Friday, December 06, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
"Royal Flush" - 2013 International Contest Speech.
My 2013 International Contest Speech. I came 1st at club level and second at Area Level with this speech. Copyright of the speech and photos belongs to Zani Smit.
A royal Flush is considered the ultimate poker hand. It’ s made up of 5 car
ds, all from the same suit - 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace.
The probability of making a royal flush is almost impossible.
In terms of odds, your chances of getting this unbeatable combination in a game of poker is six hundred and forty nine thousand, seven hundred and thirty nine (649 739) to 1.
Mr. Contest Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. We all want that Royal Flush in Life.
But here is a question for you...
If we were all players in the game of life what would a royal flush even look like. And Is it even achievable?
The year was 1770. A boy was born in a cold dark attic room at his family home in Germany. It was not an easy birth and the boy barely survived. But he did survive and in doing so he slightly raised the odds for his parents who lost four children in infancy.
Life wasn’t easy for this boy who had a sick mother and an alcoholic father who was harsh and never realized this boy’s potential.
In Poker terms we can say this boy got dealt a louzy hand in life and from the outset the odds were not in his favour.But the odds can change, even in a poker game. It just takes one card.
And this boy Ludwig van Beethoven did get this one card that changed everything - Music!
At the age of of 7½ Beethoven performed his first concert and later he composed 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets.But Beethoven’s luck did not last very long and he began to lose his hearing at age 28.By the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf and he could no longer play his own compositions.
The year was 2012, the shopping malls reflected fairy lights in their windows, the music was upbeat. It was two weeks before Christmas and I was in the middle of a poker game.
The dealer dealt me my first three cards and I was relieved that I had a steady hand – loving family, good job and my third card was very special. It was my very own personal cheerleader. Someone who inspired me, who taught me about classical music and filled our home with his beautiful piano rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Everyone placed their bets and then came my next card.
I could not continue with the game, I sat frozen at the table my world falling apart- my cheerleader had just passed away.I wanted to fold my hand then and there. It was so easy to give up and admit that life had defeated me.
But I stayed sitting at the poker table and waited and waited for my last card - This card was different from the others. It had a picture of me on it and it said “you are in control of your own destiny”.
Ladies and Gentlemen what is life but a random selection of cards? What I’ve realized is When life gives you a poor hand to play with, it’s up to you to change the odds. Even if your biggest cheerleader is no longer there, even if you lose your hearing you can continue playing. You don’t need anyone else to believe in you, the only person that needs to believe in you is yourself.
Every time I perfect my school figures on the dance floor, hear applause when I leave the podium or move my tired feet across the finish line – I rejoice that my gambling days are long over.
And Beethoven, while completely deaf he went on to compose Symphony number 5 the most popular and best-known composition in classical music, and one of the most played symphonies that we encounter frequently in popular culture.
Now that’s what I call a Royal Flush.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
It all started in the corner of a smoky Beverly Hills bar, a legendary but fading singer stands, nursing a drink, a cigarette and – much to his distress – a cold.
My fellow journalists. Tonight I want to share with you just a little snippet of Talese’s masterpiece.I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Esquire magazine writer Gay Talese who recounted that cold night in 1966 with his story “Sinatra has a cold”. Instead of writing another old and boring celebrity interview, Gay Talese started a revolution in journalism.
“FRANK SINATRA, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something. But he said nothing; he had been silent during much of the evening, except now in this private club in Beverly Hills he seemed even more distant.
Sinatra was ill. He was the victim of an ailment so common that most people would consider it trivial. But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Frank Sinatra had a cold."
We all want to be part of the journalism revolution that Talese started but then why are our newspapers and magazines filled with the same-old-same-old stories.
Do you really want to write about another ATM bombing, rhino-poaching, Julius-Malema rally. I dare you to go out there and find – The Invisible stories. They are not so difficult to find, you just need to know where NOT TO GO. Editors are quick to say that News is where journalists are. But what if I told you tonight that maybe it is where journalists aren’t.
I was working as a foreign correspondent in America when their president JFK was assassinated. We were more than 3000 print journalists who rushed over to Capitol Rotunda to view the presidents’ body and to interview celebrities and politicians. Needless to say all 3000 of us got the same old same old story- the one about a dead body.
