Polaris Toastmasters: Down with the Sickness

Wrap yourself in a warm blanket; warm up some of that good, old-fashioned, Grandma Hofflemeyer’s “I’m Sick as a Dog” Chicken Noodle Soup; and spend the whole day watching re-runs of “CSI” (making sure not to tell anyone you secretly watched “The View”). It’s…


This is how Joe looked most of last week. Except much fatter. And with a messier bedroom.

Hi. How are you? I’ve been sick as a dog.

It started a week and a half ago when my oldest son, Eliott – who spends most of his free time running in circles, attempting to throw sharp objects at our television – said, “Hey Daddy … Watch this!” He sprinted toward me from the opposite end of the room at full speed until his foot caught the carpet and he fell forward, projectile vomitting all over me in the process. It was messy …  Really REALLY messy. And that’s when the sickness hit our household fast a thick, like a roller coaster made of mayonnaise.

Eliott and I went down that weekend, but cleared up Sunday night (just in time to watch the good folks on “The Amazing Race” eat large amounts of disgusting-looking food). Then, on the way home on Monday, my youngest son, Micaiah, yakked all over himself …and the car seat … and the back seat … and Eliott, who laughed and started throwing things at his brother and everyone else (throwing things is how we know Eliott is feeling better).

I got to clean up everything, including the car seat (…To answer your question: Yes, you need a PHD to take apart a child’s car seat. I don’t have a PHD, so I achieved this goal by tossing the car seat across the front lawn, screaming obscenities at it. Thankfully, the neighbors we don’t like were outside when this happened, so we don’t have to worry about interacting with them anytime soon). Micaiah and I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday sitting on the couch, watching reruns of The View CSI, trying not to make too much mess. I made it back to work on Thursday. Then Jen (her first round of sickness) and Eliott (his second) got sick on Friday, followed shortly by Micaiah and then me again.

That’s how I spent my weekend. Fun times. I’m sure you needed to know all that, which is why I shared it. I like to keep you up-to-date on Shaw family vomituous expectorations. That’s how I roll.


If you missed last week, it was probably because you were sick, and you were probably sick because you were around me. Sorry about that. If you were there, I’m sure you had a good time. Here’s what happened …

I gave a speech about a friend of mine who accidentally locked himself on his roof while he was half-naked and covered in paint. Lameka gave a speech about adopting kids (Lameka’s was better, because half-naked people on roofs covered in paint are just silly). Kalyan ran table topics. He had a lot of interesting questions, and we learned a lot.

We had a lot of guests this week and we got a few new members Welcome, new Toastpeople! If you have any questions, please let me know. I’ll do my best to confuse you further.


Kalyan Illipilla is the Toastmaster this week. We still need two evaluators, a General Evaluator, and a timer. Go to the website http://polaris.toastmastersclubs.org and log in as a member to sign up for something.

If you’re new (or not so new) and you run into problems with the website, let Crystal Dong know and she’ll help you out.


Shirley “The Godfather” McPherson and Steve “Nasty” Nasdeo finished in second place in their respective contests this past weekend. Shirley finished second in the Division Humorous Speech contest and Steve finished second in the Division Table Topics contest. This is an amazing accomplishment! Everybody tell Shirley and Steve how awesome they are. I don’t know what kind of Kudos Steve likes to see, but you can express your joy to Shirley by e-mailing her a poorly drawn picture of a purple cow. Here is mine:

in Cow-ese, “mu” means “Congratulations on your continued success, citizen. Good luck with your future endeavors.” It can also mean “I’m hungry. Please give me more grass to eat.” Cow-ese is a difficult language to master.


