Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Thinking About Space Oddity by David Bowie

David Bowie has found his way into my ears. "Ground Control to Major Tom... take your protein pills and put your helmet on..." You know the rest. Some of you are already looking for it on Spotify or YouTube.

I've known this song for 35 years. It, along with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, was one of my first favorite songs. I don't know when I first heard it, but it has always haunted me. First, it occasionally popped up on the radio, then I bought the cassette, and now, listen to a digital version off a playlist.

Of course it haunted me. A guy becomes so fascinated with space travel, or intoxicated by it, that he decides to disconnect from Ground Control, and fly freely. He knows the implications of this choice are eventually dire. He's left the Earth and isn't coming back. He sends a message back to his wife that he loves her.

That's heavy.

Chris Hadfield -- he's a real live astronaut -- took a different take on the song. In fact, he recorded actually in space. Real space, not just high up in a special plane. Take a look, listen to the rewritten lyrics.


My Old Cafe Is No More (And What This Means)

It occurred to me today the coffeehouse I oft-frequented, Caribou Coffee in Glen Ellyn, IL, is closed. I knew it closed last month, but the significance just hit me.

It seems the Peet's Coffee & Tea people bought the Caribou company. Most of the Caribou stores will close, if not already. Some will be converted into Peet's, others, like mine, will be vacated, to eventually house some other, unrelated business. Mine is among those closed for good.

The place had been dwindling. Employees left in droves -- old timers were replaced by people who rotated in and out. The hours were reduced too. I could not longer work late there. It became fast food, so to speak.

A Peet's will open up nearby in another old Caribou in downtown Wheaton, IL. The coffee, I expect, will be better. It can't help but be. Caribou was improving, but was still stuck in the old-school cafe method of not roasting and delivering the same day. This meant the coffee was often stale.

I went because of the atmosphere and people. When I wanted better coffee, I bought from Intelligentsia or I Have a Bean. The people though, were wonderful.

There was Mike, the piano teacher. I talked metaphysical authors with him. And Dave the computer guy. He explained Bitcoin to me. Plus, a myriad of fellow writers, and a group of Russian guys who played dominoes. I didn't know the Russian guys, but I looked forward to the others.

Sooner or later, I met with every friend who lives locally there. Now, I need a new place. Peet's won't do -- that former Caribou is too small and too for any decent conversation. I have other cafes that do much better, like River City Roasters, and the recently open Café K'Tizo.

Oh sure, there are places like Starbucks, and I suppose I wind up there. But where will the others be?

Sooner or later, someplace will settle in as "the place," but for now, I'm wandering.


Speech Writing News - Proud Owner of Speechwriter.net

I have recently acquired speechwriter.net. It was previously owned by the late Sandy Anderson, an esteemed speechwriter who enjoyed an illustrious career which included writing for President Gerald Ford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and three Secretaries of the Army.

I never met Sandy, but originally used his site as a guide as I developed my own. I took mine a different direction, but applied a great many of the things he used.

I have speechwriter.net redirect to AmericanSpeechwriter.com. I invited you to check it out. You might enjoy the classic speeches. I've included text, video and audio whenever possible.

Have a great day!


Robin Williams is Dead

Robin Williams, RIP. He died today, possibly of suicide. His publicist released the statement, “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Man, he was good. The world just got a little less funny today. Age 63.


Social Media: Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

Ripe Bananas
Consummately creative, you can find and follow me all over social media. I love comments, shares, likes, you name it. I get right into the mix too, so jump in.

My official Facebook page. Books, ideas, literature, art, tall tales, short tales and cattails. See the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Fans of Twain, Kipling, Thurber will find this a friendly place. From the quirky to the funny to the unbelievable. Family-friendly. We talk about classic children's literature, what makes good horror, the integration of the arts. I occasionally offer free stuff, announce speaking engagements and literary performances.

My Pinterest page. This leans heavily on the craft of speech writing and speech delivery, but I post fascinating discussions on creativity as well, like a two-hour interview with Robert Downey, Jr.

