READ THIS: ‘Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters’ by: Marilyn Monroe

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice

READ THIS is a new series that highlights literature that should be worth your attention. 

“Only parts of us will ever
touch parts of others –
one’s own truth is just that really –
own truth.” – Marilyn Monroe, “Fragments”

Some celebrities’ burn bright but fade quickly. [We miss you, Pauly Shore!] A few stars, though, still glow long after their time has passed.  The iconic blonde bombshell of the 1960’s, Marilyn Monroe’s name has been etched into our collective cultural consciousness as a symbol of unparalleled beauty and tragic demise.

But behind the platinum locks and rosy pout laid a mind far more complex than the purring kitten she portrayed in films. Her personal library contained over 400 books. She preferred to be photographed with books, tons of them, in fact. She read Dostoyevsky, Hemingway, and Kerouac. She studied literature and history at UCLA. Monroe was bubbly on-screen, and brainy off-screen.

 This month marked the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s passing. Younger generations have been introduced to her through her films. Today, her private poetry, fragments of ideas, and observations have been collected and compiled into a new collection.

 So, interpers, whether you’re a fan of the actress, or interested in running a ‘celebrity’ piece that digs beneath the surface, “Fragments” is definitely worth reading. If you’re a speaker, Marilyn Monroe’s posthumous ponderings offer an excellent example of not judging a book by its (admittedly) beautiful cover. 

via BrainPickings

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WATCH THIS: Bill Nye the Science Guy and Chris Hardwick On How To Tie A Bow Tie

Posted on August 09, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice

Gentlemen (or any ladies who would find this applicable) -

Is your tournament wardrobe feeling as out-of-date as last year's extemp files? 

Do you want to try a new look for speech tournaments but don't want to spend a ton of money? 

Would you like to learn a skill that may one day make someone say, "Oh...hey...that's cool"? 

Two words, my friends: Bow Ties. They're dapper, dressy, and gaining popularity. Sure, they're not for everyone. Some guys prefer a tie they can leave knotted up and ready to slip on for an entire season so they never have to actually re-tie it. But, if you've ever resisted buying a bow tie because you didn't know how to tie it, or - if you're wearing clip-on bow ties and want the bonus points of doing it yourself - check out this video. It features Chris Hardwick from G4's Web Soup and the Nerdist podcast and Bill Nye the Science Guy of the science stuff. They'll walk you through the steps of tying the bow tie. 

Even if you're not planning on switching to bow ties, it's still a fun video to watch. 

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USE THIS: The Olympic Swimmer Who Had Never Swam In An Olympic Sized Pool

Posted on August 08, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice

USE THIS is a new series that collects interesting narratives, examples, statistics, and any other bits of trivia that can be used for introductions, oratories, or limited prep examples.

Have you ever felt unprepared for competition? I don't mean having to re-run through your introduction on the van ride to the tournament. I'm talking about the, “I don’t think I ever memorized the last three minutes of my piece” kind of unprepared. “Oh well,” you say, “it’s just a tournament.”

Well, suppose “just a tournament” was really “the 2000 summer Olympic games in Sydney” and “unprepared” meant “being entered to swim without ever having been in an Olympic-size pool.” You only have a judge and perhaps a few sleepy competitors. Swimmer Eric Moussambani had the entire world watching.

Head over to MentalFloss to read how Olympic swimmer Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea went from local swim practice to dog paddling and splashing his way through a 100m heat in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. True, you may feel that slightly awkward cringe when you recall your own experience stumbling through a performance. But don't worry, his story has a happy ending.

So if you’re looking for an example of being underprepared, and…well…in over your head, so to speak…think about using Eric Moussambani’s story. 

Though, you should still get all of your events ready a little earlier.


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SpeechGeek Blog v.2.0 – Now With 143% More Awesomeness*!

Posted on August 06, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice

*DISCLAIMER – We’re just guesstimating on the awesomeness. We don’t have the proper technology to measure units of awesome. Yet.

As seasons change – so do the days of our lives. Goodbye summer, hello school. Everything is new: new classes, new teachers, new tournament season – and a brand new SpeechGeek blog to follow along the way. 

Sure, we’ll still be updating you about fresh new products and merchandise.  But on top of that, we’ll be providing brand-new content to whet your appetite for all things speech and debate. From literature and videos worth watching, information and ideas to use in your events, to thought-provoking discussions about the activity (and maybe some internet silliness as well), we’re taking the SpeechGeek blog up a notch.

Like when someone finally taught you how to do the pen twirl, things are about to look way more awesome.  

Keep checking in!

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"You Are Your Own Best Thing"

Posted on May 30, 2011 by Corey Alderdice

Speech and Debate: Oprah's Gateway to Success

by Caroline Kitchener

"You are your own best thing."

This was the message that defined the twenty-five years of The Oprah Show, which aired its final broadcast Wednesday night. But these words -- while important -- are not unique or revolutionary. So what was it about Oprah saying them that spurred a multi-million dollar media phenomenon that includes a talk show, a magazine, and now a television network?

This weekend, I will join thousands of high school students in Washington, D.C. for the national speech and debate tournament. Oprah attended this same national tournament almost forty years ago -- an experience she claims made the difference between a quiet, personal idea and a resounding message that was broadcast around the world for 25 years.

A high school activity with the power to change lives

Read the full essay...

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