  1. The District 40 Fall Conference is next weekend, November 2-4. Everybody sign up today! I’d sign up myself, but I’m having surgery on my eyeball on November 2 and hospitals have rules about not doing anything strenuous immediately after surgery. Stupid doctors. What do they know?!
  2. The end of the year approaches. Agendas on the website are up-to-date through December 13. If you’d like to do a speech (or if you’re excited about being a Timer or something, which is a great way to get started if you’re new) go sign up today.
  3. We’re not planning to have meetings on 12/20 or 12/27, but we might schedule something small for those who will be around (and who are interested), please let me know if you’re interested.
  4. The new year will start up again on Jan 3. We’re looking to have the Evaluation Contest on Jan 13 and the International Speech contest on January 31. If you’re interested in competing in or running either contest, let me, Crystal or Yingbi know. Contestants in the International Speech contest must have given at least six speeches. If you’d like to compete in this contest and you’re short on the number of speeches, let us know ahead of time and we’ll see about getting you up to speed. Everyone can compete in the evaluation contest.
  5. The Election™ is just over two weeks away. That means no more political commercials. HALELUJAH!

Stay safe everyone. Don’t break anything.

Joe Shaw
Polaris Toastmasters president, Chief Cook and Part-Time Bottle-Washer

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This Week in Toastmasters: The Presidential Drinking Game!

Grab your favorite bottle of scotch, tell the family you’ll be “working late” and flip the television to C-SPAN, cause it’s…


My friends and I invented a new game. It’s called “The Presidential Election Drinking Game.” Here’s how it works. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, whenever a political commercial comes on the television (or the radio. Or youtube (or smoke signals?)), you have to take a drink of alcohol. How MUCH alcohol depends on the following potential scenarios:

  • If it’s a negative ad, take two drinks.
  • If it’s an ad about how much the other candidate lies, take four drinks.
  • If it’s an ad with a sob story about someone who lost their job because of the candidate in question and his/her failed policies, take three drinks and put on a hard hat.
  • If one of the candidates allegedly hates women/freedom/homosexuals/America/cows/baseball/the working poor/senior citizens/rich people/capitalism/socialism/whatever-ism, take two drinks.
  • If one of the candidates is photoshopped to look like a clown, take 2 drinks and do cartwheels.
  • If there are pineapples involved, take six drinks.
  • If it’s an ad that refers to another country as “cheaters,” take five drinks and order takeout from the nearest restaurant that pretends to serve food from that country.
  • If someone around you says “I’m [candidate] and I approve this message” after a commercial that wasn’t intentionally political but could be construed as such by adding the aforementioned phrase, take 10 drinks.
  • If you understood that last bullet point, you’re not drinking enough. Take another drink.

It’s lots of fun! Trust me. I haven’t been sober since February, I’ve gained 50 pounds, and I’m scheduled for a liver transplant next week. That means I’m winning, right? … Right?


Last week was off the chain as the kids used to say (shortly after I realized I was no longer part of the group known as “the kids” and had transferred into the category known as “the man.” But not a good “the man” like “You’re the man now, Dog!” More like “I’m tired of ‘The Man’ keeping me down! Let’s go fight ‘The man.’ Down with ‘The Man!’” Just for the record, I don’t like being the man. I’d much rather be off the chain. Ya Feel me?). I wish you could have been there…

It was mental and physical well-being week in Toastmasters as Sonja Thornbloom gave us some strategies to reduce stress in our lives with her speech “You: Stress Less,” and Lameka Howard told us about a disease that hits close to home with her speech “Sickle Cell Disease 101.” Thanks a lot for both speeches! Jason led us in a Halloween-themed Table Topics session and Crystal managed the evaluations like a pro (as always).

Thanks for coming, everyone!


Yingbi Zheng is the Toastmaster this week. We have two speakers so far, but we still have some roles to fill. If you signed up for something at the meeting last week, please go to the website and officially sign up.


A few weeks ago, I bored you with info about the Competent Communicator. This week, I get to bore you with info about the Competent Leader. Now is a good time for a bathroom break. Don’t worry. This won’t take long.

Most people think of the Competent Leader manual as “that other book I got when I signed up for Toastmasters and then lost under my couch for six months.” But it’s  actually got some good stuff in it. Just as the CC walks us through the nuts and bolts of public speaking, the CL manual walks us through the basics of leadership. You’ve got ten projects to work through, starting with simple stuff like “listening” and moving to more advanced topics like “organizing and planning.” Towards the end of the book, you get into more complicated leadership activities like chairing a contest or mentoring a new member. And, before you know it, you’re leading people in our Toastmasters clubs toward success!

