guide to psychology: An introduction to human behaviour and the mind

The rough guide to psychology: An introduction to human behaviour and the mind
By Christian Jarrett

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

I use psychological evidence and research in my writing on communication, and I have done so for well over thirty-five years.  I subscribe to the magazine PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, and I read it closely every month.  It is for these same reasons that I chose to read The Rough Guide to Psychology—a truly interesting book.

One thing you will note from the title and the spelling of the word “behaviour,” is that the book was written by an Englishman—the editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.  Jarrett has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology.  This is important for two reasons: 1) It adds credibility to the book and what’s written in it.  2) It reveals that the material is likely to be well researched, based on studies, and the evidence (studies) clearly stated.  Both are true.

Jarrett states on page vi: “This book contains frequent references to experiments and case studies, and, wherever possible, names and dates are provided to help you track down the original research online.”

I took psychology courses in college, and this is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill textbook.  And, at the same time, it is not a book of psychobabble.  It is, however, a book designed for the above-average, well-educated, intelligent, and inquisitive adult reader.  With the exception of the part on “Resources,” there are six: “Welcome to you,” “You and me,” “Same difference,” “All of us, “Psychology at large,” and “Psychological problems.”  I guarantee that there will be a number of sections that you will find that interest you, because his swath of issues and ideas is broad.

More than the text material itself—which is interesting, to be sure—I found the additional sections (colored in blue) some of the most valuable material in the book.  Not only are there boxes on some of the leading psychologists (William James, Lev Vygotsky, Alfred Binet, Elizabeth Loftus, and Sigmund Freud, among others), but others are like self-help boxes on “Five ways to boost your brain power,” “How to visit the toilet in the dark,” “Six evidence-based ways to boost your happiness,” “Does brain training really work?,” and “Evidence-based seduction,” among many, many others.

The layout, coverage of topics, writing (a very informal, comfortable style), examples, and short, pithy sections, make this book incredibly accessible and likable.

Friday, November 23, 2012

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

WHO’S GUILTY HERE?…A wife is dreaming, wakes up and shouts “Quick…my husband’s home!” Her husband wakes up and jumps out the window.

I hate weddings because old people always poke you and say, “You’re next.” … So I started doing the same to them at funerals!

Young son: Is it true, Dad, I heard that in some parts of Africa a man doesn’t know his wife until they get married?
Dad: that’s true in every country, son.

A blonde just texted me and asked “what does idk stand for?
I said “I don’t know.”
She said “omg! nobody does!”

Fact of Life. After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF.

A single spelling mistake that caused a divorce: A man went to Amsterdam and sent his wife a message “having the most amazing time here, wish you were her!”
 
A man comes home and shouts, honey pack your bags I won the LOTTERY. She screams oh my god, what should I pack? He says everything you got to go!”


Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #115 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not your daddy's retirement . . .

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
    
What prompted this essay was a “Saturday Essay” written by Dr. David Andersen for The (Toledo) Blade (March 19, 2005), entitled, “Retirement’s gift is the chance to blaze new trail.”  When I first read this essay, I was just interested in another person’s point of view.  I was closing in on my first ten years of retirement, and I found his perspective interesting but much different from my own.  Although Andersen closed the door on one “life,” he left the door wide open for a new one—“Looking out over what once seemed an abyss, I now begin to see instead, uncharted terrain.  The journey isn’t over.  My destination is still out there. . . .”  

What I did in retirement was simpler.  I cut what I was doing (teaching and writing) in half, and I simply focused on writing alone.
    
Actually, when I read Andersen’s comments about leaving loved ones, “The other aspect that is over is my relationship with a people I have grown to love. . . .,” I was reminded of the retirement joke: “Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?  He is too polite to tell the whole truth.”  I am not making fun of Andersen’s comment nor am I suggesting it wasn’t true.  (Having known him quite well, I know the truth of his statement.)
    
One of the aspects of Andersen’s column that caught my interest, too, was simply that I really wasn’t familiar with retirement—what it means or how it is handled.
    
What is interesting about this essay title, “Not your daddy’s retirement,” is that I really haven’t had much experience with anyone else’s retirement.  My father, a university professor, died with his boots on at 53-years-old.  My father-in-law, at 98-years-old as I am writing this, retired at the age of 70 (in 1984) from the University of Michigan and has, since his retirement, completed writing 3 books.  His retirement is probably the closest to “normal” (if there is such a thing!) with which I am familiar.  We are both authors.
    
There are so many factors that influence retirement, one being pharmaceuticals.  One website said, “Superior pharmaceuticals and better education about health are available now, making it possible for people to live longer, healthier and more energetic lives.”  That alone is enough to differentiate “your daddy’s retirement” from present-day circumstances.
    
Technology alone has changed the nature of retirement for many people.  Instead of sitting in a room someplace, reading books and magazines, and watching sports on television (which sums up much of the life of my father-in-law now), they can become completely absorbed in the Internet—playing games, joining chat rooms, staying in contact with friends and relatives, etc.
    
