The Flywheel

Program for DECEMBER 12, 2008

Fishing hideouts, plane rides with bank presidents, a weekend at the Brothers Lighthouse, fine art, wine, ferns, the legendary Gallo Muscatel. (Ferns?)
A big Silent Auction too!  Look for yourself.

Yes, lots of stuff wonderful and weird. But the drum-beating message is this: Come. Bring friends and bring money. It's good for you and it's good for our world.

MEETING OF December 5tH, 2008

The unexpected bright light and larger vistas of the MVCC Ballroom dazed Prez Mark, like a deer in the headlights, until he realized that the speaker was here and it was OK to start the meeting.  A ring of the bell and Tom Waller lead us in the flag salute. Just back from Texas with stories of the latest hurricane devastation along the Gulf Coast, Herb Cole treated us with the following joke:

Three sinners died and went to Heaven. They were met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter, who was having a Christmas Special.  “To get into Heaven you sinners have to show me something appropriate for the Christmas Season”, he says.

Sinner #1 (who died a smoker) reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette lighter, lights it and says, “This is a Christmas candle shining light into the darkness.”  St. Peter says, “OK you can go in”.

Sinner #2 fidgets a little then reaches into his pocket, pulls out a set of keys and shakes them. “These are jingle bells.” “OK, " says Pete, "you can go in."

Siinner #3 fidgets a lot. Finally, as if illuminated by the joyous memories of Christmas past, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of women’s panties: "These are Carols.”

Rotarians with Guests

Jan Brown brought a table full of guests interested in today speaker including, Harlan Kerr, Director of Curriculum for the WCCUSD, , and much of the staff of Youth Enrichment Strategies (YES) including ED Eric Aaholm, Demetria Saunders, and Blanca Hernández.
Henry Kelman brought his son Benjamin who is becoming a regular at Rotary.

Sunshine Report

The bright light of the big room blinded us to today’s Sunshine Report. And if the rest of the meetings organization seems ‘dazed and confused’ it is because it was…or maybe it is just the Scribe’s bad day…


  • Menehune and the Beav (that's Don Lau and Jim Beaver to the newbies), will once again share the MC duties for Fridya's auction. Their warm-up act included their best Bevis & Butthead impersonations. The Beav noted  “I’m Beavis, so Don, what does that make you?” Should be fun! Have a look.
  • In case anyone hasn’t heard, Cal wooped Stanford in the Big Game and Erle Brown made sure everyone, especially Josh Genser heard.
  • Josh Genser was gracious in defeat, more or less, and only said a couple of derogatory things about Cal.
  • Hank Covell noted that he and Doreen just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary having been high school sweet hearts.  Hank isn’t counting the years in high school before they got married. Congratulations you love birds!
  • Amazingly, Werner Schwarz said he is celebrating his 45th anniversary with the club, and we’ve managed to survive and proper in spite of his best efforts.  Werner, you’re priceless.
  • After saying a few more derogatory remarks about Cal, Josh Genser leaped into Happy & Sad $$ and said he had sad dollars for the picture of the Genser Hideout in the Holiday Auction list.  Your editor notes, ‘not to worry’, about the accommodations, the outstanding fishing makes up for it, but bring your own pole.
  • Herb Cole again said he was glad to be back from the Hurricane Coast and that it was really bad this time. Parts of the coastal communities are now like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, “There is no there, there.”
  • The Rotary Holiday Party will be December 19th at the Mira Vista Country Club. The bar opens at 5:30 and dinner is at 6:30 followed by music and dancing.  We will be celebrating with the El Cerrito Rotary again.  See Alan Baer for tickets, there are a few left.

Special Events

Paul Harris Chair, Erle Brown, asked Stoney Stonework to come to the podium to be recognized as the club’s most recent member of the Paul Harris Society. A group recognition of our many PH Society members happened a couple of weeks ago but Stoney couldn’t attend that meeting. Erle gave Stoney the three ounce cup that symbolizes the three ounces of food that millions of poor people around the world survive on each day. Earle encouraged continuing support of the Rotary Foundation's efforts to improve the basic living conditions of the world’s poor. Paul Harris Society members contribute $1,000/year to the Rotary Foundation. Stoney didn’t mention it beyond our lunch table, but the reason he couldn’t make the group recognition is because he was busy selling his McDonald’s in Vallejo and is now a man of leisure.

Norm’s Nonsense

Timely thoughts about money:
    • If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
    • Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which you put your money in your pants pocket and give your coat to your creditors.

Raffle Results

Stoney started his new life of leisure by winning the raffle and getting a white ball.


Rotary Foundation

Sharon Ellison

Tom Waller provided today’s speaker, Sharon Ellison, an eloquent introduction that emphasized the need to use many tools, especially language, to overcome violence in or society and support programs like the Rotary Peace Project.

Sharon is the author of “Taking the War Out of Our Words” and a regular lecturer and instructor for schools and industry.  Her mission is replace “the rules of warfare” commonly used in communication with “non-defensive language” and openness.  Sharon’s presentation emphasized the nuance of language and the subtle but real predisposition to violence found in common speech.

Given this nuance, please consider visiting her web site for a presentation of these issues in their full complexity.

Thank you Sharon Ellison for providing Richmond Rotary with another tool to support our own Peace Project efforts in Richmond.

- Rotating Editor, Jim Young

P.S. To ensure that your guests' names are properly spelled, I encourage you to send those names and information about our speakers to the Flywheel Editor for inclusion in the text. Find editors' names and program descriptions.