Archive for the 'Life Skills' Category

Las Vegas–the Best City

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Ten Reasons Why Las Vegas is the Best City in the Country

1. Everyone loves Las Vegas weather. You can relax in a sauna, or you can come inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

2. You can spend an entire three-day weekend in Las Vegas and never know for sure if it’s day or night.

3. Las Vegas is the best place in the country to pay $50 while waiting for a free beer.

4. Rainstorms are brief, but local TV stations know exactly where to go to capture the flash flooding.

5. Thanks to AARP members, casinos can pay their bills between the weekends.

6. You are unlikely to experience crime in Las Vegas unless you count the Resort Fee on your hotel bill.

7. Casinos in Las Vegas are outnumbered by churches and the churches are outnumbered by the buffets.

8. If you go five miles off the Strip, you’ll discover schools, libraries, grocery stores, and real people who actually LIVE in Las Vegas.

9. You can identify the old timers in Las Vegas. They are the ones reminiscing about the good-old- days when parking was free.

10. When you leave Las Vegas you will want to return to visit your money.

Post Holiday Season

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Now That The Holiday Season is Behind Us…

We reflect and realize that with each passing year more of our favorite music is played in elevators.

We celebrated the season by hanging our holiday decorations early. No sense waiting until the last minute. That’s why we put up our tree 13 years ago. It puts us in a festive mood early.

We honored the holidays by serving foods which we don’t enjoy enough to have all year long. We fill the refrigerator with fruit cake, egg nog and mincemeat pie. We know that we’ll appreciate these treats even more by having them only once a year.

The challenge of the season is buying things for friends and family who already have everything they need. And they’ll do the same for you. It might be more fun to gift strangers who actually need something.

We spend December going to parties with people we don’t socialize with all year. Do you think we could double our enjoyment by going to parties with people we’ve never even met?

We are reminded that the holiday season is the time to keep your sense of humor, drop in on special people to say hi, and phone those who that don’t live nearby. Be thankful for home, food, and friends. Life is a gift and every day deserves celebration.

And may your next elevator ride remind you that you did it your way.

Teamwork in the Music Business–Part 3

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

The last in a three-part series by Terry Wall.   He interviews Jorma Kaukonen , Lead Guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane.

Part 3
Part 2
Part 1


And Here are Tonight’s Contestants

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Last night on Jeopardy, Matt Jackson who looked like he would be another Ken Jennings, got knocked off off after 13 games and $411,612 in winnings. I didn’t want to see him go. The guy who beat him, Michael Baker, also impressive, lost tonight. Go figure. As important as quick reflexes, knowledge and focus are, you can’t beat luck. Just having the right questions can make all the difference. With the right questions, even I might win one game. But two games, highly unlikely. Skill and knowledge still count for a lot. “And the categories for today are
Norwegian Foods, Magicians, Comedy Skills, Las Vegas, French Language, and 1965.” On my first round, “Alex, I’ll make it a true Daily Double.” Then again I could get, “And the categories for today are Greece vs Sparta, Calculus, Kangaroo Bones, 18th Century Classical Harpsicord, GORT (and we all know what that means), and Love Notes in Hebrew.” Right after break, John will go first because he’s in third place. But there’s still a lot of time. There wouldn’t be enough time if my opponents were wearing straight jackets and were blindfolded.

One Person’s Joke is Another Person’s Serious Comment

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

A Facebook scam has resurfaced which convinces people to paste text onto their Facebook wall thinking that it will protect them from from those who would mis-use their personal data. My response is usually to write a humorous parody or spoof of the scam. I did that recently posting a piece using, and mis-using, many legal terms to poke fun at the original scam. Here is the post:


As of today at 15:45, Coordinated Universal Time, my privacy will neither be an accessory nor an accomplice for ad hoc admissibility of the aforementioned arraignment. Accordingly, the absolute discharge of encumbrances by all and sundry sisters of the covenant shall apply. Ad hoc trustees shall be subject to arrest or arrested development, in perpetuity, or until the age of consent or the age of Aquarius, whichever comes first, except after C. Bona fide causation suggests that the plaintiff’s briefs be examined in chambers for intestate malfeasance. To avoid malicious prosecution for manslaughter, or womanslaughter, subject to insidious caveat emptor warrants, be acquitted accordingly. With regard to my profile or other personal information, this admonition remains in effect four score and a fortnight. Amen.


When I saw the scam posting several weeks ago, I got the idea to write a spoof. The original scam posting was written so as to look authoritative and credible. It dropped the right words. It touched the fear button. It wasn’t funny. Yet it made you wonder: Why would someone be inclined to follow the recommended steps in he scam?