Watching sports on television reminded me of a sports-related, retirement joke: “Two old timers in their 90's were chatting in the rest home.  One was healthy and the other quite ill.
    
The healthy one asked, ‘I wonder if there is baseball in heaven?’
    
His chum replied, ‘I'll be there soon, and I will let you know.’
    
A few days later the old gent passed on and that night the surviving friend was awakened when he heard a voice.
    
‘Edgar, it's me Bob. I have good news and bad news. The good news is there is baseball in heaven. The bad news is you're pitching on Wednesday!!’”
    
I am not suggesting that I am a model with respect to retirement behavior, and I’m not pretending that I am perfect; however, when I read the “proven tips that you can implement right away” by Cynthia Barnett at the website Right At Home, in her essay “Seniors—Effectively Manage Your Time In Retirement” (posted by Jeannie Locy on April 18, 2011), I have to say they struck a nerve.  For me, they represent all that I have been doing now for 15 years of retirement.  Remember, these are Barnett’s ideas, not mine; I have adapted them.
    
When I began my retirement in 1996, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do, but soon after that, I created a personal mission statement.  I evaluated my life, figured out what was important to me, wrote down my priorities and what I hoped to accomplish in my life.  My specific goal was to become the writer I always wanted to be.
    
Because I had written a lot previously, I knew that I could do it, but I had never done it full time, so I kept track of how I spent my time.  I knew that writing demanded “alone time” with no distractions, and my wife had already lived over 40 years with a “writing husband” in addition to teaching, so I knew I could survive and overcome the time stealers.  But that was essential since I worked in a study at home.
    
I developed a realistic plan.  Basically, I wrote essays for The (Toledo) Blade, while I worked on one book after another, all the while writing new editions for Communicating Effectively, 10th (McGraw-Hill, 2012), every three years.  When editors changed at The Blade and the “Saturday Essay” column was dropped, I set up a blog to have an outlet for my essays, and later I established a publishing company for my books.
    
I got organized at once, and since I was already a writer, I had a computer, a study, and all the necessary supporting apparatus—books, dictionaries, thesaurus, pens, pencils, and paper. I found that the cliche was true: the more organized I was, the more productive I became.  I get up at 3 when I exercise, but on all other days I am up at 6 a.m. to begin writing.
    
I had to prioritize.  If certain activities didn’t fit in with the bigger plan and would waste too much time, I didn’t do it.  My retirement years were too important to waste, so I guarded my time with a vengeance—as all serious writers must do.
    
I found that I could combine activities.  My textbook included practical advice and so did my blog essays.  Often I could combine those efforts.  It saved time.  When I had to run errands, I only go if I have 3-4 things to do.  Combining saves time.    
    
I plan all my activities, and I take the time to follow my plans. The absolute best way to accomplish goals is to plan out all my activities—no matter what they are.
    
I delegated work to others, too.  I have a number of editors who work for and with me at McGraw-Hill.  I brought my son onboard to construct websites and market my books.  I hire my daughter as a proofreader of my books, and I had for some time another person who posted my book reviews on Amazon.com.
    
I am a perfectionist; however, I am a realistic perfectionist.  It means that I know that I can always do better and improve, but I follow the 80-20 rule.  It takes 80% of my time to write an essay, and it takes the other 20% to bring it to absolute perfection.  My essays are not perfect, but they come close enough.  “Trying too hard can lead to feelings of frustration and wasted time,” writes Cynthia Barnett, “Therefore, know when good enough is good enough and simply be willing to move on.”
    
“In conclusion,” Barnett writes in a summary to her essay that could just as well have been written for this essay, “you can take control over your time and get more done than you ever wanted. Although this requires careful planning and learning, you can accomplish all of your goals by not being a perfectionist, delegating to others, setting long and short term goals, planning and combining activities, prioritizing, getting organized, developing a realistic plan, keeping track of your time, and creating a personal mission statement.”
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At Retirement-Online  the essay, “Retirement Activities,” offers a half-dozen great ideas.  The key, of course, is to stay active.

At The Retirement CafĂ© Ernie J. Zellinsky has written a terrific essay, “Top-ten activities to pursue when you’re retired,” packed full of useful and interesting suggestions and advice.  This article is well worth your time.
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Copyright November, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing LLC


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Deal with your problems and solve them.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom"The important thing about a problem is not its solution but the strength we gain in finding the solution."  ---Anonymous
Day #337 - Deal with your problems and solve them.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #337.  

Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And Then Some News

Thursday's Essay Preview

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Not Your Daddy's Retirement,'" reads as follows:

What prompted this essay was a “Saturday Essay” written by Dr. David Andersen for The (Toledo) Blade (March 19, 2005), entitled, “Retirement’s gift is the chance to blaze new trail.”  When I first read this essay, I was just interested in another person’s point of view.  I was closing in on my first ten years of retirement, and I found his perspective interesting but much different from my own.  Although Andersen closed the door on one “life,” he left the door wide open for a new one—“Looking out over what once seemed an abyss, I now begin to see instead, uncharted terrain.  The journey isn’t over.  My destination is still out there. . . .”  


Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay

“In conclusion,” Barnett writes in a summary to her essay that could just as well have been written for this essay, “you can take control over your time and get more done than you ever wanted. Although this requires careful planning and learning, you can accomplish all of your goals by not being a perfectionist, delegating to others, setting long and short term goals, planning and combining activities, prioritizing, getting organized, developing a realistic plan, keeping track of your time, and creating a personal mission statement.”





And Then Some News

Monday, November 19, 2012

Barefoot in Baghdad: A story of identity my own and what it means to be a woman in chaos

Barefoot in Baghdad: A story of identity my own and what it means to be a woman in chaos
By Manal M. Omar

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

One reason I found this book interesting was that it provided a potential “Consider This” selection for the eleventh edition of my college textbook COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY (McGraw-Hill).  In my textbook I have a chapter called “Intercultural Communication,” and I am always on the lookout for possible “boxed” additions—that is, sections that provide student readers with additional, insightful, and informative material that enhances, explains, or illustrates what is written in the text.

I have found Omar’s explanation of her multiple identities instructive, and the fact that it gave her her “own secret superpower” a useful insight–especially in the variety of different ways she was able to make use of that power.

The second reason I found this book interesting is that I have engaged in a great deal of foreign travel, and Omar’s description of and personal insights about Iraq are simply fascinating.  Admittedly, many are personal—and she states that at the outset.  But, having lived in Bangladesh for 14 months, I agree and concur with her observations.

The third reason I found this book interesting is found in Omar’s stories.  They are captivating and heartwrenching, to say the least.   The story of the five Iraqi girls inside an American trailer in the Green Zone (pp. 137-163) was especially touching.

The fourth reason this book is interesting is that it (along with a number of other books) well advertises the plight of women in many parts of the world.  If you are a woman, and if you want to champion women’s rights any place on the planet, this would be a good book to read to establish the foundation for strong arguments and to gather evidence for convincing disputation.

These four reasons alone are sufficient to recommend this book highly.  It is interesting, insightful, and captivating.



Friday, November 16, 2012

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets.

Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hairstylist you like.

I finally got my head together and my body fell apart.

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting time.

Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician

If at first you don't succeed, see whether the loser gets anything.



Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #112 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Travel (Introduction for the book Exotic Destinations and More!)

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
  
When I lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I mentioned to friends my plan to travel south to Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the woman to whom I was speaking said, “I would never go there, it’s too dirty.”  (Many cities in that part of the world are notorious for sacred cows walking free through the streets, pickpockets and beggars,  trash and litter.)  When I showed a department-store clerk a 20-yuan note, (worth $3.05 U.S.) and told her I had just returned from Beijing, Southeast Asia, she said, “Oh, I would never want to go there! . . . But I’m not much of a traveler anyway.”  This same trip came up in a discussion with close friends, and they said, “We would never do something so risky.”
  
I have never been averse to new experiences, unique opportunities, and potentially exciting encounters.
  
It needs to be said here that at no point in our many travels (and excursions), have we ever encountered problems, troubles, difficulties or any kind of risk.  Our traveling — in all cases — has been smooth, trouble-free, and easy.  “Easy,” of course, is a relative word.  (When I showed my sister, who was visiting us at the time, my essay entitled, “Cruise Number Ten: Bangkok to Beijing,” — published on my blog while she was visiting — she said she would never want to do all the planning necessary to take such a trip.  She did not think what we went through could ever be called “easy.”  The essay, “Cruise Number Ten . . .,” discusses the detailed planning we engaged in planning for our Southeast Asia trip.)
  
Our family (the family I grew up in and the family I am now part of), has been around the world, and we have lived in exotic places (i.e., Pakistan, Hawaii, and Australia).  I knowI how unique we are (speaking of both families) with respect to most other people in the world.  It is precisely for this reason that some years ago I began writing about the places we visited and the cruises and trips we took.
  
When my wife heard I was planning to write a book that chronicled our travels, she did not hesitate to say, “Who would be interested in reading about your experiences?”  It is an excellent question, and it needs to be addressed.  (The easy answer would have been to say, “I would.”  But, then, I have a slight bias.)
  
There are a number of reasons why others might want to read about my experiences.  First, many people want to travel and, for a variety of reasons (e.g., time, money, or fear) cannot.  They get their satisfaction vicariously, and these essays provide vicarious experiences.
  
The second reason others may be interested in reading my insights is that when people travel — especially regular travelers — they love to compare their experiences with those of others.  Did they feel the same way we did?  Did they do something we should have done?  Did they get out of this experience just what we did?  How did they like it?
  
A third, more obvious, reason why others might want to read about my travel experiences is to see if any of these places — exotic destinations and more — might be of interest to them.  The questions I would be asking would be, Would I want to go there?  Would I make these same choices?  How might I want to build on what this traveler did or experienced — or repeat his experiences?  (Others’ experiences often provide us guidance, suggestions, and opportunities.)
  
