Speech Transcripts

Our Mom’s Story - By Gene Conti - As Told by Carla Sanzone

posted Oct 31, 2011, 8:28 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Oct 31, 2011, 8:36 PM ]

Our Mom’s Story
 
- By Gene Conti
- As Told by Carla Sanzone (September 2011)
 
“Keep up the tempo”, says John as he strikes Olga on the head with the wiolin bow. The three young Fiocca children were having a practice session. John the violinist, Mom the pianist and Edmund the cellist. During the late 1920’s and 30’s, radio was al lthe rage and the Firestone Hour featured the young trio on its program lineup. When asked on live radio which was the head of the trio, a sibling argument broke out. By the time the Fiocca Trio got home that evening, their father Carlo proceeded to show the two boys who really was the head of that ensemble. Olga got off with just a mild reprimand since she was Daddy’s little girl.
 
Mom would often tell us that when her father got home from work, he would pick her up and loudly say – “La bella, La luna!!” However, her mother Fedelia spoke words to the contrary. “You don’t know what she did to me today.”
 
Born Olga Clotilda Fiocca on October 11th, 1921 in Akron, Ohio into a  strict Patriarchal household, she grew up in relative comfort and security. She attended all the proper Catholic schools – Sacred Heart Academy and Our Lady of the Elms. Never did she feel the sting of the Great Depression, as her father was gainfully employed as an upper level foreman with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Mom even recalled the time a local neighbor, out of work, knocked on their door beggin her Dad to find him a job with Firestone- which he did.
 
Mom who began to study organ in addition to piano. By the time she was about 12 years old, she was hired (at no pay initially- it was the Depression_-as the organist and choir director for her church, ST. Anthony’s. Imagine today a 12 year old commanding an 8 part full voice choir of 60-80 people and playing the organ at the same time! This was a position she held for over 16 years, until she moved from Akron to New York City with my Dad and me in tow as a 2 year old.
 
One episode Mom relates during her teen years while as organist was an unpleasant encounter between her Dad and her Pastor. Occasionally the pastor would drive Mom home after choir practice about 8 PM. This one evening he was also to pickup his housekeeper from the railway station. Train was late and so was Olga at arriving home- close to 10PM. The pastor escorts mom to her home and knocks on the door-no answer. He knocks again and proclaims in Italian – “it is I, Rather Marino.” Her Dad visibly upset and annoyed answers the door, looks at the priest and tells him in plain English- “I don’t give a damn who you are. Olga is to be home by 8.” Father Marino appointed her Dad as Grand Marshall of the Italian Day Parade and Festival that upcoming year.

Olga grew into a beautiful young woman. Her mom one day told her she had met Angelo, Carmelina’s brother, and how nice and handsome he was. The Contis, Paoluccis and Fioccas were all from the same small town in Italy called Carolvilli. Many of these families immigrated to the US. They kep in touch with one another and knew where each family was living. Carmelina visited Akron and met Tony Paolucci. My Dad attended their wedding where he met Mom’s parents. However, it wasn’t until a few years later at the Carolvilese Club dance, that my Dad and Mom first met. Under the watchful eye of his Dad Carlo sloe by- it was love at first sight for them both. Victor Paolucci (a rival) tried to tell my dad that he was going to marry Olga. It was not to be. My Dad proposed to Mom in front of ST. Anthony’s Church.
 
As the was drums of World War II heat over louder, Dad enlisted in the Navy. Mom’s dad Carlo told them that they could marry, but only after the war was over. Many letters later and on Sept. 2, 1946, they tied the knot at St. Anthony’s Church, obviously someone else at the organ.
 
Two years later, I was born and Mom’s Dad died. Angelo decides it’s time to pull up stakes and move his family to his hometown of NYC. That was a defining moment for Olga. Completely separated from the protection of her family and friends to move to a big city where she knows no one; a leap of faither in her God and her husband.
 
Olga’s mother Fedelia dies, and Mom almost miscarries with Camille. With no family to help, Mom takes a job at St. Mary Gate of Heaven in Ozone Park, NY. It is here that she builds another choir and her reputation begins to grow. A parishioner, after a Mass, makes the ardous climb up to the choir loft. He is flabbergasted to find that the organist and choir director is of all things – a WOMAN. In his incredulity, he praises her, by telling Olga that she plays like a Man. Men had historically held dominance in this musical field, and stilld o. A female was a rarity.
 
My sister Carla was third on the scene two years later. Mom considered her their Christmas present being born on December 19th. In short oder she earned the nickname of “Paliac” short for Pagliacci – the clown from the Opera of the same name.
 
One of Mom’s more infamous moments occurred, where else, but on the choir loft at church. Mrs. Haig our babysitter was unavailable and Mom had to take 3 year old Carla with her to church that day. This day was a bit different. A huge concelebrated mass consisting of several priests, monsignors and the pastor. The church was packed. Gate of Heaven was considered by many to be a cathedral because of its size and grandeur. Mom gave Carla some crayons and paper. That didn’t last long. Mom took some candy out of her purse and gave it to Carla. Gobble, Gobble, I want more or I’ll scream. Here’s Mom with a two dilemmas. Play the organ and satisfy a 3 year old at the same time. Eventually Mom ran out of candy. What to do? Here, play with Mommy’s purse.
 
At the end of Mass, the procession of Ecclesiastes and dignitaries are walking up the aisle to exit. They look up to the choir loft, as the beautiful strains of Mendelssohn reverberate from the organ pipes, only to see the clown face peering over the loft rail at them. Carla had plastered poweder, makeup, rouge and lipstick all over her face. Needless to say, the pastor later gave Mom a stiff rebuke to never bring any of her children to church. Carla was summarily given a spanking by both Mom and Dad. The name “Pagliac” was christned on Carla that day.
 