I started thinking that I could write my own parody of the original scam text. I decided that my structure would be Legaleze-Gibberish. I started by building a list of legal terms. I had a list of terms more than twice what I actually used. Then I started writing sentences which almost sounded like they made semse, but they didn’t. The key to doing that was to honor the type of word I was using (noun, verb, adjective) but to make no connection with the word’s meaning. If read with conviction, it sounds like it means something even though it doesn’t. As I wrote, I strayed from legal words when I saw other connections. For example:
– Sisters of the covenant
– Arrest or arrested development
– Age of Aquarius
– Except after C
– Womanslaughter
– Briefs be examined
– Four score and a fortnight
– Amen. On a whim I closed the piece with AMEN. Nonsensical.


My post strikes most people in one of two ways. Either they are totally confused. Or they think I am brilliant. Their responses are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong…they’re just different. People who are good friends, who are intelligent people, and who have a sense of humor, can see life differently from me. They laugh at different things and see an alternate version of the world. The things that make them laugh may be connections that don’t strike me as funny. We’re entitled to our differences. How boring the world would be if we were all identical. One person could look at a Facebook posting, think it’s funny, and wonder how anybody could possibly think it was a serious post. At the same time, another person could look at it as a serious attempt to share necessary information which couldn’t possibly strike anyone as funny.

Add to the mix, even when I see something which strikes me as funny, you probably won’t see me laughing. I appreciate humor but rarely laugh. That may send mixed signals to people, making them believe that I’m serious when in fact I’m making a joke or internally processing some humor.

Humor is not a one-size-fits-all skill that we’re born with, nor a talent that we learn. It’s a gift that allows us to see relationships in different ways. If someone you know says something which confuses you…If they’re joking but you think they’re serious, or if you think they’re serious but they’re joking, both are form of mis-communication. Say something, and you can both learn from the experience. No kidding. What are your thoughts on this subject? Leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Lessons from a Pro

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Interview with a Rock Icon: Teamwork in the Music Industry.  A three-part article by Terry Wall, featuring wisdom from Jorma Kaukonen, best known as lead guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane.

The article/interview will provide food-for-thought. It will stimulate your thinking in new ways and refresh what you already know.

Even phrases which you might have already heard can stimulate your
thinking. For example, Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance,
a saying which I know from the military training world, is sage advice
for speakers, musicians, and business leaders. And gets me thinking of
the flip side of the statement: Proper Preparation Promotes Polished
Performance. While saying the same thing, it approaches the advice
from another angle, stimulating your creativity and thinking. And it
reminds me that that I’m not at peace with a presentation or program
until I’m fully prepared. Dreaming about not being prepared for an
event is a nightmare.

One of my favorite quotes from the interview is: “It’s what I don’t do
that’s more important than what I do.” This is the profound message
that power often comes from “what you don’t do.” For example, the
improv principle “Yes And” is a creative stepping-stone for a team. The
power of the Yes-And technique is what you DON’T do. You don’t deny
other people’s ideas. You don’t block their suggestions. You don’t stop
the creative process by sticking a big BUT into the brain-storm process.

The article also gets you thinking about the supportive process or
background support which is so important in music. I’m familiar with
the importance of support in Barbershop harmony singing. The baritone singer gets all the strange notes. These are the notes which, when heard alone, don’t sound anything like music. But when blended with the other three parts, the magic happens. Someone needs to pick up and sing the left-over notes needed to make the quartet’s chords ring. That’s the job of the baritone.

The interview shares the importance of letting someone else have the
spotlight to make the whole process shine. In comedy the straight-man provides backup support by delivering the set-up and lets the comic harvest the laughs. Let someone else be the hero and the team is the star.

Check out the article/interview. It will get you thinking of examples
from your own life, improving your performance, empowering your
leadership, and strengthening your teamwork.