A fourth reason why others might want to read about my experiences is because everything I write about — all of the experiences discussed in this book — are accessible destinations.  If others have the time, money, and interest, these are places they can go and, for the same reasons we were lured there, might even want to go.
  
One thing that made putting this book (Exotic Destinations) together a thrill for me is simply having an opportunity to relive these experiences.  That, too, has been one of the great joys of trying to capture all these experiences in writing.  At times it has been a bit awkward to find the time to do the writing, but it has always paid off, and I have never regretted it, and now I insist on the time and place to do it.
  
My notes about my travels have become far more specific and detailed than when I first began writing about them.  Also, I have become more focused.  For example, many of the details I first wrote about when we began cruising, are no longer important — e.g., crew-passenger ratios, the countries from where crew come, and various cabin adornments. When I take an excursion in a foreign country now, I am much more aware (than when I first began) about the culture, the people, and the various local traditions, artifacts, and nuances.  These are the very things that bring a foreign culture alive and make the encounter enriching and worth writing about.
  
Perhaps it is just maturity or the accumulation of additional experiences or simply my observational skills (improved through polishing and honing), or maybe it is the continued improvement in my ability to take notes on and write about these experiences, but I think I am continuing to improve, learn, and grow.  Having left my formal education behind many, many years ago, I think I am capitalizing on the very things I was so fond of teaching my students.  It is not the education, per se, it is what you do later with all of your education.  It is the process of learning to learn.  All these experiences serve as my own personal educational laboratory and have, thus, helped me add to my knowledge and education.
  
Another factor that has contributed significantly to my growth is that I am now more relaxed than ever.  Previously, I was teaching and writing textbooks.  Now, with a single textbook in perpetual revision (Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), when I complete work on a new edition, I am through (with the exception of collecting more information) for another couple of years (on a three-year-turn-around time frame), and can truly turn my attention to other things — including relaxation,  travel, and writing.
  
One thing that traveling does (until you can’t do it anymore) is whet your appetite for more travel.  It’s is almost like trying to eat one potato chip — you can’t eat just one.  You just can’t travel to one destination without wanting to see more and more diverse places!  It is, indeed, contagious.
  
This book (Exotic destinations) represents years and years of traveling.  Nobody could accomplish what is represented here in just one or two years.  We try now to make two major trips each year — one in the spring and one in the fall.  Because we have now seen so much and so many places, we have decided (at least in part) to try to be more selective in the choices we make.  That is, we are now going to visit those places we have enjoyed and would like to either see again or see more of.  But, there will be more essays, no doubt about that — since I have a blog that like an appetite, needs fuel.  I have a mind, too, that needs fuel, and travel experiences are one type of fuel I truly seek and enjoy.  I hope you enjoy these experiences as much as I did — and as much as I liked writing about them, too.
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Purchase the book Exotic Destinations and More! at Amazon.
Copyright November, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.

    
    
   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Live your life fully and completely.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom"Live all you can; it's a mistake not to.  It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life.  If you haven't had that, what have you had?"  ---Henry James
Day #336 - Live your life fully and completely.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #336.  

Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And Then Some News

Thursday's Essay Preview

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Travel (Introduction to the book Exotic Destinations and More,'" reads as follows:

When I lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I mentioned to friends my plan to travel south to Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the woman to whom I was speaking said, “I would never go there, it’s too dirty.”  (Many cities in that part of the world are notorious for sacred cows walking free through the streets, pickpockets and beggars,  trash and litter.)  When I showed a department-store clerk a 20-yuan note, (worth $3.05 U.S.) and told her I had just returned from Beijing, Southeast Asia, she said, “Oh, I would never want to go there! . . . But I’m not much of a traveler anyway.”  This same trip came up in a discussion with close friends, and they said, “We would never do something so risky.”

Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay

This book (Exotic destinations and More) represents years and years of traveling.  Nobody could accomplish what is represented here in just one or two years.  We try now to make two major trips each year — one in the spring and one in the fall.  Because we have now seen so much and so many places, we have decided (at least in part) to try to be more selective in the choices we make.  That is, we are now going to visit those places we have enjoyed and would like to either see again or see more of.  But, there will be more essays, no doubt about that — since I have a blog that like an appetite, needs fuel.  I have a mind, too, that needs fuel, and travel experiences are one type of fuel I truly seek and enjoy.  I hope you enjoy these experiences as much as I did — and as much as I liked writing about them, too.





And Then Some News

Monday, November 12, 2012

The life plan: How any man can achieve lasting health, great sex, and a stronger, leaner body

The life plan: How any man can achieve lasting health, great sex, and a stronger, leaner body
By Jeffry S. Life

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

Why did I pick up this book?  I am in excellent health.  I don’t smoke or drink.  I eat clean, get plenty of rest, exercise frequently (and actively), and I maintain optimal hormone levels (according to results of tests and regular doctor visits).  People like myself—people who stay in good shape—are always looking for a new angle, a new approach, or a way to add something new to what they already do.  Rather than finding something new, Life simply reinforces (through his Life Plan) the kinds of things that healthy people must do to remain healthy.

