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September 28, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

My Double-Header Speeches

The above image, Winter Of Her Heart is also available as a Desktop

Today's song is Everybody Plays The Fool by The Main Ingredient, released in 1972.

On Wednesday I gave my second Humorously Speaking speech at my Twin Oaks Toastmasters club. I won the Best Speaker Ribbon for that speech that day. Below is the written prepared content, although the actual speech was given directly in front of the audience without the use of notes.

Navy Days
I was in Boot Camp for the Naval Reserves in 1970. There I learned much of the lingo sailors used. One day I was cleaning in one of the large halls with some other sailors and I said, "I'm tired of mopping the floor every day." Walking nearby was a Chief Petty Officer who overheard my remark and we had this short conversation.

He said "Lad, you're in the Navy now. This is a deck, not a floor. That's a bulkhead not a wall, and that's an overhead not a ceiling, understand?" "Yes, I answered. I'll start calling them that as soon as this building--casts-off." He was not impressed.

My training time in the Navy included some time onboard a ship. I was sent to a WWII Destroyer Escort in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This ship was in dry-dock for a long time and the new Captain decided to take the ship out for a shakedown cruise. We headed down the East Coast to Florida.

A Destroyer Escort is not a very large ship in comparison to Cruisers, Battleships, or Aircraft Carriers. Our ship was only about 300 feet in length and about 30 feet wide at the beam. It had several decks and I explored all of them from stem to stern.

Skill improvement is part of life in the Navy. I learned how to swab-the-deck each morning. That came in handy after I was married. I learned how to stand watch at 3:00 a.m. for four hours. I learned how to drill for General Quarters, and repel boarders. That came in handy after I became president of this club.

I had a chance to take the helm once. I discovered keeping a ship on-course is not as easy as it looks. It takes skill to steer a ship even in small rolling waves.

One evening just before dinner, the ship went to General Quarters and we all had to go to our battle stations. It was not a drill. For the next three hours we circled the same area, round-and-round. We heard that we were over a Russian Submarine and that made the situation tenser. All of a sudden we stopped General Quarters because instead of a submarine it was determined to be just a large sand bar!

A couple days after that, we had some target practice firing the five-inch guns. We fired at a target about a mile behind the tugboat towing it along. When those guns are fired, no one is allowed outside. Inside the ship the noise reverberates each time one of them is fired. It sounds as if you are in a 55-gallon drum and someone is beating on it with a large hammer.

From the Bridge, it was cool to see those shells bounce along the water like a stone skipping the surface. We had to stop the gun practice when our shells were coming closer to the tugboat than the target itself. No, I wasn't the one aiming those guns.

We encountered a large storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina while we were 300 miles from shore. For three days and nights the ship rolled with very large waves. I watched huge waves hit the bow and fly over the Bridge of the ship as they broke. The ship shuddered from such encounters.

It was not easy to eat, wash, sleep, or move around during the storm. The ship twisted up-and-down, listed side-to-side, and shook back-and-forth all together at one time. You dared not venture outside for fear of being swept overboard and lost.

After the storm we headed for our destination port in Florida. As we entered the port, the ship was supposed to go very slow as it readied to anchor near a pier in a large navy yard. Instead, we crashed into the stone pier, sending a shudder throughout the ship. The Captain was very upset with the officers and crew on the Bridge for that.

We took on some supplies and equipment to conduct sonar drills after we were to leave port. Then one of the funniest things of that tour took place.

It was a very hot day. As the ship started to back out from its mooring, our ship scrapped a large brand new Fleet Tug anchored next to our ship. The screeching metal-to-metal contact caused the paint to be ripped off of each ship in large strips. The Captain of the Fleet Tug came out and started screaming at our Captain over the loudspeaker and the crews from both ships thought it was funny. Our ship kept on moving out to sea.

A ship is supposed to leave the harbor slowly and not create any wake, disturbing the other ships at anchor. Our Captain ordered the ship to leave at Flank Speed! The pitch-black smoke from the stack was billowing out and the ship created huge wakes across the entire harbor area. Everyone on those effected ships was now out wondering was happening and all yelling at our ship.

There was an Officers Club right alongside the harbor as it flowed into the Channel towards the ocean. Because it was a hot and humid day, the air-conditioning in the club was on. The tremendous black smoke from our ship got sucked into that Officers Club as we steamed by and everyone in there came running out coughing adding to the din of people screaming at us. I was laughing so hard, I was sure I had joined, --"McHale's Navy."

Then on Thursday night I gave my third speech from that same Humorously Speaking manual at the Poway-Black Mountain Toastmasters club. Thanks, Monique! It was a fun evening where I gave the following speech without notes:

Embarrassing Moments
When our daughter, Jenny was a very young infant we took her for her scheduled medical checkups. We had an excellent Pediatrician and he had a great sense of humor.

