9 Secrets of Successful Public Speakers.

9. They rally troops before an alien invasion


Next time you’re at the podium, visualize everyone in their underwear—and under threat of an alien invasion that is sure to wipe out all life on earth. You’ll find that any stress you had about announcing your company’s poor fourth quarter has disappeared. Because the fourth quarter is our Independence Quarter! Whitmore/Edelson Holdings is not vanishing without a fight! Humankind and the Dallas office may be on the brink of extinction, but we’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!

8. They brandish a weapon while a bloodthirsty mob surrounds them


There’s always a speech brewing when you’re brandishing a weapon. But none more poignant than when you’re brandishing a weapon while being surrounded by a bloodthirsty mob. It’s an intense, high-risk/reward training exercise that only the best public speakers use. You won’t find any flustered heads crippled under the weight of the moment here. Just successful public speakers warding off potential murderers with articulate speech and impassioned spitting. And a weapon.

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Chapter 23: You Only Dine Out Twice

Day was breaking, and Todd Doyle with it.

Todd Doyle limped along a dirt trail, bleeding badly from a knife wound that ran the length of his torso. Light shone through the treetops in needle-thin spears of morning. Todd Doyle squinted, using Mother Gaia’s generous tree trunks to steady himself, and resisting the urge to turn back. No, he was miles beyond that option now.

Upon the hilltop stood Minnewaska State Preserve. An arbiter of faith for a stray soul — offering respite, serenity, and sanity alike.

Buffered before its entrance stood a park ranger’s kiosk. A small shack of forest green and brown. The colors of earth, life, and the camouflage Todd Doyle donned during his three tours of duty.

The colors of his undoing…

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Todd Doyle, Farm-To-Table Man Of Mystery, Needs YOUR Help!

A bit of context: “Todd Doyle, Farm-To-Table Man Of Mystery,” is a novel I’m legitimately writing. It’s inspired by classic tales of international espionage, erotic paperbacks, and my mountain friends Todd Martin and Liam Doyle.

After posting a chapter preview on the blog two weeks ago, I discovered that Todd Doyle had nearly broke the site. According to Google Analytics, the story garnered more than 60 unique page views, in a single day.

Of course, I can’t take the credit. Todd Doyle is a polarizing character. He gets results, and does so in a completely organic, 100% self-sustaining fashion. There’s no carbon footprint to speak of. No preservatives. Just raw, undeniable testosterone — with slightly elevated levels of THC.

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Every Long Island Marshalls, Ranked (Nos. 10-1).

New to the list? Check out part one of the Marshalls countdown (nos. 21-11) here.

10. Oceanside


F. Scott Fitzgerald said “It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.” What a fitting quote to describe the Oceanside Marshalls.

In 2003 I bought a heavily discounted pair of Diesel jeans here, size 28wx30l (Ugh, I know! Kale cleanse, please!) on the Final Clearance rack. The jeans helped me through my formative college years until they were tragically cut short after a misguided “lets turn these full-length jeans into cutoff jean shorts” phase in 2006.

I haven’t been back to the Oceanside Marshalls since. I don’t know if I’ll ever return. Its pristine, preserved memory is enough for it to reach No. 10 on our list.

C’est la vie.

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Every Long Island Marshalls, Ranked (Nos. 21-11).

21. East Islip

Converted from an abandoned Cheap John’s in Summer 1992, the East Islip Marshalls is a pastiche of 20th Century couture. Microsoft Zune and NOOK E-reader accessories adorn the checkout line racks. Pullover hoodies reading “B.U.M. Equipment” in all caps dominate the winter racks. The fitting rooms are atrociously maintained and disgustingly painted in neons. None of the staff answer to “Marshall!” which is an added disappointment.

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Alternative Childbirth Options.

Water Birth
Your baby is born immersed in water. A passing dolphin chews through the umbilical cord and whisks your newborn into the ocean. The child returns on the dawn of its 18th birthday, riding atop a giant sea turtle, to choose a Land Walker spouse.

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Why You Should Cancel Your ‘Cat Fancy’ Subscription RIGHT NOW.

As a writer of tasteless short fiction, I’m used to rejection letters. Most of my magazine submissions are quickly returned with a brief “No thank you” or a longer “This isn’t what we’re looking for, sorry.” If I’m lucky, I receive a personalized postscript with constructive feedback, such as “Mr. Henne, this is an Applebee’s; please stop submitting your short fiction to this mailing address.”

