Tag Archives: cigar

The Magic of Churchill’s Speeches


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Sir Winston Churchill and his cigar. From http://www.express.co.uk/news/

While avoiding any political endorsement of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he did lead England to victory over Hitler’s Germany during World War II.

It was a grave time for England¹.  While I am certainly not a military historian, his famous speeches – with his distinctive speech and delivery which helped keep the British morale bolstered  – always intrigued me.  They were always stirring.  Why is that, I thought.

As an example, an excerpt of one of his more famous WWII speeches follows, broadcast to the free world at the end of the Battle of Britain¹.  He pays homage to the brave, young RAF pilots who flew countless of sorties in defense of their homeland against numerically superior Nazi warplanes.  The radio broadcast recording is set to start moments before his famous words of Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few:

But there IS something in his speeches that captivated the common English layman of war-ravaged England…and me.  He captured the populace with his radio broadcasts, from chimney sweeps to the most learned elite.  This in a time when Nazi Germany laid siege to the island nation, eventually bombing London itself (which was part of a key tactical blunder²).

Nevertheless, his tone is generally reserved during his speeches; yet, it is stirring.  It certainly is not animated as that of his psychotic foe, Hitler; it is said Churchill would merely sit behind the microphone on a desk while his faithful cigar burned at his side while broadcasting his speech.  (Hitler is one of the most animated, dynamic speakers I have watched even though he was inhuman.)

An archival image of Sir Winston Churchill broadcasting to the English population, 1942.

Then, a couple of years ago, I had stumbled across an article about his speeches.  I think I was researching in support of one of my son’s school projects when I came across it.  But it finally laid bare his secret to me for his successful speeches: it was the simplicity of his words.

His speeches not only excluded complex words, like perpendicularity or discombobulation for the most part, his ultimate secret was the number of syllables in a word.

It was rare he used any word with more than three syllables.  Yes, three syllables.  Amazing, isn’t it?

With his cigar going, Sir Winston Churchill visits Hitler’s destroyed Chancellery in July 1945. Archival photograph.

In an excerpt from his speech on June 4, 1940 below, you can see his perfect choice of words.  There are only three words with more than three syllables (bold italics).  Simplicity was his preference and key to his success:

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

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Sir Winston Churchill, with cigar going, visits British troops in France six days after D-Day. Archival photo.

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Anyways, I just thought it was fascinating to finally learn one key to Sir Winston Churchill’s successful and historic speeches.  After he carried England through the war, I am sad he was voted out as Prime Minister in Britain’s first elections after Germany’s surrender.  He passed away in 1965 at the age of 90.

But one thing is for certain.  My Little Cake Boss Diva has instinctively mastered Churchill’s speech skills.

“Papa…  Why do you do it that way?  Do it this way!”

See?  All three syllables or less…  She must be captivating although she is a bit more animated than Churchill was.

Someone help me.

By the way, my text above has twelve words that have more than three syllables.  🙂

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For a collection of Sir Winston Churchill’s speeches, please click here.

NOTES:

1.  It is but my belief that England’s situation in 1939 while dire was not as gloomy as history presents it to be.  Nevertheless, it was a most dangerous time to be a Londoner.

2.  Perhaps in the future, I will write about this “blunder” by Hitler and most of all, Goering.  One unbelievable tactical error was ordering his Me-109’s – arguably a better fighter plane than the British Spitfire – to fly alongside his bombers in a defensive move.

Just Some Snapshots #12


It appears Spring has come a couple of weeks early to Southern California…  Some photos of blooms from around my home.

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Tiny buggers invade this succulent bloom.
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Clematis
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Cineraria
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Red bud blooms.
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Aloe bloom
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Shrimp plant
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An early Portulaca grandiflora blooms from my cutting
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Clematis
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Cineraria in B&W
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A real bad hair day
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Cineraria begins to bloom
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Aloe blooms
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My cigar…but not my yard.

Ewww….


As my little 11 year old Cake Boss would say when I would light up a cigar, “Ewwww, Papa!  That’s gross!”

