Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


All You'll Likely Need - Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes review

"Mythology" covers all the major and most minor Greek, Norse and Roman gods, goddesses, stories and locales. Edith Hamilton makes no pretenses that this is all there is to say on mythology, but she gives a reader a fine start.
Hamilton puts them into sensible structures so beginners can learn in a context which are easy to understand. She provides major section titles helping readers get straight to the required story, like "Stories of Love and Adventure" You'll find "Cupid and Psyche" as a chapter.

Chapters are named mostly by story like, "The Trojan War."

She quotes from the sources, so the reader knows how it is she got her information.

Character-driven in format, readers can look up a name, find the subtitle with that name, and read why that character matters. She writes narratively, sounding a little like "Cliff's Notes." This is a good thing, because the poetry from which these myths are drawn can be overwhelming.

Nicely organized is the geneological table section. It looks like a family tree, in a English royalty kind of way.

As a writer, I use it for a quick reference guide. I usually only need a few nuggets of information, and she gives me plenty. I first acquired it high school, using it to get out of those tough jams when I did not understand books like "The Odyssey," by Homer.

More than mere reference, "Mythology" is good reading for no other purpose than serendipitous curiosity.

I fully recommend it.

Anthony Trendl

Stevie Played Stevie Better - A Tribute To Stevie Ray Vaughan review

"A Tribute To Stevie Ray Vaughan" shows some marvelous performances of Vaughan's work by some of the great bluesmen and guitarists. Clapton, Cray, Guy, Raitt, King and even Vaughan's very talented brother crank through the better known Stevie Ray tunes with incredible musical mastery. That said, these are incredible covers capturing SRV's spirit with the musician's own personality.

I recommend "A Tribute To Stevie Ray Vaughan," (check out the DVD of this as well, as the musicians shown here are strong showmen) but get one of Stevie Ray's concert CDs or DVDs instead if you are looking to hear top Vaughan blues. Or, get a BB King or Buddy Guy CD.

Anthony Trendl



So much of news infuriates without offering better solutions. It offers hopelessness, without reminding us there is a better way. Even nonpartisan news ends up sounding partisan. Little news provides more than tension. If we respond usefully by giving, helping, praying or doing something to effect change for the better, then the news matters. Otherwise, I don't know my time is best spent exploring it. Ignorance of important things is not good, but neither is its opposite.

The World Rebels, The World is at War

It is like WWIII has broken out in smaller pieces, like drops of water waiting to flood the world.

I don't know what to think. I am all for democracy, but when the "voice of the people" takes over from a dictatorship only to squash the rights of other people, that is no democracy at all.
People are being killed. Journalists are being shut out. Media access is being manipulated. We don't reall know what is happening where, but we know it is happening.
  1. Libya
  2. Bahrain
  3. China
  4. Egypt
  5. Yemen
  6. Somalia
  7. Jordan
  8. Tunisia
Not counting
  1. Paskistan
  2. Israel
  3. Iran
  4. Iraq
  5. North Korea
Somehow, the USA is in many of these.

Do I miss a country?


First Book To Buy for Job Hunting - What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers review

Pacific Play Tents Playchute 10' Parachute (Colors and Designs May Vary)"What Color Is Your Parachute" is the first book you need if finding a job is your goal. If you've not bought this yet, you haven't started looking. It is that good.

Richard Bolles is the expert. His books sell because they are fresh each year with insight, purpose and ideas for determining what job you should do, and how to get it.

I used "Parachute" to get my first job. It continues to influence me today, as I keep my eyes open for a possible career change. As I have trandsitioned from nonprofits to corporate work, to freelance/consulting to looking again at nonprofits, I take what Bolles' teaches into each situation. He helps balance out reality. No smoke and mirrors, but encouraging and candid exhortation.

Thoroughly practical, Bolles asks you questions about your mission in life. His belief is that just getting a job (any job) -- even ones you are good at -- won't be a wise decision in the long haul. He helps you see your passions mixed with skills and experience, and guides you to getting there. Though it is hardly a self-help book, it is far more useful than the ones clogging up the Top 10 list.

He keeps you accountable. Finding a job is your job if that's what you say you want. And if you aren't working, he won't let you make excuses -- you've got the time. Either you are looking or you aren't. Dr. Phil could take a note from Bolles' direct yet congenial style.

Bolles has kept current, with a significant look at the internet, starting your own business, dealing with the tempestuous employment marketplace, working in an unpleasant situation, and more.

Don't bother with the hardcover. You need the paperback. This is not a sit-on-the-shelf book, but a get-down-to-business book, and you'll appreciate the flexibility while at work or on the train.

I fully recommend, "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Anthony Trendl


Necessary for Poets: review - 2011 Poet's Market

Have you bought it yet? If you are intending to be a published poet, and, like me, no one has heard of you, you need "2011 Poet's Market."

As a poet often writing with religious overtones, I need to know which publications, secular and religious, are open to such poetry. Some do not want to see any sort of religious poetry, and others are open, but with limits, and others welcome it. This book helps me avoid wasting my time, their time, and postage. By using this book, everyone is happy.