Or, if you’re like me, encouraging everyone to get drunk watching political commercials.

Each time you take on a role at a Toastmasters meeting, you can get credit towards a project in your CL manual. I earned my first CL in about 8 months just by showing up and getting involved in stuff. I’m 99% finished with a second CL, and I recently started on my third trip through the book.

Which brings up an interesting point…


Yes, you can earn the same award multiple times. Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, does several CC manuals each year. Larry Goldsmith, the District 40 Governor, has 5 DTMs. I’m considering doing my CC again once I get through an Advanced Communicator Gold award.

The advantage of doing the same award twice is you get a better perspective the second (or third … or fourth) time around. You know you’re strengths and weaknesses, so you can address those areas in which you hope to improve more efficiently.

For the club, having people earn multiple awards affects our standing in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). This is the criteria they use to tell how successful we are throughout the year. The DCP has ten goals:

  1. Two CCs
  2. Two more CCs
  3. One ACB, ACS, or ACG
  4. One more ACB, ACS, or ACG
  5. One CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM
  6. One more or CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM
  7. Four new members
  8. Four more new members
  9. Minimum of four club officers trained during each of two training periods
  10. One membership renewal report and one club officer list submitted on time

Last year, out of over 180 clubs, our club was one of the few to achieve all 10 goals. We’d like to do that again this year. Here’s where we stand so far this year:

We’ve achieved five out of the ten goals, which ties with the Franklin club for most in our division. The next biggies on our list:

  • We need two people to get a CC (how many of you are close?)
  • We need one more person to get a CL (this is why we want you to bring your CL manual each week).
  • Get a few more members.


I know. I know. I’m almost done. Why don’t you go get a drink or something? I should be finished by the time you get back.


We have until the end of June 2013 to complete these goals. Chances are we’ll get all 10 points again unless something crazy happens. When the officers met at the beginning of the year, we looked at the DCP and realized we’d most likely hit all ten points fairly easily. That lead us to ask, “Is it possible for us to get all 10 points and still not be successful?”

Some of the unsuccessful things we saw happening were

  • Members who joined for six months and left, never having given a speech or taken a role.
  • People who spoke once or twice, then fell off the bandwagon never to be heard from again.
  • People who were afraid to speak or even take a role in a meeting.
  • People who wanted to become better speakers, but didn’t know where to go.

The officer team decided if these things continued, we’d ultimately be an unsuccessful club, even if doubled the educational goals in the DCP. To that end, we looked at ways to address everyone’s needs. We came up with two additional goals:

Additional Goal #1: A comprehensive mentoring program.

We want every new member to have a mentor. We don’t want that mentoring relationship to be assigned, either. We want you to work with someone you’re comfortable with. If you’re new and you’re a bit unsure of how to proceed, ask around. If you’re friends with someone in the club and you think they might help you out, ask them to be your mentor. Conversely, if you’ve been around for  a while and you see someone who needs help, offer to mentor them. I’ve learned a lot as a speaker and as a leader from mentoring others. Plus, its fun!

Even if you’ve been around for a while, it’s always good to have a mentor. I have several mentors in Toastmasters. Some people help me to be a better officer and a better president. I’ve said it a few times but, just in case you haven’t heard it … I have no idea what I’m doing. Anything I’m even remotely successful at as an officer, a mentor, or as president is because I have people much smarter than me helping me out. I have several speaking mentors, too. I meet with them every once in a while to run through speech ideas, discuss what worked and what didn’t, and talk about where I can improve. Being mentored is a good idea, no matter how far along you are in your Toastmasters experience.

Ask for help. If you would like a mentor or would like to BE a mentor, talk to an officer. We’ll help you out

(side note: I feel like I’m talking like a politician. I just took a drink of scotch to compensate. You should, too. I’m Joe Shaw and I approve this message).

