Monday, May 22, 2017

Speech #10: The Playboy Startup

[Toastmaster Competent Communicator project #10: Inspire.  

Objectives: inspire the audience. Appeal to the audiences needs and emotions.  Avoid using notes.

This project really brought me out of my shell.  Instead of me speaking to the people in front of me, I had to invent an imaginary occasion, an imaginary speaker, and an imaginary audience.  It was like a stage play where I was author, and actor, and the audience were extras.]
Toastmaster's Script

The next speaker is TM Dick Mills. The title of his speech is The Playboy Startup

--- Dick shakes hands with the toastmaster.

While Dick is getting costumed, let me set the scene.

This is a bit of historical fiction. The scene is February 1954, Chicago Illinois. Hugh Hefner is meeting with his new team of 6 men and one woman their first day on the job at Playboy Magazine.

Dick will play the part of Hugh Hefner. The audience plays the part of the Playboy staff.

First iteration at costume.  Rejected because it made me look like Obe Wan Kenobe instead of Hugh Hefner.

Final costume.

---Toastmaster sits and Dick speaks

Welcome and congratulations. I say welcome because for some of you this is your first day on the job. I say congratulations because you all are in on the ground floor of Playboy Enterprises, where I plan to make every one of you rich and famous. But even if I fail, you're going to have the time of your life.


Eldon, Art and I put the first two editions together on my kitchen table. The first one was the most famous. Two lucky breaks helped to make that happen.

First, with less than a week to go, we got a letter from some lawyers saying that the name of our magazine, Stag Party, was already used.
We needed a new name, and Eldon brilliantly suggested Playboy. It is the perfect name. Thank you Eldon. Then Art suggested a bunny to replace the stag theme in our art. I said OK, and only four minutes later, Art came up with this logo. It is sheer genius. Thank you Art.

Second, I am a detail man. I'm also a perfectionist as you'll all soon learn. Art collected lots of pictures of naked girls, but I told him that I didn't want a girl, I wanted the girl. So I went out in search of the most valuable photograph on the whole damn planet.

Marilyn Monroe is the most famous and
most desired woman in the world. For years there have been rumors that a naked calendar picture of Marilyn existed, but nobody had ever seen it. I found that picture and I bought the publishing rights for only $600.

So with Marilyn on the cover
and Marilyn inside, we printed 70000 copies, and sent them out to the newsstands. They sold out in two weeks!

[I had a magazine with the cover taped on, the logo on the back, and a centerfold with Marilyn.  I showed the cover, then opened the centerfold and mouthed WOW, but I did not let the audience see it.  Hee hee a bit of a tease.]

The money from that first issue allowed us to pay off all our debt, with enough left over for me to replace my old chevy with a brand new Studebaker sports car. The second issue outsold the first. The money from that issue was enough for me to hire the rest of you and to rent these offices for us to work out of.


So. Here we are. What the hell do we do now?

Other men's magazines talk about hunting, fishing sport, we're not going to do any of that we talk about jazz, cocktails, Picasso, we talk about culture, but we also focus on sex. We will incorporate sex as one normal and logical and healthy part of a total package that appeals to a male audience. After all, what interests young men more than sex?

We started at the top with Marilyn, but that won't last. We need fresh ideas.


First the girls. My thought is to forget the glamour girls. I want the girl next door, the girl that is right in front of our eyes. But I'm not going to call her the girl next door, I'll call her the Playboy Playmate of the Month.

But what I want even more is to turn this magazine into a guide for becoming a playboy.

What's a playboy? He is a bachelor. Suave. Sophisticated. Intelligent. And urbane.


Every time someone picks up a copy of Playboy, I don't want him to just imagine himself as the kind of guy who gets the girl. I want to teach him how. How to buy the right suit. How to select the right bottle of wine or mix the perfect cocktail. How to orchestrate the perfect date. The Playboy is going to move to a major city, and pursue the urbane female.

