Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Humor

His request approved, the Fox News photographer quickly used a cell phone to call the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, 'Let's go'.

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off. Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, 'Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.'

'Why?' asked the pilot.

'Because I'm a photographer for Fox Cable News,' he responded. 'And I need to get some close up shots.'

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment, finally he stammered,

'So, what you're telling me, is . .. you're NOT my flight instructor?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Falkland Islands: Thank heavens for the penguins

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

As I was riding the tender the two miles back to the Star Princess moored at Port William Harbor the second time, the passenger sitting directly opposite me on the tender bench, said, "Thank heavens for the Falkland Islands that they have penguins!" His meaning, for anyone who has visited Stanley, would be clear: There is no reason for visiting the Falkland Islands unless you want to see penguins.

Visit any of the several souvenir stores in Stanley, and your conclusion might be the same: Thank goodness for the penguins. Almost every tee-shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket, and nearly every key chain, tree ornament, statue, or refrigerator magnet has the likeness of a penguin (or penguins) on it (them). It is by far, the dominant icon used to represent the islands. You needn’t wonder why: The Falkland Islands are best known for their penguins, with five breeding species and over a million penguins total. That is a lot of penguins, but Falklands penguins numbered over 6 million in 1984. The massive decline of 5 million penguins has resulted from commercial fishing, and the Falkland penguins are in urgent need of protection. More on seeing penguins later in this essay.

For the moment, let me say that we’re very fortunate to even be in the Falkland Islands. Here is what it says at the CruiseCritic website on The Stanley Port

"The area [around the Falklands] is so windswept and the seas around it so fierce that only about half of the cruise ships scheduled to call at Port Stanley actually make it. Since there is no dock, even if the ships themselves can get into the harbor, the tenders are often unable to handle the wind and high seas. It's no great surprise, then, to discover that the harbor itself and the areas surrounding it has more shipwrecks from the 19th-century shipping trade than any other harbor in the world ... some 20 hulls are actually visible from the town when the tide is out"Our captain said in one of his broadcast announcements, that he has been cruising this area of the South Atlantic Ocean for seven seasons, and on our trip, he said, we have the best weather of any that he has seen in the Falklands.

Now back to the penguins. Having twice seen the Fairy Penguins in southern Australia, and having seen penguins on the Internet and in movies, we made a decision that we would not take a Princess excursion to see them while in the Falklands. The Falklands are a breeding ground for King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins, Macaroni Penguins, and the Magallenic (Jackass) Penguins, and their breeding grounds literally pepper the coastal areas. If you want to see some great YouTube videos, enter Falkland Island Penguins into Google.

Incidentally, and just as an aside here, the Falkland Islands lie 280 miles east of the South American continent, and they are divided into two large islands—West Falkland and East Falkland,—and there are more than 750 small islands and islets. The West and East areas are separated by the Falkland Sound, and there is a ferry that traverses the Sound from Port Howard in the West to New Haven in the East.

If you know that the entire population of the Falkland Islands is only 3,200 (1,550 live in Stanley—the only town), and there are at least a million sheep—but sheep don’t make nearly as interesting a symbolic icon for the islands!—then you will realize the villages are small, and with two huge cruise ships moored in the Port William harbor at the same time, the passengers on these two ships easily double the entire population of the Falklands.

I mention the sheep in jest, but the Falkland’s economy has been based on sheep farming, but the worldwide slump in demand have left sheep farmers struggling for survival. According to the "Stanley Princess Port Guide," "[Sheep] farmers are now financially supported out of the revenues generated by the fishing industry, which currently produces about 50% of the Falkland Island Government revenue."

The Falkland Islands are ideal for sheep farming because of the nearly flat or gently rolling hills and the barren, rocky terrain. The terrain is either rocky or grass covered.

Instead of taking a Princess excursion, we chose a van trip arranged at the Public Jetty in Stanley Harbor (where our tenders dropped us off), to Gypsy Cove. During the high season of tourists, the cost is $25.00 U.S. per person, but because the season was winding down, the cost was reduced to $20.00 U.S. per person, and Gypsy Cove is about 4 miles from Stanley—about an hour-and-a-half walk.

A number of passengers booked Princess excursions to Volunteer Point to see King Penguins. The reports were not so good. First, the groups travel together in a caravan of four, five, or six jeeps, the trip takes almost 2½ hours one way, and the dirt road is so bumpy that they warn people with bad backs or neck problems not to take the trip.

At the dock where the tenders came in we hopped onto the $20 tourist van to Gypsy Cove, a National Nature Reserve owned by the Falkland Islands Government. It is a small bay with a crescent of white sand and is backed by dry heathland with patches of tussac grass, cinnamon grass, and dune. This is a Magellanic Penguins rockery. Some had borrows only a few feet off the trail. Many had chicks in the burrows.

Parts of Gypsy Cove are fenced off and red warning signs are posted all along the sidewalk overlooking the Cove and Yorke Bay. As it turns out, during the 1982 occupation of the Falklands, the Argentines placed several fields of plastic landmines nearby, in order to prevent a British landing. The British, instead, marched on Stanley from the landward side, from the west, avoiding Gypsy Cove and Yorke Bay.

According to our Princess Port Guide:
"In April, 1982, Argentine Special Forces invaded the islands and met fierce resistance from the Royal Marines, in particular of the defence (sic) of Government House. Argentine reinforcements who followed later though were poorly trained and equipped. By June of the same year Argentine forces were defeated, setting the stage for the collapse of the military regime."
More on Gypsy Cove and our walking tour of Stanley in the second essay on the Falkland Islands. Incidentally, the Falklands were one of our favorite stops on this cruise.

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This site is from the Falkland Island Tourist Board. It has good information and some great pictures.

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Copyright March, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Be Creative

I have often found that time away from a task  in recreation, exercise, or play  is a way to squeeze the creative juices into action.

Find tons of quotes to inspire your journey:
SMOERs - Available at Amazon
Self Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

And Then Some News

by Anthony Weaver

There will be penguins on Thursday! Grab your tuxedo's and follow along to the Falkland Islands.

Here's an excerpt of Thursday's essay, "Falkland Islands: Thank heavens for the penguins!":

"As I was riding the tender (the small passenger transit boat) the two miles back to the Star Princess moored at Port William Harbor the second time, the passenger sitting directly opposite me on the tender bench, said, "Thank heavens for the Falkland Islands that they have penguins!" His meaning, for anyone who has visited Stanley, would be clear: There is no reason for visiting the Falkland Islands unless you want to see penguins."

