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Growing up, Poetry and the threat, the challenge or the even the suggestion to read, evaluate, contemplate was always a form of cerebral challenge, apparent unearned punishment and/or personal affront….Somehow the transition from a dictated structure poem to free-flow rhetorical run-on hip hop style has still not helped. As many of us, I want to like poetry…but still it must serve my need for paleopoetic structure, rhyme and melody…with a cadence that supports an underlining message made by witty contrasts, humorous hypocrisy, or possibly a hint of passive/aggressive scolding. I found such a resource in the poetry of our own emeritus poet, Rose Anne Edmondson.

Sadly Rose Anne passed away in November. She was a vital spark to the uniqueness of our club, we were very fortunate to have her lead us in our rhetorical quests…as she was patient in that stern school marm way but always offering helpful advise with warm encouragement to all. All feared her table topics that posed quotes unlearned by titled professors..yet she always cherished our flailing attempts and professed some compliment for even the weakest endeavor. Her biggest frustration was our casual attention to the long established rituals to use the Word of the Day but was always appeased when she was tasked as Grammarian….where those of us who fantasized about Toastmaster awards often had our egos humbled…all as almost a family.

We will miss you Grand Lady.

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In the spirit of transparency please review the below. This is an attempt to recap what really happens at one of our meetings. We do not yet have a secret hand shake or prescribe to ritualistic oddities in some basement…but who knows, without “new” blood we could very well disintegrate our tribalism into a morph-ism of special tatoos and ritualistic drinking (my favorite transitional digression)

THOSE DAM TOASTMASTER, Issue 1- 2020  (Note:  Public Service Announcement.  Someone mentioned the other day that when entering the date in the year 2020 that should never use just 20 because someone can fill in numbers after that for nefarious purposes.  This occurred in 1919, 1818, 1717 as well.)

I just recalled that my New Year’s resolution was to address my penance for Procrastination..coupled though with increased stress induced short term memory challenges…the yield appears to be unchanged…whenever.  Of course this very document could be considered the essence of distraction from doing more pressing things like my taxes, selling and leaving the state, looking up words in the dictionary from the expansive vocabulary of our President (sorry, it’s like having Tourettes driven Coprolalia)

For those unfamiliar with what exactly this diatribe is about- – This is my infamous meeting recap report that takes our ritualistic, systematic and frankly boring agenda and dissects the underbelly of our meetings to expose and comment on all those special moments in a Fox-News style of journalism so that in the end even the Grammarian looks cool…even when the Grammarian is Rodney….you know Rodney from I.T…who works in the Butte County Mira Loma building’s basement…when it doesn’t have a basement.  So I have a few objectives here:  To make the meetings seem more exciting to entice a growth in membership, to let those missing the meetings feel left out and wholly marginal in their empty lives, and make those who do go to the meetings Not fear speaking in public but rather fear my summary more unless of course there was some form of enumeration plan that helps me send Floyd (my dog) to charm school…unmarked, small bills please.  But really, instead of worrying about how you speak, what your evaluator might say…I sit there, staring with my beady eyes – emotionless, heartless, with cold blood in my veins with the sole object of trying to translate whatever dribble you are trying to espouse into something that makes me look witty, human, and smart…rightly a devious marketing plan…at your expense.  Just so you know, I do this within the confines of Evanka’s anti-bullying campaign confines.

Today, Tom started off our meeting…I found him running in the halls so excited that we got our room back!  MORE Power Points!…bringing April’s New Year’s resolution back up out of our subconsciousness…when will that event take place?…imagining individuals with 8 collective BS degrees scurrying around to attend to her stinking Apple computer…of course she will have forgotten her power cord in the end being the perfectionist that she is…(thus OMG…next time I guess?) 

Back to Tom who really is honing into the MC duties…I think he has plans to be the KEYNOTE speaker to some California Agricultural Commissioners “Defeat Plastic Straws use” convention in Las Vegas or equal in the near future while I noticed just yesterday that I bought a bunch of celery BY THE POUND while it was being wetted down! To you public servants…Taxpayers are WATCHING!

Our steady President was introduced next and I caught the admiration for Tom in Cole’s face as he took command of the dais.  He of course sees his replacement since he has seemingly found the exact Bylaw that prevents him from being President for the third time in a row…I am looking for the exception clause Tom…and Tom! Better not miss one meeting! And you do realize if I keep repeating this every single day…you will be President some day no matter if you are qualified, morally fit to do so, intellectually robust enough to address the tasks, or even physically mentally or physically to do so…there is empirical data out there to support this conclusion.

Business included the dates and times for the AREA and Division C contests coming up this year.  Somehow a collusion of Toastmasters and Rotary Clubs is in the mix….I actually would prefer the Elks Club (Jan) to take advantage of their RV Spaces…not sure what Rotary would offer except discounts on fireworks?  That should be popular in Paradise!  A RoseAnne memorial is planned now for the 31st at Cole’s home. Originally it was to be this Friday but apparently someone he doesn’t want in his home agreed to come so he is desperately changing the date until they give up…you know who you are.  Be sure you bring your RoseAnne type game…Dan even wrote a poem…as an example.

Our inspiration came from Orr who gave us two lines, both by Martin Luther King Jr:  “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” and “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”  The later expression I am sure PGE will abuse this next summer as we sit in the dark.

As Tom arm twisted the unsuspecting into various rolls, Rodney slithered up and posted the Word of the Day: vi·cis·si·tude….count them…4 syllables!  I am still reading the definition…while I simultaneously try to develop a fine algorithm…$5 per syllable to the grammarian – $1 for each use by club members… the only reason I bring it up is that Tom was aghast at $100 per year dues which equates to around $2 per meeting but then Tom we have PATHWAYS!  To subsidize our club I tonight, this minute…offer all the firewood you or anyone else as much firewood you would ever dream of, you cut and haul and don’t screw up my Fed Ag Conservation income!

Because I am a little rusty and out of sorts, my review of table topics will be brief.  Jan correctly posed the question first and laid the wood on whoever was glancing at their phone.  We had 7 table topics that spanned to softball questions like to Tom who was asked “where would you live outside of the US”..Italy duh!  I got to you live in the past or present…a very intimidating question because my biggest fear is to become a reminiscing rhetorical grandstander as my cognitive skills withdraw.  As a geneogolist, I already realize I am the most boring person at any family gathering (strategically devised ).  But our IT pro, Rodney would win the award….a perfect kid except he is big…I mean we all think we were perfect kids which that very deception should make any parent nervous…What is wrong with my kid? He/She is too good? What did I do wrong?  Being Big though and ripping shower heads off the wall seems definitive to the premise.

Now April was our first speaker with a task to discuss how to increase the attendance of our meetings.  If ever there could be a hybridization of a Jewish and Nun she embodied that morphication…peeking over the dais with a bag of rhetorical “rulers” to punish her “students” with. She was anticipating a low turnout but somehow we had enough bodies to undermine her Catholic type Nun shaming…whew we avoided that one.  But this very email is a product of that speech…because I opened my big mouth.  Since then though I have had an epiphany;  How do we increase attendance…our table topics should be focused on talking about ALL members who are not in attendance…yes Danielle, Gina, Lisa I am talking about you!  For me, I am immune as my President has taught me, as long as they are talking about you…you exist and viable…which begs me to wonder if a Toastmaster has every been impeached?

Our second speaker was Dan the Ag Man. First I have to express my admiration…after extensive employment harassment (which seems to be acceptable in the Federal Government these days)..even though he is a subpar Fed in that he is not an Acting Political appointment who is soon to take a NON Political position..he manages to give a speech in front of his subordinates..expressing experiences that should be quarantined to “What happens in the Navy, should stay in the Navy”.  As his evaluator, I believe I showed and expressed the amateurishness of his attempt to telling a “Sea Story”…although now I do have a better appreciation of Cameo colored underwear in foreign countries.  My vagueness here is to evoke to those NOT in attendance…What was THAT ABOUT?  We might even get Jennifer to come back.

At his point my fellow toastmasters I must brush the crumbs and wipe the beer dredges off my keyboard and bid you farewell.  I am as I stated out of practice..I am without my past investments…or subjects.  You see, while I might be 68 I stopped developing at about 12 years old…so I tend to tease those whom I most cherish…thus if you fall victim of my mighty keyboard…just know it is produced with respect, love, appreciation and of course an uncontrollable urge to test the boundries of our followship.


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To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Stop Thinking About Yourself

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Club Meeting Forms & Checklists

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Poet Member’s Poem


Do you have an urge

to speak in a convincing way?

Do you like to share ideas

as you think each day?

We can help you master this every Wednesday

from noon to one.

We practice speaking to our friends;

it’s really lots of fun!

You won’t have to worry that your talks

might end in disaster.

Let us share our secrets

as you become a Toastmaster!

Rose Anne Edmondson



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Small but Impactive Meeting

Now I would say that because I was a speaker.  We had a low attendance meeting but as is out creed, we were driven and able to occupy all positions….even though Cole did double duty and did two evaluations in order to claim an uncontested “best evaluator” award.

Our table topics were varied and centered upon current events…Newbie Rodney took the prize mostly because he revealed so much of his personal story.  Table topics is a very subtle means of learning about your fellow toastmasters….over the years it fortifies and strengthens your relationships.

April Showers gave an impassioned speech that discussed the “Journey” over the destination with regards to Toastmasters.  She is a dedicated, accomplished and inspiring Toastmaster that truly wants success for our club and is focused on that effort.

I gave a convoluted, poorly developed, net less speech on Leadership…under the guise of humor…holding back sarcasm, contemplating oxymorons and contemplating Shakespearean tragedies…. I was able to deliver to my audience a relatively cognitive dissertation without once relying on a “knock-knock” joke.

I was acclaimed the winner.  But in our club that could just mean that you revealed yourself more….laid it out there, even though not truly prepared.  We pride ourselves for providing a safe place to develop your speaking skills…

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Under the leadership of club President, April Showers, “Best by a Dam Site” Toastmasters had an offsite club officer’s meeting at Roundtable Pizza in Chico.  With a pizza box acting as a dais, lofty goals were envisioned and set which would challenge any good Gant chart software program.


All members are welcome.

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While the fall international HUMOR contest is no longer held at the club level, Oroville Toastmasters will conduct their own version of the event in order to bring those members wishing to compete and gain some experience with the contest processes.

Other members will be tasked with the arduous task of JUDGING that incorporates listening to the speech or evaluation, quantifying a value-to-task measurable and simultaneously putting their cell phones on airplane mode.

Speeches are open to any subject or style except maybe PATHWAYS.

All are welcome….

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Somewhat like a hangover after the advancement of our very own Cole Garcia to the next level of competition in the International Toastmasters contest this week’s meeting was lightly attended.

Time to see where the final competition will be held….IRAN??? because I see success depending on the rest of Cole’s life experiences.

Our meeting this week was a bit weak with four people showing…Other clubs would have a collective nervous breakdown with such a turnout…Not Us…No Problema…just an opportunity to talk more without the pesky Grammarian looking on.

Happily our newest prospect DANIEL showed up.  Of course a prospective new member always brings the best promotional instincts for Toastmaster to the forefront…. April Showers giving a great summary of how meeting are conducted…being interrupted by those of us surrounding her.

Our next Month’s schedule is under construction…but it has been confirmed that Anne will be giving her first ICE BREAKER speech.  Hope you all can attend.

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