Incidentally, he includes 9 pages of excellent references, and for those who need it, he has a Baseline Health Record that includes the “Important Tests to Maintain Optimal Health and Lower Disease Risk.”  If you are like I am and maintain your health by regular exercise, good nutrition, healthy habits, and regular monitoring and doctor’s visits, I think you’ll find that most of these tests are unnecessary as are the hormone supplements Life recommends.

If you are in poor health, however, it’s a different story: “By adhering to the diet and exercise programs, you are ensuring that not only will you lose weight and gain muscle mass, but you will improve your heart health.  If you follow the supplement program, you’ll find that your energy levels will return.  And if you carefully monitor your hormone levels, you’ll find that in no time at all, you’ll be looking and feeling younger” (p. 323).

I found the writing of the book excellent, the suggestions terrific, and the overall content  superb.  There is a lot of information in this book.  A lot!  His Life Plan Recipes (e.g., pp. 105-109) offer wonderful alternatives and ideas.

Also, I appreciated Life’s honesty.  For example, when he answered the question, “Do I Need Sports Drinks?” he said, “The truth is, there is nothing magical about any of these beverages.  They all contain carbohydrates, which have been clearly shown to be beneficial during exercise. . . . Research has show, however, that carbohydrate ingestion is beneficial only during prolonged exercise. . . . In fact, when we ingest carbohydrates during short-term exercise, it simply increases the calories we take in and inteferes with our efforts to get rid of body fat” (pp. 126-127).

I loved the personal examples Life includes.  For example, “My wife, Annie, has made dieting effortless for me.  She has come up with her own creation, and it has revolutionized my ability to stay on track with my nutrition program. . .” (p. 103).

I have to say that rather than simply a daily guide or a list of suggestions for diet and exercise, this is a reference work to which one can refer on an ongoing basis.  There is just too much here to digest and use without a plan of returning to the book over and over again.

I highly recommend this book for its direct, easy-to-read and understand approach, for Jeffry Life’s willingness to illustrate most of the exercises he recommends, for the numerous charts, for the personal, interesting examples (as well as the individual stories/testimonials distributed throughout the book), for the comprehensiveness of the coverage, and for the encouragement provided throughout for sticking to it, following through, creating realistic goals, and rewarding yourself for accomplishment.

It is true that any approach like this requires incredible willpower and self-discipline, but any change we want to make demands these same elements.  This is a book that is specific and to the point, so if you are looking for instructions along with motivation to get going, this is a great place to start.  I absolutely loved this book.  Five stars!

Friday, November 9, 2012

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

The solemn-faced man entered the diner and took the lunch counter stool next to mine. The smiling waiter greeted the new customer and asked if he'd like the daily special.

"What is it?" queried the unsmiling newcomer.

"Beef tongue sandwich," the waiter replied, still smiling.

With the most disgusted expression on his face imaginable, the man growled, "I wouldn't THINK of eating something that came out of an animal's mouth!"

"Yes, sir," the undaunted waiter said; "Would you like a menu, then?"

To which the finicky guy responded, "Oh, no -- just give me a fried egg sandwich please.


Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #111 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Exploring Australia

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
   
The thoughts about Australia prior to our visit there ranged widely from a country with a primitive road system to an advanced, modern, industrial society.  The reason for this wide range of thoughts (and emotions, too!) is simply that my family had no idea what to expect.  For me, it was a six-month sabbatical, and I had made contact at four educational institutions to teach or lecture.
   
For making arrangements from such a distance away, everything went surprisingly smoothly, and the three-out-of-four of our teenage children who accompanied us, loved the entire experience.  Our fourth child joined us with about a third of our trip left — and loved it, too.
   
One thing we have discovered from all our travels is that people are both friendly and helpful.  As an example, we were standing at the Sydney Opera House looking at a map, and an Australian who overheard our accident, came over to help us out and give us direction.  We were in Australia for about six months, and we visited most of the common tourist sites; however, in all of our travels throughout the country, we never encountered another American — not one!
   
We moved from Sydney to Manly Beach where we stayed for a week.  It is a major tourist destination, and our apartment there looked out onto the beautiful beach and the Norfolk Pines that lined it.  The Corso at Manly is a partly-malled promenade area between Manly Beach and Manly Wharf, an area of cafes, interesting shops, and street entertainment.
   
From Sydney — where I delivered several lectures at the University of Sydney — we traveled north to (Australia’s answer to Florida) Queensland (in a rental car) where I taught a course at Bond University in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  It was a rhetoric course in which I taught a speech-communication component.
   
Bond University rented a place for our family in a luxurious, resort-oriented motel-like location nearby the university; thus, our family had outstanding accommodations where we could swim and walk just a short distance for groceries.  We used our “home” as a base for exploring Queensland — the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the white-sand beaches, and some of the interior areas where “hippies” had created a self-sufficient lifestyle.  I also delivered one lecture at the University of Queensland.
   