My Instagram photos. Here I am in pure play mode. While I'm only using my smartphone, and I'm entirely untrained as a photographer, I'm always on the lookout for interesting ways of seeing the ordinary. Whether an unusual angle, funky lighting, or a a strange juxtaposition of some commonplace items, you're bound to see something fun. The bananas are there.

My Twitter page. Here, it is a mix of everything in bite-size gulps. The fullness of my interests flows through, from chess to jazz to running to coffee.

My LinkedIn profile. Want to connect professionally? Head on over and find my profile. I'm all business there. You'll see my email address which will help you connect. I'm especially interested in connecting with others in the communications industry. Then, after we connect, message me an introduction.


Work Backwards to Move Forward in Executive Communications

As you go to your audience's perspective and walk backwards, you will bring them with you. By being honest, open and vulnerable, you will be able to lead your audience to where you need them.
You'll get your audience to the place you need by understanding where they are and working backwards through concerns one-by-one.

read more on LinkedIn


How to Have a Brilliant Slideshow (Or Not): Is PowerPoint Your Best Choice?

How to Have a Brilliant Slideshow (Or Not)

My recent article on LinkedIn looks at whether or not using a PowerPoint slideshow is a good idea. If so, why? Please check it out, and leave a comment. I love reading what others think.

Slideshows have long been a part of public speaking. More often than not, the speaker spends hours dwelling on every jot and tittle. Some of that is good and healthy. The speaker refines his or her message, trying to say clearly and persuasively whatever brings them to the podium. Mostly, though, the speaker is stuck sorting through templates, font choices and figuring out what to say on each slide. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we need to remember what's of primary importance. Read more.


Theater and the Art of Public Speaking

Theater and the Art of Public Speaking - a piece I wrote for LinkedIn. I explain the difference between an essay and a speech.

Take a look. I'd love to know your thoughts.


Presidential Speeches


As you may know, I'm a hardcore non-party member. I am not a Republican, which disappoints a great many friends. I'm not a Democrat, which infuriates another portion. I'm not Libertarian. I didn't join the Tea Party. When I ran for Student Council when I was in fifth grade, I ran Independent.

I expect to stay that way.

Most of what I see in politics disappoints me, as does the heavy partisan side-choosing that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

I don't like the littering of this good Earth with political signs. OK, that's less serious than aggressive corruption, but it does bother me.

Two of Illinois' recent governors are in jail. One is Republican. One is Democrat. I voted for both of them.

As such, I have turned down every political speech writing opportunity.

I thought about how I can help good candidates. Yes, you are out there. Some of you play fair, live with integrity, and avoid the angry finger pointing and blame game. I want to help you.

Find me here:



A Call for Folk Singers, Poets, Writers and Porch Talkers

A woodcut from La vida del Ysopet
on sus fabulas historiadas depicting
a hunchbacked Aesop surrounded
by events from the stories
in Planudes' version of his life.
America needs more jug bands. Banjos too. More fiddles. Harmonicas. Singers.

And people to write new, good songs. Nothing wrong with the old songs, but we sing those an awful lot. People don't remember what they mean.

While we are at it, add in some storytellers. Real storytellers. Real poets. Not just the shouters and complainers.

We need a few Hans Christian Andersens, some Aesops, a Charles Perrault or two -- ones which never are heard on NPR and bankrolled by anyone East, West or Middle. We need them in parks and bedsides, porches and bars. They need names no one knows, without a slew of books or a university office. And yet, everyone knows them, and everyone wants to listen.

We have better coffee and more places to buy it, but fewer coffeehouses. People have run to the cities to live because people have run to the cities to live, but they aren't together. They are just in the same place, complaining and shouting, drinking coffee and not singing new songs.

Jugs bands are a start. Maybe someone with a guitar. Or someone with a glass of lemonade to share while telling some old tale they just made up.

That would be all right, don't you think?


Follow Me on Facebook (It isn't like George Takei's page.)

Join now: http://facebook.com/AnthonyTrendl

No, it is not just a funny picture site. That's George Takei's Facebook page. I'll admit there are one or two cute kitty pictures, but they are reading books. These are smarty cats.

