How To ... cont. 4

Defend yourself with everyday objects

You’ve heard the advice: Walk to your car with a key between your knuckles to fend off a would-be attacker, right? Wrong, says Ray Szuch, owner of the Cleveland Academy of Self-defense. Use the key like a serrated knife. Don’t jab — slice. “It would literally tear and rip the skin of an attacker.” If you’re cornered, go for the throat or the face. If the attacker has your hand, you have the “kind” option — the back of his hand, Szuch says. Then you have a potentially lethal option — the inside of his wrist. Szuch suggests always carrying a key for defense — and not your car key, which is unavailable while driving. Instead, tie a spare key to a rubber band with a piece of string long enough to allow you to grip the key while wearing the band around your wrist. But in your hands right now, you hold an equally deadly weapon — this magazine. Roll it up and hold it in the middle. “Jab with the end of the magazine like a ramming rod. You could smash the groin, break a nose, even the solar plexus.”

Be perfect

PBA veteran Dave D’Entremont of Middleburg Heights has bowled 49 career perfect games. He bowled his first 300 when he was 19 and his latest, as of press time, was in November, at age 47.

> Practice does, indeed, make perfect. “A lot of practice.”

> Be consistent. “You have to keep doing it the same as you’ve been doing. If it is successful — if it works — don’t change.”

> Luck is always involved. “Always.”

>  Don’t think about it. “Overthinking can be a problem. When you get down to the 10th frame, a lot of people think the hardest is the last one. For me, the 11th one is hardest one: If you don’t get the 11th, you don’t get to try for a 12th. Once I get the 11th one, my chances are pretty good.”

> You need self-control. “It’s not a matter of feeling nervous. It’s controlling the adrenaline that pumps through the veins.”

> It is not, and will never be, easy.“To throw 12 shots where all the pins fall down is tough.”

> You can be proud of yourself even when you’re not perfect. “There’s certainly satisfaction and gratification in knowing you’ve done as good as you can do. Even though I’ve had nearly 50 of them, it still feels great to be perfect. But sometimes, the best games you bowl [aren’t a] 300.”

Be a great host

If you want your guests to relax and have fun, you must do so first. “It’s all in the mood of the host,” says frequent party host and Channel 3 meteorologist Hollie Strano, who also presents a Dish of the Week during her station’s morning show each Thursday. “I can have china on the table or plastic dishes [but] my mood is always happy-go-lucky.” We asked Strano how she entertains up to 70 people in her 3,000-square-foot home ... without losing her mind.
1 Minimize pre-party cleaning. Save the floor scrubbing for afterward, when your house will really need it. “You can still make the house beautiful with the Swiffer. Give it a vacuum and a dust and call it a day.”

2 Keep the crowd out of the kitchen. It’s hard to take a hot tray of food out of the oven when 15 people are blocking your way. To lure guests into another room, you need more than a bowl of mixed nuts — you need drinks. When Strano hosted a baby shower for Channel 3 anchor Carole Sullivan, she set up a table in the family room and put all the beverages there — champagne and pitchers of tea and punch. She also put finger foods on the table. It worked.
3  Keep it simple. Unless you’re serving a sit-down dinner, you don’t need a seat for everyone.
4  Create a party drink. Strano says this is her husband’s department. For a recent get-together, his signature drink was Hawaiian punch shots — a mixture of cherry vodka, pineapple juice and grenadine.
5  Pour yourself a glass of wine “and have the confidence that it’s going to be great.”

Be Funny
Sean McConaha of The Bang and The Clatter Theatre Company can lob self-effacing remarks to a stoic audience and get belly laughs in return. “For me, it comes from a place of defense, honestly. I wasn’t the super-jock. My way ‘in’ was being funny.” He says funny guys (and gals) don’t try hard. “People are either funny or they aren’t.” If you’re not born with the gift, here’s McConaha’s advice for faking it.

> Timing is everything.The church picnic is no time for a priest-and-little-boy joke.
> Think like a stand-up comic.Who’s in the audience? Whether you’re at a party or in line at the bank, look around for a punchline that’s relevant.

> Expect (some) rejection. “If you tell a pedophile joke, be prepared for someone to say, ‘Eeew!’ ”

> Shut up. “Give the audience room to laugh.”

> Save your joke for later. At a party, don’t be the last person in a joking crowd to pipe in.

> Make fun of yourself. Don’t exclude yourself from the audience. “It’s better to say, ‘I know I don’t look like George Clooney, but you [pointing] really don’t look like him.’ Then the audience knows you’re one of them.”

> Don’t try so hard. “Funny comes from a state of assurance and calm. Don’t push it.”
Be Tragic

You hear devastating news — a car accident, a death, another Browns loss — and you must react appropriately. Not a drama queen? That’s OK. We turned toMaryann Nagel, an acting coach at PlayhouseSquare, who once helped young actor Peter Billingsly from A Christmas Story cry by asking him to think about his dear, old (dead) dog. Here are her tips for tapping your inner Shakespeare.

> Breathe in — gasp! Inhale sharply then breathe out while uttering choice words: Oh, my. Oh, no.

> Pause for reflection. “Don’t try to talk, talk, talk. When you’re truly shocked, you don’t have the words. The voice is halting, breathing is labored.”

> Elongate your words. As in, I’m sooooh sooohry. Lower your speaking volume to a couple of notches above a whisper, as though you are saying something you don’t want others to overhear.

> Cut loose. Cry “Why me? (gasp) Why me?” Then pace while looking down at your feet. “The pacing is animal instinct, like a fox that is caged.”

> Seem distracted. Look away (or down), but do not make direct eye contact with the person sharing the tragic news.

> Hold back the waterworks. “Have you ever been to a funeral and said, ‘I’m not going to cry?’ The harder you try not to, the more you will.”

Write a meaningful message in a greeting card
Just signing “Love,” and your name is a cop-out. And “XOXO” isn’t going to get you much further. Nicole Fraser, senior creative consultant at American Greetings, has 19 years in the greeting card business and writes for every occasion on the calendar. (Stop by anyTarget in Greater Cleveland, and you’ll see her work in the card aisle.) We asked for her advice on crafting a meaningfulmessage

You spent time picking out the card, spend some time writing. | “Don’t try to do it on the fly.” Take 10 or 15 minutes to help focus your thoughts. Fraser calls this getting the right “head space.”

Practice, practice, practice. | “Even when I’m writing a birthday card to a friend, I still start on scratch paper.”

Write the way you talk. | “If you write the way you talk, it’s going to come out right.”

Get personal. | List some memories or qualities you like about the person. “It’s a fun, ... no-pressure, nonthreatening way to get focused on them.”
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