Mom had developed a good repoire with the religious of the Parish. It was commonplace for one of the priests or nuns to be over for dinner. Fr. Berico, a friendly old priest with a heavy French accent, really enjoyed coming frequently for dinner. Steak was his favorite and very rare was NOT to his liking. More like alive! Seared 30 seconds each side, still cold and bloody inside. That evening Mom must have been pre-occupied. The steak was burned, vegetables and potatoes undercooked and the Jell-O mold hadn’t hardened yet. The jovial old priest still ate it all. As they were  relaxing having coffee afterwards, he paternally stated, “It’s a good thing your mother taught you how to play the organ.”
 
The highlight of Mom’s career came, and I believe all will agree, was when she was selected by her peers to play for the new Pope John Paul II, when he came to New York to say Mass in 1979. Only two Masses were scheduled – one at Shea Stadium and the other at Yankee Stadium. Thre are literally hundreds of organists and choirs in the New York and Brooklyn Dioceses to choose from. Mom was accorded that distinct honor.
 
The day at Shea Stadium started out with a nasty rain storm, virtually no appropriate canopy to cover the main Altar. However, as the Pope entered the Stadium grounds proper, the rain immediately ceased and the clouds parted enough that sunlight  streamed down upon the altar. At the end of Mass and after his oral benediction to the people, Pope John Paul II exited. The clouds closed in again and the rain resumed.

Mornings in the Conti household were  a bear on school days. With the advent of stereo records and the equipment to play them, we were the high tech house on the block when my Uncle Ed sent us a very high end stereo system and speakers, the kind that looked like furniture. Mom was always first up. For the Conti clan no alrm clocks were needed. She would play some opera on that stereo cranked up to 10 on the volume – o so it sounded. The whole house would shake with those arias. There was no hiding under the covers from that ‘noise.” One just had to get up, get washed, eat and exit the house as fast as possible. To this day, I don’t think any of us like opera.
 
The neighbors however, really enjoyed those summer evenings when Mom would play her Grand Piano. Whether the music was popular, Broadway, or Classical, the neighbors reveled in it all and there would be frequent requests for encores. There was something to be said of no A/C in those halcyon days.  Windows and doors up and down our street were open. Screens kept the bugs out.
 
One of Mom’s quirks was her fear of animals. She like them, but from a distance. We had a dog. I should say a puppy, for one day. I think it was beagle. We all had been begging our parents for a dog. Dad was OK with the idea-Mom was another matter. In a weak moment, she must have given in, such a cute little puppy. That evening when Mom realized that the dog would physically be in the house, she freaked, even though it would be in the basement on a leash. She kept my Dad up all night fearing that this animal had come loose. Several times my poor Dad got up to assuage her fears by going downstairs to the basement to check on the puppy. He got no sleep. By the time we got home from school the next day the puppy was gone. Mom had convinced some neighbor to take the dog away. We were both angry and saddened. My Dad was more than miffed that he was left out on this.
 
The three of us siblings grew up, married nad moved away. Returning to New York, however, was always a treat, knowing that at the end of our long journey there would always be Mom’s homemade soup and Italian bread awaiting us and our tummies.
 
Mom’s work brought her to two more parishes – St. Margaret’s and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Besides her routine duties of weddings and funerals, Christmas and Easter choir preparations, she trained the graduating  classes in singing for their ceremonies also. Weekends were her busiest times. Mom pushed the envelope of her musical career further than most. Her multimedia Passion Story was a labor of love  and always well attended. Her calim to fame was she did it way before Mel Gibson.
 
As part of “The Greatest Generation” her love for God and Country was expressed in her productions by the same title after the 9/11 tragedy. Her pastor culminated the presentations with Todd Brewe’s cry on Flight 93 to “Let’s Roll.”
 
With my Dad’s passing in 1991, Mom still stayed very busy and was very independent. But time takes its toll on us all. Mom retired at 82 after working professionally for 70 years. And after several bad back to New York winters she made the decision to move. I believe the straw that broke the camel’s back was paying fifty bucks to get her sidewalks shoveled, only to have another snowstorm repeat itself that same night.
 
Mom’s move was to Virginia Beach – no snow. Here her new neighbors called her affectionately, “Mrs. Manhattan.” Mom was set in her ways-dress shoes and suits-always. The Capri pants and sandals Barbara and Camille purchased and encouraged her to wear were subsequently donated. Hopefully some lady out there has a stylish beachy look.
 
Currently Mom resides at First Colonial Inn. She and her sidekick Kay Folkes are usually found in the dining area together giving Murray (“formerly of East 8Th Street, Apt. 4C in Manhattan”) a hard time.

Caustic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Beauty Products - By Carla Sanzone

posted Aug 22, 2011, 10:22 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Aug 22, 2011, 10:35 PM ]

Caustic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Beauty Products

Speech at Tip Top Meeting, August 2011

I use beauty products daily.  I take it for granted that when I get in the shower, I am using the correct hair shampoo and hair conditioner, etc. I began to study the ingredients on these products and then discontinued them as they were drying to my body and hair. These products were promoted by my Dermatologist Physician Assistant and I threw them out after one and one half years. The following ingredients are in common cosmetics and beauty products and should be avoided.

They are:  Sodium lauryl sulfate, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, mineral oil, isoprophy alcohol, glycol, fragrances, and some others. These ingredients are drying to the skin which is the largest organ of the human body!  We keep using these products that contain these ingredients and we will have very dry skin, hair, scalps, nails and hair.  I suggest using products that have none of these ingredients. I investigated some website and came up with the following.