Additional Goal #2: Expand our reach

Many of the steps beyond the CC and CL involve interaction with other clubs in our Area, Division and District. Sometimes that means helping out with events like an Area or division contest. Other times that means planning special events (aka an “HPL”…we’ll look at that in the coming weeks). To that end, we like to keep you informed about all the events coming down the pipe that will allow you the opportunity to meet and interact with people outside our club. This should allow you, when you’re ready, to be a successful District officer or plan an awesome District event.

Which brings us to our final point for the day…


  • Come support Shirley McPherson and Steve Nasdeo (from Toast What Matters) in the Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests this weekend.
  • The District 40 Fall Conference is November 2-4. More info here.
  • Sign up for future roles at http://polaris.toastmastersclubs.org.

Have a great day, everyone. Don’t break anything.

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This Week in Toastmasters: It’s a Small World After All

Everybody stand out in the 100 degree Florida heat dressed in a Mickey Mouse Suit and try to dodge little kids kicking you in the shins for a couple of hours! It’s…


Nothing salves the soul like donning a pair of mouse ears and screaming your head off.

I don’t care if it’s actually called “The Barnstormer.” Goofini sounds much more dignified.

At least, that’s what I learned last week while y’all were giving speeches and reminding each other not to say “um” so much.  My oldest son Eliott and I were in line for “The Great Goofini,” a roller coaster at Disney World in Orlando, right about the time the first speaker likely stood to deliver his/her speech last week.

“What’s a rolley-coater, daddy?” he asked.

“You’re about to find out,” I said. “Give me your mouse ears. I don’t want you to lose them.”

We’re all busy, but taking a few moments to relax, breathe deep, and enjoy life is a great way to gain perspective. Or, at the very least, it’s a great way to forget, if just for a moment, all those meetings and deadlines that seem so oddly important from the crippled confines of your cubicle.

“This is Crazy! This is Crazy!” he said as the rolley coater slipped down the first hill and around the corner. The ride was short but fun, and Eliott screamed his head off in pure, exultant joy the whole way. When it was over, he smiled big.

“Can we do it again?”


And why not? I didn’t have anywhere else to be just then, and the lines were mercifully short.

A big thanks to everyone for running what I hear was an awesome meeting last week. I’m sorry I missed it (but only slightly sorry). Someone – anyone – fill me in on what happened. It’s only fair for each of you to inundate my computer box with far-too-long Toastmasters e-mails after all that I’ve done to you this year.

But, please. Be gentle.


We have some speakers on the agenda, but it looks like we still need a Toastmaster, one more speaker and probably a timer or something. I’m not sure, though. I’m not “in the loop” yet, as they say. Why don’t you contact Yingbi Zheng and sing up for something?


If you don’t pay Liz your dues, you won’t be a Toastmaster anymore. This is not a joke. The time for dues-paying has come and gone and some of you are dancing dangerously close to the edge.

Immediately after this photo was taken, the dancer fell off a nearby cliff. Don’t be like the cast of “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Pay your dues today.

If you don’t pay your dues, not only will you miss participating in the weekly joy-fest of speeches and evaluations and timing and um-counting, you’ll also miss this fine e-mail newsletter (don’t worry. If you fall of the list, I’ll show up at your cube and read it to you. I might even read it in my bad attempt at a Scottish accent which, according to my wife and my neighbors, sounds a bit like “a chicken in a cage with a ferret.” You don’t want to hear that. Trust me).
Nobody wants that.

We’re not kidding this time. If you’ve been waiting for the last minute, the last minute is here. Give Liz your money or resign yourself to making speeches in the parking lot across the street next to Kroger, where the only evaluation you’ll get will be from people in white coats carting you off to a padded room at a psych hospital somewhere.

The food is good, though. So at least you’ll have that!


Ashlee Ralph from Gahanna Toastmasters is planning a Tall Tales/scary story Toastmasters event this weekend in Blendon Woods. This might sound exactly like the Tall Tales/Scary Story event we planned to have and then canceled at the last minute. That’s because it IS almost exactly like the event we planned and then canceled at the last minute. The difference being Ashley’s done this kind of thing before and she’s organized, whereas I have never planned something like that and I’m about as organized as a daycare facility after the caretakers messed up and fed the kids caffeine.