I ask important things. Extremely important things.

Today, for example, we are delving into favorite punctuation marks. Which one is yours?

But it doesn't stop there. We discuss the science of humor. Watch interviews with Jerry Lewis and other great comedians explain why they are funny. They know why we laugh at what they do. Similarly, you'll watch John Cleese lecture on the creative process.

We talk about classic children's literature, what makes good horror, the integration of the arts. There's a lot going on. Stop in and stay for awhile.

My page description says, "Books, ideas, literature, art, tall tales, short tales and cattails. See the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Fans of Twain, Kipling, Thurber will find this a friendly place. From the quirky to the funny to the unbelievable. Family-friendly."


Sylvia Browne's Excellent Record as a Psychic (A Defense of Her Good Work)

It is easy to criticize Sylvia Browne's horrendous failures as she pretended to be psychic, or how stupid Montel Williams was for having her on his show. I decided to list all the times she was genuinely a psychic below, in this dedicated blog post just to her.

That's right. Never. People trusted her. People gave her money. People gave her fame and fortune and everything that goes with it


It is easy to criticize Sylvia Browne. What she has done is that bad. So many viewers bought into her charade. Viewers who matter. 

She makes Benny Hinn seem less greedy and the Mob look more honest. Too much?

Ask Amanda Berry's family.


David Bowie's "The Next Day" and Artistic Integrity

David Bowie - The Next Day
Buy David Bowie's The Next Day now on iTunes.

I love Bowie's new album. So does The Atlantic (read their review The Predictably Unpredictable Resurrection of David Bowie) and pretty much everyone who knows his music.

I've been a huge Bowie fan since the mid-70s, since I was a wee lad, and used to try to write poems like his songs. Besides my fanboy perspective (though I don't think everything he's done is brilliant), I think his life is a good lesson in consummate creativity. He made some blunders in the process -- drug addiction, horrible relationships, and so forth. But he is always self-challenged artistically. Although he always sounds like "David Bowie," he never falls into schtick. He could do schtick well, as keenly as he changes personas. But he doesn't. He does more than reinvents his persona. He finds his new sound. He finds his next day.

In the beginning, this was a different thing. On one hand, he had nothing to lose by risking. He wasn't yet Bowie the Legend. He was a cocksure upstart. Now, he has everything to lose, but at the same time, nothing once again: no matter how awful an album is, he will still be Bowie the Legend.

He has always had an interesting mix of a strong work ethic despite his famously bohemian lifestyle of his youth, financial and artistic success, a smart sense of when to switch gears, and the guts to go full bore. Throw is a few stirs of right-place-right-time and we have a commercially successful, artistically intriguing musician.

But he could, at age 66, rest on his laurels. Like Bob Dylan (age 71, still touring heavily, recently kicked out one of his best albums ever), he isn't resting at all. Bowie's previous album, Reality, in 2003, in my opinion, was mediocre. I thought, like lots of folks, though he's had a good run and earned his retirement. "Take it Dave, before they laugh at you." Then he has a heart attack. He's rich, married to a super model, will have royalties from earlier work coming until Jesus comes back. He has nothing to prove and, from a humanist perspective (he rejects the truth and call of Jesus Christ), has and will have a pretty good life on Earth. Why do more?

Why do more? Why do more -- that is the artist's dilemma, isn't it? There is no poetically waxed, "Because I have to" nonsense  He wanted to. He didn't have to. "Have to," I think, is a mythical, romanticized view of the artistic process. But he clearly wanted to. So he did. Which, because he didn't have to, means he was completely free to do what he pleased.

And it is a great album.
Buy David Bowie's The Next Day now on iTunes. 

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when any mortal(even the most odd)

when any mortal(even the most odd)

when any mortal(even the most odd)

can justify the ways of man to God
i'll think it strange that normal mortals can

not justify the ways of God to man

-Edward Estlin Cummings


Andrew Mason's Daily Deal: 'I Got Fired Today'

Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, was fired. So, he wrote a letter to the company. He took being fired in stride, laughed a little, and led a lot. He told his former employees to press on despite the transition, and to let his replacement do his/her job well. I'd be honored to write speeches for a man like this. A class act. 

