Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

8/27/09

Better than Sleeping, Much Better Than Sleeping

The next best thing to waking up is to be in Heaven.

It is an early morning, and a long day of travelling is ahead of me. I woke up hours before I intended, and in several ore hours will pay for this as I drive.

What if I didn't wake up? The goal of sleeping isn't the sleep, but to awake fresh. Only one thing is fresher than a full night's rest. Sleep isn't wicked, but the point's the same.

Maybe you know these famous verses from the Book of Psalms:

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(Psalm 84:8-10)

8/26/09

Ciderman (Spiderman?) spoken word

Ciderman (Spiderman?)

Fans of the 1960s Spiderman cartoon will remember the theme. I don't sing. Tossed in a few cider-esque and appleish images. Have fun!



Ciderman, Ciderman.
Drinks all the cider that he can.
Sips a cup, any size.
Uses it to wash down pies.
Look out.
There goes the Ciderman.

Can he chug?
Listen, bud.
He's got apples in his blood.
Take a look in the aisle
Hey there,
There goes the Ciderman.

In the chill of his fridge
at the scene of his drink
Like a tasteful bridge
across from his sink.

Ciderman, Ciderman,
Friendly grocery store Ciderman
Beer and wine
He's ignored.
Fiber is his reward

To him, life is a great big juice bar
Wherever there's a fruit bar
You'll find the Ciderman.

The original:

8/24/09

What Bugs Me Most? Three Books on Some Favorite Insects

Insects: Revised and Updated (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)

Spiders and Their Kin (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)

Butterflies and Moths (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)

Few books have given me more pleasure than these three. Boyhood is wrapped up in them, especially "Spiders" and "Butterflies and Moths" The prairie and creek near where I grew up, as well as a small farm, and the woods just two miles to the southeast, left me with plenty of opportunity catch butterflies, watch daddy long legs, and wonder if the walking stick would really walk.

Not exhaustive, but these guides each covered what I was likely to see. At eight years old, this offered me more than enough information.

The pages are crisp with age. It has been 25 or more years since they have seen the light of day, but when treasure hunting in my old bedroom, they shot out at me into my hands. I can't stop smiling when I see them, thinking of all the evenings in my bedroom reading, and the days playing, hoping to apply this vast knowledge of insects and spiders.

The prairie and farm I used to frequent have been subdivided. You might still see my initials carved in the concrete curb at 125th Street if it hasn't worn away where the old Pruim Farm connected just east of Moody Avenue, where my neighborhood began.

The woods are still there, but many of the insects and fauna are gone. The grand burnt orange monarchs are less common, just as the milkweed their larva feed on has all but disappeared. Cabbage moths are hard to find because no one is growing cabbage; backyard gardening has been replaced by trips to hip grocery stores. A good looking orb spider's web can be found here and there (mostly araneus'), but the cool looking black and yellow argiopes are nowhere to be found. There are too many brooms sweeping away at their exquisite homes.

Now, I'm wondering what I can find in my backyard here.

(see my review of a similar book on reptiles)

Insects: Revised and Updated (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)



Spiders and Their Kin (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)



Butterflies and Moths (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)


8/20/09

Officially Hitting 10K Worth of Love

And there you have it. As I mentioned last week, this was coming. On August 14, this came to pass. It is up to 10,011 at the moment, and will take well over 11 years to see 20,000 votes.

Watch the progress.

8/18/09

Judge Sharon Keller's Incompetence Denies Appeal of Man Killed by the State

I make it no secret that I think the death penalty is awful. Innocent men are sometimes killed. There is racial and economic disparity among those given death as opposed to life sentences. No evidence has proven killing a murderer deters the next criminal.

I worked with inmates for many years, and met some very ugly characters. Some I hope never see the light of day. I can only imagine what the victim's family feels. Those who feel revenge, however, satisfy nothing with their blood thirst. Revenge executions are ethically no different than the honor killings found in the Muslim countries.

Meanwhile, our government is spineless about their own involvement. They shield those doing the killing from the certainty they personally caused another man's death. Back in the day when we would shoot the men, one marksman received blanks, opening the door for doubt. I believe the judge, or governor, should be the one pulling whatever lever transmits the poison into the condemned man, without some post-modern, separated from reality factor tossed in.

Today, I read that one judge has no guts at all. She feared an appeal. Her name is Sharon Keller, pictured on the left. She denied a death row inmate an appeal not because of some legal issue, but because she wanted to close up court. She is blaming her mistakes on a communication break down, but, whatever the reason, I hope she loses her position. Her incompetence shows she is not fit to judge. The blood of Michael Wayne Richard, who may or may not have been guilty, is on her hands.

I suppose she'll go into private practice if she is found guilty of being a blood thirsty judge without scruples. If she is, in fact, guilty of the professional misconduct, I hope she personally apologizes to the family of Mr. Richard, and offers financial restitution. It will not be enough, but, if guilty, she needs to see the pain in the eyes of the one who was murdered by whomever pulled the lever.