Our next destination was Melbourne, and before heading there, we had to make some plans.  We had no place to stay, but we found one advertised in the newspaper in St. Kilda; we purchased rail passes for each of our family members — timing their purchase to cover our future trip to Perth. While in the U.S., we arranged a faculty exchange with a professor from St. Albans University.  It is located just south and west from Melbourne.  So, from Queensland, after our six-week stay was complete, we boarded a train bound for Sydney and then on to Melbourne. 
   
The faculty member from St. Albans, whom we never met, left us her car to use while there (it was a French Peugot), and her mother and father invited our family over for a typical Australian meal.
   
Just a quick aside here.  Every family we met thought it would be a special treat to give us a typical Australian meal; thus, we had lamb and potatoes and some kind of pumpkin for each of these meals.  The only exception was in Perth where we met one of my wife’s relatives who treated us to an American meal instead.
   
Melbourne is a large, diverse city with much to see.  One of our biggest treats was to travel to Phillip Island to see the fairy penguins (called that because of their tiny size).  It is the second most popular tourist attraction in Australia — second only to the Sydney Opera House.  Because our older son was not with us yet, our other three children traveled by train from Melbourne to Sydney to meet him and ride with him to where we were living.  Once they were all back in Melbourne, we went a second time to see these little penguins.
   
While in Melbourne, we traveled the Great Ocean Road (some call it the Great Coastal Highway), visited the Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail) — the site where 135 people, including infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, were hanged. — Flinders Street Station, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Ballarat (which has a topnotch historical park in Sovereign Hill in this goldfields town).  Ballarat has Australia’s largest recreation of a phase (1851-1880) in Australia’s history.
   
We had to miss a trip north from Adelaide to Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (Uluru).  With six adults, the trip on the Ghan Railroad, a stay at one of the Ayers Rock hotels, and a bus trip and tour out to see the Rock, was going to be far too expensive for us.  One website on the Ghan says, “The Ghan train fare is substantially more than what it would cost you to fly – and if you plan to stay over at Alice or Katherine you should make sure that your budget can stretch to cover the sightseeing activities.”
   
Instead of going north, however, we went west.  We took a three-day, three-night trip on the Indian Pacific Train from Melbourne, through Adelaide, across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth.  About this plain, Wikipedia says, “The Nullarbor Plain is part of the area of flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country of southern Australia, located on the Great Australian Bight coast with the Great Victoria Desert to its north. The word Nullarbor is derived from the Latin nullus, ‘no,’ and arbor, ‘tree.’”
   
About the train ride, one website explains it in this way: “One stretch of track goes for 478km [297 miles] without curve, kink or bend. Dead straight, and the view at the start is the same as it is at the end. It may seem mind-numbingly boring, but the sensation, and the sense of achievement is what makes this one of the world’s greatest train journeys.”
   
We had two highlights of our trip to Perth.  The first, “Leaving Perth eastward along the Great Eastern Highway, as you drive up Greenmount Hill in the Darling Range, you are climbing up onto the oldest plateau on earth: a huge slab of granite, part of ancient Gondawana, sitting in the sun, wind and rain for more than a thousand million years. It has eroded down into the soils of the valleys, and the chains of lakes, and the old blind volcanos like Hyden Rock have been exposed.”  It is called Wave Rock, and is a site that must be visited.
   
The second highlight was our visit to Nambung National Park and the Pinnacle Dessert, one of Australia’s best known landscapes.  “Here, thousands of huge limestone pillars rise from the shifting yellow sands, resembling a landscape from a science fiction movie”
   
I delivered several lectures at the University of Western Australia, and our visit to Perth ended our six months in Australia — an interesting, spectacular, and memorable visit.  We did everything we could do within our time limit and budget, and it is a place to which we would gladly return.
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If you are planning a trip to Australia, make sure you visit Australia’s Official Tourism Website Not only are there terrific pictures, but the “Learn More” icon associated with every picture offers great information.

At the Viator website offers, “Top 25 Things to Do in Australia & New Zealand: 2010 Viator Travel Awards” (November 28, 2010) and provides much useful information.
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Copyright November, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.




   
   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Abhor absolutes.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom"The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority."  ---Stanley Milgram
Day #335 -.Abhor absolutes.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #335.  

Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

And Then Some News

Thursday's Essay Preview

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Exploring Australia,'" reads as follows:

The thoughts about Australia prior to our visit there ranged widely from a country with a primitive road system to an advanced, modern, industrial society.  The reason for this wide range of thoughts (and emotions, too!) is simply that my family had no idea what to expect.  For me, it was a six-month sabbatical, and I had made contact at four educational institutions to teach or lecture.
 

Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay

I delivered several lectures at the University of Western Australia, and our visit to Perth ended our six months in Australia — an interesting, spectacular, and memorable visit.  We did everything we could do within our time limit and budget, and it is a place to which we would gladly return.