Well, you have no idea of “ewww” or “gross” until now.

Unfortunately, I used the last of the soap yesterday…  It was too late when I stepped into the shower that I had forgotten to buy soap.

I was confronted with not washing at all…or…

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…use my little Cake Boss’ soap…  Excuuuuse me.  Shower gel.

I now smell of Cranberry Twinkle.

No, I reek.

It stinks.

Ewww.

Gross.

And the smell won’t go away.

Gotta light up a stogie to mask this wretched girlie odor.

Wait a minute.

I can’t.  It’s 1:30 AM.

Damn.

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Not that anyone should notice but my attention had been diverted away from WordPress the past month or so.  I decided to try and build a small (potential) income stream by (possibly) selling my photographs on websites.  You know.  Like for prints, greeting cards, cell phone cases and the like.  Frankly, I don’t know why anyone would want to buy a photograph versus a painting but what the heck.

So my days outside of dealing with the ex-wife – who thrives on interfering during my supposed time with my kids – has been focused on setting up a (cheap) studio and shooting macros of flowers and the like.  Plus having been an amateur FILM photographer in my youth, all this “photo editing” stuff has been a huge challenge.  I’m up against young(er) pros who all they know is digital photography.  You know.  Fred Flintstone meets Captain Kirk.  Oh well.

I also don’t know why I focused on macro photography for a niche market since I never had attempted it before… and the only thing I know about flowers is how to kill them.  Certainly, other niche markets like patriotism, sports and pets would be broader but macros would be doable and without much expense.  Besides, nothing would have to die.

Anyways, here’s a few of my recent snapshots:

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And for a finale…  Isn’t this a face only a mother could love?  It is an actual flower called a Cuphea, or a “purpurea Firecracker”.  Aren’t you impressed with this old former mechanic?

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One of my websites is here: Fine Art America.

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Time to light up a stogie.

I know.  Ewww.

But it’s better than smelling reeking like Cranberry Twinkle.

A Smoldering Butt


Just thought that was a catchy title…albeit a bit misleading like our media.  Just a tad misleading…’cuz the butt’s the other end.

I guess the news guys are finally rubbing off on me after all.

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But as I watched my kids and their friends play in the front, I felt like playing around with my new, fancy-schmancy Canon point and shoot – specifically hand held close-ups of the business end of a nice cigar.

It was amazing that an inexpensive camera such as this could take such equally amazing (yuk to some!) close-ups:

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I did switch to my standard Canon DSLR to snap these fun snapshots of my kids.  Little Brooke likes the distortion that erupts with this Canon 10-22mm lens…although a certain pro photographer buddy of mine will likely BBQ me over a slow but hot flame for using it.

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A Saturday in SoCal


A wordless post.

Well, almost.

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So what happens on a beautiful weekend in SoCal?

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Picked up the wall portrait of my kids from Alan Miyatake of Toyo Miyatake Studios.
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This appears to be an artistic rendition of one of Alan’s photographs of Ms. Condoleezza Rice?
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The famous grandfather of Alan, Toyo Miyatake.

Went to visit dad…  The workers there told me he’s not eating much as of late.  He only had a small salad with a little bit of chicken for lunch.  When I asked him if he was hungry, he said no but when I showed him one of his favorite Japanese treats, he went to town.

Number one.

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There goes number two!

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Number three down the hatch!

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He’s happy now. 🙂  And he did finish the last ball.IMG_0102

Took him one of Alan’s 8×10’s…labeled.  He’s 94 now.

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My bud Brian drove down from Reno for St. Paddy’s Day weekend – no better excuse to share a stogie together!

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Played around with my new Canon SX260 HS point and shoot camera.  Never had one that I can remember but it was fun to shoot with.

Superior close up capability.

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Hand held.  Look at the detail… Not bad for a shaky ol’ fart?

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I’m keeping an eye on all of you! Who’s got Visine?

Fish eye setting…

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My neighbor’s new son, Gabriel.  The father is USAF…  I pray for his safe return always.aIMG_0168

And finally, these were for me.  Like father, like son!  LOL

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