Interview with Moi

A good friend of mine, Darren LaCroix, is a great humorist and also a former Toastmasters World Champion of Speaking. He introduced me, years ago, to Dave Fitzgerald, one of the funniest and nicest guys I’d ever met. Dave succumbed to cancer several years ago, and the crowd at the wake needed wranglers to control it. Darren has graciously made available to my community a transcript of a very rare interview with me conducted by Dave. You can find it …


Training Opportunity

I’m looking for exceptionally talented trainers in Northern California for Presentation Skills contract training work starting in 2008. Much of the work would be with High Tech companies in the Silicon Valley with possible travel opportunities as well.   Candidates must have a flexible schedule and corporate training experience helping people of all speaking levels to be more effective presenters. If you are interested, please email me with your resume, bio, video links or other useful information to: robert@grahamcomm.net.


Notice to Otis

Everything below is true, absolutely true. My wife and I had to attend a board meeting of the ballet Monday evening. It was held in offices at Textron, a Fortune 500 company, headquartered in Providence. The ballet board president is an executive there, so we use their conference rooms. I’m the ballet vice president. We passed through security, obtained our badges, and boarded an elevator for the 18th floor. The doors closed and nothing happened. We pressed the button again. …


Cancun Journal: October 19

A final, beautiful day, keeping our streak alive this year of perfect vacation weather. Saying goodbye to Eduardo, one of the excellent beach waiters, he tells me that there were two topless women on the beach very early this morning. “Is that unusual?” I ask, because I’ve not seen that behavior here. He tells me that when Europeans are at the resort, most of the women are topless. But since this week’s visitors are virtually all American, you practically never …


Cancun Journal: October 18

October 18 Vegged on the beach today, great water, perhaps 80°, with wonderful breakers. I find I’m addicted to these hot dogs, but life is short! I didn’t mention that yesterday Guillermo found a spider starfish on the bottom, which looks like a miniature octopus, scrambling all over the place. It sat on my hand for a while, wandered around my arm and then was returned to its home. Steam, sauna, aromatherapy room, and the most modern whirlpool I’ve ever …


Jettisoning the Shakes

I was rocking in a small boat on rough seas contemplating my next scuba dive. There are, for me, always uncertainties. The dive master might know the bottom here, but I don’t. The currents vary. We’re going to try entering some caves. I’m not that comfortable with the regulator mouthpiece. The weight belt, as usual, is a huge pain. And did I mention we were rocking all over the ocean? I couldn’t wait to get down there! After the dive, …


Cancun Journal: October 17

Sometimes small miracles happen. Today, I drove ten minutes down the coast to go snorkeling. Ten of us headed out with Guillermo and Ricardo. To get to the reef, we pass through two “jungles”—islands of crooked trees rife with exotic birds, for all the world like the Amazon—and finally we’re in the ocean. We follow Guillermo into the water and, presto, within 30 seconds we are surrounded by fish. You can touch them with impunity, and two nip me back …


Cancun Journal: October 16

This morning I went scuba diving with Martin. Being a professional introvert, I don’t even like to dive with a group, so I hired the dive master (Martin), a boat, and captain. I presented my PADI certified diver card and assured Martin I had made 9 prior dives, at which point I tripped over the step leading to the equipment. He shot me a look. An hour later we’re descending into the Gulf of Mexico, 45 minutes on the bottom …


Cancun Journal: October 15

Cerulean sky meets azure sea. Platitudinous, but true. It’s amazing how a happy hour or free cocktail party draws people like bankers to boring suits, but they do flock, no matter how inferior and potentially toxic the liquor. (It’s droll how people stuff themselves with highly seasoned food, very potent liquor, and carouse around the place, then blame the water for their distress.) A great deal of Cancun was created by four ex-air force officers and four Mexican colleagues in …


Cancun Journal: October 14

I’ve been getting my reptilian education. It seems those aren’t gators, but crocodiles, and they estimate that 2,000 of them lurk in the lagoon. Also, the restaurant captains throw chicken parts into the water at a certain time, ensuring that the crocs hang out to help draw the crowd, which joins the crocs in going out to dinner. I’ve bet a woman who kept shrieking “Go, Cowboys!” a drink that the Patriots will beat them. She gave me her room …