I have used this guide successfully to be published. It is thorough, packed with info. The articles found between sections help me see the process more clearly, strategies and what to avoid.

Useful are the icons indicating if they pay, or won awards, etc. You'll find the icons essential, as you determine which publishers pay, which are new additions to the guide, which are open to newer writers, etc. For example, you can avoid sending too many poems (and save a few stamps) by knowing a publisher only wants to see five poems. Or, who will accept submissions via e-mail? That's here.

2011 Poet's MarketOccasionally, as with the entry for "Pinyon", an annual published out of Mesa State College in Colorado, the advice is less useful. They say, "Send us your best work!" I am not certain why I would do otherwise, but there you have it. More often than not, though, editors recognize that inclusion will result in poetry meeting their needs, and careful think through their entry.

Also, if you are looking to get into the religious market, Poet's Market is just a start. It is decent, but only covers the largest publishers in this genre. You should also buy Sally Stuart's "Christian Writer's Market Guide," a very similarly structured book, the definitive guide for Christian writers.

I fully recommend the "2011 Poet's Market."

Anthony Trendl


Real Management Tools Intelligently Explained, "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker review

Peter Drucker provides in "The Effective Executive" what is missing is almost every other leadership book I have read: incredible ideas without indulgent self-promotion. Drucker gets to the point, writing efficiently. He explains we can learn to be effective, how to determine our role and priorities, and how decisions are made.

Although any of this can be applied to top brass positions, he respects that most of us reading this are in management at a much lower level. Keeping anecdotes to a minimum, and then, relying on history and major leaders (like Robert E. Lee), the book transcends Drucker himself and the 45 years or so it has been available. Never name dropping, the book reads like a smart textbook, not a management flavor of the month. Because of his approach writing, I left having learned how to manage better with lessons I expect to apply in real life.

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)Much of his thesis comes down to our responsibility to the organization, not what can we get others to do. He uses the term "contribute" in that we need to ask what we can contribute, how, what is needed for the contribution. While he points out the obvious, that things will get done by ourselves and those below us, he also explains our superiors are likely to respond likewise through our example.

A few useful ideas: Work on strengths, not weaknesses (dividends will be higher). Ask ourselves what will produce results (effectiveness starts here). Focus on the real future, not defending the past (if last year's product isn't this year's, move on). It is more than how-to, but also, it is about why: Why these are good ideas, and what can we expect from implementing them.

I fully recommend "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker.

Anthony Trendl


LiveAction: Second Planned Parenthood Aids Pimp's Underage Sex Ring

I am no fan of abortion, and no fan of sex trafficking. I'm no fan of Planned Parenthood either, and have been outspoken against them for 20 years. However, I hope this is not their MO. I doubt it is, as much as I hate abortion, I believe these staffers are an anomaly. What do you think?

What happened: Two people go in, presumably an admitted sex trafficker of young teenage girls and a sex worker. They ask questions about the process of being tested for STDs, and what is involved for young teens wanting abortions without parental consent. Given the PP is in VA, under VA's laws, the staffer points out the related constraints and the option of going to an adjacent state with what she calls "looser laws."

The sex trafficker is never specific, but speaks in hypotheticals. The PP staffer apparently is not legally obligated to report this. However, when such a girl actually comes in, the staffer may be obligated to report it under either rape or sex trafficking laws, depending on what the girl is actually requesting and her age.

I don't know what, as a business, PP should do. It may be that how things happened is proper procedure. It is obviously bad press on the surface, but if they fire the staffer for following published procedure, expect a lawsuit. PP hardly wants that. I have read a lot about how PP markets, and one thing they never do is enter situations without a plan. Few organizations are as media savvy as they are. McDonalds comes close.

What the sting, in my opinion, accomplished, was provide PP an opportunity to assert their stand. This, I expect, will be a fundraising bonanza for them. They immediately fired the manager of a PP in NJ: "When asked if the girls can get abortions, she replies that if they are under 15, they should go to an abortion clinic whose "protocols are not as strict as ours," and supplies the man, who remains off-camera, with the name and address of the clinic." (Time: http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/03/what-did-the-planned-parenthood-sting-really-accomplish)

It also provided talking points for both the prolife and prochoice communities. Questions will be asked and answered: how much government funding does PP get? For which services? Should they? Where else does PP acquire funds? Who really gets the money? How much money enters leadership pocket via high salaries?

In 2009, according to their 990 (a nonprofit tax return), the president/CEO of the PP of Southern NJ made $103,229. (I could not find the one in NJ). In Michigan Ave, things are more lucrative: Top eight salaries added up to $1,369,682: $362,220, $313,895, $120,324, $119,915, $116,748, $115,330, $111,525, $109,725. Additionally, they paid a legal consultant $333,226 and an auditor $158,758. Source: guidestar.org

Other questions both sides will engage in: What age is acceptable for not involving parents in abortion, whether through surgery or medication? What is an abortion? What are state vs federal limitations? Who allows abortion through partial birth and under what conditions? How many are the results of rape? How many of incest? Are there non-religious arguments against abortion? For abortion? What are the medical and psychotically risks?