That’s a bad metaphor, I know. I’m just getting back from vacation. Give me a break, will ya?
Contact Ashlee (aralph-at-sbcglobal.net) if you need more info or would like to help out.

MORE STUFF (The “I’ve Run Out Of Creative Headlines” section)

Here’s some upcoming stuff in Toastmasters:

  • The Division Contest is October 20. Come support Shirley McPherson in the humorous speech contest and Steve Nasdeo from Toast What Matters in the Table Topics Contest!
  • The Fall Conference is November 2-4. Check it out here: http://d40fallconference.com

Have a great week, everyone!

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This Week in Toastmasters

Lock yourselves in your mom’s basement, throw your favorite vinyl record on the stereo and soak in a pool of teenage angst. It’s…


I’ve been working from home most of this week. When that happens, I get to hang out in jeans and t-shirts, listening to my high school collection of Led Zeppelin records. Right now, I’m listening to “Dazed and Confused” from their first album which, due to reports of all the drugs they were taking when they recorded it, was just as much as surprise to the band when they first heard it as it was to their fans.

Robert Plant: These guys are pretty good

Jimmy Page: They’re us, mate.

Robert Plant: No s**t?

Jimmy Page: No s**t.

My friends and I liked to pretend we were members of the band when we were kids. A lot of people wanted to be either Plant (the lead singer) or Page (the guy who uses violin bowstrings to play lead guitar), but when I was a teenager –  100 pounds lighter, with thick, flowing locks of long hair that hung past my shoulders if you can believe that –  I wanted to be John Bonham, the drummer. This was likely because I grew up watching The Muppet Show and Animal from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem was always my favorite character.

Something about him just spoke to me.

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This Week in ToastMasters | Mid-September (I don’t know)

Dim the lights, put on some smooth jazz and try not to trip over your inflated sense of self-worth. It’s…


I’m writing to you from the cozy confines of my living room. It’s a quarter to 1:00 in the morning, I’ve got a beer in my lap, and the television is showing some movie about an inter-dimensional, time-traveling duck. It’s pretty bad. I don’t recommend it. No, I don’t have a cigar like the picture shows. That’s because the first and last time I tried smoking a cigar, I spent the better part of the evening evacuating the contents of my stomach into the nearest toilet, much to my chagrin, the delight of my friends, and the joy of all those who logged into youtube to experience the fun.

Apparently a nicotine allergy is a real thing. Who knew?


Wait a minute. The duck is attempting to play the guitar and is flirting with Marty McFly’s mom, which is weird because the duck is less than half her size and looks kinda like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story.” I haven’t been this confused since I accidentally wandered into a Latin class in college and was asked to have a conversation – IN LATIN – in front of the class (Veni. Vici. Ego recalcitravit quidam asinus).

Is this real or should I stop drinking beer after midnight?


We had a really good meeting last week. I wish you could have been there. Unless you were there. In which case you know what I’m talking about and I don’t need to tell you how awesome it was.

Jason Tseng finished up his CC manual with a speech about the three F’s of Toastmasters. It was an excellent speech and we’re looking forward to experiencing some of Jason’s speeches as he starts his advanced manuals. Kalyan Ilipilla (It’s after 1am, I’ve been drinking, and that duck is really annoying. So please forgive me if I misspelled your name) gave his Ice Breaker Speech. He’s been to more countries than I can count, apparently, which is pretty high because I can count to almost 15! I finished us off with a speech about giving evaluations. It was mostly okay, but my favorite part was the end when I showed a picture of Reggie Watts and told everyone that my son thinks he looks like me.

We’re getting his eyes checked. Don’t worry

Joy Akunne returned to Toastmasters after taking some time off for foot surgery. It was nice to see you again, Joy. We’re glad you made it. We also had some guests this week. Welcome, John Rockwood and James Weaver. We’re glad you could make it, too. If you have any questions, let me know. I’ll do my best to confuse you even further.