I was still learning about fatherhood then, I had a lot to learn. At one of those early checkup visits, with my wife, Sherry present, the doctor upon looking Jenny over asked us, "Does she have Cradle Cap?" I immediately said "No, she doesn't wear any hat--to bed."

It would be the first of many such embarrassing encounters to come. When a family spends a lot of time together over many years they are bound to happen.

When my daughter was in morning kindergarten, I used to watch her in the afternoons. As I worked on my computer, Jenny would bring her dolls out and sit them on the couch and pretend they were her customers at her imaginary beautician's business.

My hair was longer back in those days and she would pretend to cut it. She would setup a tray of beads and fake scissors and items like that behind me, using them along with a comb to pretend to style my hair.

One such day in the early spring, she was giving me a "haircut" while I was working intensely on a computer program I was designing. Then the doorbell rang. I answered the door to find a young man who started to try to sell me something. Then he acquired a quizzical look on his face. Suddenly he stopped talking and started to walk away very briskly.

I was at a loss to explain why he acted this way and with a typical idiosyncrasy of mine, reached up to scratch my head. I felt things in my hair and at that point discovered Jenny had put her colorful "Little Bo Peep" hair clips all over my head. Score one for Jenny.

However, I couldn't always be prepared. At one of Jenny's birthdays, when all the family and friends were present, the topic briefly changed to what was Jenny learning at school. Being the proud father, I was eager to have Jenny show them how smart she was. Jenny decided to ask me some questions instead.

Jenny came up to me and said, "Dad, look up." I looked up. "Look down". I looked down. "Look at my thumb (that she stuck out in front of me)." I did. "Gee you're dumb!"

After I collected myself, I asked her "And what will you do when you grow up to be as big as me?" Jenny responded--"probably diet."

Now I really couldn't blame Jenny for those kinds of jokes played on me. She inherited that practical joke sense of humor from me. This next one was probably one of her best.

I was teaching a computer class in a nearby suburb of the Chicago area where we lived. On my way to one of my first classes there, Sherry and Jenny said they would go with me because they wanted to do some shopping in the same area while I taught my class. I agreed to bring them along.

In the store where I taught, I was wearing my white shirt and tie just getting ready to begin the lesson. Suddenly, both Sherry and Jenny urgently entered the store and said they needed to tell me something right away. I asked them what they wanted and at that point, Jenny sprays me with some blue ink and the both of them start laughing really hard.

Of course, I'm shocked and my reaction was one of thinking they had gone crazy. In the next moment everyone was laughing, the other store personnel, my students, there I was dripping from the caper. Then Jenny says, "Dad, it's invisible ink, look!" And so it was, the blue color disappeared before my eyes. I wish I could have disappeared with it.

I wasn't always the victim of such pranks. I gave out my share and still have some in the bank for the both of them as opportunities permit.

Speaking of opportunities, or maybe just plain bad luck is my last story for today.

A few years ago for our wedding anniversary celebration, Sherry and I went to Old Town for the weekend. We took in a play at the Theater there. At intermission, I started off for the men's room.

In that building the women's and men's rooms are next to each other. To get to the men's room, I had to cross a very long line of women. At the door to the men's room was a woman blocking the doorway. As I approached she said, "I'm sorry, there are so many of us, we are using this one too for a few minutes. Please wait here until they are out." I agreed and started making small talk with her while I waited.

Unknown to me, a second long line of women formed behind me over the next minute or so. Right about that time, Sherry emerges from the seating area, sees me standing there, and yells out for all to hear, "What the hell are you standing in--the women's line for?"

This was a challenge I gave myself to give two different speeches before two clubs within one day of each other. Now I only need to deliver two more speeches for my AC Silver award. My next one is coming up at the October Speech Marathon held by my club. Then my last speech will be presented before the end of this year, maybe even as early as November.


Speaking of speeches... I see the Democratic Presidential Candidates are starting to come around to reality. Hell, with a little more conviction, they might even reverse the weak on defense, even weaker on offense posture the Democratic Party has held for so many years. Maybe they see the light?

"The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013."


Hey, the U.S. Senate is increasing the pressure on Iran.

This news doesn't surprise me. The payback to the Iran nation is long overdue and at some point will be issued.

The world is being prepared for that payback. Those who know how to "read between the lines" know that's true. :-)

I await the celebration of that payback regardless of what nation provides it.


I found a good review about Fusion 1.0. I appreciate all the work done to improve virtualization on the Mac.


Is it polite to look at Naked Black Holes in space?


Well at least we can read the sex letters of Vincent Van Gogh.

"Van Gogh adamantly believed that too much sexual activity detracts from your work," the curator said. "He believed sexual activity depletes you."


I'm not sure this appropriate invoice will get paid.


This is a good thing to understand. Automating the workflow of programs to do the work for us instead of a user completing the manual steps is a hallmark of the Mac OS. That last sentence probably sounds real strange to Windows users.


Windy City folks, you're on a not-so candid camera.


Looking for some album art for your iTunes collections?


Here are some recommendations for the next version of the iPhone.


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