This week I'm uploading the rest of the Edgar E. Willis video series. The two-part lecture, The Anatomy of Humor, discusses both why jokes are funny and how to tell a great joke. This video, filmed on VHS tape in 1984, required substantial work to make it viewable today, but I'm sure when you see it, you will agree that it was worth the effort.

I'll also be uploading the Who Wrote the Shakespeare Plays? lecture series with his new video conclusion that discusses who Edgar thinks wrote the plays. This lecture series was recorded in the late 1980's.  The question is, is Edgar convinced by the new information he has read and researched about him, that it was Shakespeare, indeed, who is the author of the works everyone associates with him?

With these two lecture series uploaded I have concluded all the new videos with Edgar.  The only exception would be a video that would include answers to questions posed for him at the Internet address below.

Do you have a question for Edgar?  Record your questions at:

Monday, March 25, 2013

My reading life

My reading life
By Pat Conroy

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

On page 88, Conroy conveys an insight about his own writing that not only corresponds to my own experiences, but also offers a suggestion to "would-be writers" who might want to begin a writing career:

"Whenever I sit to write, I never allow myself the benefit of a Sabbath or day off; nor do I give myself time off for good behavior. Good writing is one of the forms that hard labor takes. It is neither roadhouse nor weigh station, but much more like some unnamable station of the cross. It is taking the nothingness of air and turning it into a pleasure palace built on a foundation of words. From the time I could talk I took an immense pleasure in running down words, shagging them like fly balls in some spacious field. Though I failed to notice it at the time, my childhood was a long, patient apprenticeship of finding my comfort zone in the ocean of words that rushed through me each day" (p. 88).

At another point in the book, Conroy writes, ". . . I am a man of ingrained habit, my life has fixed points of immovable behavior that can make my daily schedule seem neurotic to the point of inertia. To me, the writing life requires the tireless discipline of the ironclad routine. The writing of books does not permit much familiarity with chaos. . . " (p.108). So many people would love to be a writer; so many people do not have the self-discipline to be a writer.

I have read none of Conroy’s previous nine books, but I do not read fiction. As an active and involved author of college textbooks (see COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY (McGraw-Hill, 2012), I use my reading time for keeping up with current events, reading nonfiction, and devouring any material that might — in some way — contribute to my textbook writing or the writing of my essays (see the blog at andthensomeworks). Writing college textbooks is a highly competitive industry that requires 24/7 devotion to task, year-in and year-out. As another example, I have read On Writing (and loved it), but I have read none of Stephen King’s fiction.

I am always fascinated by writers who write about their craft. As it turns out, we all have our habits and eccentricities. What works for one writer does not necessarily work for another just as the ease with which words come to authors is not the same for all. Some
sit down at the computer keyboard (or typewriter) and words flow as if they are simply a channel or conduit for some mysterious, outside donor while others struggle with every word which only reveals itself through beads of sweat wrenched from some intense brawl with unknown interior antagonists. That is precisely why reading about a writer’s craft is so engaging.

Conroy’s book, however, is more than just his "reading life." Sure, he reveals the books that have meant most to him, and the teachers (and librarians) who have been inspirational, but, as the quotations above suggest, his book is about how he writes and the discipline necessary to pursue it. Also Conroy is a terrific story teller. Not everyone has that gift.

For 22 years I commuted from Perrysburg, Ohio, to Bowling Green State University, and that 20-25-minute drive allowed me time to prepare for my professional life as a professor (on the way there), and gave me ample time to unwind (de-stress) on the way home. It was a time, too, for thinking, and just as when I jog three miles in the morning now, I would discover new ideas, unique ways of saying things, and compelling solutions to outstanding problems. These are times I work with words.

There is something more, however, in the Conroy book. It is, indeed, the language: Conroy is a wordsmith.

"On my writing desk, I always keep the poets close by, and I reach for them when those silver, mountain-born creeks go dry or when exhaustion rearranges the furniture of my fear-chambered heart. The poets force me back toward the writing life, where the trek takes you into the interior where the right word hides like an ivory-billed woodpecker in the branches of the highest pines" (p. 142).

Some might label it florid, flamboyant, even affected or artificial. No such thing! It is a delight to read someone not only with Conroy’s command of the English language but with his ability to conger-up all the analogies and metaphors. Reading this book is like immersing yourself — bathing gloriously — in an ocean of words and expressions, language and style. As Conroy says, you "drift into that bright cocoon where the writer loses himself in language" (p. 305). Ahh, sheer reverie!

"For reasons that have always been unclear to me, the books inside me seem to reach some unanimous agreement about which one of them will go to the head of the line as I open up the next artery that surges out in a tidal fury from the headwaters of my interior" (p. 170). That kind of writing cannot be taught. It is instinctual; however, it is instinct that gathers momentum from training, nurturing, passion, and desire. And that is what this book is all about. How and where does this pallet of background and experience originate?

Conroy answers the origination question: "Story and language brought me to the craft of writing; then passion and my childhood provided both the structure and the details" (p. 306).

"You feel everything in War and Peace except the strain of its creation. It’s like a book made from starlight and fire; the spirit of life itself lends it structure" (p. 271). The quotations, of course, could go on and on. After all, this is Pat Conroy steering the ship, navigating the narrative, piloting the plot, and guiding the verbiage. It is truly a verbal adventure.

Just as Conroy talks about his reading, reading this book (for me) is similar. Conroy writes, "I want a book so filled with story and character that I read page after page without thinking of food and drink, because a writer has possessed me, crazed me with an unappeasable thirst to know what happens next" (p. 311). I loved this book. Five stars out of five! Buy it for his ideas on reading, on writing, or for his delightful storytelling. Or, buy it to be totally enveloped by a wonderful world of words.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Humor

During my physical examination, my doctor asked me about my physical activity level. I described a typical day this way: "Well, yesterday afternoon, I took a five hour walk, About 7 miles, through some pretty rough terrain. I waded along the edge of a lake. I pushed my way through brambles. I got sand in my shoes and my eyes and I avoided standing on a snake. I climbed several rocky hills. I took a few 'leaks' behind some big trees. The mental stress of it all left me shattered. At the end of it all I drank eight beers".