I never take rejection personally. Over the years I’ve developed quite the thick skin. Go aheadtouch my hand. Cracked and leathery, right? Like a old catcher’s mitt that hasn’t trimmed its nails.

I rarely react to rejection. With one exception: I cannot stand by as my material is openly ridiculed.

Now, I’m of the mind that all art is relevant. Whether it be a poop-smeared painting or a tale about simple townsfolk wearing alien super suits, a piece of art is the cherished product of a real person — a person with actual feelings who deserves to be treated with respect. If I don’t like somebody’s work, that’s perfectly fine, but that doesn’t give me permission to mock it.

Which us brings us to the savages at Cat Fancy.

I don’t typically take to the blog to shake my fist at a publication. But I’ve got no other course of action here.

Over the last few years, the managing editors of Cat Fancy magazine have treated myself and my art like garbage. My submissions have routinely been met with mean-spirited rancor and wholesale rejection.

It’s time to return the favor.

Below, I’ve reproduced a scathing response I sent to the magazine earlier today. I hope my readers will think twice before shelling out their hard-earned money on Cat Fancy, with its nose-in-the-air editorial staff lounging atop their ivory scratching post.

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Could This Be The Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Of Your Life?

It’s not often that Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day fall on the same three-day weekend. It’s a rare, sensual happening.

The last VP Weekend was more than a century ago, in February 1913. It was so historically sexy that a whopping three presidents were conceived in a 72-hour span: Nixon, Ford, and Stephen J. Shiller (president of Blinds To Go, Inc.).

Where does the erotic link between Valentine’s and Presidents’ Day originate?

Astrologers claim that the two holidays commingle heavily, but only during a perfect lunar cycle — when the waning moon is fully waxed in quivering anticipation — does a true VP Weekend occur.

Even if you disregard the stars, the partnership is a logical one. Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, shares a strong flirtatious link with Presidents’ Day, the second-most seductive day on the calendar.

What’s that? How is Presidents’ Day the second-most sexy day of the year? Because presidents are kings of seduction. Luring the American public into their bedchambers. Promising equal representation and fair pay. Pulling out at the last minute. Filibustering all over our 800-thread count sheets.

Presidents’ and Valentine’s Day are a celestial and physical match. A perfect wine and cheese pairing for the loins. That’s why there’s a natural attraction in the ether which you must capitalize on before it dissipates by February 17.

Fellas, I’m begging you, do not squander this rare opportunity for love. Treat your significant other to an exotic, 50 Shades-esque VP Weekend of carnal pleasures. Because this merged holiday exists solely for pampering yourself and your lover.

But how should couples unfamiliar with the significance of the event properly seize VP Weekend 2015?

It’s simple…

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Todd Doyle, Farm-To-Table Man of Mystery

I’d like to shift gears with this latest post from I’m halfway through my first novel and want to share a chapter here for some feedback.

The story is called “Todd Doyle, Farm-To-Table Man of Mystery.” It’s about an organic farmer from upstate New York with a dark past. His name? Todd Doyle.

One day, a military general knocks on the door of Todd Doyle’s self-sustainable teepee with an ultimatum: Help bring down the evil druglord Baron Von Glutenstein, or be arrested for indecent exposure. 

This is an excerpt from the fifth chapter, in which our hero Todd Doyle has tracked Von Glutenstein to an exotic casino in the foothills of Lake Champlain.

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The 5 Stages Of Recovering From A Red Light Camera Ticket.

Yesterday I received my 25th red light camera ticket — a spectacular achievement for any driver.

Now, I don’t want to be THE GUY WHO BLOGS ABOUT DRIVING (there are far superior blogs devoted to that) but here’s the issue: I commute two hours a day. Blogging about driving is a temptation I’ve resisted for months. Especially when considering that I captain this benchmark of automobiling enguiniety.

I won’t go into a longwinded paragraph about my 2013 Chevy Spark — Car and Driver’s “Is It Supposed To Do That?” award winner for three years running — but I would like to examine the mental anguish I experienced after my latest red light citation.

It’s been a traumatic 24 hours, and I’ve been through so many emotions.

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