Thursday, March 25, 2010

So, two jihadists, 72 virgins and a sperm whale walk into a bar...

Our recent club meeting will be remembered as something of a side-splitter. The tone of this past Tuesday's meeting was set by Toastmaster for the evening, Alan Hunter, who brought along the cheese (some truly priceless puns), while those present provided the crackers!

(Okay that pun was pretty awful.)

The format for Table Topics was a chain-story, whereby a participant had to pick up the story from where their predecessor left off. The story began with Table Topics Master, Craig Stephenson, reading the opening paragraph to Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

In the Algoa Club's “re-imagining” of that great American novel, Nicholas Mitchell gave Melville's narrator, Ishmael, a love interest: Arabella. Mark Barry jettisoned Ishmael's best shipmate Queeqeg and replaced him with a jihadist who was off to fight a holy war, and dying to get into a heaven - replete with 72 virgins.

Our circumnavigating American guest (aka Joel) reintroduced the mythic white whale, and a psycho-sexual Freudian undercurrent. Marlene Van Wyk leapt to defend Arabella's reasons for two-timing Ishmael with her secret husband, The Count (a little character development courtesy of Tom Horne), and three-timing both with the captain of Ishmael's ship.

But there was a foil to the man-eating Arabella, a belly-dancing virgin, with enchanting hips, who had escaped the holy warrior's heaven. The super-seducing 72nd Virgin was Glenis Whitehead's creation, and for it she was voted the winner of this hilarious round of Table Topics.

Following the impromptu portion of the evening the Club was both informed and entertained by three prepared speeches. Educator Fanie Vermaak argued that a trusting relationship between a teacher (parent or mentor) and a child is of far greater benefit to a child's development than corralling children with rules.

Marianah Lourens demonstrated how the “12 Step Program” used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can be used to help anyone change their self-defeating behaviours.

Meteorologist Quinton Jacobs picked up the “Top Toastie Award” for what must have been a Herculean effort to commit to memory his 13-minute “after-dinner speech” about his recent summertime adventure to Antarctica.

It was also the night for a first. Long-time visitor to the Club and recent inductee, Debbie Stephenson, ventured up to the lectern to deliver her first speech: The Toast of the Day. Debbie toasted eating and drinking to good health. She also managed to include Grammarian, Thomas Duffy's Word of the Day: matutinal.

The Algoa Club will meet again on 13 April. Until then be safe on the roads this holiday season.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Algoa Club members progress to the District Speech Contest

Area Speech Contestants: Michael Warren; Marlene Van Wyk; Musa Mdadlose; Nicholas Mitchell

Nicholas Mitchell and Michael Warren, will represent Algoa Toastmasters Club in the Divisional Speech Contest on the 17 April after Nicholas won the Area Speech Contest in the impromptu speech and evaluation categories, and Michael placed second in the International Speech section.

Our Club President, Marlene Van Wyk, who won the International Speech section, will represent the ACT Club at the Divisional Contest.

The annual Toastmasters International Speech Contest starts at club-level, with contestants progressing through Area, Divisional and District contests until they reach the finals at the Toastmasters Annual Conference in the United States. The winner at the US conference is awarded the title: “World Champion of Public Speaking”.

To be eligible to compete, contestants must have completed at least six speech projects towards their Competent Communicator award.

Our club contest on 9 March saw Gillian Browning, Michael Warren, Antoinette Baatjes and Quinton Jacobs compete in the International Speech section.

Michael won the club-level contest with an entertaining speech about the nature of truth which included a pinch of quantum mechanics, a splash of Hegelian dialectic logic, and one whole Red Delicious apple.

The Area Contest also included Megan Judd of Madiba Bay Club, and Musa Mdadlose from the U-Speak Club. Musa impressed by placing third in the International Speech Contest section on this his first entry into the Area Contest.

Watch this blog for future updates about the Speech Contest.