Interview With a Rock Icon

20 Clues Your Friend Might Be A Toastmaster

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

20 Clues Your Friend Might Be A Toastmaster:
1. She flinches every time you say ah.
2. Every day the first time you meet, before saying anything else, he says: “My pal, my buddy, and my honored friend.”
3. She evaluates everything you do and say.
4. On a first date he admits that he is controlling his nervousness by visualizing you in your underwear.
5. The first time you visited her home, you got a five minute tour of her
trophy shelf.
6. If you met him at a Speed Dating event, you didn’t have time to visit
after he introduced himself and explained all the initials after his name.
7. She insisted that you come as a guest to her Toastmasters Club and
arranged for you to be called on for something called Table Topics.
8. When he asked you on a date, it took five to seven minutes to get to the point.
9. Dinner conversation with her is interrupted by a green, yellow and
red light.
10. Every time he makes eye contact with you, he counts to three before he continues his sentence
11. The first time you spent the night, you noticed that she had a
Toastmaster pin on her pajamas.
12. He always complains about Toastmaster contests but enters all of
them anyway.
13. She is fluent in a second language which includes the words PIP,
ALG, DTM, and obscure words which she refers to as the Word of The
14. At the top of his bucket list is “Become a PDG.”
15. She fears death more than speaking in public.
16. When you visit a famous landmark, he takes a selfie while holding a Toastmaster magazine.
17. Her refrigerator is covered with Best Speaker ribbons.
18. You thought he owned a ship in Greenland because he was always
talking about how people loved his Icebreaker.
19. She attends five club meetings a week. On off-nights she attends
area and division meetings.
20. He does things without further ado.

Shopping Rules

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

1.  No sale is big enough to justify buying something you don’t need.  2.  Don’t buy anything you can’t sell at a garage sale.  3.  Don’t buy anything you’d be embarrassed to give as a gift.  4.  Don’t buy food when you’re hungry. 5.  Don’t buy from a TV infomercial if you’re bored.  6.  Don’t buy a time-share vacation if you’re mathematically challenged.  7.  Buy with caution when you’re lonely.  8.  Don’t buy if you can’t pay cash.  9.  Don’t buy a book if you have over 100 waiting to be read.  10.  Don’t buy something if you have nowhere to put it.  11. Don’t buy anything you’ll spend more time dusting it than you’ll spend enjoying it.  12.  Don’t buy an impulse purchase on any day that ends in Y. 14.  Don’t buy anything if you’re feeling superstitious.

Creative Cell Phone Announcement

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Here’s a creative way to ask the audience to turn off their mobile devices using a Flash Mob.   ClickHere to view video which was produced by ImprovEverywhere.

Let it stimulate your own, original way to make this otherwise routine announcement as you begin your meeting.

The link was passed to me by AllenKlein, The Jollytologist from San Francisco by way of SpeakerNetNews.

Florida Vs Las Vegas

Friday, March 28th, 2014

23 Reasons Florida (Yes, Florida) Is Quite Possibly The Best State in
America (Huffington Post)

23 Reasons Las Vegas (Yes, Las Vegas) Is Quite Possibly the Best City
in America

(This will make more sense if you read the Huffington Post article first.)

1. Everyone loves Las Vegas weather. You can relax in the sauna, or
you can come inside and enjoy the air conditioning.
2. Las Vegas may be the only American city whose first Postmaster was
a woman.
3. In Las Vegas you can spend a three day weekend and never know for
sure if it’s day or night.
4. There are abandoned mine shafts where former mob bosses live.
5. Have dinner at the Stratosphere Tower and watch spacecraft fly by
your window.
6. Las Vegas serves 60,000 pounds of shrimp every day. Or would you
rather have a Publix Sub?
7. If you want the Miami Heat, go to Florida. But go to Las Vegas if
you want heat without the humidity.
8. Las Vegas has more visitors than any other adult amusement
destination in the country.
9. Las Vegas is the best place in the country to get a free $50 beer.
10. In Las Vegas, you can get oranges, cherries and plums for only a
11. Rainstorms rarely last more than two minutes a year in Las Vegas.
But watch for flash flooding.
12. If you want to make a new Croatian-Somalian friend, Las Vegas is
the place.
13. Thank Florida the next time you’re on a commercial flight to Las
14. If you want to get crabs and get stoned, vacation in another state.
15. In Las Vegas you won’t need sunscreen. It’s too hot to go outside.
16. In Las Vegas the wild life will blow your mind.
17. The Elvis Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich is a Las Vegas
Iconic Classic.
18. In Las Vegas our Limes, Kiwis, and Berries are calorie free, even if
the spin is not.
19. If you can’t go to Venice, go to Las Vegas and ride a gondola at The
20. When in Las Vegas, visit Japanese culture at the Morikami
Museum in Florida. It’s closer than flying to Japan.
21. You can find sharks teeth at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium. They
are still in the shark’s mouth.
22. Casual dress is popular in Las Vegas. And you’ll find a man-in-a-T
is a very gentle creature.
23. In Las Vegas you’ll be so busy winning money, you won’t have time
to read the newspaper.