The playboy is cosmopolitan. He appreciates people from all cultures, and all races. Interracial socializing and interracial sex will be prominent in Playboy. He is intellectual, and ready to debate any topic, especially those touching on his sexual freedom. Contraception, abortion, you name it. He can be religious but he must be willing to debate his religion with those of other belifs.

The women. The women a Playboy desires will themselves be suave, sophisticated, urbane, progressive in their politics, and intellectually superior. They will be connoisseurs of music, art, wine and life. Most of all they will be connoisseurs of worthy men; with the emphasis on worthy.


Advertizers. Advertisers must meet our artwork standards and their ads must be pitched to our market. The advertisers will pay a premium price to reach this premium market. Indeed, their lavish advertising budgets will themselves become part of their image, their allure.


But the how-to advice that we give has to be based on real life experience. I've arranged for my friend Vince to help. Vince is a real life Playboy who lives here in Chicago. Vince will arrange for us to be invited to all the best parties in Chicago. Before long, Marilyn Monroe, John Cheever, Lenny Bruce, and Jack Kennedy will come to know each of you on a first name basis. We will live the Playboy life. We will learn and then we'll teach.


[I picked a woman in the audience to be Charlene.  I walked over to her, leaned on the table, put my face right in hers, and locked eyes while reading the next paragraph.  She looked like a deer in the headlights.] 
Charlene, you are the only female member of our team. I need you to live the Playboy lifestyle too. You are a beautiful woman. You are the girl in front of our eyes. We don't need to scour the world for the Playmate of the Month. I want you to pose. I don't want anyone else. I want you. Please consider it.

I too will be in it up to my eyeballs. I'm married and I have a child, but I will be living the bachelor life. Does that violate traditional values? Yes! That's what we need, We all need to break with traditional American values, so that we can figure out what tomorrow's American values will be.

I don't want to follow trends. I want to create them. I want you to create them with me.


You six are the ones who are going to make it all happen. I want every article, every picture, every ad, every cover, every page to be specifically tailored to promote this one singular vision. The Playboy Lifestyle.


Now, lets' get to work.

-–Dick steps out of costume.

America has changed much since 1954.  Hugh Hefner and his staff deserve a generous share of the credit.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Can This be a Yucca Plant?

Zebulon, NC

We found several of these beautiful plants growing in our camp site on top of  Cheaha Mountain in Alabama.  The flowers were just blooming the 2 days we were there.

They sure look like yucca plants.  At least the flowerers do, but the base leaves don't.  

But yucca is supposed to be a desert plant.  Can they be on the top of a moutain in the Smokies?

Here's the view from the camp site.  Unfortunately, the air was hazy that day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


It didn't take long.  I may have priced her too low.  That's OK, a lovely couple from Maine will buy her and begin their own retired cruising life.  That is a very good outcome for Tarwathie.

So, as soon as the paperwork is complete, Libby and I will officially be CLODs (cruisers living on dirt).  I'm not sure which emoji fits that.  It is bittersweet for us.

p.s. We had a lovely lunch today with and old friend, Ian Grant and his family.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Speech #9: The Nocebo Cure

[Toastmaster Project 9: Persuade With Power. Objectives: Persuade listeners to adopt your vie or ideas and to take some action. Appeal to the audiences interests. Use logic and emotion. ]

Dick Mills is a retired engineer, a sailor, a pilot, an exterminator, a fireman, a blogger, a carney, and a toastmaster.

The title of his speech is:The Nocebo Cure
A librarian was told that there was formaldehyde in her new library bookshelves. Formaldehyde is a suspected human carcinogen and the librarian knew this. Soon she was suffering from a headache, aching joints, and labored breathing -- all classic psychosomatic symptoms.

But then she heard there was no formaldehyde in the shelves. Suddenly the symptoms disappeared.