Inspired by the story, the doctor said, "You must be quite an outdoors man!"

"No," I replied, "just a terrible golfer!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ATSP News: World War II Memoir Book Interview

by Anthony Weaver

I've rereleased the four part interview with Edgar E. Willis about his memoir of World War II, Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform. He discusses his life before and after the World War II, captains he served under, his family... And Then Some!

In Part 1 of the interview I ask Edgar about his inspiration for the book, the reason for the title, and why he decided to include his life before and after his service.

Part 2 discusses events had happened to Edgar that were either pure luck or just because of the circumstance of the moment including his pure luck Navy physical. As we progressed, I asked about the captains Edgar served under and his best explanation? He reads from his memoir. We finish off Part 2 with, "That's the way the navy does it!"

Part 3 of the WWII discussion continues the story of the captains Edgar E. Willis served under. The "Winding path to Peace," includes the fact bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and yet, the USS Alaska hadn't suffered it's only casualty of the war. Edgar reminds us with precision what was happening in the Pacific Theater, the timing, and the feelings of where our country was during WWII, including the difference between enlisted men and officers.

Part 4 is the conclusion of Edgar E. Willis's interview about his book "Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform." In his decommission Edgar faced some big decisions that would choose the path for his life. With an education, he had career choices, a wife and children, what was to happen next?... And what does he hope readers will take away from his World War II memoir?

  Part 1:  Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: Edgar E. Willis  

  Part 2:  Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: Edgar E. Willis  

  Part 3:  Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: Edgar E. Willis  

  Part 4:  Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: Edgar E. Willis  

Buenos Aires II: Our only Princess excursion (a bus tour)

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

La Boca, as it turns out, is a very special place. I began talking about it in the first essay, but it deserves more space. There are two things that make La Boca stand out, and we passed close to the first, in getting to the second.

The first is the soccer stadium. "A man," Teresa said, "will give up his home, his family, and even his marriage, but he will never give up his devotion to soccer." These are dedicated, committed, zealous, even fervent soccer fans.

At this soccer stadium, a unique marquee meets the visitor’s eye. A visitor might not even notice it if it is not pointed out. It is the only stadium in the world where the sponsor’s logo (which is wrapped around the top of the stadium for all to see), is in black-and-white, not in red-and-white as you usually see the coca-cola logo. Why would that be? It is because the opposing team’s colors are red and white!

The second feature of La Boca that stands out are the homes. La Boca may be a very poor part of town, but the houses there are painted in bright colors. We’re not just talking about yellow, green, orange, or blue colors of different homes, we’re talking about all these colors—at times—on a single home! These are not subtle, subdued shades of these colors, these are as stark as possible—and made even more striking by the sun on the day we visited.

As we entered the pedestrian walkways into La Boca, we had to walk around a group of three older men moving one step at a time to the beat of their own three drums. That was when, too, we came upon the many artists’ displays of their paintings—quite good ones I thought.

La Boca, as stated in the previous essay, is a place that thrives on the tango. Here, I want to quote from "The Tango" web site :

"Nevertheless [despite the speculation that Cuba was the place where the tango was danced for the first time], most experts [agree] that Buenos Aires, during the decade of 1880 marked the starting point of the music and the dance. In those years there was a proliferation of brothels in Buenos Aires, mostly sustained by immigrant women from Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Poland, whose clientele were also immigrants that had left their families and wives in search of new opportunities." "Initially, the tango was played in brothels with a violin, a flute and a guitar, and if a guitar was not available, it was replaced with a comb turned into a wind instrument alongside a cigarette paper and an expert blower that marked the rhythm. The mythical instrument, the bandoneon, was not a part of the tango until a couple of decades later, around 1900 approximately, and little by little it started to replace the flute."

The reason this quotation is so important is because if provides a preface for a story that our tour guide, Teresa, told us about the tango. She admitted up front that there is a great deal of speculation regarding the beginning of the tango. Teresa said that the tango was perceived as a sinful dance born in the brothels and bordellos and, thus, unaccepted by the church and mainstream citizens. So, a couple of tango dancers went to Rome to get the Pope’s blessing for the dance. Instead of doing the tango, however, the couple did the waltz. The Pope saw it, gave it his blessing, and the tango suddenly was accepted, and with the Pope’s blessing, became the most popular dance of the country.

As an aside, soon after it received the Pope’s blessing, in 1917, a porteno (citizen of Buenos Aires), by the name of Carlos Gardel, recorded a tango called "Mi Noche Triste" ("My Sad Night"). The song became a hit, he became a superstar, and the song introduced the rest of the world to the tango.

Our final "must see" destination was La Casa Rosada (The Pink House, or Government House) built in the late 1800s. It sits at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo, the large square which since the 1580 foundation of Buenos Aires has been surrounded by many of the most important political institutions of the city and of Argentina.

It is hard to imagine when you see La Casa Rosada (because of its distance away on a hill from the main thorofare and from the river) that when it was originally constructed, it was at the shoreline of the Rio de la Plata (the River of Silver).

Now, you might wonder as I did, why would they paint this enormous building pink? First, it was considered a drab building to begin with, and Domingo Sarmiento beautified it with patios, gardens, and wrought-iron grillwork. Second, however, the reason is all about politics. The colors of the opposing political parties were red and white, and color pink (a combination of the two colors) was selected to defuse political tensions.

As an aside, an alternative explanation for the pink color suggests that the original paint contained cow’s blood designed to prevent damage from the effects of humidity. The information we received onboard said that the pink color was derived by mixing beef fat, blood, and lime!

La Casa Rosada, however, has far more significance for tourists than for local residents. It turns out that Madonna was one of a very limited number of people actually allowed to visit the balcony where Eva Peron made her final farewell address to the Argentine people before she died. In fact, the Argentine government even allowed the filming of the famous "Don’t cry for me Argentina" scene from her 1996 movie, "Evita," to take place on the actual balcony. "Evita," as you will recall, was the film adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical of the same name based on the life of Eva Perón.

The northern side of the Plaza de Mayo is dominated by the Municipal Cathedral, which is the tome of the Orden del Liberator (the highest decoration that is awarded in Argentina), General Jose de San Martin (1778-1850)—one of the most important historical figures in South America. He freed Argentina, Chile, and Peru, from the crown of Spain.

