Palm Sunday

Today at the noon mass I read the first reading, the Voice in The Passion, and led the prayers. A busy day this Palm Sunday.

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Isaiah 50:4-7

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Back in 1985, I recall listening to a broadcast of Roger Waters playing live at Radio City Music Hall. Thirty years later, I once again spent my evening on 28 March listening and watching a simulcast of a concert.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is my favorite current band. I first saw Derek in 1999 playing with the Allman Brothers. During a break in that tour, I caught him at the Tin Angel. Later I saw his band open for Hot Tuna. Derek is the slide guitar player of the day.

Susan Tedeschi opened for ABB on some of the 1999 shows. Susan and Derek later married. Both had successful bands. But in 2009, they both suspended their individual bands and formed this band. They are absolutely hitting their stride these days.

They seem to have a Delaney & Bonnie vibe going on right now. There is so much right with what they do. Bound for Glory is a song that just soars. An encore is supposed to leave the audience satisfied. Well, that I’ve Got a Feeling > What Is and What Should Never Be > The Storm is as hot as any.

Enjoy, folks!

Confidence & Leadership

Toastmasters works!

I joined Toastmasters because I couldn’t speak to a roomful of people. It began with a disastrous sixth grade campaign for Student Council Secretary. It continued as a teacher who would have to introduce himself to a cafeteria full of parents. I was nervous.

Today it occurred to me I was going to need to introduce a speaker I had arranged to speak to the fourth graders at my school. I loathe these things. I had a minute and I thought about what to say. Was it the best introduction ever? No. But it didn’t suck either.

Toastmasters has provided me confidence to do this kind of thing. And that’s good.

Area 41 International Speech & Evaluation Contests

15-03-26 Contests

Contest season continues.

Unfortunately, I did not prepare as well for this evening as I would have liked. It’s been a busy week. Coupled with the fact that I do not like my speech, I just wasn’t as motivated as I should have been.

As for the International Speech contest, I looked at the area contest as a rehash of the club contest. Our area has four clubs. One club does not participate, one club did not hold a contest, and I won at both the other clubs. I felt confident going in, but unprepared. I had reason to be concerned. Tony upped his game. He came in prepared. He worked on his speech. He had me engaged. I thought he won the contest.

I have a theory about area contests. I have noted at other contests, and it definitely happened tonight, that the audience is stoic. There is no response. None. No feedback means I just kept going. My time was way too fast.

Jerry Shockey was the model speaker for the Evaluation contest. He had a pretty good speech. As I prepared, I saw a connection to his timeline and his theme of family/love to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I used that. I had a pretty good evaluation. I became a little nervous at the end. That happens occasionally. I did not hear Peter Murphy’s evaluation. Ken Chotiner had a solid evaluation.

In the end, the judges enjoyed both my speech (The Izzy Effect) and my evaluation. It feels good to win. But there’s now the problem I saw before the club contest; the speech is not good enough to go on. I need to write a new speech for the Division D contest. I need to get moving.

As for evaluations, I take a different approach than those who I have seen win at the higher levels. I do not have anything prepared. I am very much a hit-or-miss evaluator. If I am on my game, I deliver a solid evaluation. If I’m not, well, I know I won’t win. I do not have any flowery openings or closings. I actually concentrate on identifying what worked in the speech for me and what I think would help the speech/speaker going further. But being in both contests is now a hindrance as it keeps full focus on either of the contests.

Time to man up . . . and write a speech.

Poor Planning

Rt. 55 runs from Port Elizabeth past Deptford where it joins with Rt. 42. The southern end of this road has long been argued over. I suspect it will not be resolved during my lifetime. It is difficult to see how one could extend the highway through protected wetlands.

But what hasn’t changed is the path Rt.55 takes on the part that has been built. I attended boarding school in Delaware during the early 1980s. Rt. 55 ended at exit 39 (Rt. 40). That was 35 years ago.

At exit 27 is Millville and Vineland. The Cumberland Mall is left off the off-ramp southbound. It has been there even longer than Rt. 55. It was known when Rt. 55 was built where this was.

Millville is to the right. At the time Rt. 55 was constructed, there wasn’t much Millville’s way. A pizza hut, a vet’s office, a gas station, etc. Since then, Millville has decided to develop the area off of Rt. 55. This is the area of the Target shopping center, the Walmart plaza across the street, and the newer Fairfield Inn (paid for by tax dollars even though the racetrack does not recognize it).

Millville knew the location of the ramps from Rt. 55 when it began handing out taxpayer dollars to bribe businesses to come to town. But there have been many accidents at these shopping centers because of the traffic flow. Admittedly, much traffic has to cross lanes with each other at this intersection. With the volume of traffic, this becomes tricky.

Millville wants the state to build another ramp off Rt. 55 to connect directly to Bluebird Lane. Bluebird Lane is where Millville wants to continue building/expanding. It is where the Fairfield is. Why should the state correct Millville’s poor planning?

It looks like it is wondering the same thing.

Learning as I go . . .