January 25, 2001


By the time this reaches you, PP DOUG DESCH will have moved into his new Westside quarters - 1440 23rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404, (310) 998-2235. Welcome back, DOUG!

This takes precedence over the balance of this report - which, you might imagine, may show some lack of continuity and understanding when the Speaker is reported upon…

Before this, however, the usual order prevailed, with the Pledge being led by LEO TSENG. And before the Pledge, LEO reminded us all that he had not been privileged to be born in the United States, but later ELECTED to become a US Citizen, which most of us simply take for granted. This Pledge introduction was warmly received. GEORGE DEA spoke about Rose Shaw, a Special Guest and friend of Annie Tseng, and BRUCE ROLF was with Judy Wright; a Past President of the Lawrence, Kansas Club. PP RON LYSTER spoke for Special Guest (now being circulated) Sherry Dewane, who is sponsored by PDG BILL GOODWYN. And last, JACK HARRIS presented Wink Znerold, a friend from the desert.

DON NELSON stepped forward, volunteering to take Masako Nakumara and Suzanne Karpilovsky (for whom he is Counselor) to the forthcoming District Breakfast. And being into intros, CLARK McQUAY next told us about our other visiting Rotarians, Michael von Wolkenstein, from the Vienna Club, who was accompanied by his wife, and Byron Stock, LA Westside. Turns out that Byron is a partner in a CPA firm, which has merged with that of PP STEVE DAY, the new firm name of which YOE has totally lost. Anyway, this intro cost PP STEVE 100 big ones. PP HOWIE HENKES brought forward our two newest members, Sharin Rose Klisser, sponsored by (who else but) GEORGE DEA - her classification is Parkinson's Research, and Bert Kriesburg, in insurance, and sponsored by RALPH SMITH.


Announcements started with ART HENRY, who described a program we used to have which is now being reinstituted, Call A Colleague. This is to be used by WVRC members who may want to discuss a problem anonymously with members who are qualified to help them with solutions. Please call ART for details, and remember, this is a private counseling service. RUDY ALVAREZ pitched the Japanese Student Exchange, with our 16 to 19 year-old students going to Japan this summer, June 26th to July 21st. and then returning to host the Japanese students who come back to LA with them. This is a real winner, for either your kids or grandchildren, and the Club picks up some of the tab. YOE urges you to consider sending your offspring on this - those of us who have done so are universally pleased with the experience our kids had. RUDY also reminded us that he needs reports from Committee Heads for our Annual Report - and please submit them to him on e-mail, only, OK? And speaking of hosts, YOE is buttonholing members to host the GSE team from Czechoslovakia, who will be with us from April 22nd to the 29th, after which they go to the District Conference. CHRIS GAYNOR and YOE are signed up so far, and we are looking for three more hosts. Hosting the whole Czech team for their week on the Westside within just WVRC members will really make their visit much more personal - so think about joining us, OK?

PDG ANDY ANDERSON reported on a new Police Dept. program, with new WLA Chief Rich Weber. The police will be reading to the 3rd and 4th graders at Bellagio Newcomers School, and if you would like to help, please call ANDY. And two reminders - the District Breakfast is at the LAX Marriott on January 30th - JIM GREATHEAD will sign you up. And, correcting an earlier error, be advised that the date of the Valentine's Day Brunch at Shanghai Reds in the Marina is February 10th. Shirley and PETER MORE are in charge - please reserve soon.

PP JIM DOWNIE gave a very well prepared demonstration of what his synthesizer can do. He started off with Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies, followed by screams when he asked an imaginary choir if they would sing with us. Note that he can produce over 1000 orchestrations, including every known instrument. However, we should also realize that his keyboard has what you could call an automatic tempo, and once 'in the groove' it isn't possible to adapt it to changes in tempo. With different conductors, plus our tendency to belt out the melody (thus drowning out the keyboard) we can quickly get away from the keyboard tempo. This is frustrating to JIM, of course - and he next illustrated a different tempo with some rock and roll. His final rendition was our well known Home on the Range, which he asked us to follow by his hand signals - that is, showing us when to begin the next stanza, and again, asking us NOT to belt out the tune.

Let's try to be more attentive to the keyboard beat - it's a wonderful instrument, and Jim really works to provide his excellent accompaniment. He will try giving us some advance intro with the correct tempo, so let's listen, and do our part to complement his keyboard, OK? JIM, thank you for all the music you provide, week after week.

Our speaker was Alan Rubin, introduced by PP RALPH WOODWORTH. Dr. Rubin came to UCLA in 1983 as a Research Geochemist, and he began by assuring us that he didn't need a microphone as he stood alongside the screen showing both slides and various charts. He passed around a couple of meteorites - they were HEAVY - and their recent history began with Pliny in 115B.C., resumed more recently in the 15th Century. In 1807 Jefferson doubted that stars would fall from heaven. A definition here, if I may: Meteors are pieces of asteroids, which are themselves small groups of rocks and other debris. They can vary considerably in size, and there are over 20,000 of these orbiting hunks - 10 kilometers or larger in diameter. The closest recent miss was a rock 13 to 80 kilometers in diameter, traveling at 15 kilometers per second, which skipped off the atmosphere just 58 kilometers above the Grand Tetons. With a steeper trajectory, it would have hit Earth with the impact of several hundred Hiroshima blasts!

The last major asteroid to hit earth was 65 millions years ago (he said it was in November…) sending billions of tons of rock fragments into the air and changing the weather throughout the planet. The dust probably took months or even years to settle, thus blocking sunlight, in turn killing all the dinosaurs and plant life. This of course allowed the human race to begin (because our forebears were so small they could survive in rock cracks), so it maybe wasn't all bad. While falling rocks as small as 10 meters continue to arrive, 2/3rds of them land in the water - more good news… In answer to a question, the meteor/asteroid, which hit Arizona, created major devastation, and the crater at Ngorongoro in Tanzania was from a volcano, not a meteor. Dr. Rubin, thanks for giving us some idea of what is out there - we depend on your good offices to keep the darn things away from Southern California, OK?

Thought for the Day, from Albert Einstein - "The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypothesis or axioms". YOE doubts that anyone he knows could have said it better.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe