The Flywheel

This Week's Program: MAY 15, 2009

Is it Green? Is it Gold? Is it Hot? Is it Cold?

The success of Friday's interactive program depends on your participation as an interested ‘investigator’ at the Green Expo, May 14, 4-7 PM at the Ford Building Crane Way, as well as your participation at this meeting. Here are some ‘big picture’ and ‘little picture’ things to think about as you look and listen to the various business ideas and products that will be displayed.

Big Picture

  • Futurists say the 21st century will be as different from the 20th century as the 20th century was from the 19th century.
  • Depending on who you ask, global oil productions peaked in 2005 or will peak in 2011.
  • The Arctic Ice Cap in 2008 is one half the size it was in 1980.
  • The US Census Bureau shows world population in 1950 at 2.5 billion and estimates the world population of 2050 to be 9.5 billion.

Little Picture

  • How does the product/service/idea make the environment “better”?
  • How does the product/service/idea generate revenue? (one time sales, reoccurring fee, franchising participation, etc.)
  • Who is the target market for the product/service/idea?
  • Is the product/service/idea understandable or technically complex?
  • Does the product/service/idea require legal or economic incentives that do not yet exist or is it ready to ‘plug in’?
  • Does it ‘make sense’ based on your experience and what you know?

Last week's MEETING: May 8, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Werner welcomed us all with the Joke of the Day: Someone once said that we'll have a black President when pigs fly. Well...swine flu.

Herb couldn't resist because he thought he'd finally found a dirty joke he could tell before a room full of women: God, after almost completing creation, announced to Adam and Eve that he had two parts left over, and they could each have one.

God said, "The first one is called a penis, and it will permit one to pee standing up, and it will be a very visible sign of sexual arousal." Adam got very excited and declared that he wanted it, so God gave it to him. Eve, assuming she was getting second choice, sighed and asked about the other left over item, to which God replied, "It's called a brain..."

Somehow these jokes dismissed any possibility of a Thought for the Day.

Rotarians with Guests

Rafael M. brought three guests: Mr. Ochoa from G&O Tires, Mr. Rodriguez who owns a taco truck, and Mr. Mendoza from Rigo's Auto Sales.
Nick brought his wife, Nel.
Herb brought his neice's husband, Greg Harris.
Jan introduced Cheryl Maier of Opportunity West.
Laura introduced Iylode, who manages the Rotary Peace Garden.
Mark introduced Marsha Tomassi, of Ultimate Inner Cook.
Henry introduced his daughter Elizabeth.

Visiting Rotarians

Nobuko from El Cerrito Rotary set up a table of quality chocolates for Mother's Day, a fundraiser for her club.


Tacos next year?
  • Alan Blavins, an artist, sponsored by Hank Covell, was inducted as a new member. Congratulations, Alan!
  • Nick drew attention to the invitations on the tables from Youth Enrichment Services to its 10th Anniversary Dinner on Sunday, May 31, 2009, 6:00 p.m., at Hs Lordship's Restaurant in Berkeley. Our own Don Lau is the Master of Ceremonies.
  • Joe Bags reported on hot dog sales at the Cinco de Mayo festival. Sales were poor and the Club lost money, but participants had a great time and waved the Rotary flag, so to speak. The left over food was donated to GRIP.
  • Tom W. reminded everyone to attend the Green is Gold Expo on Thursday, May 14, from 4:00 to 7:00, at the Craneway in the Ford Building. Alan reminded everyone that Rotary will have a booth at the Expo and will need vlunteers to run it.
  • Jan announced that the assembly of baskets of the Teen Moms Program will take place on Tuesday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. at Rhonda Harris' office. The baskets will be delivered the next day. If you'd like to help, please contact Jan.

Special Events

President Mark honored many people who have helped him this year: Jon, David B, and Jim Y — Secretary, Treasurer and Weekly Luncheon Program Czar, respectively— all without whom he could not have had a successful year.

Mark also presented plaques to Nick and Jan, stalwarts of the Peace Project. (Nick was also mentioned as the only person in the room who can get Mark to shut up, but you'd think he'd take that advice from his attorney, wouldn't you?)

Continuing with the kudos, Mark recognized Marsha Tomassi, who played a large role in organizing the Winehaven event, and who catered it and who hasn't even sent Rotary an invoice for it (yet?).

Nick then honored other Rotarians and non-Rotarians who have been participating in the Peace Project: Laura, Rosie Freeman (who couldn't be present), Iyalode, Tom W. and Cheryl Maier.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Josh G. was happy that Rafael M. is to be Richmond's small business of the month at the May 26 City Council meeting.
  • Herb was happy that his son is learning Pashtun and leading his platoon near the Pakistan border.
  • Jon was happy for all the hard work put in by Joe Bags on the hot dog booth.
  • Rafael M. was happy the the Cinco de Mayo festival was such a big success, with more than 30,000 people and no police incidents.
  • Nick was happy to still be alive after his 60th birthday.
  • David B. was happy to present a check for $4,000 to the Peace Project.
  • Joe congratulated Rafael for the great Cinco de Mayo festival.
  • Alan L. was happy to become a Richmond Rotarian.
  • Erle announced that David B. and President Mark completed their Paul Harris Society commitments for the year.
  • Syd was happy to be back after being gone for six weeks, but no one recognized him behond that necktie.
  • Glenn Daggs was happy for something that his son did.
  • Ralph Hill was happy that his driver’s license was renewed. He warned us to get out of his way when he is driving.
  • Eric Gavidia was happy celebrating an event but by this time our scribe was so overwhelmed by all this happiness that he didn't write down what, exactly, had tickled Eric.

Norm’s Nonsense

 - This woman is so fat she gets her toenails painted at Lucky's Auto Body.
 - This guy said he lost 150 lbs of ugly fat. His wife left him.

Raffle Results

Don Lau's raffle ticket was drawn and he drew a white ping-pong ball.


Sun Power, a Vertically Integrated Solar Energy Provider

Kepler Mission probe

Our speaker was Matt Giannini of SunPower. SunPower is a vertically integrated provider of solar photovoltaic equipment, with a large facility in Richmond's Ford Building. Solar Power will get ever more economical as utility rates increase.

SunPower is a glocal company with more than 5,000 employees which has been in business for 25 years. Mr. Gianni said that his company's photo-voltaic panels are about 50% more efficient than competitors' products.

- Rotating editor, Josh Genser