But the final word was that the shelves contained formaldehyde after all but the librarian didn't know that and she remained symptom free.
Madam Toastmaster, friends, and guests. I speak tonight about the nocebo effect. I'll explain what that means. I'll offer several example. I'll offer you a simple cure, and tell you how applying that cure can improve your life.
Most of us already know of the placebo effect, and placebo pills. If someone tells you that you should feel better, you do feel better. A negative placebo is called a nocebo. If someone suggests that you should feel sick or, you do feel sick.
Let me first read something from an article aimed at plastic surgeons.

The nocebo effect is a well known causation of, and contributor to … psychosomatic conditions which can make life a terrible ordeal.

The vast majority of treatment-resistant pain syndromes ... are either directly caused by … or … contributed to …by psychosomatic factors.

The most common symptoms include headaches, back pain, fibromyalgia, ulcers, GI discomfort, jaw pain, and carpal tunnel.

There are many situations which may cause a woman to suffer a nocebo effect related to a surgical breast procedure including:

  1. Diagnosis of breast cancer can create a severe effect on the mind and body.

  2. Reading inflammatory information suggesting that breast implants might be harmful to the patient’s health.

  3. A warning from a doctor or radiologist that breast implants are dangerous.

More than half of all health products list headaches, rashes, and GI problems as side effects. But those are also common psychosomatic symptoms. Therefore when a new drug is tested, and test subjects are asked about side effects, they say headaches. Therefore headaches are among the listed side effects, therefore causing more headaches.

Ay ay ay ay ay. Now we have the dog biting its own tail. Even on an industrial level we are unable to separate objective truth from psychosomatic effects.

Nocebo effects are harmful to public health. Dr Dean Edell, said in 2008, that fears in today's world cause the average anxiety level of today's kindergarden students to be at a level considered neurotic in 1952. I'll say it again. Today's children, by 1952 standards, would have be considered to be mentally abnormal.
But we can't go overboard. We can't sue doctors for delivering a bad news in the form of a diagnosis. Nor can we sue a drug manufacturer for putting warnings on a pill bottle.

What can we do? Let me offer a simple cure. Something, easy to remember, easy to apply, and that will make you resistant to the negative effects of the nocebo effect. It's called critical thinking. My definition is simple.

  1. Consider the source's motivation
  2. Look for cooberating evidence
  3. Shift the burden of proof to the source.

It's more than just being skeptical. I'll elaborate.

  1. Does the source have a financial or other motivation to want to scare you? If yes, be careful.
  2. Consider cooberating evidence. You already have a lifetime of experience. You know how the world works. Applying that knowledge is what we call common sense.

    Can you see evidence of this new scary thing in the things you already know about this world? Make your own judgement. Is it likely true or false.
  3. Shift the burden of proof to the source. Sources commonly pose questions that you can't answer. They are attempting to shift the burden of proof to you. Don't fall for it. Demand proof from genuine experts not motivated to scare you. Ignore celebrities and politicians.

If you apply those simple rules in your everyday life, you will be resistant to being scared unnecessarily. Drug ads on TV won't scare you. Predatory lawyers won't scare you. Neither will predatory doctors, journalists, TV producers, authors, demagogue politicians, or your neighborhood gossip mongers. Become the master of your own life and your own emotions.

Therefore, I urge you. Become nocebo resistant. Remember and apply those three simple rules. 

1. Consider source motivation
2. Use common sense
3. Put the burden of proof on the source.

Madam toasmaster, the floor is yours.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tarwathie For Sale : UPDATE SOLD>

Reluctantly, we are offering Tarwathie for sale.  She's priced to sell at $25K, half the price of comparable W32s here in Florida.  Email me


Basic Specifications

More pictures HERE.

W32 1975 Factory finished boat
LOA 32'
LWL 27'-6”
Beam 11'-6”
Draft 5'
Diaplacement 20,000 lbs.
Fiberglass Hull
Ballast 7,000 lbs.
Sail Area 663 ft^2
Cutter Rig
Engine: Beta Marine 1308
HP: 37.5
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity: 40 gals
Water Tank Capacity: 75 gals


In 2005, I retired with the intention of cruising. My wife said that she would do it only if we had a boat safe enough to survive a hurricane Ivan. My research led me to the Westsail 32. I found 14 of them for sale on the east coast. We looked at all 14, but the instant we went aboard Tarwathie, we both knew “this is the one.” Tarwathie was (and is) in marvelous sail-away condition. The interior is light, bright and cheery. None of the other 13 W32s came close to Tarwathie's interior comfort.