One journalist – Jimmy Breslin did not. Instead of following the heard of sheep to Capitol Rotunda, Jimmy went somewhere else because he believed that News is where journalists aren’t.
He was a lone reporter walking around Arlington National Cemetery where he interviewed a man of no real importance the Grave digger. This gravedigger only gets paid $3.01 an hour for digging graves whether it is the late president grave or John Does.
Published in the New York Herald Tribune in November 1963 I give you a little extract of “Digging JFK’s Grave was his honour" by Jimmy Breslin.
"Clifton Pollard was pretty sure he was going to be working on Sunday, so when he woke up at 9 a.m., in his three-room apartment on Corcoran Street, he put on khaki overalls before going into the kitchen for breakfast. His wife, Hettie, made bacon and eggs for him. Pollard was in the middle of eating them when he received the phone call he had been expecting.
It was from Mazo Kawalchik, who is the foreman of the gravediggers at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Pollard works for a living. "Polly, could you please be here by eleven o'clock this morning?" Kawalchik asked. "I guess you know what it's for." Pollard did. He hung up the phone, finished breakfast, and left his apartment so he could spend Sunday digging a grave for John Fitzgerald Kennedy."
This account is still considered today the definitive piece of reporting on the assassination. It’s 48 years later, Breslin’s column has been reprinted many times, and even today this seemingly invisible story is able to move me to tears. I want to challenge you to do the same.
CC8 - Elke pot het 'n deksel
Die voordele van so ‘n ontmoeting – julle sal ‘n fantastiese storie he om eendag vir jul kinders en klein kinders te vertel. Dinge kan ook net beter gaan na hierdie tragiese ontmoeting.
Revenge of the Rainforest
Some of the most important events in the twentieth century took years to accomplish, while others took only minutes.
Let’s look at some of the highlights of this century.
- 1st Flight by Wright brothers
- World War I
- Titanic Sank
- The Assassination of Gandhi
- Creation of Star Wars
- Nelson Mandela being released from prison
I want you for a moment to imagine a small and trivial event of this century, like the paving of the Kinshasa highway in the nineteen seventies.
The paving of this highway may seem insignificant to you but what if I told you it affected every person on earth, and turned out to be one of the most important events in the twentieth century.
Before the highway was paved and become known as The Aids Highway, a little boy called Richard Preston and his family went on a trip to Mount Elgon that lies between the border of Uganda and Kenya, not far from Sudan. They wanted to visit this biological island of rain forest in the center of Africa, and isolated world rising above dry plants, fifty miles across, blanketed with trees. Another cool fact about this Mountain was that is may have been the highest mountain in Africa if it was not eroded down, even higher than Kilimanjaro is today, it is still the widest.
The road to Mount Elgon is a segment of the Kinshasa highway, a road that cuts Africa in half. During the time that the Preston’s took the trip the road was a dirt track that advanced through the heart of Africa, almost impossible to traverse along its complete length.
But how could the paving of this road have such a dramatic impact on humanity? It killed at least 10 million lives, with the likelihood that the ultimate number of human casualties will vastly exceed the deaths in the Second World War When long sections of the road were paved, the trucks began rolling through and soon afterward the Aids virus appeared in towns along the highway. Medical doctors who work in East Africa believe that 90 percent of the prostitutes working along the main roads carry the Aids virus. Local doctors estimate that as many as 30 percent of all men and women of child bearing age who live in the vicinity of Mount Elgon are infected with HIV.
The emergence of HIV was subtle; it incubates for years in a human host before it kills the host. If the virus had been noticed earlier, it might have been named Kinshasa Highway, in honor of the fact that it passed along the Kinshasa highway during its emergence from the African forest.
Years later when Richard Preston became a number one bestselling author with his book “The Hot Zone” he recalls “In effect, I had witnessed a crucial event in the emergence of Aids, the transformation of a thread of dirt into a ribbon of tar.”
The emergence of Aids, Ebola and any number of other rain forest agents appears to be a natural consequence of the ruin of the tropical biosphere. The emerging viruses are surfacing from ecologically damaged parts of the earth, like Mount Elgon. The tropical rain forests are the deep reservoirs of life on the planet, containing most of the world’s plant and animal species. The rain forests are also its largest reservoirs of viruses, since all living things carry viruses. When viruses come out of an ecosystem, they tend to spread in waves through the human population, like echoes from the dying biosphere.