Toastmasters has a lot of acronyms. We’re like IT people in that regard. We’ve got CC, ALB, ACG, HPL, DTM, HIJKLMNOP and more! There’s so much going on, the officers and I thought we might take a moment to explain what all these letters mean for you and how they can help you get better and whatever it is you do.

This week, we’ll take a look at the CC or Competent Communicator.

The Toastmasters Educational series is divided into two tracks: The communication track and the leadership track. The Competent Communicator is the very first series or educational award you can achieve in the communication track, and the goal is to cover the basics of public speaking. You learn how to organize and focus a speech, how to work on the mechanics of delivery through vocal variety and body language, how to use visual aids effectively, and how to use all these tools to inform, persuade and inspire your audience. That’s a lot for only ten speeches.

When you complete your CC, Toastmasters International sends you a fancy certificate and your first two advanced manuals for free. We’ll get into advanced manuals soon enough. If you’d like to read more about them right now, check them out here.

What if I get through my CC and I want to go back and do it all over again?

Good question. And the answer is: You can! Lots of people do their CC more than once. Our current District Governor, Larry Goldsmith, has been through the CC manual at least 5 times. The 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, Lance Miller, does at least 1 CC every year. He’s got almost 20 CCs by now, I think (maybe).

The CC manual is the foundation for everything we do in Toastmasters. It’s a great place to get started and it’s a great place to go back and re-learn some of the things you might have forgotten over the years.


… I’m definitely not drinking anymore because now there’s a movie about a genetically altered Shark/Octopus. It’s called “Sharktopus.” I wonder, if we fed the duck from the previous movie to the Sharktopus in this movie, would both of them go away and leave me in peace? Probably not, but I can dream, can’t I?

  • See “Speak” TONIGHT at New Albany Church of the Nazarene.
  • Come support our club speech contest winners on September 29 at the Area 21 contest at New Albany Church of the Nazarene.
  • The Eastern Division Contest is October 20.
  • The Fall Conference is November 2-4 in Cincinnati.

Are you weird?

Do you like reading newsletters? If so … check out all the “This Week in Toastmasters” newsletters on our club blog at https://polaristoastmasters.wordpress.com/

Alright. That’s it. Go to the website, sign up for some stuff and, as always, have a good week. Try not to break anything.

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This Week In Toastmasters | September 3 – 7

Hey everyone!

Paint yourself blue or red, get into an argument with your uncle about foreign economic policy and post a passive-aggressive message on facebook letting all of your friends know how you feel about the OTHER GUY running for President … IT’S THIS WEEK IN TOASTMASTERS!

Mr. President.

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear politicians giving speeches, I picture drunk college kids slinging late night pickup lines at the local dive bar in a sad attempt to get someone – anyone – to pay them some love/attention before last call.

“Hey America. You’re looking … mighty fine in those jeans. Want to get a beer and go to war? … I’m Bob Smith and I approve this message!”

Maybe I’m just cynical, but I’ve decided to throw my allegiance to the only political party out there worth anything anymore: baseball players. They’re just as effective as regular politicians, except they can run faster, and I’m guessing if they can figure out the intricacies of the infield fly rule, they can figure out foreign economic policy as well. If not … they can always hit people with bats, which would make C-SPAN interesting again and STILL be less violent than other congressional sessions I’ve seen.

Bastardo2012: Getting to “third base” with America.

To that end, I’m supporting Antonio Bastardo (RP-Phillies) for President in 2012. He’s young, he’s got a wicked fastball and, you have to admit, it would be pretty cool to hear the newsmakers saying “President Bastardo” for four years. Am I right or am I right?

Last Week in Toastmasters

If you missed last week, you missed a lot. Danae Wassinger, our Area 21 Governor, dropped by to check things out and watch us do our thing. She liked what she saw and she hopes to meet more of you on her next visit. Mike Warren started us off, talking about Intelligent Design, Vicky Wang followed with a speech about the Olympics, and Daniel Martinsen ran the clutch leg of the race with his presentation on Fantasy Football. It was certainly a diverse collection of speeches this week. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for this week.

What’s in store for this week?