From the Pink House, we drove to Florida Street, where we left 2 people from our tour to shop. It is one of the city’s leading tourist attractions because of its variety of retail stores, shopping arcades, and restaurants. It bustles with shoppers, vendors, and office workers, too, because it is close to the financial district. By evening, Florida Street relaxes as street performers flock to the area, including tango singers and dancers, living statues, and comedy acts.

Although our excursion lasted exactly 3½ hours, we feel we achieved a real feel for the city. We saw the essential "must see" sights, and by stopping at the port terminal, we found our own essential "must buy" items—a tee shirt for me and a shot glass for one of our granddaughters. We boarded our ship, had a very late lunch, and I settled in at Skywalker’s Nightclub to write-up my excursion notes. This is one place I would highly recommend some kind of excursion or tour.

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Wikipedia has the most complete information regarding the history and culture of Buenos Aires.

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Copyright March, 2013, bt And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

With the clutter that technology adds to our lives, the chatter that the media supplies, and the sounds that people, automobiles, and airplanes throw in, there is cause for joyous celebration in stillness—being calm and quiet. When was the last time you turned off television or the Internet and just sat quietly? When was the last time you decided not to check your email, answer your cell phone, surf the Internet, or check for responses on your social networking sites? It is time now for a "make it count" moment.

Find tons of quotes to inspire your journey:
SMOERs - Available at Amazon
Self Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ATSP News: Thursday Essay Preview

by Anthony Weaver

I don't know anything about La Boca and Thursday's essay, Buenos Aires: Our Only Princess Excursion, but one thing immediately stands out. I can't wait to read about the soccer stadium. Below is a preview:
"La Boca, as it turns out, is a very special place. I began talking about it in the first essay, but it deserves more space. There are two things that make La Boca stand out, and we passed close to the first, in getting to the second."

"The first is the soccer stadium. "A man," Teresa said, "will give up his home, his family, and even his marriage, but he will never give up his devotion to soccer." These are dedicated, committed, zealous, even fervent soccer fans."

Read more in this week's Thursday's Essay!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Change anything: The new science of personal success

Change anything: The new science of personal success
By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have to admit that I checked out before I wrote this review of Change Anything. At this time (08-20-11), there are 43 reviews and when averaged together, they average five stars out of five. This is important because, for me, it means that a number of people are finding this book useful (or that the authors have lots of family members and friends!). Admittedly, some complain that it’s a bit dry, and others complain that there is no real "science" involved, but overall, the reviews are outstanding.

The reason I checked out first is that I am not looking to change anything at the current time: I do not need to lose weight; I am financially fit; I have no addictions, and I am not looking for any change in my relationships. That simply means that I am not certain that the ideas for change are valid; however, when you look at the positive reviews and the number of people who have found the ideas here valuable, useful, or practical, it indicates the authors have effectively hit on the right message, useful and productive suggestions, and a technique that works.

As I have said in reviewing a number of other books — like those on how to communicate effectively — I feel that any book that makes (or has the potential of making) a positive contribution to our well being or a successful life or whatever, should be heralded and revered. Those who need help in various areas should be able to find it, and I love (being a writer myself) supporting the book publishing industry.

Here, then is my assessment of this book. 1) It is extremely well-written. 2) The "Notes" section looks very strong. 3) It has a terrific index. 4) The examples used throughout are useful and engaging. 5) The ideas are practical, straightforward, well-explained, and useful. There is no doubt that this is a "how-to-do-it" book.

Although the authors offer a number of valuable tools for change (saying that willpower alone is not sufficient) — 1. Love what you hate, or come to terms with pleasure and pain. 2. Do what you can or build the necessary skills that can spur change. 3. and 4. Turn accomplices into friends or get other people into the act of change.5. Invert the Economy or use incentives, and, thus, manipulate the benefits of change. 6. Control your space or use the environment to help the change process — it still comes down to whether or not people are willing to make the commitment — even a commitment to purchase this book!

As one reviewer at said, "The whole book is geared towards specific actions you can implement so that you aren't just relying on willpower alone. The methods recommended here are not quick-fix ideas, rather they are each a part of a larger process of taking deliberate steps to begin heading in the direction you really want to go."

I really enjoyed their discussion of the six sources of Influence in our lives. These are the six sources of influence that can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle:

1. personal motivation where you tap into your existing desires and wants

2. personal ability where you learn new skills to promote change

3. social motivation where you turn accomplices into friends that help you make positive changes

4. social ability where you use confederates to enable good choices

5. structural motivation where you directly link short-term rewards and punishments to your new habits

6. structural ability where you change your environment to one more likely to promote the change you want

People who want to change need to seek out this book. It has real value and potential, but everyone must realize something the authors acknowledge, too: Any change comes from within and requires commitment, work, time, and patience. And whether you like it or not, there is no magic formula, and most people who want change — in whatever area of life but especially in personal development (e.g., weight, exercise, diet, or sleep) — will not put forth the commitment, do the necessary work, take the time, or even be patient (they want instant results!).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Edgar E Willis Uploads Two New Videos

by Anthony Weaver

No... at 99 years old, Edgar E. Willis did not upload the videos himself. He's often admitted that he is technology challenged. In fact, I'm amazed throughout Edgar's career as an author and professor, he never learned how to type. Seriously.

The two new videos uploaded to the And Then Some Publishing YouTube Channel are about public speaking, plus, life and longevity.

In the first video Edgar E. Willis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, talks about his career in public speaking. He gives expert advice to help you give the greatest speech of your life!

In the second video he talks about his life, family, career and keys to living a long fulfilling life.

Next week in Tuesday's upcoming And Then Some News, Edgar will have a question for everyone.

  Video 1:  Public Speaking - Expert Advice from Edgar E. Willis  

  Video 2:  Life and Longevity - Edgar E Willis  

Friday Humor

In parochial school students are taught that lying is a sin. However, instructions also advised that using a bit of imagination was OK to express the Truth differently without lying. Below is a perfect example of those teachings:

Getting a Hairdryer through Customs.

An attractive young woman on a flight from Ireland asked the Priest beside her, 'Father, may I ask a favor?''

'Of course child. What may I do for you?'

'Well, I bought my mother an expensive hair dryer for her birthday. It is unopened but well over the Customs limits and I'm afraid they'll confiscate it.

Is there any way you could carry it through customs for me? Hide it under your Robes perhaps?'

'I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you, I will not lie.'

'With your honest face, Father, no one will question you.'