Goat milk soap bars for the skin - only contain goat milk soap and no caustic ingredients. Shampoos and conditioners that have natural, earth friendly or vegan ingredients- no Sodium Lauryl sulftate. Recommended is ABBA products one can purchase online or from Ulta stores.  Clothes detergent is Dreft liquid or Ivory Snow liquid only. These are recommended by pediatricians reason being is that a baby's skin is very soft and their clothes should be very soft as also the products you put on them like certain baby soaps, baby shampoos and baby clothing detergent only. Adults as they age should use products that are intended for babies because adults skin gets drier and drier as time goes on.
 
In conclusion, you the consumer and customer should always check out what products you are buying and check out the ingredients as they can dry your skin, face, hair, teeth, nails out. 
BEWARE CONSUMER. Don't always agree and use what your dermatologist or some other doctor may be telling you to use. You may question the merits of the product whether it be a food product, drug product or cosmetic product. The FDA - Food and Drug Administration, a federal government ageny probably has approved these products and their ingredients through testing, etc. I say to question any drug, food or health care product you purchase as it
may be HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!!!!  Some of the ingredients in these products also are in household cleaning products!! Drano for example has some of these chemicals in them. Drano is a caustic drain cleaning product for your sink drain!!  So in conclusion, read the ingredients and then investigate and study.
 
 
Written by
Carla Sanzone
V.P. of Education
Tip Top TOastmasters

What Toastmasters Means to Me? - by Helen Alvarado

posted Apr 10, 2011, 2:34 PM by Tip Top

What Toastmasters Means to Me?

Speech at Tip Top Open House, April 2011.

I was planning to do this speech next month for my Toastmasters’ membership anniversary.  I was a rookie Toastmaster in May last year!  Since today we have an open house, I’d like to share my point of view on Toastmasters with our friends and guests together.

The reason I joined Toastmasters was simple – I had a lot of communication issues.  As an immigrant, English is a big challenge for me.  Before I felt nervous when the phone rang, or when I went to team meetings at work, or even when I ordered food at a restaurant.  I was afraid of speaking English under any circumstances, not just public speaking.

But, the most direct reason to push me to join toastmasters was because I failed all the job interviews when I wanted to find a better job last year.  I am a software engineer and my technical skills are excellent, at least I was told so by my co-workers and managers.  Obviously my issue was English communication.   I knew it was time to do something, so I joined Tip Top in May last year.

If you want to be a better speaker, you have to speak!  So very quickly I started the projects on the basic manual, which is the Competent Communication manual.  A 5 to 7 minute speech is not long, but it normally takes me a few days to write it out, and then 15 to 20 times rehearsing to memorize in order to deliver it without notes.  I finished my 10 speeches in the CC manual within 9 months.  

Actually I saw benefits from Toastmaster training immediately.  I started to feel more freedom in my daily life.  Three months later, I got a phone call from a recruiter.  This time, I used what I learned from speech preps on my job interview preps – I wrote down more details on what I had mentioned on my resume, and rehearsed and memorized.  Before my interview problem was I didn’t have very much to say.  My answers to interview questions were too simple and passive.  This time, as a result of good preps, I passed the interviews at different levels and quickly got the offer.  My direct response was, “eh, okay, the Toastmaster thing works!”  Now, I am very happy with this job – more interesting, more friends and more pay! 

Like I said, if you want to be a better speaker, you have to speak!  I knew this rule a long time ago, by why did I try to avoid speaking English before I joined Toastmasters?  Well, I am a technical person, so it is okay to be quiet at work.  At home, before my husband handled anything related with people.  I didn’t have to speak or nothing forced me to speak.  That’s one reason.  Reason two, I didn’t want to be laughed at or even fired because of making mistakes in speaking.  I chose safety over the risk of opening my mouth.  Of course, that safety cost me a great deal – I felt my life was limited.

But once I am here, I have to speak.  You see, everybody has a role in the meeting.  I am doing a prepared speech right now.  Shortly you will see table topics and evaluations…everyone has to speak!  More important, here you don’t need to worry about making mistakes.  It is a great place to screw things up and try new things out.  It is a perfect practice field.  Here I have peer players, I have coaches, and I have simple and effective programs to follow.

When I joined Toastmasters, my goal was simple - to improve my spoken English.  But over the course, I “discovered” many things are going on at Toastmasters.  Like today’s open house, it takes lots of leadership and teamwork to make it happen.  Every Toastmasters event, actually is a good chance for member’s leadership development.

Among those events, I enjoy speech contests the most.  Imagine, if you have 5 to 7 minutes to speak to the world, what you are going to say?  What most contestants do is to inspire the audience.  I always feel motivated after attending a speech contest – I ended up having competed at an Area level contest this spring and placed 2nd, which I never dreamed before. 

So with Toastmasters, I am also discovering myself.  Surrounded by so many excellent people with great leadership, I realized that I tried so hard to change my careers from business administration to technical, not only because I am more interested in technical stuff, but also because I had been trying to avoid leadership and management.  But not anymore, I have a new goal now – I want to be a leader, and I know Toastmasters will help me get there!

In conclusion, Toastmasters means a lot to me.  It means a perfect practice field for public speaking and leadership development.  It means confidence building – not only the confidence in public speaking, but confidence in many aspects of my life.  It means the discovery of my own my potential.  All in all, it means a better me and a happier life. 

All Roads Lead to Capitalism - by Rick Newton

posted Apr 7, 2011, 8:11 AM by Tip Top   [ updated Apr 7, 2011, 8:15 AM ]

All Roads Lead to Capitalism


 There is a proverb, “All Roads Lead To Rome”, which you can define this proverb to mean, “All High Culture Leads To Rome”, or, “What Matters Lead To Rome”. Now it’s a well known fact that Romans were excellent road builders, also, Romans had indoor plumbing, indoor plumbing. Now it’s beyond my understanding how people went from indoor plumbing to no plumbing and this zero plumbing went on for nearly 2000 years. I have seen no plumbing, and all I can say is thank you to the person that brought back indoor plumbing. 

PAUSE - PACE

Now I want to share another proverb, “All Roads Lead to Capitalism”. Which you can define this proverb to mean, “Capitalism has created the highest standard of living for a large portion of today’s population. First, I know the word capitalism has been stigmatized, for some; capitalism brings up thoughts of GREED OR THE END IS JUSTIFIED BY THE MEANS. Therefore, when I say the capitalism, picture yourself winning the lotto. And yes you are right; in a capitalist economy you will find “THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY”.

HOLD UP GOODBAR CANDY BAR

Folks, this candy bar manufactured by Hershey’s is “Capitalism”. And by historians account this capitalism concept started in a small area of Europe 400 years ago called the Netherlands or we know it today as Holland. It started with a company named the East Dutch India company.

Now you may be thinking, Rick nice history lesson, But what does this have to do with me? I’m not in business, I’m not a merchant. Capitalism has everything to do with you, me and everyone else. Here is a secret that should not be a secret, everyone is a merchant. Let me back up 99.9% of us are merchants. There are no lone wolves in a capitalistic society. The reality is our money is connected. When you buy this candy bar you cause money to move. Which means when you buy this candy bar you have hired 13,000 Hershey’s employees. And it does not stop with the 13,000 employees; you’ve also hired employees of other companies that do business with Hershey’s. You can say this hiring of so many employees is viral.

Yes - we - all - are - merchants - because - we - move - money.  Now you may argue I’m a Librarian, I do not sell products, I do not touch money. I have a debit card. And I have not touch money in years. Okay, fair argument, the reason why the Librarian is a merchant because the Librarian is selling his or her time for income. Therefore, you have caused money to move.  

Here are some more examples of why everyone is a merchant: Now the question that most people are asking themselves nowadays is how can I get more money or income to move in my direction? Here are some examples, you may get more money/income to move in our direction by getting a pay raise, or investing in the right 401k, or by getting a better paying employment, this is exactly how a merchant thinks.

Now here are just some noted observations by historians and economists of how a Capitalist economy has shaped our world today:

This one you will like, in a capitalist economy people are nicer. Imagine 13,000 different personalities at Hershey’s. All those different people, you know that means different generations, different cultures, different religions, different whatever. And they all know that they must be nice to each other or at least fake being nice, its being nice or a pink slip.

            Dissolving of Tribal Culture: This is one is involved, but, the more advanced a commercial economy, leads to less “Tribal Culture”.  Other words there will be less “Birds of the Same Feather Flocking Together”. It is happening right now before us. Example Europe. Talk about Eastern Europe vs. Western Europe.

            Less Deference and Paternalism: People display this all the time.  Definition knowing ones place vs. one that protects the less fortunate. These two terms were extremely evident in the past with the Nobles and peasants.  Example of Deference: Twitter, why not have celebrities to follow your twits. It’s a psychological ploy and Paternalism, providing for someone that has less than you, I will not call any names.  This is another psychological ploy.

In conclusion, and using a 5000 piece puzzle as an analogy to capitalism and this puzzle has answers to help you understand our environment in this case capitalistic environment. What I have discussed is only a small corner maybe 100 pieces of this 5000 piece puzzle. There is so much to learn about our capitalistic system and once you do discover how the system works you will agree that

“All Roads Lead to Capitalism”.

Madam Toastmaster

Press On - by Helen Alvarado

posted Apr 3, 2011, 7:39 AM by Tip Top

Placed 2nd at Area 14 Spring Contest, 2011

Press On!

This is unbelievable.  Not even in my wildest dream could I have imagined that I would be standing up here, competing in the Area Speech Contest. And speaking in English!
I am going to tell you about the journey that has brought me here. Then, you will understand why this event is such an incredible experience for me.
I grew up in a small town in China. When I started middle school in the 1980’s, China had already opened the door to western investors. English was taught in most middle and high schools. But, my home town school was too small and poor that we did not have an English teacher.

Three years later, when I started high school, we finally got an English teacher. But by then our English level was far behind other Chinese students. At the same time, we had to face a new obstacle; the whole country’s education system was in reform and most high schools changed from 2-year-high-schools to 3-year-high-schools. Again unfortunately, our school was too poor to change.  Which means, for a chance to get into college, we had to finish 3-year-high-school textbooks in 2 years and compete with 3-year-high-school students in the National College Entrance Examination!  But back then, college acceptance rate in China was only 5 percent out of millions of applicants.

The competition was fierce. I recall my two years in high school.  Every day was about studying.  From the time I got up at 6 in the morning to 11 at night, I spent most of my time in class room. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were always eaten quickly, in about ten minutes each.  Even now I still have hard time to slow down when I eat.

But the hard work did pay off. I was admitted to college. When I got there, I learned that among the 40 college classmates, I was the only student from a 2-year-high-school, which made me the youngest one in the class. I was 17. I also learned that among them my National English Exam score was number one, from the bottom.

Being the lowest scorer of all my classmates, I felt complete doubt about my ability in the subject of English. Each time I attended English class, I felt nervous, frustrated and embarrassed.  Because sometimes I couldn’t even figure out which line or which page the instructor was referring to. So, I always put my head down as low as possible to avoid the instructor calling my name.

However, all the frustration and embarrassment didn’t stop me from learning English. It made me more eager to learn and to overcome it. And that eagerness never waned since then.  When I graduated from college, my English was at the top ten in the class.  Years later, when I was admitted to the top-ranked Tsinghua University for my Master’s degree, I brought my English to a new level; years later, when I passed the TOEFL and GRE and was admitted by SMU, I came here – the land of the free and I brought my English to another new level; years later, I joined Toastmasters.  I know it will help bring my English to a new level again. This is where I am now, which I never dreamed could be possible.

Where am I really?  I can’t follow a movie if I don’t turn on subtitles. I feel a five year old kid speaks much better English than me. I can’t enjoy a piece of beautiful literature because there are too many new words for me. I know where I am, I know how much is still in front of me, and I know I can’t embrace all that’s here in this country until English has become like my native tongue.

Fellow Toastmasters, we all face challenges. Maybe you feel you are so tired, maybe you feel it is just too hard for you, or maybe you feel that all your effort is a waste of time. However whatever you feel, please don’t stop pursuing your goal. Let’s press on, because where you start is not important, but where you finish really matters; let’s press on, because we can do anything we want to do if we hold on to it long enough; let’s press on, because it is not luck, not talent, and not even education, but persistence, that brings us to success!  Press on!

Porsche It - by Rick Newton

posted Jan 31, 2011, 2:39 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Feb 1, 2011, 4:09 PM ]

Porsche It 
Aug. 15, 2010 Speech

Last week I gave a speech on how a Porsche in every garage will make things right for everyone.  In hindsight, that’s a bad idea.  

This past Friday evening I went to the Porsche dealership, and I sat in a 911 Turbo Porsche, it was black with dark gray leather interior.  I sat there for 5 minutes, now I understand what it means to reset your button, I was reset. And it felt great.
And for the next few remaining hours of Friday evening I had Porsche on the brain. I woke up Saturday, I had Porsche on the brain, and Sunday, Porsche on the brain. All it took was 5 minutes to reset my button.

Bob, that’s the name of the Porsche salesperson that was very helpful, caution when using the word salesperson, does not say salesperson when you’re at the Porsche dealership. Bob is a Porsche consultant, because according to Bob, a Porsche buyer already knows what he or she wants before they arrive at the Porsche dealership. And something else I learned about Porsche, Porsche has a driving school for new Porsche owners, this school is located in Alabama. Bob highly recommends that new Porsche owners enroll in this driving school.

Oh by the way, here’s another tid bit about Porsche buyers, the median age for Porsche buyers, according to Bob, is 55+ in age, that’s my age group.  And Bob has an 85 years young guy recently placed a custom 911 Turbo order for himself and a chick version Porsche for his wife. The chick version looks something like a small Lexus minivan. All I can say for this 85 years young guy, he is proving that there is a future at 85.

And after my stopover at the Porsche dealership, I got to thinking in a whole different direction than my original idea. And that direction is this. If a large corporation wants to increase productivity, increase moral, improve its products and services, all is needed is a Porsche in the break room.  Employees will get the opportunity during their breaks to sit down in Porsche latest model. And of course we will have a new English expression for this; employees will call this my Porsche break, the term, “coffee break” will be obsolete. And the cost, very-very low, it will cost about same as a television commercial. And at end of the year, make it interesting; give that Porsche to the employee of the year. I bet this company will have the most dedicated, most productive employees ever, and the best products and services.

The medical profession can benefit from this as well. If a doctor has a patient with the blues and feeling down, all is needed is 5 minutes in a Porsche and for that extra strength therapy, just start the engine. And if that treatment is not sufficient, take the patient to the race track for the ride of his or her life at 150 MPH. Now Prozac has some real competition with no side effects.

And what about our educational system, can we use a Porsche to get students motivated? Sure we can. We can have the brightest students. But we can’t have 18-25 year olds in a Porsche. That would be very disastrous Nothing against 18-25 year olds, but I remember when I was 25. Youth and speed is a bad mixture. What I would suggest is this, since young people are so involved with their cell phones, we can have Porsche applications, give it to them for free, I don’t know what this application will do. Just say it’s an application that is greater and better than twitter and face book combined. That will work, I hope.

Now here’s the big question, how do we get the masses of people the same opportunity to sit in a Porsche? Can you imagine if the population of Fort Worth converging on our one and only Porsche dealership in Fort Worth.

First, have Porsche in malls. We see other cars in malls and its sure way of getting more shoppers in the mall. Especially guys like me. That’s practical and doable.
Next, we need just one more city ordinance, just one.  Every park will require a Porsche in it for public access.  I know what you are thinking; it will be stolen, maybe, maybe not.
Put a sign up, not just any sign with nice wimpy words. I like signs that get the point across with a clear understanding. We all have seen signs with the wording, “No parking” with a tow truck picture. Now that’s a wimpy sign.

This is the opposite of a wimpy sign, with the wording, “I Dare You to Park here”, and I double dare you, with a picture of two big dogs. Now that person will pull out their cell phone take a picture and picture text this sign to friends. And park at the wimpy sign. I don’t know if this sign would be legal, but I am betting it will be effective.

Now here’s the park sign that I would put in front of a Porsche.  This sign might make it on Y-Tube. And after reading this sign I believe a person might think twice or more before stealing the Porsche from the city park. 

Combining 2 grade simplicity with Clint Eastwood.
The sign will read “This Porsche is satellite monitored”, stealing this Porsche = Jail forever. Forever. Do you feel lucky, Go ahead and make my day”.  That’s from Clint Eastwood movie, “Dirty Harry”.

