Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

11/29/10

"Annie" - Tomorrow (For Chicago)

Annie - Original Broadway Cast RecordingAll across Chicago, we are seeing rain, cold days and gray skies. I have a source who tells me that the sun will be out tomorrow. She's gambling on it, betting her bottom dollar there'll be sun.

What do you think?




Annie - Original Broadway Cast Recording (Andrea McArdle version)

I Am Running for Mayor of Chicago T-shirt

I Am Running for Mayor of Chicago

I think this t-shirt is funny. Buy one and tell your friends.

They have them in mugs and so on.

http://www.cafepress.com/ChicagoMayor

11/27/10

Barack Obama and I Have Something in Common: 12 Stitches

Paricon Winter Lightning Sled (3-Pack)12 stitches. Now that he has gotten a taste of good ol' fashioned, "let's take it to the gym, punk" bloodwork, maybe North Korea will be a little less likely to taunt him. Of course, PETA is upset, but that's what they do, but this is about the stitches, not the silly talk show politicking both sides will try to find in this.

Me, I had 12 stitches too.

Johnny Peterson's backyard. The house behind him, actually. They were still building it. Big hill -- the dirt from the basement. Winter. Mid-December. Snow. Sledding.

I was in first grade. Johnny lived maybe two blocks down the street. The snow was hard, slick and cold. Sleds were hard to come by, so we slid down on our backs. Big hill, long ride. All good.

My jacket was open, unzipped when I went down on my stomach. A chunk of metal was sticking out about halfway to the bottom. I was six.

The metal sliced my on my right side. Blood flowed out of me like juice from a freshly cut tomato. My white t-shirt no longer was white. I ran the quarter mile or so up Meade Avenue, leaving my bike behind.

Palmers Cocoa Butter Massage Stretch Mark Cream 4.4 oz.Got home. My mom, suffering from conjunctivitis in both eyes couldn't drive me. Mrs. Kirk next door took me to Palos Hospital where I was stitched up. No anesthesia. Not the smaller filament President Obama was lucky enough to have. I screamed as they tried to hold me down. Until then, I was a small, weak boy. That night, I had the power of 10 steroid-filled NFL linemen.

On my way home, as my mom and dad drove me, they took me to McDonalds. Back then, before they changed their recipes, McDonald's French Fries were still the best on the planet. My parents asked me where I wanted to go. Mind you, at six years old on the edge of the suburbs (followed by woods and farms a mile away), I only knew about McDonalds and Chicken Unlimited (what KFC wants to taste like).

I stayed home a couple days, applying cocoa butter to my wound. They took the stitches out sometime later, and I showed my battle scars to my classmates.

That week I was a hero.

So, Mr. President, try cocoa butter. It smells nice too.

Digg and the Problem With Palinian-Obaminian Politics

Newsweek (1-year auto-renewal)Newsweek says, ‘Stunning the Halibut’ If the Democrats think things are bad now, wait until Sarah Palin grabs them by their bleeding hearts.

Weird, but true, I think. Newsweek's bias, if quite conservative, does not change the reality of the question of Sarah Palin, and why Obama supporters need to stop giggling and start thinking about what to do. The more, for example, they focus on Bristol Palin's Dancing With the Stars, the more likely they are to hand over the White House.

I am not saying I think Palin will win nor am I likely to vote for her, but, as I have been saying since 2008, she will heavily influence the 2012 election. However, I thought Democrats would quit snickering and respond with better ideas.

No matter what Democrats are saying about Palin, 2008 was their opportunity. The wave of optimism could not have been higher. Palin might snag the election, but it won't be because she charged in there. It will be because Democrats are blowing it when it comes to bipartisan negotiating. Palin is hardly a bipartisan politician, but I think a lot of America thought Obama would do what Bush did not: work across the aisle. Just as Obama was elected on a wave of antiBush attitudes, Palin might be elected on antiObama attitudes. It won't be the hate that Bush suffered, but more of a disappointment.

One argument, a weak one, is about Republican stonewalling. With the November election results, they can, but up until now, they couldn't. Try to stop Obama's initiatives? Absolutely. A true leader needs to work through this; Democrats were hardly naive to the task before them. Bush blew his opportunity in the midst of Democrat opposition, and Obama is tossing it away in the face of Republican opposition.

