Of Lectures and Presentations

Once again, I missed a good lecture/ presentation offered by the ITA.
I refer to Stephen Rifkind's Improving the Quality of Presentations; a Very Important Subject, as all speakers and conference attendees will agree.

My excuse for not attending was that I had a house-guest, a dear friend from London. She was staying for just over a week and I didn't want to go away for an entire afternoon/evening.
But the reason I didn't go, I'm ashamed to admit, is the practically insurmountable distance. Can you imagine, traveling ALL THE WAY from Rishon to Haifa, and back again? In one afternoon/evening? It's a cross-country trip! It's all the way from what Tel Avivians consider The Gate to the South to what Rishonites consider Up North.

I'm sure the lecture & presentation were edifying, useful and interesting, and the loss is all mine.

I would, however, like to take advantage of your (hopefully) being in the right frame of mind to give you a few complementary tips about public speaking. Not my own, but from my friend, coach Marion Claire of Los Angeles. Years before she became a personal coach (what Israelis call "coacher", shudder shudder), Marion was a script writer and editor, who most definitely has a way with words, a way with people, and a way of getting her words across to people.

Since copy-pasting the article in question is technically awkward at the moment, here's the link to Marion's Speaker's Tip #10 - Ten Rules for the Reluctant Speaker: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs011/1102717540757/archive/1103241326454.html. Enjoy.

What are you talking about when you talk about golf

I don't know a thing about golf. Haven't even read all the gossip about Tiger Woods.
What I do know is gleaned from the movies Tin Cup and The Legend of Bagger Vance, and as such doesn't count for much. In Tin Cup I was caught up in the Kevin-and-Renee scenes while repressing the drunken-nogoodnik aspect which tends to get on my nerves; and in Bagger Vance, the feel-good atmosphere did make me feel good, even though I scoff at mysticism.

There's a good review of Tin Cup on IMdb by a Finn fella:

"I have seen this film 20 times, and it only gets better," said Max Koljonen from Helsinki, Finland, on 2 January 2004, and elaborated as follows:
"First of all, this is a golf film. A great golf film. The best golf film. But there is more to it than just being a golf film. It´s the classic tale of a washed-up hero wanting to get the girl. But Kevin Costner gives this role something more. Okay, it´s not an Oscar-winning role, but the performance sure as heck should be.
And it´s nice to see a golf film with a screenwriter who actually seems to know what the game really is about. For those who are not into golf, just look at Mr. Costner´s every move and how he delivers his lines as a drunken golf pro. In fact the whole cast is excellent. In comparison to films like Bagger Vance, Happy Gilmore and Caddyshack this film is the only one that explains why we men are so hooked on this game." [more]

Well, I enjoyed the film, but "why men are so hooked on this game" is still a mystery to me, and one I can easily live with; that is, without solving.

So, naturally, I was a bit skeptical when my son handed me a book of short stories – albeit by one of my fave writers – titled The Heart of a Goof – all about golf. The preface to the stories is so "golfy", it only reinforced my feeling of total ignorance.

But anyone who can write a dedication like the one below, wins me over at the first tee:


Chuckling and encouraged, I began reading, and have been chuckling my way through the adventures of Ferdinand Dibble and his nemesis George Parsloe, Bradbury Fisher, Vosper the butler, the formidable Mrs Maplebury, and others. Wodehouse fans – if you haven't yet read this one, you're in for a treat. I shall say no more, not to ruin it for you. Oh, and while you're at it, you can try an early one – Love Among the Chickens – too. Though the Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge (pronounced "Fanshawe Ewkridge") character is, um… but you should find out for yourselves.