Fix Our Social and Political System - by Rick Newton

posted Jan 31, 2011, 2:34 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Jan 31, 2011, 6:07 PM ]

Fix Our Social and Political System 

July 25, 2010 Speech


I have a car I want to give you it’s a Porsche 911 Turbo S. worth around 160K.  It has one speed, 100 mph and no brakes. DO YOU WANT IT?

Oh, one more thing, you must drive it at night. 

Folks, that’s our social and political system today. We all are in this Porsche 911 Turbo S which is the USA and we are going 100 mph with no brakes and driving at night. What’s saving us now is we are hitting haystacks; Haystacks are acting as our brakes.

We need to put some real brakes on this car!

We know what is in our news, we have red states and blue states, jobs migrating out the country, we have this Afgan War, which is the longest war in Americas history, and debt that is out of sight. 

Something has to be done.

I propose the following brakes to fix our social and political system:

Every law abiding, tax paying adult with a good driving record will get a new PORSCH 911 Turbo S yes, it will have brakes a go at the speed limit.  Why not, Wall Street gets a Porsche with our bail out tax dollars. It is only fair that we get a Porsche as well. And I am not going to be greedy, how about a Porsche every 2 years, Wall Street gets one every year.

And if you are

Non-citizens will get a new Boxster S Porsche, Worth 58K. Again, it’s only fair, and, our Citizenship has to count for something. Once they get their US citizenship they will have the opportunity move up to 911 Turbo S

    And all of these Porsche must be made in the USA. I can see it now, near zero unemployment. 

    Next: Every member of congress must pair up with an opposite congress person. Democrat-Republican and the two congress persons will drive cross country in a Porsche from New York to Los Angeles. Their job fixes any present or ongoing social or political mess. And upon their arrival in LA, they must have a workable solution for any present or ongoing mess.  And if our congress persons are not able or not willing to make things right, they must enlist in the military and have a tour in the Afgan War.  I don’t know why when the military goes off to war it is called a tour. I am from a military family and I recall my father saying, I did a tour in Vietnam. I need to ask him why it called a tour. And when they get back they will get a used Porsche that the non-citizens turned in.

Next, since we have ongoing vacancies in congress. To be fair, we will have a jury select system where each citizen will have the same opportunity to serve in congress and fix any present or ongoing mess.  That is, if you lean republican that person will pair up with a person that lean democrat. And that pair will drive from NY to LA in a Turbo Porsche.  If problem not solved, off you go to Afgan War. And when you come back you lose your Turbo S and get a used Boxster Porsche.

The essence of this is this: Most of us will move when there is a carrot presented before us but we move faster if there is a carrot and stick in play. I my proposal for every citizen and non-citizen get a carrot and stick. For the non-citizen, opportunity to move up to a brand new 911 Turbo S. and the carrot for citizens, fix any present or ongoing mess. Or off to war you go and when you get back there will be a used Boxter Porsche waiting for you.
All it takes is a little imagination and cooperation to get things done properly.
 
That’s plan A.  And before I go to Plan B.

Here is Plan B.

Plan B is from writer named Tim Siedell. And he has a great idea on how to fix things. And his plan is simple.  Here is a Simple Plan to Fix American Political System with Common Sense and a little dinosaur DNA.

Tim Siedell plan is this:

    Imagine if our founding fathers were alive today. First, they would be jazzed up being alive. Next, Mr. Siedell predicts that the founding fathers would be blown away about Dippin Dots. In fact, their whole afternoon conversation would be on Dippin Dots. And lastly, they would be surprised that our political system is basically the same, 400 years later and the system still standing. But Mr. Siedell bets that our fathers would be more concerned about American Idol and Super Bowl.

The point that Mr. Siedell wants to make is this, we need to stop trying to figure out what we think our founding fathers want us to do and do what our founding fathers did. And that is to keep our freedom that is in the constitution and improve on the boring parts. Use common since for today’s problems.  Use today’s technologies and scientific breakthroughs for today’s problems. And to use vision, the same way vision was used to invent Dippin Dots.
He propose a new political party named, AMERICANVISIONARYCAN, Americanvisionarycan is part democrat, part republican, part Walt Disney, and part Steve Jobs holding an iphone.
Mr. Siedell has 4 proposed parts:

    First, have perpetual line of cloned George Washingtons. Since both democrats and republicans loves George Washington. If we put our mind to it, we have the technology to clone him. Send him to the finest schools and expose him to only the good Eddie Murphy movies. Each clone Washington will serve two terms and afterwards go sits on a major corp. board. I would also add upon completion of two year term they would get a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Second, Abolish the VP and turn it into fully symbolic, awe inspiring office. Since we now have an endless supply of George Washington. There is no need for VP to ascend to President in case of an emergency. We can try something new.

Like T-Rex. It is possible? Let us look at it with possibilities. Worldwide respect, healthy fear, if T-Rex is headed to your country, its best everyone is in full respect mode. Otherwise we all know what dinosaurs do. Eat you first and never ask questions.

Third, I really like this one. This is imagination at its purest.  Every American gets a new i-phone and service plan with any carrier. And this is the good part; we get to vote on major legislation in congress. We can vote for war or whatever. And Siedell wants every non-citizen to get a free i-phone as well, but they will have to use AT&T so that some of their votes will not make it through.

Mr. Siedell Forth proposal, Congress gets better pay at a price. Pay each member of Congress 1 million dollars per year. There. This will give people that were not born a Bush or Kennedy the opportunity to serve, and maybe some new ideas with them. This is ingenious and important part from Mr. Siedell, EACH MEMBER OF CONGRESS MUST WEAR A WEB CAM 24/7 FOREVER. WOW. EVERY MOVE IS RECORDED FOR THE VOTING PUBLIC. YOU BET THAT CONGRESS PERSON WILL WALK A STRAIGHT LINE. THIS WEB CAM WILL ELIMINATE CORRUPTION OVERNIGHT. 24/7 web cam will be mindboggling.