Democrat leadership has been failing to convince the middle roaders who support Palin to continue supporting Obama. This not because of Palin's prowess, but because of voter dissatisfaction.

I'm not Republican nor Democrat, and am no more impressed with Palin as a candidate than I was with Obama. Both have impressed as media magnets. While Palin has had gaffes that would cause Joe Biden to cringe, she has landed well despite this. Somehow, even though the world warned Obama's supporters to not expect every promise, for some reason, they believed him.

I took a look at Digg, where I saw this article. Lots of name calling. One guy, Cory, bragged about how he move to Canada if she wins. Clearly, not a bright man, he misses the point of the article. Essentially, it is about public opinion, voter awareness (including Democrats), and how voters do not realize what's going in Washington. While Cory might be facing immigration issues this time in two years, his vigor is akin to Rush Limbaugh who made a similar threat if Obama was elected. Limbaugh's still here.

I think many in the Digg community believes if they -1 Digg a poster, Palin will go away. That attitude is one reason Palin is gaining supporters. Instead of presenting a liberal more attractive to voters, we see ad hominem internet chatter.

Things will change. If they don't, Democrats will have egg on their face having lost to who they consider a fool. When Reagan won, everyone would could say he was an amazing campaigner. Same thing with Clinton. Of Palin, Democrats aren't saying this, but to lose to a fool is about the worst thing that can happen, isn't it? Obama is no fool, but he better be sure his campaign staff is brilliant.

Digg this.

11/18/10

An Invitation to Play With Words

Free, fun wordplay game Word:Word - A Game of Relationship.

Scrabble fans, crossword players, Boggle junkies.
Play with us on Facebook. No apps to download, just plain old fun.

Political Conversation

You Know You're a Republican/Democrat If..., 2EOne thing I have noticed among friends regarding how they discuss politics. Either they preach to the choir or howl at the unconvertable.

Preaching to the choir has a self-indulgence to it, as if the other person's affirmation will justify their opinion.

Howling at the unconvertable is equally a self-indulgent act. Why bother? It creates a kind of "I'm better than you," division among friends.

Once, I had a coworker so obsessed with anti-Obama tirading, it made my work circumstance unbearable. I have another friend who is so anti-Palin, I feel anxiety just listening to her.

Rarely, do I encounter friends discussing issues, or tolerating uncertainity.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

Going Rogue: An American Life

Decision Points









11/16/10

Beatles are on iTunes - Cool!

The Beatles are on iTunes. This is not only cool, but it is -- cool. What can I say? I'm speechless. Check out the link below.

iTunes & App Store

11/6/10

One More Hour of Your Life Challenge

If God gave to you one more hour of your life, how would you spend it?

Daylight savings time occurs overnight here in the United States. That hour, in a sense, is here. Spend it wisely.

Call you mom or dad. Your kids. Your best friend from childhood. Bring a meal to someone who needs one. Spend some time with the widow next door. Sit on the porch and chat with passers-by. Pray. Read.

Make it worth at least one hour.

11/5/10

Inclusively We? We Are Not. Rejecting 'We' and 'My Tribe' in Modern Language


A recent personal essay I read used the phrase, "we" and went on to decry we who live in the suburbs as being self-absorbed. The author used the pop term of the week 'tribe' to refer to suburbanites.

Caught on this, I cried foul. In reply, the author responded to say he used 'we' so as to include himself. Self-absorption with this overarching, overreaching false-graciousness appeared to be at play.

Still foul. And getting fouler. Why?

Perhaps it was the all-inclusive 'we' I bristle at since it not only includes him, but me. Once I'm involved, what else can I do but presume he did, in fact, suggest I must accept it without question. But I don't. I reject it flat out.

Language is tricky. It includes, excludes, implies, infers and otherwise misleads. Periodically, words mean what they say.

Did the quick brown fox really jump over the lazy dog? And do we care? It depends on how you feel about dogs, foxes, and what counts as fast brown, and lazy, and precisely what defines a jump as opposed to a leap or merely stepping over.

Language is more than language. It is a tool for communication and framing of ideas. Framing means simply the context, style and structure an idea is described.