When they got to Customs, she let the priest go first. The official asked, 'Father, do you have anything to declare?'

'From the top of my head down to my waist I have nothing to declare.'

The official thought this answer strange, so asked, 'And what do you have to declare from your waist to the floor?'

'I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but which is, to date, unused.'

Roaring with laughter, the official said,

''Go ahead, Father!!!!!"

Next please!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Buenos Aires: Our only South American Princess Excursion (a bus tour)

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Most of the places discussed in our Fodor’s book on South America have a page or two of description and history. For Buenos Aires, the description and history is a mere paragraph long (103 words total). If all you knew of the city was dependent on this brief description, serious travelers might choose to avoid the city—"incredible food, fresh young designers, and a thriving cultural scene" (p. 27).

Our tour guide (Teresa) told us an interesting story that may explain a portion of the lack of "charm." She said that during the very early days of the city, the founding father (and those in power) emphasized the cattle and the grasslands of the interior—unlike Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo cities which placed an emphasis on the beaches and built pedestrian walkways and even boulevards that highlight and emphasize the beaches and water.

Of course, if the Rio de la Plata (river of silver) looked like it did today from Deck 18 (Skywalker’s Nightclub), no punctuation would be necessary. It is a huge, brown (mud-like) expanse as far as the eye can see. The river is over 30 miles wide here in the port of Buenos Aires, and where the river (really an estuary) meets the Atlantic Ocean, it is 180 miles wide.

Teresa told us, too, that Buenos Aires was preparing for "Carnival," but she said it was a miniature version of "Carnival" in Rio. Here it was truly a copy—"it feels forced," she said. In Rio, she said, the people really feel the music. For them, it is natural, unforced, and feels right.

The pink, silk floss trees , with their cotton-candy blooms, were all on display as we drove through the city, and the parks and trees beautifully set off the austere buildings. Buenos Aires is the commercial, administrative, artistic, and intellectual hub of Argentina.

Early on our 3½-hour tour, we headed for the 14 acre Cementerio de la Recoleta. This property contains 4,691 vaults, all above ground. 94 of those have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government. You enter the cemetery through neo-classical gates with tall Doric columns. This is Argentina’s most elegant and aristocratic cemetery where the national heroes, former presidents, famous personalities, and many aristocratic families are buried.

Many of the vaults are elaborate marble mausoleums decorated with statues in a wide variety of architectural styles such as art deco, art nouveau, baroque, and neo-gothic, and most of the materials used in the construction of the tombs was imported from Paris and Milan between 1880 and 1930. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums built wall-to-wall with no breaks.

It should be noted that while many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair. Some are found with broken glass and are littered with rubbish.

I asked Teresa if this was a Catholic cemetery, and she replied that when it opened in 1822, it was only for Catholics, but later, in 1863, Argentine president Bartolome Mitre signed a decree which allowed the burial of members of other religions.

Because of the importance of the Cementerio de la Recoleta, I went to the web site Buenos Aires Travel Planet and here I am quoting information from that site: 

"The most internationally famous historical and political figure in the cemetery is Eva "Evita" Duarte de Perón, wife of former Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón and a political leader in her own right. Eva’s body was embalmed after her she died from cancer in 1952 at the young age of thirty-three. Her body was later stolen after the military coup which overthrew her husband in 1955, and hidden in a cemetery in Milan, Italy until 1971 when it was returned to Juan Perón who was exiled in Spain. It was later repatriated to Argentina. To avoid any further tampering with her remains, she was buried eight meters beneath the passage to the Duarte family crypt. Today Eva Perón’s tomb is the most visited in the cemetery. Compared to other tombs and mausoleums it is very discrete; the numerous cards and flowers, the constant stream of visitors and the many camera shutters clicking are the only indicators that someone of great historical significance lays to rest there."
Our tour moved from one "must see" tourist site to another. The new site is the widest street in Buenos Aires, Av. 9 de Julio, named to commemorate Argentine’s independence from Spain on July 9, 1816. The avenue is a full city-block wide. It has up to seven lanes in each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each.

Crossing the avenue at street level often requires a few minutes, as all intersections have traffic lights. Under normal walking speed, it takes pedestrians normally two to three green lights to cross it. Teresa told us a joke of a man who was trying to cross the road and sees a man on the other side. He loudly shouts to him, "Sir, I’m trying to get to the other side. How did you do it?" The other man shouts back, "I’ve never crossed it. I was born on this side."

A third "must see" site followed as we arrived at La Boca. As one of Buenos Aire’s 48 barrios, La Boca is located in the city’s southeast near its old port. The residents are of mixed European descent, mainly Italian, Spanish, German, French, Arab, and Basque.

It is a popular destination for tourists because of it colorful houses and its pedestrian street, the Caminito, where numerous artists display and sell their work. Tango artists perform, and tango-related memorabilia is sold. In addition, there is the La Ribera theatre, many tango clubs and Italian taverns. I asked Teresa if it is always this busy (we were there on a Wednesday morning), and she said, "No. Only when the big cruise ships are visiting." Not only was the MSC Armonia docked near our ship, but the Royal Caribbean ship, "Spelndor of the Seas" was in port as well.

In getting to LaBoca, we passed the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, which looks like the Washington Monument. It is a national historic monument located in the Plaza de la Republica at the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio. It was built in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city. Since the Obelisk of the city is always associated with the night and entertainment of Buenos Aires, a zone around the monument has been designated that is similar to Times Square in New York and Picadilly Circus in London—two associations the people of Buenos Aires appreciate.

There is more information about Buenos Aires in the second essay that covers our planned Princess excursion around the city.

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Buenos Aires Vacations --- click on the icon that says 3 Days in Buenos Aires, and you will get a list and description of all the major attractions (the "must sees") on any tour of the city.

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Copyright March, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

When you are stretched tightly and the mental strain is intense, recognize the signals, pay atention to your health, turn your stress into positive plans and actions, make the necessary adjustments in your life, and practice relaxation techniques. Your stress will disappear.

Find tons of quotes to inspire your journey:
SMOERs - Available at Amazon
Self Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

And Then Some News - New Videos

by Anthony Weaver

This Thursday we take a trip to Buenos Aires. An excerpt from the upcoming essay reads, "Our tour guide (Teresa) told us an interesting story that may explain a portion of Buenos Aires' lack of "charm." She said that during the very early days of the city, the founding father (and those in power) emphasized the cattle and the grasslands of the interior—unlike Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, cities which placed an emphasis on the beaches and built pedestrian walkways and even boulevards that highlight and emphasize the beaches and water."

