The Flywheel

Next Meeting: Friday, January 28


How Safe Are You?

Professor Rand Morimoto has worked in the computer industry for more than 30 years and has authored numerous books on this subject. He is the president of Convergent Computing, an IT consulting firm.

Rand will share his experiences (including as an information advisor to the President) about Internet safety and what the government is doing to enhance it. He will undoubtedly also share tips on what you can do to enhance your own security online.


Meeting of January 21, 2011

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez Alan Baer began the meeting ringing the bell and recognizing long absent Ralph Hill with the request to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance which he did. Stony Stonework lead us in a moment of silence for Freedom and Peace around the world.

Sunshine Report

No Sunshine Report today but several people commented on Ralph Hill’s always sunny disposition which was in good form.


  • The Crab Feed is coming February 5th. Please use the button in the left column to purchase your ticket. The event will be held in Salesian cafeteria like last year.  Hank says that if you want Budweiser, Coors, or Pabst Blue Ribbon you need to bring you own—only "quality" beers will be served at the Richmond Rotary Crab Feed. Hank Covell is looking for volunteers to help set-up, clean-up and at the bar (serving not drinking). The Salesian Interact Club will act as food servers. Big Erle ‘Crabby’ Brown also proposed that up to $500 of Crab Feed revenue be used to help support the purchase of a new book van for the Richmond Public Library (see below). 
  • On February 4th we will substitute our regular venue for a lunch and tour at the Chevron Refinery.  To register for the tour, please use the link in the left column, under Upcoming Programs. You must bring a government issued ID—any government, but your photo on the ID is required. Stay tuned for more information on where to meet. If you ‘Are on the list’ and did not get an e-mail Sunday from Jim Young, please e-mail him.
  • On February 10th we will be the hosts of the El Cerrito Rotary at “Playland Not at the Beach”. Time to unleash your inner 10-year old (not so "inner" for some of us, I know).
  • Sid "CA" Chauvin has 2 sets of 2 tickets each for San Francisco Symphony performances: Weds., February 9th (Bach, Schubert); and Weds, March 30th (Tchaikovsky and Sibelius). The retail price for these ticket is $60 each. Ted Abreu bought them but did not live to enjoy them. The proceeds from their sale will benefit the Salesian High School Interact Club, one of Ted’s special interests. Contact Sid to bid on the tickets.
  • Nick Despota asked members to contribute to a new book van for the Richmond Public Library. The current bookmobile has more patrons than both branch libraries combined. But (like many of us) it has a hard time making it up the hills to some schools and community centers. What’s more, its schedule for weekly visits is already filled, leaving thousands of children, seniors, and people with disabilities on waiting lists for services. The Richmond Public Library Foundation (Nick's on their board) has asked the Rotary to contribute $1,500 toward its goal of $100,000—earning the Club its logo placement on the new van. Generous members ponied up $750 on the spot. He'll make another pitch this Friday to see if we can make it up the hill to our goal.

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  • ‘Crabby’ Erle Brown, putting on his Foundation hat recognized Ralph Hill for his continuing support of the Rotary Foundation, presenting  him his Paul Harris + 7 pin which includes two rubies. Ralph received a well deserved standing ovation.
  • Erle then recognized Jim Young for his Paul Harris + 3 which makes his daughter Zura Y. Johnson a Paul Harris Fellow. Jim said he hopes to arrange a Presentation of the pin to his daughter at the Wilmington DE Rotary when they visit the grandchildren in March.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jim ‘The Beav’ Beaver started Happy and Sad Dollars with Happy $$ for his own birthday Jany6, which is always an Epiphany. This year’s epiphany being the realization that he is now qualified for and receiving Social Security.
  • George Egan also had Happy $$ for one of his two birthday’s, “the one his Mother attended”. More on this when Geo. Recognizes B-Day #2.
  • Nick Despota had Happy $$ for the club’s spontaneous generosity for the Book Mobile project.
  • Couldn’t tell if he was happy about it, but Herb Cole said that Herb Jr. ‘the Colonel’ is on his way back to Afghanistan with the Marines as the new editor of their Field Manual on counter insurgency.
  • Erle Brown, Jon Lawlis and ‘The Beav’ and probably some people I  missed all had Happy $$ for  Ralph Hill being at Rotary today.
  • Sid Chauvin had Sad $$ as it has been 50 years since JFK said, “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Boy time flies when you’re having fun.
    (Markku Pelanne reported another version of Kennedy’s famous statement, offered by the government of Finland: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what other peoples' countries can do for you.”
  • Josh Surowitz had Happy $$ for his son Luke’s 9-month milestone and he the fact that he just bought tickets for a family trip to Barcelona this summer.
  • Markku had Sad $$ for the passing of Ted Smith (so did the Beav) but Happy $$ for the celebrations of his memory (so did the Beav).
  • We ended H&S $$ with very heartfelt Happy $$ from Ralph Hill who said he really missed all his friends in Rotary and that it was good to be back.

Norm's Nonsense

A couple were spending a quiet evening at home when all of a sudden the wife asked the husband: "If I were to die tonight, would you remarry?"
Husband: "Well I suppose in time, I might consider it."
Wife: "And would your new wife live in this house?"
Husband: "I wouldn't be selling it so I guess she would."
"Wife: "Would she sleep in our bed?"
'Husband: "Most likely, yes."
Wife: "And would you let her use my golf clubs?"
Husband: "No, definitely not."
Wife: "Why not?"
Husband: "Because she's left handed.""

PROGRAM of January 21

Alan Blavins with Gar fish
Alan making nice with 150 lb. Allilgator Gar

Alan Blavins, fish
Cradling a 138 lb. Wels Catfish

Alan's son with fish
Alan's son Josh with 55 pound Redtail Cat

In Search of River Monsters

There was a lot of Happy & Sad today so Jim Young introduced Richmond Rotarian Alan Blavins who goes to great links to be “gone fishin’”.  In his spare time Alan is an adventure fisherman who travels the world and fishes for rare and exotic fish, catch and release only. Alan apologized for the ‘summer holiday’ aspect of his slide show presentation but when on to show maps of remote locations in Southeast Asia, South America, Europe and deepest, darkest Texas with fish that ranged from 50 lbs to 150+ lbs. Alan described all these fish as “beauties” and a couple of them were, especially the Red tailed Catfish, but most of the others could have had supporting roles in the movie “Alien”. Alan said that his real accomplishment is not just the fish but 14 years of fishing expeditions all with his son Josh who was usually pictured with the bigger fish.

I asked Alan how he finds these remote locations and organizes trips.  He said most of his trips he organizes through his fishing club Fishquest and his favorite fishing guide Jean-Francois Helias who is the holder of 155 international game fish records. Helias runs a company in Thailand called Fishing Adventures that is associated with a sport fishing resort and lake in Thailand called Ratchaburi Lake where several of Alan’s large fish were caught.

If you missed the pictures, check out those included here. If you want to see more you’ll have to invite Alan over for drinks and ask him to bring his slide show. Thank you Alan for stories about the ‘big ones’ that did not get away, until you let them go and introducing us to your constant fishing companion Josh Blavins.

- Rotating Editor, Jim Young