For example, by using a phrase like "tribe," the author is trying to define a social group. Do that, and generalizations can be made, allowing, then, the provision of 'we,' since he himself considers himself a member of uncaring, selfish suburbanites. This is, of course, an arrogant fallacy, a kind of pop sociology running rampant in some places. The arrogance is in pointing that selfishness at all of us who live in a suburb, presuming all of us are 1) homogeneous enough to be a tribe, and 2) uncaring. Living myself in a multicultural family, surrounded in a multicultural housing area, working hard to be unselfish (with varied levels of success), and relating to some amazingly giving people who live just around the corner, I cannot accept this framing of condemning language. Perfect, no, but, homogeneous and uncaring, no.
Horn Rimmed Clear Lens Glasses

Tribe is a cute word. It is hip in the way skinny jeans, Elvis Costello glasses and goatees are hip. It looks immediately relevant to society, yet is only an impersonation of relevance thanks to its self-awareness to relate. Tribe!


I think of Iroquois and Chippewa, Cherokee and Sioux. They are not only a nation, but an extended, true family. Cousins are cousins. Sure, some may have been unrelated, but these are genetically-related people groups just as they connected culturally.

Users of the term perhaps make no reference to this, but in parlance outside of groups like the Sioux, it often connects indirectly to the idea of a kind of neotribalism, a 2006ish postmodern concept that humankind evolved into pursuit of living in a tribal structure. It does not fit, however, since the term is bandied about as more of an emotive, "I understand you, you are my kin-of-heart," sort of manner.

But back to 'we'. It aches of Ayn Rand's post-apocalyptic novel Anthem about a young man living in a society in which residents have no personal identity. Whenever someone referred to anyone, they would use 'we'. 'Ego' was an unpardonable word, and 'I' simply had no place. The protagonist rebelled, ran from the bondage of that society, and with another, returns to a new kind of Eden. Though Rand herself was an atheist who despised Christianity and its corresponding "love one another" altruism, her perspective strangely finds its way back to Judeo-Christian views. Now, as the new Adam, and new Eve, the heroes ostensibly start a brave, new world. We don't have the new from Rand, but, ideally, it is filled with people who are not proto-archaic.

Have we entered the social Apocalypse without the related nuclear war? Is this the society we are evolving into? An identity-less, convictionless blob of humanity? Next, if not already, individual life and choice matters less.

We are not tribal and we are not melded into we. We are unique, coming from families good or bad. Those differences globally are what will allow us to work together. Instead of billions of similar people, we can be one larger body, each with strengths to match the other's weaknesses.

11/4/10

Run to Overcome: An American Story of Marathoner Meb Keflezighi's Life

American marathoner Meb Keflezighi's last name is hard to say. Talk among runners, and mention, "Meb," and that's usually enough. "Run to Overcome" is likely to help it become a household name.

His claim to fame is his Silver Medal for the marathon, won at the 2004 Olympics, or his 2:09:15 time while winning the 2009 New York City Marathon. But that's not why this book matters. Other runners have run faster. Haile Gebrselassie owns the world record in 2:03:59. Cheering on Meb comes easier once you know the back story. In the midst of being all about a runner's life, it isn't about running. It is a Horatio Alger type story of rags-to-riches, full of hard times, hard work, and the blessing of God.

Like many immigrants, Meb's family left home to remain safe from war, and to find a better life. And like those families, things were difficult. And in the face of adversity, he found motivation.

When Tyndale House Publishers sent me this book, asking for a review, I wondered suspiciously if it would be like so many autobiographies with a "look at all I have achieved" attitude. Better written than expected, Meb humbly relates his life. He takes us through his childhood in Eritrea, a country not quite twice the population of Chicago. He describes facing soldiers and war, and how he saw death as a young boy. He tells how his parents taught him to trust God despite all of this.

After emigrating through Italy to the United States, his his American teachers made an impact, he says, as he mentions a note he still owns from a teacher encouraging him as an excellent student. His seventh grade PE class teacher had him run a mile, and his first time out, Meb ran a 5:20.

Meb enters UCLA, relating running and academic struggles, though ultimately succeeds at both.

Challenges continued, however, after college. First, does represent America or his home country? Injuries. Bad races. Psychologically beat up, he learns to dig deep and beyond whatever froze him, train smart to stay healthy, and find a way to win.

He admits when he ran one televised 10,0000 meter final, his girlfriend would be watching, "I wanted to impress her." He won by 19 seconds. He eventually marries her.