I’m really excited for this week. Kalyan Ilipilla will give his ice breaker speech and The Fabulous Mr. Jonathan Frisbey is on the docket for his 6th or 7th CC speech. Also, after several years of involvement in Toastmasters, Jason Tseng (who was the VP-Ed before I even started Toastmasters) will finish his Competent Communicator with an inspirational speech about what Toastmasters has done for him. We’ll have the beginning and the end of the CC manual – The alpha and the omega – all in one meeting. It looks to be a lot of fun.

We might also have Table Topics. Here’s an idea. If you can mix references to Cotton Candy, Vodka, the Smoot-Hawley Tarriff, and Grizzly Bears act into YOUR Table Topics speech, you’ll win the “Antonio Bastardo Award for Speaking Excellence,” which is something to be proud of.

Don’t make us thump your skull for ya.

Autumn dues are…um…DUE September 30. We have a lot of people in our club and it would really suck for Liz to have to process everyone’s money right at the end of the month. Please bring your $42 to the meeting this week and make Liz’s day difficult RIGHT NOW (instead of at the end of the month). Also, don’t miss the deadline or we’ll send out the Official Toastmasters™ Goon Squad to procure your dues by any means necessary.

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This Week in Toastmasters | The Labor Day Explode-A-Ganza!

Hello everyone.

Put on your Labor Day sweater, drink some not-quite-yet-fall apple-nogg, and blast the latest Labor Day carols on your fancy new iPhoneDroidThingy. It’s THIS WEEK IN TOASTMASTERS!

The kid from “Stand by Me” doesn’t quite know how to celebrate Labor Day, and neither do we.

If there’s a better way to celebrate Labor Day than sitting at my desk, not working, I don’t know what it is. Ironic holidays have always been my favorite. How about you?


We had our humorous speech contest this week, and it was a lot of fun. We had several guests as well as audience members from both Polaris Toastmasters and Toast What Matters. Several people filled out applications afterward. Some promised to do so in the not-so-distant future. So that was cool.

Dan Martinsen gave a great speech about the complexities and oddities of the English language. Yanling Yin made us laugh with stories about the Tooth Fairy. Shirley McPherson shared the funny and sometimes poignant things her granddaughter says. And Joe told us about the lessons he learned from falling down the steps. Shirley and Joe were the big winners. They, along with Brian Dietz, will compete in the Area contest on September 29 at New Albany Church of the Nazarene.

We’d love to see you there to support our club and maybe meet other people in Area 21.


The Area contest planning committee needs help running the contest. To that end, we’ll need:

  • Judges
  • Timers
  • Ballot Counters
  • Registration Desk folks
  • Sergeants-At-Arms (which always makes me think of this)
  • People to bring/manage refreshments
  • People with good handwriting to print certificates and awards

If you’re interested (and would like to get credit towards your CL for doing something like this), let me know and we’ll pass your name along. A big “Thank You” goes out to everyone who can help.


We still need a Timer, An Evaluator and a Table Topics Master for next week. Sign up now or face the Wrath™

The wrath will consist of, but not be limited to, a series of e-mails of increasing annoyance that will clutter your in-box. Remember that Joe is a programmer, so he could probably program an e-mail to repeatedly move into your in-box no matter how many times you try to delete it. It will just keep coming back until you sign up for something. Okay … he can’t do that, but he can be annoying in other ways, so WATCH OUT!


Fall dues are due. It sounds weird when you say it like that, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Joe will bring a check for his dues to next week’s meeting. If you bring yours, too, we’ll not only get credit towards our never-ending quest to achieve all 10 Toastmasters Club Awesome-tastic points (which we can trade in for cheap, plastic toys at the spring convention!), it will also make Liz’s job a lot easier. It’s no fun to chase people down and ask them for money.

I was a loan shark once*. It’s a lonely trade. Trust me.

*not really.


  • Area Contest on September 29
  • Halloween Tall Tales and Costume Contest October 20
  • Division Contest … also on October 20
  • Fall Conference in Cincinnati, November 2-4. http://d40fallconference.com

Have a great extended weekend. Just this once … Go ahead and break something. You have my permission.

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