There's so much more than meets the eye when it comes to Buenos Aires. Learn more in Thursday's Essay and remember, there are an additional 60 travel essays written by Dr. Richard L. Weaver II in his book Exotic Destinations... And Then Some!: Stories of adventures from around the world. It even includes a picture of him on the cover of the book!

New Videos on the way this week!

Since January 2013 I've been shooting videos with Richard L. Weaver II and Edgar E. Willis. I've been slowly releasing them as I finish editing and getting them ready for uploading to YouTube. There are a total of seven new videos and next week's video will be asking you, the viewer, a question. Exciting!

The first video that has been uploaded to ATSPpublishing YouTube channel is an introduction to Dr. Richard L. Weaver II. He talks about how he started in his writing career, his background experiences, and the books he has published. He has also updated his Google+ page so you can get to know Richard "Dick" Weaver better.

The second video is from Richard L. Weaver II YouTube channel and features an interview with Edgar E. Willis about his book, How to be Funny on Purpose. He talks about his love of humor and why he wrote his book.

Video 1: About Author Dr. Richard L. Weaver II

Video 2: How to be Funny on Purpose - Book Interview with Edgar E. Willis

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
Edited by Meredith Maran

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Truly fascinating! A sensational read! Delightful, charming, and amazing don’t fully capture my impression. Whether you are a writer, someone who wants to become a writer, or just someone interested in the remarkable world of writers, you will be as thrilled by the sincere, candid, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact candor of these authors as I was.

Now, you may quibble with my use of the phrase, "remarkable world of writers," but you will have greater appreciation for my use of the phrase when you know that I am a writer too. When I say, "remarkable world of writers," it is simply that I find so many of these authors accurately describing my world. I have written about "my world" in numerous blog entries and my essay, "So you want to write a book?" is essay 23 in And Then Some: Essays to Entertain, Motivate, & Inspire. I have been a professional writer for close to forty years. That may be why I so closely identify with this book. I wish it could have been twice as long; for me, twenty authors just wasn’t enough.

In addition to the way each of the authors answered the question, "Why do you write?" I found the format of the book both informative and instructive. That is, Maran, as the editor, begins each chapter with a quotation from one of the author’s books, provides details about each author’s "vitals" (birthday, current home, schooling, honors and awards, notable notes, as well as website, facebook, and twitter addresses), then lists the author’s "collected works." Those sections are followed by the author’s answer to the question, "Why I write," and each chapter ends with two, three, or sometimes even four "Wisdom for Writers" where each author provides specific suggestions—most useful, of course, for aspiring writers.

So many of the writers here respond to the statement, "Why I write," by saying something similar to what Sue Grafton writes, "Seriously," she says, "I write because it’s all I know how to do." James Frey says, "I’m really not qualified to do anything else." Susan Orlean says, "Writing is all I’ve ever done. I don’t think of it as a profession. It’s just who I am." Ann Patchett responds to the statement in this way: "I write because I swear to God I don’t know how to do anything else."

My personal response to the statement about why I write is multifaceted. I find numerous joys in the act of writing and the first, and most obvious, is pleasure—the pleasure I experience in having an outlet for expressing my ideas. There is pleasure, too, in capturing the abstract conceptions and notions of my mind in concrete, tangible language. A second reason I write has to do with instruction—sharing my views of the world with others. Through articles, books (mostly college textbooks), speeches, and blog essays—and the responses of others to those products—I built efficacy—the belief in my ability to produce results.  In the book, in all the authors’ statements about why they write, there is (beyond their basic motivation to write) a sense of purpose. They have some overriding, all-encompassing value or set of principles that drives or compels them to continue. And what is important, too, is that it is the motivation, set of values or principles that keeps them buoyant through the hard times—when the creative well momentarily runs dry.

What the above paragraph displays is how this book forces you to look inside yourself. As I read, I conducted a wonderful, enriching, productive internal dialogue as I responded to what each author described. You see, writing gives me something to do, it rewards my needs as an independent person who enjoys autonomy, isolation, and solitude (writing is a solitary endeavor), it challenges me to think more deeply about everything, and it satisfies my need to acquire knowledge. I am forever the student. Occasionally, too, I have those moments some of these authors talk about when you, as an author, become a channel or conduit for a force greater than yourself—when all you are is a secretary (and observer) in one of the most awe-inspiring, stirring, mind-blowing occurrences in writing. The only question then is can your fingers on the keyboard keep up with the thoughts coming from your brain?

This book not only allows you inside the writer’s brain, allows you to understand the world in which they live, but it offers, too, a realistic view of the challenges, difficulties, and arduous task that writing truly is. Anyone who dreams of being an author will surely come away from reading this book with a far more grounded, reasonable, and hard-nosed assessment of what it’s all about. I absolutely loved this book, read it all in one sitting (228 pages of text in a 5 1/4" by 8" format), and wanted more—much more!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Humor

We were dressed, and ready to go out for the New Years Eve Party. We turned on a night light, turned the answering machine on, covered our pet parakeet, and put the cat in the backyard.

We phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and we opened the front door to leave the house.

As we walked out the door, the cat we had put out in the yard, scoots back into the house. We didn't want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird.

My wife goes on out to the taxi, while I went back inside to get the cat. The cat runs upstairs, with me in hot pursuit. Waiting in the cab, my wife doesn't want the driver to know that the house will be empty for the night. So, she explains to the taxi driver that I will be out soon, 'He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.'

A few minutes later, I get into the cab. 'Sorry I took so long,' I said, as we drove away. 'That stupid bitch was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her ass with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck. Then, I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked! I hauled her fat ass downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!'

The cab driver hit a parked car.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Montevideo, Uruguay: Walking straight from the dock

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Montevideo is one of the youngest capitals in Latin America, founded between 1724 and 1730, and it did not become the capital of Uruguay until 1828. It is the Southern-most capital of the Americas. It is often considered to be a playground for Argentineans and Brazilians on their summer holidays. About half of the population of Uruguay live in Montevideo; thus, it thrives as the center of Uruguayan culture, education, business, and tourism.
Just a quick aside: Uruguay is the smallest Spanish-speaking nation in South America, and it is bounded on the west by Argentina, on the north and northeast by Brazil, and on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean.