What Mr. Siedell is saying is this, we need to use technology to improve our lives, just because our founding fathers barely know how to work their AM radios, do not mean that we should limit our thinking today. Technology can bring this country together, eliminate corruption and let the American voices be heard on a new higher level.

Little Black Book - by Rick Newton

posted Jan 31, 2011, 2:26 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Jan 31, 2011, 6:15 PM ]

Little Black Book

It is amazing how the words that I have heard many years ago have become a permanent part of my memory. Once you hear the words SPOKEN, there’s a small voice that whispers to me.

Always Always remember what you just heard

That is exactly my case; it was at least fifteen years ago, when Judith, a school administrator said to Diane, and me. “It’s all about connections”.

And I do not know why, those four words, “It’s all about connections”, got planted in my memory bank forever.

When I think about it, it has always been about connections. That is how people operate.  People do not want to be connected to strangers.

People prefer to connect with family, friends, and people they know and trust. The UNIVERSAL LAW IS THIS, SUCCESS IS BUILT ON TRUST AND ALWAYS TRUST COMES BEFORE SUCCESS.

When I was researching for a different subject to speak on, I ran across this author named Jeffrey Gitomer and his numerous books. This particular book, “Little Black Book of Connections” caught my attention, because I heard similar words before. And since this book was in the Business section, its subject is about financial success.

But first, let me tell you what so amazing about this book with less than 200 pages.

There is enough material to give, at least, 50 different speeches from this one book.

All from one book.  [First book mark]

But I will summarize only chapter 5

In chapter 5, Mr. Gitomer asks one simple question. And that question is this.

Who Knows You?             Who Knows Me?

Does Opra Winfrey know Rick Newton? No

Does Tom Hanks know Rick Newton? No

Opra Winfrey doesn’t make sales calls. NO WAY. People call her.

How about Tom Hanks, does he make sales calls? Of course not. People call him.

It’s a fact (pause) the better known you become; the more people will want to connect with you. If we are unknowns, we have to reach out to make connections.

And the reason why I am an unknown person to Opra Winfrey, Tom Hanks or Bill Gates is because I am not a person of value to them. What value do I have to offer to them? Zilch, Nada, None.

If, (pause) I was well known and by being a guest on Opra, which will increase her ratings, NOW I will become a person of value to Opra Winfrey.

And Vice-Versa, Opra becomes a person of value to me.

Or

If I wrote a screenplay that is tailor made for Tom Hanks, and this screenplay has the potential for him winning numerous awards, NOW I will become a person of value to Tom Hanks.

And Vice-Versa, Tom becomes a person of value to me.

Folks, it’s a two way street.

Mr. Gitomer gives us 3 examples on how to become a person of value.

1st Writing. Writing helps us to crystallize our ideas and Mr. Gitomer suggests personal writing on your CPU, blogging, and newsletter or e-newsletters.

And let me ask you this,  have you been to the bookstores lately, mega bookstores, writers are everywhere writing about everything and many times about nothing. And people are buying these books.

When gold was discovered in California, it started the gold rush of Northern California. There was a saying back then, “THERE IS GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS”

Today’s gold is, THERE IS GOLD IN THEM THAR KEYBOARDS AND WORD PROCESSORS.

2nd Mr. Gitomer suggests, and you will really appreciate this suggestion. Mr. Gitomer suggests, public speaking. When we speak before a group, we are a presumed leader. You may not know the group, but when you’re done, the whole group will know you.

In summary, we all have heard how we are separated by 6 degrees. You know a person, that person knows a person and so forth….

I know that each one of us is connected to Opra Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Bill Gates by only 3-5 degrees.  And when I think about this, this is powerful.

And all we have to do to be in the circle of knowns is to be a person of value by writing and speaking.

I say go for it.


Rick Newton

Speech

Tip Top Toastmaster 9595

Political Correctness - by Helen Alvarado

posted Jan 31, 2011, 2:06 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Feb 1, 2011, 8:42 AM ]

What is Political Correctness?

A few months ago, Political Correctness, or PC, was still a new social and cultural term for me.  One time I was searching for humorous stories on Amazon.com, a book called “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times” showed up on the results list.  It was written by James Garner in 1994 when PC was a big controversial topic.  That is how I started learning about PC. 

At first I thought PC was kind of interesting.  Because it is about language; about the words you use.  As an immigrant, I should pay attention to what I say.  When I mentioned PC to my husband, he complained, "I tried so hard for so many years to become an engineer, but I have to call the person picking up trash a sanitation engineer?"  I responded, "Well, you don't lose anything by calling him an engineer and he probably feels good about it, so why not?" 

Then something happened to a friend of my husband.  My husband’s friend applied for a new position, but he lost to the woman competitor applying for the same position.  It was not because of his experience and ability, but because the company has a positive discrimination policy.  From there learned positive discrimination and know that positive discrimination and affirmative actions are only two forms of PC.  I started getting serious about PC.  Let’s think about some questions.

Do women in their early years have equal education opportunities?  YES!  Are women disadvantaged than men in merit and ability?  No!  Then why do we need positive discrimination?  This is double standards.  This is demanding equal results, but not equal rights!   This reminds me before in China, the government took away the properties from the rich, or so called bourgeoisie.  Similarly, here they take away quotas for admissions from white students to certain minority groups.  They take away promotion opportunities in a company from white males to women.  They take away contracts from white owned companies to a company owned by minorities.