Read Andrew Mason's Daily Deal: 'I Got Fired Today' That will take you to a LinkedIn article. While you are there, connect with me on LinkedIn.

Blocked on Facebook

201 apps blocked on Facebook, plus a few crazy people. How about you?

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Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin Kennedy Center Tribute. Amazing!

Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin Kennedy Center Tribute. Amazing! Heart -- Ann and Nancy Wilson. Jason Bonham drums. Best cover ever.

The choir even is wearing bowlers like Zep's late drummer John Bonham. Robert Plant gets teary eyed. President and Mrs. Obama tried to remain composed.



Apology Not Accepted: Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology.

John Pavlovitz, self-appointed leader of the Evangelical Church (in all its permutations, including parachurch ministries), has apologized for me. For you, too, if you happen to be a Christian. Take a look at his blog post, Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology.

I am not sure how he got the job. I voted in November for President of the United States, but never saw his name on the ballot. Maybe because he has a blog. No, no. That can't be it. I have a blog. I'm not in charge.

I'm looking more carefully at his post. Yes. Silly me. I see it right there at the top: "I am a Christian. I am a pastor. I am a father. As all three of these things, I apologize to the world (and to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting), for Mike Huckabee and James Dobson."

Because he is a Christian, a pastor and a father, he has earned the right to apologize to the world, on my behalf, for things said by Mike Huckabee and James Dobson. I see. I see. It is clear.

I get Pavlovitz's point. People I am affiliated with say things I disagree with. It might be he was asked by Dobson and Huckabee each to apologize on their behalf. That can happen. I suppose. But it didn't. Back to word self-appointed.

This is not a blog post getting into what Pavlovitz thinks he is addressing. Rather, I am using his claim to apologize to point that, in his attempt, he, in my opinion, dismisses the depth and importance of the issues, and disrespects the families hurt or killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

By apologizing for something he didn’t do is disingenuous and arrogant. It is as if he has the right to apologize by proxy, somehow representing Christians. He does not have it. There is no position to do so. Only God could, and He never sins, so that would not happen. The evangelical world, which includes both Dobson and Huckabee, is not a cleanly drawn line, with a leader telling followers what to believe. There are many denominations, and many diverse viewpoints.

Just as I cannot, on the behalf of white people, apologize for the KKK, slavery and other racist actions, he simply does not have the right or responsibility, creating only a hollowness that is as meaningless in direct opposition to what I think he intended. These kinds of blanket apologies injure the genuinely hurt by putting a Hallmark Card spin on a very serious matter.

When President Clinton apologized for various things the American government did to Africans here in the 1930-1970s involving syphilis testing, no one took it as a real apology. It was, at best, symbolic. Genuine? I think so. Heart felt? I think so.

Wikipedia says: "The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government."

What President Clinton said: The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. We can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people what the United States Government did was shameful, and I am sorry.

I agree 100% with President Clinton on this. He was saying to the nation, "I, as leader of this nation, and part of a long line of presidents to be followed by others, and therefore as a representative and spokesperson for the nation, want all of America and the world to know such testing is wrong, was wrong and always will be wrong. I cannot undo what was done, but I can say we will never do it again." Those are my words, but that's my take on what President Clinton said.

But it was not an apology. Clinton had not done the wrong himself.  Had he skipped, "I am sorry," at the end, and no one would call it an apology. They'd just say, "Right on, Mr. President." But, Clinton was President. What the American government did was wrong. He tried, did so publicly, and outside of those three words, it was a perfect statement.

I have no idea who John Pavlovitz is. I know he said in response to things Dobson and Huckabee have said, "This week, these “representatives” of Christianity in the American media, have done what they seem bent on doing and content to do in times of tragedy; they have stood on top of someone else’s pain and grief, while preaching a message of dreadfully misplaced, fear-infused hatred and horribly dangerous theology."

Which exactly what he has done.