Having been there—after writing this essay—there are several observations that can be made. First, the city does not have the "whirlwind vibe" (says our Fodor’s guide to South America (p. 673)) that Rio de Janeiro does. Second, Montevideo has many of the same traits as other large cities in South America—the downtown shopping areas, markets, pedestrian esplanades, plazas, old versus new areas of town, historic buildings, and monuments.

Our ship docked in the old city, and sitting on Deck 18 (where I wrote this essay) in Skywalker’s Nightclub, I look out over a vast array (as far as I can see!) of old-city buildings in their dark gray and beige style of "worn, colonial architecture" (p. 673). There is no doubt about their age nor about their number. They fill the area between the Puerto de Montevideo (where we are located) and the other side of this broad, short peninsula and the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver). We are docked at the end of this peninsula.

We disembarked the Star Princess at the Graff Spee Monument. The first thing you see in the harbor is the tower of the Graff Spee sticking up from the sea. The Graff Spee was a German warship that was scuttled after being denied safe harbor for repairs in Montevideo. The monument is the ship’s anchor at the main dock (gathering area) after getting off the ship.

Knowing nothing about this city or how to get around, we joined with three others, and with the help of a local police officer (who spoke no English but who was standing just outside the port gate), we were able to locate the beginning portion of La Rambla. South of the Gulf of Montevideo, La Rambla offers opportunities for people to jog, walk, bike, skateboard, roller skate, fish, fly kites, or drink maté. It stretches for 13.6 miles along the coast and is made of enormous blocks of red granite. Although we didn’t follow it, it links the Old City with the eastern suburbs and changes names about a dozen times.

The day we visited (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) was a holiday, and thus, there was no way to get a feel for the 1½ million people who live here.

As my wife and I walked to Plaza Independencia, we could clearly see, as we looked down the long, narrow streets in either direction, that we were surrounded by water. Plaza Independencia is Montevideo’s most important plaza. It splits Ciudad Vieja (the oldest part of the city) from downtown Montevideo, with the Gateway of The Citadel on one side and the beginning of 18 de Julio Avenue on the other. Many important buildings, such as the Solis Tfheatre and the workplaces of the President of Uruguay (both the Estevez Palace and the future Executive Tower) are located by this square.

Clearly visible at the Plaza Independencia is the Palacio Salvo. It is a building from which a unique designed spire rises, and it still dominates the skyline and nicely contrasts some of the newer construction around it. At the time of its construction it was the tallest building in South America, although today it has been surpassed several times over. The original intention was for it to be a grand hotel, but this never worked and now it serves as an office building.

To get to the Plaza Independencia, we strolled through the Plaza Constitution, which is located in the old city and from which you can see Montevideo’s oldest building, the Cathedral. Although the Cathedral has been restored, it still retains its colonial charm and external structure. The plaza is also home to the town hall.

Like any big city, and despite the many city workers using brooms and dust pans, there was litter and dirt, but it was not to the point of being overwhelming or disconcerting.

We walked several blocks along Av.18 De Julio —the main shopping area—but most shops were closed, and the only pedestrians we saw were cruisers. Another large cruise ship, the MSC Armonia, is docked at close to right angles with ours, and the noses of our two ships are nearly touching, so it would make sense that the city (at least in the area where we walked), would be full of cruisers.

We turned and followed the same path back to our ship so that we would have time to purchase two souvenir items: 1) an ornament we could use for our Christmas tree (my wife, for the first time ever, found an Uruguayan coin made into a key chain, and 2) a tee shirt for me (I found a black one with Montevideo embroidered in brilliant red) which cost $14.00 U.S..

In both these cases, we found the souvenir shops closest to our ship (just outside the port gates) were the cheapest and had the best selection.

Inside the large marketplace at the dock, we noticed several "elegant" restaurants. The numerous tables were set with tablecloths, crystal wine and water glasses, and silverware. Indeed, the place wreaked of "elegance"—to the extent possible in this massive, open, building, with food preparation areas clearly in view.

At the food preparation areas meat of various kinds (I saw beef, pork, and chicken) and vegetables (I saw whole red and green peppers) were cooked at about 30-40-degree angles on grills. In the center were logs burning very hot and on rotisseries near the center flames were full chickens turning slowly.

At the preparation areas a cook (or several cooks) were closely watching everything being cooked and turning things constantly. The grills were full of food.

Our overall impression of Montevideo, without having taken an excursion, is a simple one. We didn’t need an excursion. Even though the history of this place is interesting, we are likely to remember little about this port or this tiny country (excursion or not!). It is interesting, but there is nothing we saw to make it stand out.

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Lonely Planet offers a brief introduction to Montevideo, Uruguay

The Wikipedia website offers a great deal of information on Montevideo

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Copyright March 7, 2013, by and Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

We live, learn, and work in an increasingly complex and information-rich society, and to continue to do so we must be able to use technology effectively. Although it is easy to reject it all because of its intrusion into our lives, the possibilities for misuse, and all of the negative information that can be found on some of it, to do so is simply to reject its inevitability. Far better to learn, understand, and use it in the best ways we can.

The key today is to teach people how to validate the information discovered on the Internet.  The idea that "if it's written, it must be true," is so deeply entrenched in our psyches, that we forget that anyone can post ANYTHING on the Internet. There are no rules, no gatekeepers, no scrutiny.  Thus, great untruths (i.e., lies, fabrications, deceptions, half-truths, exaggerations, and simple misinformation) can be quickly circulated---without evidence that can be supported, sound, just or sufficient reasons for existence, and having no degree of correlation with other information or corroboration by anything else known to be true.

Find tons of quotes to inspire your journey:
SMOERs - Available at Amazon
Self Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And Then Some News

by Anthony Weaver

Announcing a price change for three books, How to be Funny on Purpose, And Then Some Book 1, and Public Speaking Rules

How to be Funny on Purpose: $19.95  NOW $12.95

And Then Some Book 1: $17.95  NOW $11.95

Public Speaking Rules: $17.95  NOW $12.95

We want to reintroduce you to the And Then Some philosophy: Give more, get more, want more from life! In 2006, my Dad and I started our company based on the fundamentals in these books, especially And Then Some Book 1.

