Archive for October, 2011

A Special Friend

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

You probably recognize the name of Pam Shinkle.  I’ve written about her often in my blog posts.  Pam died unexpectedly at her home in Las Vegas earlier this week.  She was a member of our PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters club.  She attended our meeting last week.

Pam had a great sense of humor.  She shared with me at the Toastmasters International Convention, at Bally’s Las Vegas, in August:  “I introduced myself to someone as Pam.  They asked me what my last name was.  I told them Shinkle.  They asked, ‘From the PowerHouse Pros club?  John Kinde writes about you on his website.  You’re famous!'” Pam got a kick out of that.  We both laughed.

The truth is that Pam IS famous.  She was very well-known and loved in District 33 and beyond.  She was active on our club board and had recently qualified for the District 33 Speech Evaluation Contest in Fresno this November. 

Pam was a positive person, always extending a helping hand.  And she was my go-to person whenever I had a question about Toastmasters.  Pam was a regular player in our speakers’ poker group.  She was an all-around fun person to spend time with.

Pam reminds me of a Christopher Reeve quote:  “The essence of life is our relationships.”  Pam added smiles to my life.  I’ll miss her.

Add Humor to Your Meeting

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

One of my most recent articles was published in TOASTMASTER magazine, August 2011:  How to Add Humor to Your Club Meetings.  It will give you a dozen ideas for adding humor and fun to your meetings.  Some of the ideas you might want to include at every meeting.  A few of the items you may occasionally add to the agenda to add variety to the meetings.  Some of the ideas may not be a fit for your club.  It’s unlikely you’ll find a club that incorporates all of these items at every meeting!

If you’re not a Toastmaster, many of the ideas could be adapted to other meeting formats to make a staff meeting, civic club meeting, or board meeting more interesting.  A little humor goes a long way when used to open or close a meeting.

Joke Contest Results — City Slogans

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Here are the results of our October Joke Contest.  The theme is City Slogans, inspired by the Las Vegas slogan:  What happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas.

New Joke Contests are announced on the first of the month (alternating months).

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month (alternating months).  The next caption contest is November 1, 2011.


What happens in Roswell didn’t really happen…or did it?
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois


What happens in Hollywood…wait I’ll tweet it.
     Nancy Lininger, Camarillo, California


What happens in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, usually won’t affect you for nine months.
     Samuel McRae, Battle Mountain, Nevada

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – What happens in San Andreas is not their fault.
  – What happens in Orlando is Magic.
  – What happens in Sonoma is something to wine about.
  – What happens in Niagara Falls is not worth a dam.
  – What happens in Fresno is just a lot of sour grapes.
  – What happens in San Juan Capistrano is pretty hard to swallow.
  – What happens in Chicago will blow you away
  – What happens in Portland is too obscure for Non-Portlandians to understand.
  – What happens in Waikiki can usually be cured if you try aloe.
  – What happens in Hell usually isn’t worth what happened on Earth.
  – What happens in Philadelphia isn’t all its cracked up to be.
  – What happens in Denver will leave you breathless.
  – What happens in Boulder rolls downhill.
  – What happens in Chicago I can’t tell you because I’d have to shoot you.
  – What happens in Vegas sells T-shirts.
  – What happens in Louisville makes horse sense.
  – What happens in Nashville, involving a broken heart, a fancy car, or a horse, can become a big Country-Western song.
  – What happens in Indianapolis happens at 200 mph.
  – I don’t know what happened in Gross, but it happened 144 times.
  – What happens in New Limerick usually starts in Nantucket.
  – What happens in Winnemucca is great — if you need a mucca.
  – What happens in Echo is is is is is . . . . .
  – What happens in Ames is production of gun sights.
  – What happens in Kinde turns up on a blog.  (The Kinde, Michigan, Annual Polka Festival is in September.)
  – What happens in Nashville is available on I-tunes for a dollar.
  – What happens in DC had nothing to do with any person that simply wants a secure life and a job.
  – Something was going to happen in Atlanta…but it was stuck in traffic.

Humor Specialty Clubs

Saturday, October 15th, 2011


Humor Specialty Clubs

Here’s a list of clubs which specialize in humor.  To find up-to-date club contact and location information I’ve provided a link to the club-finder page at Toastmasters International at the end of the list. 

Each club is a good source of information for adding humor to your next club meeting.