There are many villages around Mount Elgon and the forest is being cleared away, the trees are being cut down for firewood or to make room for grazing land, and the elephants are vanishing.
In a sense, the earth is mounting and immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, and the dead spots of concrete all over the planet.
Perhaps the biosphere does not like the idea of 5 billion humans. Nature has interesting ways of balancing itself. The rain forest has its own defenses. The earth’s immune system has recognized the presence of human species and is starting to kick in. The earth is attempting to rid itself of an infection by the human parasite.
“Aids” is the worst environmental disaster of the twentieth century.Whether the human race can actually maintain a population of five billion or more without a crash with a hot virus remains an open question - unanswered. What we do know is that Aids is the revenge of the rain forest. It may be only the beginning.
Friday, February 26, 2010
CC5 How to stay the Topdog
Madam Toastmaster, Ladies & Gentlemen I never knew anything about being the TopDog also known as the Alpha Dog or the Leader, until I decided to Buy a new puppy.
People buy puppies for different reasons. Some need help on their farms others want a guard dog, I just wanted a companion (Who couldn't speak back)
So how did I end up being the Topdog in a household with one husband, one hamster and a brand new foxterrier puppy named Bella. That's what I'm going to tell you tonight. Since day one Bella never stood a chance to challenge my Topdog position. Before she was born I did a lot of research on establishing and keeping alpha position and making sure that Bella knows who's the boss. Me. My research told me that it's very important that a dog knows his place in your human pack. A dog lacking in this order is an unhappy dog who will show signs of aggression, separation anxiety and no respect for humans.
On my fridge I printed a list of rules that every dog owner should follow to ensure that his dog knows his place in their human pack. I made sure that my husband also memorized this list, threatening him with the dog house if he slipped up.
So on our first day as dogowners we picked up Bella from a farm. She was only 6 weeks old and not used to the tiny collar that we put around her neck.
After taking her to the Vet for her injections it was time for the first pack walk. The number one way to communicate to a dog that you are his pack leader is to take him for a walk. Not the type of walk most humans take their dogs on but a pack walk where the dog is made to heel beside or behind the human who is holding the lead. This is most important for all dogs, as in a dog's mind, the leader always leads the ways.
Now the first pack walk is the most difficult. It took me 10 minutes to get Bella to stop eating her leash. Bella spoeg, spoeg dit uit, sies man. Soet hondjie, Soet hondjie. Ouch! I then had to drag her out of the yard. We made a little bit of progress until… the entire neighbourhoods dogs stared barking to the tune of Who let the dogs out. Woof Woof Woof Woof Bella wouldn't move an inch, so I picked her up (buk af) and carried her in my arms back home. Big mistake my husband reminded me, now she was going to develop Small dog syndrome. There goes your alpha position he smiled.
I wasn't about to give up I was after all the TopDog and had a few other internet tips at my disposal. If you ever want to become the TOPDOG in your pack, you need to know that is hard work. We had to completely change the way we do things. Now walking into a doorway was an issue. Why? Because the alpha dog must always enter a room first and if you've got an enthusiastic fox terrier it's very difficult to get anywhere first.
It also involved a lot of mind games especially during dinner time. All humans must eat before the dogs, as the leader always eats first. Here comes the tricky part. When you give your dog food you must eat a small snack first while the dog is watching, lay the snack near the dogs food so that he thinks you are eating out of his bowl. Having staring contests with the dog is also out because if you blink first or avert your gaze, it will only reinforce, in the dogs mind, that He is Top Dog.
After having Bella around for a few weeks the rules started to become routine and I felt like wagging my tail. There was only one aspect of being the Top Dog that I couldn't get right. Hiding my emotions such as fear, anxiety or nervousness from the Beta dog. Because a dog can sense these emotions they will see you as weak and want to take control as the leader. Whenever something upset me and I wanted to freak out I had to stay calm, assertive and consistent. I had to adapt my body language and instead of hunching my shoulders when the lightning stuck I stood very straight up with my shoulder pushed pack. All of a sudden the whole household was happy from the hamster to the husband and the new foxterrier puppy. Why? Because even though my bark is worse than my bite – I am 100% the topdog.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Toastmasters CC4 - How to say it
CC4 – Pushing up Daisies
copyright of this speech belongs to Zani Smit
HERE IS A SMALL FACT You are - going - to die.