Here is another example.  Don’t make me wrong.  I like Toastmasters.  For that, I have to be honest to our Toastmasters.  It is the worst cover design I have ever seen.  Randomly put 4 portraits together.  It doesn't reflect public speaking; nor teamwork and leadership.  But obviously it is politically correct because it is showing diversity.  However, can this cover please everybody?  No, at least it doesn’t include a native American.  Does this reduce discrimination?  No, I don’t think so.  This reminds me of Chairman Mao's era in China, in your paintings,  you'd better include a Chair Mao's portrait to show respect, otherwise you would be in trouble.

The language policing, the affirmative actions, the photos showing diversity...all these different styles of PC  seemed be to from the best intentions - to eliminate discrimination.  Is discrimination still a big issue today in the states?  Back then, this school was for whites and that was for Hispanics; this restroom is for whites and that one was for blacks.  That was real discrimination and that was shameful and we should never forget.  Now days, the laws and regulations are not discriminatory any more.  Now days the discrimination is only viewpoint based.  However, people are emotional, people have preferences, and people are biased.  I don’t think we can ever get rid of viewpoint based discriminations.  If there is real discrimination, I want to say that we still discriminate animals.  You can see many signs saying no pets or no dogs even in parks or recreation areas.

In summary, those politically correct policies and laws not only would fail to eliminate discrimination, but also take away our fundamental rights - the right to be treated equal, the right to  speak freely and express ourselves.  Remember I mentioned China?  Actually, the similarities are not accidental.  Many academics, like William Lind, concluded that PC in its nature is a heritage of communism.  It is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others.  It is the disease of ideology. 

Unfortunately, what I see is this disease is spreading.  In the end, I have two controversial questions for you:

1. hate crime: If an act is violent, it is illegal and it deserves punishment.  Do you think it is right to add additional punishment for a person just because he/she holds beliefs the government, or the majority of people do not believe?

2.minimum wage:  The intention is to protect the low-income workers, but it could destroy entry-level jobs.   Does it do more good or more harm?

 

Helen Alvarado

Tip Top Toastmasters

Oct. 2010

Home Again - by Helen Alvarado

posted Jan 31, 2011, 1:53 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Feb 1, 2011, 8:43 AM ]

Home Again

Let me start with two questions.
Who lives in Fort Worth?  (Great, you are going to like my speech!)
Who ever saw a Cattle Drive in the Stockyards? (I did.)
 
Cattle, railroads, oil, these are my first mental images like most people conjure of Fort Worth.  One time my husband and I had friends visiting. People told us the Stockyards was an interesting place, so we took them there.  Our friends were happy, but I didn't feel anything special.  This western heritage is still a reality in my hometown in China.  Cows, horses, steam locomotives... nothing is new for me.
 
3 years ago, before I graduated from SMU, I had an on-campus job interview. 
"Where do you live?"  A recruiter from Plano asked me.
"In Fort Worth", I answered.
"Nothing is there", He said.
I didn't say anything, but I absolutely agreed.

That was my first impression of Fort Worth.
 
We all have the desire to see the world.  But each year my husband and I go to China to visit my parents.  We simply don't have the time to visit other cities.  From last winter, we decided to get out of the house and explore the city of Fort Worth.  Sure enough it's not necessary to go far and wide; you can find really exciting and inspiring things within the city you live.  Since then, my view of Fort Worth was totally reshaped, especially by its high culture and people.
 
I was blown away the first time I went to the Bass Performance Hall.  I really like the huge limestone angels on the front of the buiding.  They are absolutely gorgeous.    Inside the acoustics are also wonderful.  Later I learned it is named as one of the top 10 opera houses in the world.

Who likes gardening?  Neither do I. It is OK.  In Fort Worth you still can enjoy the beauty of a garden without the labor of gardening.  The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a 109-acre beautiful green space. One acre is about 16 tennis courts' size.  You can imagine how big 109 acre is.  It has 23 specialty gardens and is the home to over 2500 species.
 
The Kimbell Art Museum has made Fort Worth a different city.  I can't believe I can find works in their permanent collections by Michelangelo, Picasso, Monet and many other masters.  The museum itself is a masterpiece.  Some critics call it "the most perfect small museum in the world".  Well, soon they will be disappointed.  The Kimbell is breaking ground now on a $125 million addition designed by world-renowned, Italian architect Renzo Piano. 
 
As you all know, there are many more attractions in Fort Worth.  But, I have a few numbers maybe you don't know yet.
Fort Worth's tap water quality is the top No. 3 in 100 big city tap water ratings.
Fort Worth is one of America's 13 most livable communities evaluated by Partners for Livable Communities.
Fort Worth has a warm and cozy small town atmosphere, but it is not small at all.  By population, it is the 17th largest city in this nation.

Are those enough?  No. People are the soul of a city.  My experience tells me that if you don't like the people in a city, no matter how nice its facilities are, you never feel at home. 
 
Fort Worth people are notablely friendly.  I truly feel it in my Tip Top Toastmasters club.  Before, I went to school in Dallas, now I work in North Richland Hills.  To join Tip Top is my first time to work so close with so many Fort Worth People. I just feel so comfortable and enjoyable when we are together.
 
I had been lost since I left my home town Chifeng in China 15 years ago.  I have been lived in Beijing and Shenzhen for 5 and 7 years.  They both are Chinese big cities.  But for some reason, maybe because I was alone, I never felt I belonged to there.
 
I have been living in Fort Worth with my husband for 5 years now.  By going out into the city of Fort Worth, I'm really going in!  Fort Worth, along with its people, gives me a feeling, a kind of hometown feeling.  And I believe that feeling will stay with me wherever I go for the rest of my life.  I am home again!  Later on, if I hear someone says "fort worth has nothing" again, you know how strongly I will defend my Fort Worth.

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