8/10/09

A Horsefly Meets His End (a poem) (repost with updated audio)

A Horsefly Meets His End
Anthony Trendl

Ne'er met a horsefly that I think I liked.
Nor such a horsefly was e'er so fond of me.
Buzz, he would, swat I would,
and thus our dance would be.
'Round the barn, 'round the pond
Past a broken shed--
Why is this fly so fond of me?
Not a question now,
I've swatted, and the fly is dead.

hear me read this poem, complete with a genuine imitation horsefly

first appeared January 29, 2008
http://anthonytrendl.blogspot.com/2008/01/horsefly-meets-his-end.html

8/9/09

Nine Votes to 10,000: An Amazon Reviewer Hits a Milestone


In March of 2008, I reported I had 10,000 votes. Some of those were not positive. Almost 17%, as a matter of fact.

Now, over a year later, these are all my votes. These are for me. I am closing in on the big 10K. At this moment, I am at 9,991 votes. Nine to go. There is still that 17%, but the 82.x% equals 9,991.

It will be unnoticed mostly, except now by any of you reading this blog. Strange to have done this in a vacuum of sorts. This great adventure has garnered me free books and products, a lawsuit, and a nice batch of online friends I see periodically, themselves reviewers like me. A few new friends came through the authors and musicians themselves, those who saw that my response to what they had written is their view as well. Those friends are dear people now, with ideas I embrace or heartily disagree with, but all are bright and articulate, with colorful, intelligent personalities.

Reviewing now, all these years after I started, is more difficult. I take more time choosing what to review, and then, in the writing of the review. Other things fight for my time now, and my reading/reviewing pace has dropped.

The professional reviewing community is undecided about us. Some love the average man's views, and others prefer that only elites write reviews. A modern, water down Jim Crow thing. We who review as I do largely ignore it all.

What choice have we got? We aren't spending our days in tall New York towers cranking out high priced reviews for book review magazines that sit unread in libraries. A few of us send review to the local newspaper or, as I do, post them on a blog or website, but, on the whole, we make no money from it.

Click through the link below, and read a few. Read hundreds if you have the time. Let me encourage you to vote, and vote often. These times in America need more people hitting the polls. And, thanks for indulging me.

Anthony Trendl's reviews on Amazon.com

8/4/09

Weight Loss Campaign 2009: Dropping 15 Pounds

Have you seen me? I have added 31% to my college weight. Gained 32 lbs. Gained more, but lost some, leaving me today at 140 lbs., looking to lose 15 lbs.

This issue has been discussed in my running blog, but it involves all of my life. Weight loss is a new thing to me, and my expectations are that it will take two years to get there. My goal, however, is to lose five lbs by August 1, and all 15 by May 1. This is not something I can control outside of eating smarter and exercising more, but it is vaguely reasonable to think it could happen.

Why 15?n Isn't 125 too thin? No. I'm a thin guy with a fatty exterior. When at my fittest, I was 107 lbs. Most of what I have gained is fat. I needed some of that fat, but not all. 125 is an arbitrary number, but one that makes sense.

Good friend David Dane, passionate about many things, is determined to lose weight. He has seen success, yet the struggle continues as his desire for sweets often gets the better of him (as he describes in his weight loss blog). Other friends have gotten on the Weight Watchers bandwagon, but all have quit, unwilling to commit long-term to the discipline. The wife of one friend has returned to it recently with vigor, and is seeing results.

I'm no a WW guy. While I appreciate the concept, I know I will not keep records of what I eat. Instead, I need to follow the principle.

David's principle is 'Eat less food.' This equals fewer calories. He isn't too worried about what he eats, only how much. I get that, but don't fully agree. Different foods affect us differently. I'm doing what I can to knock out processed sugar.

WW is about less food, but wants the eater to watch which foods are going down the hatch. I get this completely, but am too picky of an eater to follow this plan.

Forget anti-carb and anti-meat diets. Too much controversy, and long-term, steak needs to be on my plate next to the spaghetti. I'm reducing red meat, and watching my total pasta quantity for now. Portion control.

Water intake is increasing too. That's just good sense. Will it help me lose weight? No idea. It can't hurt.

David is newly on the running plan, trying to get in a couple miles a few times a week. Eventually, if his knees hold out, he should notice improvement, but so far, just recognizes pain.

I'm running too. After a long layoff, I am inching my miles up. I am hoping to get my mileage up to 50 miles a week, but am at 20/week now. With 50, I'll be burning something like 5,000 calories each week, which alone will drop a few lbs.

What will happen? Got me. Do the right things, and right things will result. That's not about karma, but about cause:effect. Eat right, exercise right, and, eventually, my body will accept this. Simple as that.