We cruised full time on Tarwathie for 11 years, 2005-2016, doing about 60K nm in the USA East Coast, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, and 9 summers on Lake Champlain in Vermont. The previous owner cruised full time for 11 years, also doing 60K nm and raising two kids on board. That's equivalent to 4 circumnavigations. Tarwathie stands ready for a couple of more circumnavigations, but alas her crew (me and my wife) are not.
Tarwathie's adventures, including maintenance and boat projects, are documented in detail (2700 blog posts!) on


  • The Westsail 32 is the safest, most rugged, and one of the most famous sailboats in modern history. Hundreds of circumnavigations. Multiple winners of the Annapolis-Bermuda race and the SF-Hawaii Transpac Single Hnnded Race. Passers by often remark on her beauty and lines.
  • Supported by the active Westsail Owners Association ( and new parts still available from Bud Taplin (
  • Blue water design: duoble-ended, fore/aft scuppers, small cockpit well, solid glass min 1” thick below water line, molded in full keel, skeg rudder, bulwarks, external chain plates.
  • Factory finish, with 6'-6” headroom. Wood headliner. Teak&Holly sole, Mahogany paneling with beautiful rubbed effect varnish finish. Ceiling and most surfaces pained white.
  • Rear facing navigator's table and bench in the place where most W32s have obsolete chart drawers. Unusual factory option.
  • Fold up table has three positions, up, down seats two without blocking passageway, down seats four. Goes up and down in seconds. Much superior to other Westsail table/seating options.
  • Settees port and starboard, can seat 8, or allow 2 people to lay back and lounge in the main salon. Many other W232s require the V-berth for 2 people to lay down and relax.
  • Two 2' square lexan hatches, one in the main salon and one in the V-Berth. Lots of light.
  • 205 watts of solar panels, adequate for all electrical use when at anchor 29-days out of 30.


  • Fiberglass deck. All non-skid areas refinished in 2013 with a unique gelcoat-epoxy-netting surface.
  • Hull insulation.
  • Teak handrails
  • 10 opening ports
  • Forward hatch with solar exhaust fan
  • Midship hatch
  • Deck box before the mast.
  • Teak chocks to hold the dinghy under the boom.
  • Teak chocks to hold 4 water/fuel jugs.
  • 2 dorade boxes and vents
  • Genoa tracks for staysail instead of staysail boom.
  • Quick disconnect staysail stay.
  • SS and teak boom gallows
  • Stern Lazarette, sealed and drained for propane storage
  • Two 20 pound propane tanks
  • 2x Lewmar #44 two-speed self tailing sheet winches
  • 2x Lewmar #30 two-speed self tailing sheet winches
  • 1x Lewmar #30 two-speed self tailing reefing winch
  • 2x Lewmar #??? two-speed self tailing halyard winches
  • 1x Brass halyard winch
  • New tiller 2015
  • Some lifelines replacd with Dyneema.
  • Boom Gallows
  • Cockpit Floor liftable for engine access.
  • Custom Fitted Canvas Shade Tarps, one forward, one aft.
  • 3 winch handles
  • Bomar Aluminum Hatch in cockpit floor for visual inspecttion
  • 2x 1 cubic meter lazarette storage bins under bench (unique to Tarwathie)
  • Furlex Roller Furler
  • Custom fit cockpit cushions, with washable covers.
  • Running Backstays
  • Bimini
  • Full width dodger
  • Radar Reflector
  • Fenders
  • Fender-step for boarding.
  • Spreader Lights
  • Separate mast tracks for mainsail and trysail
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Masthead: VHF, Static dissipator, auto anchor light, (inop) wind speed & direction
  • 50 watt solar panel mounted in stern.
  • 2x80 watt solar panels stowed under the dinghy, with quick-connect plugs, to be brought out when in harbor