The key element to How to be Funny on Purpose is a precise and practical set of instructions for turning the momentary flicker of an idea into a full-fledged and funny joke. This book breaks down why a joke is funny in timing, perception, setup, and delivery. Now just $12.95 or less at

And Then Some - Book 1 is a collection of essays that lend themselves to the times when you only have a moment to spare. They are quick, positive, encouraging, fun... And Then Some! Now just $11.95 or less at

Dr. Richard L. Weaver II's guide, Public Speaking Rules: All you need for a GREAT speech! gives you the confidence to give a great speech no matter your skill level. Dr. Weaver packs in the information you need to perform at your best. We have a new Kindle version coming in late Spring 2013! Public Speaking Rules at it's new price... just $12.95 or less at

Thursday Essay preview: Montevideo, Uruguay: A Walk Straight from the Dock

Montevideo is one of the youngest capitals in Latin America, founded between 1724 and 1730, and it did not become the capital of Uruguay until 1828. It is the Southern-most capital of the Americas. It is often considered to be a playground for Argentineans and Brazilians on their summer holidays. About half of the population of Uruguay live in Montevideo; thus, it thrives as the center of Uruguayan culture, education, business, and tourism.

Monday, March 4, 2013

As we speak: How to make your point and have it stick

As we speak: How to make your point and have it stick
By Peter Meyers and Shann Nix

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is an good book! The authors have even changed the traditional speech parts from introduction, body, and conclusion to "Ramp," "Road map" (forecasting what is to come), "Three PoDs" (points of discovery), Q&A, and Dessert. Instead of organization and outlining, the authors use the word architecture. I was pleased to see that these were the only major changes in vocabulary. The changes work fine, but, being a traditionalist, I’m not certain they add a great deal to learning how to communicate effectively.

The biggest disappointment I have with this book is the lack of an index. For example, I was looking for information on transitions, but could not find it. I thought it might be covered under the topic "architecture," but once having read about "architecture," early in the book, it was nearly impossible to get back to that section without an index to guide me.

What is especially outstanding is the large number of examples included throughout the book. The book, Public Speaking Rules: All You Need for a Great Speech, for example, offers a straightforward approach to the same topic, and like the book, The Elements of Style (which is a straightforward approach to the use of grammar and language) the book Public Speaking Rules provides the essential nuts and bolts of effective public speaking without the heavy use of examples. These two books (in this paragraph) get to the point directly and effectively. The question comes down to, how much information you need to get you to where you want to be — an effective speaker/communicator?

Incidentally, there are a large number of examples that can only come from an author’s personal experience. Meyers has a wonderful, broad, and useful background. The back flyleaf says he is "An acclaimed actor and theater director . . . currently teaches performance and leadership skills at Stanford University, Esalen Institute, and IMD-International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland." In addition to this, he is the founder of a consulting group.

The information here is easily accessible and well-presented. The authors write well. The blend of examples and advice is smooth. The specific suggestions are on target and useful.

I was intrigued by their "performance preparation pattern," and I think their inclusion of an audio exercise on their downloadable package that is designed to "put you into an ideal performance state" is an admirable addition to the book; however, I am always concerned when delivery is taught in a step-by-step manner (e.g., "1. Posture, 2. Breathe, 3. Face, 4. Movement, and 5. Gesture") I have always believed that the best policy with respect to delivery is twofold: 1) let it be natural — a natural and easy outgrowth of a person’s personality and mannerisms, and 2) let it be motivated by the ideas you are sharing.

Overall, the "Notes" section of the book was virtually useless. There were a large number of secondary sources, but there was no primary research cited of any kind. I wondered, for example, where the idea, "Eighteen minutes is the magic number," came from. That is, "Don’t talk for longer than that!" was the admonition, and the next sentence read, "Research shows that adult learners can stay tuned in to a lecture for no more than eighteen minutes before there’s a significant drop-off in attention" (p. 215). The research may very well make this point, however, that research is never footnoted, cited, or referenced in any way. (I had never heard of it before!)

The "Bibliography" used in this book does not include books used in the development of the book. Many have no use in this regard. No, the books cited in the "Bibliography" are those the authors’ have "found constructive, inspiring, and influential, from a variety of disciplines" (p. 273). I have seldom heard of a bibliography provided solely for these reasons. Usually, it is tied to the development of the ideas in the book itself.

You might be interested to know that the book is divided into three major parts: Content, Delivery, and State. And where would you suppose that writers on the art of effective communication might get most of their ideas on "State"? I could not make a guess, but I read this in the "Notes" section, "We have drawn heavily on the work of Anthony Robbins, the world’s great expert on state and how to control it" (p. 270). I’m sorry, but this comment (for me) diminishes the shine of the authors.

If you want insight into the work of motivational guru Tony Robbins, please read Barbara Ehrenreich’s wonderful and insightful book, Bright-Sided. In Kerry Howley’s review of her book , Howley writes, "In Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, she [Ehrenreich] accuses positivity-freaks of corrupting the media, infiltrating medical science, perverting religion, and destroying the economy. She believes that life coaches and their ilk discourage critical thinking among credulous Americans."

Ehrenreich, talking specifically of Tony Robbins and others of his ilk (from Kerry Howley’s review, "Life Coaches are the Root of All Evil,") writes, "In turning the United States into a 24-hour pep rally, charges Ehrenreich, these professional cheerleaders have all but drowned out downers like ‘realism’ and ‘rationality.’ Their followers are trained to dismiss bad news rather than assimilate or reflect upon its importance. Motivators counsel an upbeat ignorance." These authors must plead guilty to Ehrenreich’s charge.

Again, this is a good book. Any book designed to offer suggestions to help people become more effective communicators should be given some respect. Having written ten editions of a beginning college textbook, Communicating Effectively (McGraw-Hill, 2012), and currently working on an eleventh, I appreciate the challenge (of helping people become more effective communicators). With the exception of their dependence on Tony Robbins and the promulgation of his techniques, I think the ideas of the authors of this book are substantive and worth consideration. I give it three stars out of five. The insights offered are not revolutionary or particularly new, but they should be helpful.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Humor

A policeman knocked on my door this morning, but I just locked it and sat there in complete silence.

After 20 seconds he knocked again, but I just continued to ignore it.

The knocks got louder and more frequent but I was determined not to move in the hope that he would just go away.

Then he decided to look through the window.

He shouted, “Do you think I’m stupid? I can see you in there, sir. Open the door.”

I said, “You’re not coming in sir!”

He said, “I don’t want to come in, I just want you to step out of the car.”