And Then Some News

Monday, November 5, 2012

27 powers of persuasion: Simple strategies to seduce audiences & win allies

27 powers of persuasion: Simple strategies to seduce audiences & win allies
By Chris St. Hilaire with Lynette Padwa

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II


There are 27 chapters and 198 pages which means, on average, 7.3 pages per chapter.  Chapter titles include the techniques St. Hilaire and Padwa advocate: 1) Focus on the Goal, 2) Evaluate Egos, 3) Soothe or Sidestep Other Egos, 4) Manage Opposition by Giving It Nothing to Oppose, 5) Make Your Weakness Your Strength, 6) Find One Thing to Like About Everyone in the Room, 7) Use the First Five Minutes to Make People Feel Safe, 8) Stay in the Present, 9) Recognize Their Reality, 10) Make It About Choice, Fairness, and Accountability, 11) Keep It Simple, 12) Own the Language, 13) Use Emotional Language, 14) Make Sure Everyone’s Invested, 15) Get Third-Party Validation, 16) Get a Couple of Numbers, 17) Arm Your Advocates, 18) Aim for the Undecideds, 19) Avoid Absolutes and Hypotheticals, 20) Learn How to Use Silence, 21) Get Physical, 22) Don’t Say No, Say ‘Let’s Try This,’ 23) Release Bad News Quickly and Good News Slowly, 24) Challenge Bad Ideas by Challenging the Details, 25) Play Devil’s Advocate, 26) Don’t Change, ‘Adapt,’ 27) Be Your Own Pundit.

Okay, the point of listing the titles is, basically, that these are the persuasive techniques these authors advocate.  Do any of them surprise you?  If you have engaged in persuasion yourself, do they look familiar?  For those with no speech-communication experience, I can see how they might welcome a basic, persuasive primer like this, and I can certainly see how they would review the book positively.

From where did these ideas come?  Not from research.  The four pages of notes (pages 199-202) include 37 notes, and they are Internet sources, media interviews, or other resources that would not be considered “research” even if the term was interpreted in its widest possible latitude.   St. Hilaire and Padwa write: “For the past two decades I have observed how my clients—politicians, CEOs,trial attorneys, and marketers—practice the art of persuasion.  I’ve watched the best and worst of class in these professions, observed their communication styles, listened to their spoken language, tuned in to their body language.  And I’ve seen that certain patterns always hold true” (p. xiii).  The 27 techniques are based on observations only—one person’s observations.

Oh, not on observations alone.  Catch this: “ . . . the powers are informed by the observations and wisdom of my Buddhist teacher, Master Hang Truong, a man I have come to respect as much as anyone I know” (p. xxix).  Does this increase their credibility?  Their reliability?  Their validity?

I am not for one minute suggesting that the techniques (St. Hilaire and Padq call them “27 powers”) are wrong, weak, poorly chosen, or otherwise inept.  I am simply saying they are based entirely on observation—not on research; thus, they become one person’s suggestions.  If they work for you, great, but if they don’t, so be it.  In my mind, as I observe the “27 powers,” I find them common sense.  Anyone with any experience in speech communication (or not) would discover these on their own.  Just think about it.  That is all that is required.  Think!  (I award this book 1 star out of 5—less, maybe even zero out of 5!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

There are certain aircraft sounds that can only be heard at night.

The aircraft limits are only there in case there is another flight by that particular aircraft. If subsequent flights do not appear likely, there are no limits.

Flying is a great way of life for men who want to feel like boys, but not for those who still are.

Flying is a hard way to earn an easy living.

Forget all that stuff about lift, gravity, thrust and drag. An airplane flies because of money. If God had meant man to fly, He'd have given him more money (or, according to Benny Hill, free airline tickets).



Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #104 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review of the speech "Sticky ideas: Low-tech solutions to a high-tech problem"


(There is an important caveat to this review of the speech, “Sticky Ideas.”  This is my own speech that I am reviewing.  (I have never done this before!)  I conceived the idea; I constructed the speech; I delivered the speech.  To be certain, I am biased.  This review was written on the day I saw the speech published in the book Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 8e by Steven A. And Susan J. Beebe (Allyn & Bacon, 2012, pp. 410-414).  I had not read the speech for four years and, it was my re-reading of it after four years that prompted this review/essay.)

Ask yourself the question, after hearing (or reading) a speech, and knowing that you were impressed by it, what is the ingredient or element that contributed most to that impression?  In some cases, of course, it is how the speech was delivered.  Often, delivery dominates people’s impressions because, first, it is obvious, and, second, because we judge others on how they look and behave.

Although it is hoped that our assessment of others is conditional — that we base any final assessment of others on substantive matters — it doesn’t always happen, cannot be predicted with assurance, and often is suppressed by both habit and the obvious.  Assessing speeches on nonverbal behavior is something everyone does.  Analyzing content is more difficult.
  