Ground Tackle

  • Primary 35# CQR with 225' of 5/16 chain.
  • Secondary 25# Danforth with 50' 5/15 chain and 225' of 5/8 nylon rode
  • Storm anchor 80# Luke, comes apart in three pieces and stows in the lazarette.
  • Manual windlass, copy of the Sea Tiger but 100% bronze, avoids steel-aluminum contact.


  • Two burner Princess Stove, new 2012. Gimballed.
  • Seat Belt & Safety Bar.
  • Deep SS sink, with fresh water foot pump, drain foot pump, salt water hand pump.
  • Refrigeration, 12v Cool Blue, energy efficient. Spacious fridge and freezer sections.


  • Sink w foot pump, drains to toilet
  • New Toilet 2015
  • Shower Pan


  • Bottom paint one year old
  • Hull above water line brand new paint 2016
  • Brand new line cutter on prop shaft
  • Dyna plate system ground
  • Dyna plate lightning ground

Ditch Kit

  • ACR EPIRB, serviced 2014.
  • Battery powered GPS
  • Battery powered VHF
  • Survival gear
  • Flares


  • ICOM 710 SSB
  • Antenna tuner, backstay antenna
  • Pactor Modem
  • VHF with AIS
  • Lowrance GPS Chart Plotter
  • VHF Remote mic with AIS screen
  • ICOM hand held VHF
  • AM/FM radio w remote
  • Tiller master autopilot
  • Depth Sounder
  • Speed/log
  • Link 10 Battery Monitor
  • Hand held depth/temp
  • LPG remote switch


  • Monitor Self Steering
  • Tiller Master self steering
  • Hand Bearing Compass
  • Chart books, Skipper Bob, and cruising guides for USA east and Bahamas.
  • Westsail Owners Manual
  • 5” compass lit
  • Horns, compressed air and manual
  • Old smartphone with Navionics Chart Plotter back up (does not need cell signal)
  • Davis Sextant & Celestial Navigation Books
  • Chapman's Piloting Book

Engine Room

  • Beta Marine 1308, 37.5 HP, 2009
  • Fuel Sight Gauges
  • Blower
  • Shore Power Charger
  • 40A Solar Charge Controller
  • 2 group 31 batteries
  • 2x 20 gallon wing tanks, 40 gallon diesel capacity.
  • Automatic Halon Fire Extinguisher.
  • Shunt for Battery Monitor


  • Folding table
  • Navigators table & bench
  • Two setees allow 2 people to lounge in the salon
  • Fully Gimbaled Oil Lamps
  • Weather Station
  • Pilot berth pulls out to make a double bed.
  • Wet Locker
  • Hanging Locker
  • 5 drawers
  • Original manuals for almost all equipment
  • Extensive spare parts inventory, and critical tools.
  • Rechargeable spot light
  • Removable washable cushion covers
  • Removable companionway ladder, and access to engine compartment.
  • Propane Cabin Heater with chimney

V Berth

    Generous room removable cushion covers Solar Ventilator Fan
  • 15 gallon neoprene bladder holding tank, no smells ever.
  • Chain lockers in forepeak, and under berth.
  • 4 Drawers and 3 lockers


  • Engine hours log
  • Wind speed & Direction
  • Outboard not used past 4 years.
  • Brand new throttle/shifter not installed
  • Washdown pump not connected
  • Brand new Windex not installed


  • 8' Fatty Knees hard dinghy. Excellent for rowing.
  • 7.5 foot oars
  • Dink anchor and rode
  • 2.5 HP Yamaha outboard, new 2013, <100 hours.="" p="">


  • Mainsail& battens
  • Yankee Jib
  • Stay Sail
  • Storm jib
  • Storm trysail