Trump’s Speech To The Joint Session Of Congress

            Having taught public speaking for over half a century, I’m often asked to critique major presentations, and this was no exception. Here’s what I’ve been saying.


            It was well-written.

            The length was about right for the occasion.

            He stuck to the script.

            His delivery was well-paced and strong.

            He clearly knows how to use Teleprompters.

            His use of personal pronouns was appropriate.

            He was surprisingly “presidential.”

            The content was mostly consistent with his campaign and his actions since taking office, with deviations being indicative of reasonable changes of mind.


            Some points lacked details, such as timing and methodology.

            Too much time was devoted to the widow of the first U.S. combatant killed in action during Trump’s presidency.


            It wasn’t Gettysburg, but it was unexpectedly very good; so much so that Democratic minority leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, looked throughout as if she was suffering from severe constipation.

Conservative Leadership Debates

            Only one word is needed: absurd.

            There are two people who should be fired: whoever thought up this ridiculous format and whoever had the final say in adopting it. Although there is much about Kevin O’Leary that I dislike, he’s right about the ineffectiveness of the so-called debates. I say “so-called” because there is little similarity, if any, to a real debate.

            Have you noticed how much candidate Andrew Saxton looks, sounds, and moves like the late comedian Robin Williams?

            And have you seen candidate Kellie Leitch’s recent video? Again, from a presentation viewpoint, only one word is required: appalling. It looks like a series of spliced outtakes.

            Some time ago I wrote that I thought Andrew Scheer would make the best leader, and I still feel that way, mostly because he has the best chance of beating Justin Trudeau. Lisa Raitt would be my first choice if she could get her French up to the necessary standard.

Speeding Up Games

             Earlier this week I was watching a hockey game in which officials took about seven minutes reviewing a play in order to decide whether it was offside. This is ludicrous. An on-ice official makes a split-second decision during the heat of action and then gets second-guessed by people (sometimes, such as the off-side play referred to, including himself) with no clock on them. So, give the folks reviewing a play a maximum of one minute in which to overturn it. If after a full minute of second-guessing, with the added advantage of slow motion replays, there’s no clear evidence of a wrong call, it was obviously close enough to let the call on the ice stand.

            Baseball has taken a step in this direction with the new rules that allow managers only thirty seconds in which to mount a challenge and then limiting the review to two minutes. I’d go even further by allowing only fifteen seconds after the play to mount the challenge and then, as I’d like to see in hockey, only one minute for the review. As I’ve written before, there are three obvious changes that would greatly speed up baseball games.

           1) Unless the game is otherwise being held up, or other extenuating circumstances exist (which would not include habitual helmet and batting gloves adjustments), make batters stay in the batter’s box. 2) Limit trips to the mound to two, not per inning but per the time each pitcher is in the game; and count the catcher going out as a trip. 3) If there are no runners on base, put a 20-second pitch clock in effect. By the way, I’m not convinced the new automatic intentional walk is going to save any time at all. The on-deck batter will take more time getting ready (which he would have done during the four pitches) than whatever was saved by immediately putting on the runner.

            I know that hard-core baseball traditionalists shudder at the thought of clocks of any kind becoming a part of the game, but because the only other way to shorten the games would be to cut back on television commercials, which is never going to happen, time limits have become a necessity.

            Another change I’d like to see in hockey is the elimination of timeouts; they are absolutely unnecessary. If players are tired, too damn bad. And set plays in hockey rarely work, and even when they do it’s usually accidental.