In this review — or, whenever a speech is read but never actually heard — the element of delivery is omitted (except where I add a comment at the end of this review).  That ingredient or element that engages a reader (or audience member) is the number and effectiveness of the examples.  This short speech includes close to 25 examples — with an extended example, an illustration — used to close the speech.   Each one holds attention, captures readers’ interest, and, with the exception of the final illustration, moves readers farther into the speech.
  
Let’s examine the entire speech and see why it might have been selected as a sample speech for inclusion in the popular college textbook, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 8e, by Steven A. And Susan J. Beebe (Allyn & Bacon, 2012), pages 410-414.
  
The idea for the speech came to me as a result of the co-alignment of two factors.  First, I was asked to give a speech to a college audience which would largely be composed of students, and some faculty, in a Department of Speech Communication.  Students would range from freshmen enrolled in basic courses through senior majors.  Second, I had recently read the book by Chip and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Random House, 2007), and I was not only deeply affected by their ideas, but I realized they were important to all speakers and could have enormous impact.
  
The theme or central idea for the speech arose from what I perceived as a problem, and I defined the problem precisely in the speech: “The problem, simply put, is the appeal that technology has for the youth of our nation.  Let’s clarify it.  We live in a fast-paced, instant results, eye-catching and attention-arresting, multimedia flash, short-attention-span, world where any idea that isn’t current, relevant, and immediate — and delivered on a screen — is discarded as obsolete, out-of-date, old-fashioned, defunct, and dead.  Many students today can code and decode complex messages in a variety of media, and many, too, are already prepared to communicate with a level of visual sophistication that will carry them through the multimedia-dependent environment of higher education and the modern work environment.  The problem is simply: how do educators compete?  How do we give our thoughts high-tech appeal in a technology-driven world” (p. 411)?
  
It should be noted here that this is an informative speech, and for an informative speech, the central idea should contain the information you want the audience to remember.  It was stated in the speech following the information quoted above: “What I want to do is provide low-tech solutions to this high-tech problem” (p. 411).  Thus, everything in the speech should promote this idea, and the specific purpose of the speech demonstrates what I expected to achieve in this speech: To inform audience members how they (as speakers) can compete in this high-tech world with low-tech solutions.
  
To demonstrate how everything in the speech relates directly to the central idea, let’s examine the organization of the speech — how ideas are arranged.  One of the strengths of this speech is its tight organization.  Notice, for example that everything prior to the actual descriptions of the low-tech solutions lays a foundation for what follows.  The speech opens with an illustration about my background in delivering a lecture on attention and is designed to establish my own credibility with the information that will follow: how long I had been delivering the lecture (30 years), the popularity of the lecture, and how many students had heard it.
  
Following this illustration, I explain the problem (described above), briefly explain the characteristics of “attention” that contribute to the high-tech problem, provide a transition (“What I want to do now, in the remaining part of the lecture, is show you how you can compete . . . .”), give credit to Chip and Dan Heath’s excellent book, Made to Stick, explain “the curse of knowledge” (“once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.  Our knowledge has ‘cursed” us” (p. 412)), and explain how the “curse” contributes to the high-tech problem.
  
The description and examples of the six low-tech solutions follows a clear topical organizational pattern.  Even though there are six ideas, one following another, this is not a chronological pattern because the ideas are parallel with each other.  They do not build up nor does any one of them depend on any other.  Following five of the solutions ((1) simplicity, (2) unexpectedness, (3) concreteness, (4) credibility, and (5) emotions) there is a brief summary that is introduced so that I could end with the sixth low-tech solution: (6) stories.
  
Notice that the speech ends with the “most powerful of the low-tech solutions” (p. 413), stories, and their effectiveness is underscored twice, first by the statement, “Stories have the power to enthrall, to hold listeners spellbound, to mesmerize, entrance, dazzle, charm, captivate, and fascinate” (p. 413), and second, by the story itself — a personal experience that not only extended over 50 years but a story, too, that was in the process of being remedied.
  
The language of the speech is colloquial with no special jargon, literary flourishes, or complexities.  It was delivered from a manuscript; however, I knew (and had practiced) the material thoroughly; thus, I delivered it without depending on the manuscript much at all, in an extemporaneous manner.  It took about 25-30 minutes to deliver the speech, and several questions from the audience of about 50, followed.

*This speech (“Sticky Ideas: Low-Tech Solutions to a High-Tech Problem,”) was originally published in Vital Speeches of the Day (1 August 2007): 73:8.
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I am grateful to have my speech reproduced in the book Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 8e, by Steven A. Beebe and Susan J. Beebe (Allyn & Bacon, 2012).  If you are looking for a comprehensive, well-constructed, beautifully laid out, and thoroughly practical book on public speaking, this book would be an excellent choice.

 At Six Minutes the essay by Andrew Dlugan, “Speech Analysis #1: How to Study and Critique a Speech” (January 18, 2008), is designed to do the following: “The first in the series, this article outlines questions to ask yourself when assessing a presentation. Ask these questions whether you attend the presentation, or whether you view a video or read the speech text. These questions also apply when you conduct a self evaluation of your own speeches.”
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Copyright November, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.