More races, more ups and down are found as Meb matures in his running career. His beloved friend Ryan Shay dies while racing. Eritrean friends are murdered just before he visits them. A grocery store he owned with his family was robbed by armed thieves. His racing doesn't go well, and his income drops. His faith grew just the same.

He applauds the many people he competes against, and recognizes his friends. Throughout the pages are pullout quotes by coaches, friends and runners who all repeat the quality of his character. Olympic legend Joan Benoit writes similarly in her brief foreword, reiterating it is an honor to call Meb her friend.

Overall, "Run to Overcome" is honest and inspiring. Runners will appreciate the race and training details, but nonrunners will find it readable. I fully recommend "Run to Overcome" by Meb Keflezighi.

Anthony Trendl
http://runnersdilemma.blogspot.com/

It is a Strange Thing Blipping and Inspiring: The Unimportance of Social Media's Importance


Briefly, I blipped.
For a few moments, for about eight hours to be exact, a tweet of mine became somewhat popular. Lots of retweets, click-throughs and then, Twitter gave it Top Tweet status. That means they highlighted my Tweet as important in the moment. Social media is very much about the moment. Some moments last a few weeks, or, in the case of my moment, a few hours. And my moment was still modest compared to some Tweets which fire up with hundreds of retweets. I had, as of this morning, 18.

It was not so much the brilliance of my Tweet as it was in the simple observation of the character count of a quote and its attribution.

So I blipped. My blog traffic spiked to around 10x its normal rate, and I suspect, for the next few weeks I will see a slight increase in my overall average.

Nice, but so what?

The quote itself is of utmost importance to any Christian, but too often considered a religious cliche. A billion views or retweets means nothing if it is read with a "That's a nice boy posting that," or "I'm spiritual but not religious" vagaries applied to it. Contemplate what it means theologically, and any Christian will be knocked to the ground in its heaviness.

Either something matters, or it doesn't. A billion views without making a change is just a billion views. When Barack Obama published his best selling The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, I wondered if those reading it would be inspired. Did his book matter?

Were they inspired? Without action, there is no inspiration. I have not seen it. I don't mean that in a political or cynical way, but want to point out that popular interest is not necessarily correlated to true change.

Ultimately, I know my blog may impact very few lives. Some people might find links to things they want to be involved with, or see pictures of something I have photographed, or even read a review of a book I read. Is that what matters?

As I read about social media, and I include blogs in this category, I read about getting followers is the key. So whenever I use certain keywords, it is like flies and dead meat. Sales people, especially those in the coaching field, sales, real estate or MLMs, glom on to my Twitter account and follow me blindly. They hope I will follow them back. Or they place @anthonytrendl in a Tweet hoping my genuine followers will see what they are about.

I reject a lot of social media theory as a result. If all it becomes is a self-repeating, self-retweeting event, it will cycle into death.

A notorious waster of the opportunity to be original is Guy Kawasaki. He rarely says anything that is beyond mildly more than a curiosity, and all of it is pure link bait. He sends the follower to his site, loaded with ads. What his Tweet refers to is actually something drawn from another site. Maybe a picture or an article that itself may be interesting. Any monkey could do it, but most monkeys lack Kawasaki's legitimate fame as a technology writer. Instead of changing the world, he cleans up on ad clicks. He knows this, and is obviously OK that he has joined all the high school kids with a blog posting odd news.

A recent Guy Kawasaki Tweet: When hairy meets horrifying: The neckbeard [I deleted his URL]

He isn't the only one. Steve Martin's Twitter account is filled with all sorts of useless quips, but the difference is Martin is a comedian, posting original bits.

A recent Steve Martin Tweet: My appearance on Letterman show will now be this Friday, not Thursday, FYI (I abbreviated “for your information” to save space.).

Whose Twitter account matters more? I'll let you sort that one out.

To be transparent, I have ads here too, and on all my sites and blogs. When my Google ads gets clicked, or you buy through Amazon links I have here, I make money. In the best of worlds, you will click on them and buy things from the sponsor, and I can retire to only write my opinions on things. I am a writer. This is what I do. The more people who read, and retweet, and forward my posts on Facebook and Twitter, the more readers I get, and presumably, more clicks. As this is a personal blog, it can be self-indulgent, and not everything will be as directed as this post. Some posts will be absolutely silly.

What would be missing if that's all there was to it. Then it would be a business, but not at all social media.
My useless Tweets: http://twitter.com/AnthonyTrendl