Comedy Club, Minneapolis, MN
Comedy Club Eh!  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Funny Bones Toastmasters, Culver City, CA
Humor and Drama Toastmasters, Cambridge, MA
HumorMasters, Anaheim, CA
Humor Mill Toastmasters, Minneapolis, MN
Humorous Toastmasters, New York, NY
Humor-Us Club, Rochester, MN
Laughing Matters, Austin, TX
LaughLovers Comedy Club, Oakland, CA
Love of Laughter Club, Brookfield, WI
Seriously Funny Toastmasters, Bellevue, WA
The Comedy Shack, Plantation, FL
Wit Pleasure Advanced Toastmasters Club, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Find current club meeting and contact information at:

Happening in Las Vegas

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Talking with the Stars
A New Event to Energize the Art of Conversation.

Loren Ekroth, publisher of Better Conversations newsletter, has created a new competition like the successful Dancing with the Stars TV show.  In Talking with the Stars, pairs of speakers draw a random topic, then they explore it extemporaneously while connecting with the audience.  With their skills of asking questions and lively language, each pair will connect with the audience for 10 minutes of entertaining talk.

This event will be free and open to the public.  It takes place in Las Vegas on Friday, November 18, 2011, 7:15-8:45 pm.

Loren is seeking speakers who want to participate in the show.  A panel of evaluators will determine the top 3 pairs, who will receive awards.

If you’re interested in participating, contact Loren at (702) 629-1999 or by email at  After producing several shows, Loren will share the format information with anyone interested in producing their own Talking With The Stars.

Dr. Loren Ekroth is a retired professor of speech-communication from the University of Hawaii and is now a professional speaker and author.  Since 2002 he has published over 450 articles on conversation skills and has been a guest expert on radio talk shows.  Visit his website:

Thinking Like a Tourist

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I remember hearing of someone who lived in New York City and had never been to the Statue of Liberty.  They could see the statue from their apartment window.  I can relate to that.

I lived in the San Francisco bay area for twelve years.  During that time, I never took a ride on a Cable Car.  My first Cable Car ride was on a return trip as a tourist after I had moved to Missouri.

To add interest and diversity to your life I recommend thinking like a tourist.  It will open your eyes to new adventures in your own home town. 

I’ve lived in Las Vegas for the past eleven years.  I love it here.  There’s so much to do.  But you have to think like a tourist.  If you don’t, you’ll spend your life in your living room watching TV.

Getting out of the house for new experiences is a great way to stimulate your humor skills.  Living out of the box helps you develop the habit of seeing things from a different perspective.  The ability to see things differently is a key to creating your own jokes.

Make a list of places to see which you’d visit if you were in your city on vacation.  In addition to sharpening your humor skills, it will make you a better conversationalist.  It will make you a better tour guide when your friends come to visit.  It will help you get more enjoyment out of life.

How to you become familiar with the tourist destinations? 

Your out-of-town friends.  Make a note of where your friends go when they are visiting your city. 

Visitors bureau.  Get a tourism press kit from your Chamber of Commerce.

Local publications.  Watch the around-town section of your local newspaper. 

At work.  On Monday, listen to water-cooler conversation.  Notice what other people did on the weekend. 

Getting your hair done.  Pick the brain of your hair stylist the next time you’re spending time in the chair.  Or your manicurist.  Or other service provider that has time to chat while working.

Watch for special events.  For example if there is a Magician’s convention in town, on one or two nights there is likely a stage show which is open to the public.  Many of the conventions hold the best seats to their shows for the general public.  On stage, a performing magician would prefer that the front rows be filled with non-magicians.  Lay people tend to be more impressed and appreciative than people in the magic business who have seen it all.  I’ve attended show-night for several different conventions.  For example, the World Salsa Dance Competition.  I happened to see it on the television news, and that night I was in the audience.

Other events.  Museums, outdoor movies, film festivals concerts, river and lake cruises, renaissance fairs, civic theaters, food festivals, county fairs, and more.  Make a special effort to attend something that you’ve known about for years, but which you have never had the time to go attend.    

Enrich your life.  Broaden your perspective.  Learn to think more creatively.  Have fun.  Life awaits you.  Don’t let it pass you by.

New Joke Contest — City Slogans

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

The theme for this month’s contest is:  City Slogans

New Joke Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).  The next Cartoon Caption Contest will be announced November 1, 2011.

You may have heard the phrase:  “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”  It’s a marketing slogan used by the city of Las Vegas.  Your challenge this month is to create slogans for other cities.  Examples could be:

  – What happens in Washington DC costs $15 trillion too much.
  – What happens in New York City will be happening in your town in twelve months.
  – What happens in Smallville takes place before 8:00 pm.

Your entry should follow the format:  “What happens in (city) ….”  You pick the city and then create the punchline.

See what you can come up with.  Then submit your top three lines to by October 15, 2011.  To be eligible for our top three recognition, also submit your Name, City and State.  You may submit additional lines which will be considered for Honorable Mention.