One of these days you will bite the dust,
meet your maker,
enter the eternal abyss,
soon you'll be pushing up daisies
Mr Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentleman. No matter how gently I try to tell you about your future, the facts remain the same – we are all going to die
If you are a toastmaster then you've got nothing to worry about. A recent survey found that people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying.
I'm not one of those people! I prefer being up here talking to you, instead of listening to a bunch of boring sentimental speeches at my own funeral.
Why am I scared of meeting the grim reaper? It's the fear of the unkown. I can only rely on my imagination ….he will arrive silently one cold evening, covered in a black hood as dark as the night, his bony hands grasping my soul.
Doomsday Prophecies tell us that we don't have to worry about the When. On December 21 2012 the world will come to an end. That leaves us with 1023 days to worry about the where and how and with 58 Toastmaster meetings to discuss it.
What scares me more than the fear of the unknown is the prospect of pain. Just think about all the excruciating ways a person can die … drowning in the turbulent ocean, falling hundreds of feet with the wind in your ears and the blurry ground rapidly coming into focus, burning your insides with a tiny glass bottle containing a clear liquid – poison … Romeo & Juliet made it seem so Romantic – What William Shakespeare forget to tell us was the pain.
But the secret is not how to die, it's how to live. Princess Diana died in a horrible car accident but when you think about her what do you remember? How she died or how she hugged an aids orphan.
At her funeral Sir Elton John paid tribute to her with the following lyrics: "Goodbye England's rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
And your footsteps will always fall you
Along England's greenest hills
Your candle's burned out long before
Your legend never will"
Princess Diana was Englands Rose. But her memory did not fade away like the colours of the rose petals after a few days, her good deeds did not become irrelevant. She left an amazing legacy behind. Even with a dying rose you can find beauty in the decay.
We should all follow in Diana's footsteps. Instead of worrying about dying we should focus on living. Friendships, relationships, good deeds, love.. .. you can work on all these things right now. You can leave an amazing legacy behind.
Ladies and Gentlemen
HERE IS A SMALL FACT
You are – still alive.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Invictus - William Ernest Henley
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Toastmaters CC3 - get to the point
We all enter this world crying, and then 50 or 60 or 80 years later when we’re again pink and wrinkly we leave this world with everyone else crying at our funerals.
Madam Toastmaster, ladies & Gentlemen
My favorite memory of my dad is not of him laughing when I told a knock-knock joke, or getting excited when he opened his X-mass present of blue handkerchiefs. It is of him sitting next to me in the movie theater. I was only 10 years old and we were watching Lion King. I didn’t have a box of popcorn on my lap but a box of Kleenex because my Dad was bawling his eyes out. I still remember the scene, Mufasa’s Ghost said: “Look inside yourself Simba, you are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life. Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true King.”
I stored this memory of my Dad and years later when he had to walk me down the aisle I was well prepared for his tears and had a bunch of tissues hidden underneath my wedding veil.
Why do we love to cry? And why is it so important to cry? Maybe it’s because crying is so spontaneous even more so than laughing. Let’s first take a look at why woman cry. When your boyfriend gets down on one knee and pops the question it’s only natural to cry. He wouldn’t be impressed if you started laughing when you saw the size of that diamond. It’s also very natural to cry when you get a speeding ticket for driving 100 in an 80 zone and you’re pulled over by the metro police. There I said it – Woman use crying as a manipulation tool.
1) Basal tears keep our eyes lubricated.
2) Reflex tears are produced when our eyes get irritated – like when you are chopping an onion.
3) The last kind of tear is produced when the body reacts emotionally to something.
Ladies and gentleman, Madam Toastmaster I want you to cry. It’s good for you. You can do it right now, I have a box of tissues, or if you want we can wait for the prize giving when the Sergeant at Arms doesn’t give you the trophy. Why wait till tomorrow when you’re stuck in traffic on the N1 or until the 7 o clock news when Julius Malema’s wisdom wants to make you cry.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Toastmasters International Humorous Speech 2009
My fellow chicks and chickens don’t be afraid. You’ve risked your lives to attend tonight’s Secret Chicken Convention but I can assure you that this venue is safe and that no chicken will be grilled or fried here tonight. Listen chickens a few humans managed to sneak in, don’t panic our secrets are safe the SAA is programming their brains and they now think this is a humorous contest. If any of the humans laugh then smile and wave.
We are here tonight to discuss our plans to take over the known and unknown universe. you’ve just heard the human news they have no clue that we chickens just conquered another planet Jupiter. Right after the big bang my great, great, great, great, great (pause) great grandfather was the first being to leave earth’s atmosphere and to land on the moon. His words: “one small step for chicken kind, one giant leap for poultry”
The agenda for tonight’s Secret Chicken Convention:
a) How do we fool the humans into believing chickens are stupid farm animals
b) The financing of our space missions
c) A progress report on our accomplishments
A) How do we fool the humans when they have spy satellites? We have much more sophisticated technology that allows us to see everywhere even what is going on in district 9. I’m taking about chicken agents that we station on every single church roof. The training is vigorous these roosters have to sit as still as statues, overcome their fear of heights and move with the wind.
There is a problem, one human suspects our plans the former minister of health, garlic & beetroot. The one who likes her alternative medicines. When she was just a little girl our scientists tried to eliminate her with chicken pocks. Then when she hit menopause the military doctors took over and gave her bird flu. None of our efforts have worked so this year we will use a not so kosher solution – swine flu.
B) How do we finance our space missions? What do you see on the street corner of every small town, big city, township? KFC, Nando’s, Chicken Licken. Fast Food restaurants that make a lot of money for us because we own them. The best news is that they don’t sell chicken.
C) Our progress report shows that we chickens are clearly the winners of the space race. Humans are too busy asking themselves silly questions.
Is Michael Jackson really dead?
We take over mars, Venus, mercury and Pluto then the Taliban uploads an underground video saying: the chicken was on a suicide mission, he will now live on in infamy as the chicken who dared to cross the road.
My fellow chicks and chickens it’s sad that humans are so easily distracted from the truth. The earth is melting down and their own race is dying from diseases that can’t be cured by garlic & beetroot.
In reality we chickens aren’t crossing towards the other side of the road
Tonight we are leaving earth and would have crossed to the other side of the universe.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Movie of the year: District 9
Friday, August 01, 2008
Bible verses for your personal problems
Doubt & fear?
Phil 4:13; Cor 3:5
Hard to live a clean life?
1 Cor 6:11; Jude 24
Need peace of mind?
Phil 4:7; Is 32:17
Rom 8:37; 1 Cor 10:13
Hung up with guilt?
Rom 8:1; Rom 3:24
Phil 4:19; Luke 11:9
Ps 126:5; Ps 45:7
Gen 28:15; Ps 4:8
Hung up with guilt?
Rom 8:1; Rom 3:24
Sickness a problem?
James 5:15; Mark 16: 17-18
James 1:5; Ecc 2:26
Are you lonely?
Heb 13:5; Is 54:10
Heb 10:36; Gal 6:9
PS 23:4; 2 Thes 2: 16-17
Is 45:24; 1 Cor 1:30
Deut 33:27; Ps 46:1
Labels: religion; God; bible
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Dark Knight - my favourite quotes
Joker: "I believe that what doesn't kill you simply makes you...stronger."
Joker:“You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness and I won’t kill you because you’re too much fun; I think you and I are destined to do this forever”
Joker:"How about a magic trick make this pencil disappear tada its gone"
Joker: “Evening Commissioner”
Gordon:“Harvey Dent never made it home”
Joker:“Of course not”
Gordon:“What have you done with him?”
Joker:“Me? I was right here … who’d you leave him with hmm … your people? Assuming of course they are still your people and not Maroni’s … does it depress you commissioner to know just how alone you really are … does it make you feel responsible for Harvey Dent’s current predicament?
Gordon:“Where is he?”
Joker:“What’s the time?”
Gordon:“What difference does that make?”
Joker:“Well depending on the time he may be in one spot or several”
Gordon:“If we’re going to play games … removes Joker’s restraints … I’m going to need a cup of coffee”
Joker:“Ah the good cop bad cop routine”
[The lights come on and Gordon leaves revealing that Batman is also there who slams the Joker’s head into the table.]
Joker:“You know for a while there I thought you really were Dent, the way you threw yourself after her”