PP RALPH WOODWORTH was taped to lead the Pledge, and he preceded it with some interesting history. The author of our Pledge was Francis Bellamy, and it was first published in 1892. In 1924, “the flag of the United States of America” replaced “my flag”. The final addition was in 1954, when “under God” was inserted. A biographer suggests it should be ‘one nation indivisible, under God’ but we like it just fine as is.
LENNY and PP JIM took us through You’re a Grand Old Flag, and this may yet become one of our better numbers (but don’t get the big-head we ain’t got that many good numbers…) PEGGY BLOOMFIELD gave the Invocation. Her prayer was from Robert Louis Stevenson, and she exercised the speakers prerogative by asking us to remain standing. “We thank you for the places in which we dwell, the love that unites us, the peace accorded us, for the hope with which we expect tomorrow… Let peace abound”.
Let me begin by acknowledging those who have signed up to be Poll Workers. PP HOMER and SALLY NEWMAN, PP RALPH WOODWORTH, President DON and ROZ NELSON, SHANE WAARBROEK, PP STEVE DAY, MIKE GINTZ, and YOE. And since the subject is the November 8th Special Election, I’m warning you right now that I will be campaigning for Prop. 77, which puts Redistricting in the hands of a panel of retired judges. I don’t consider this to be a partisan issue, since it would benefit us all, and thus I excuse my overt support since it is just such a good idea, whose time has finally come.
We had two Visiting Rotarians. Jim Crone is from the Richmond, VA Club, but I don’t know what he does. Renato Romano belongs to Beverly Hills, and is a builder. PP STEVE SCHERER brought Kenny Cruz, who is known to those in the Methodist Mafia, since he was a long-time member of the local chapter. Kenny is a law professor at Indiana and STEVE’S daughter, Rachel, was one of his pupils this past year. She is apparently headed for Law Review, so he must be doing a good job. ANNIE TSENG was with HENRY. GEORGE COX brought his long-time friend, Dr. Charles Wick.
Good News PDG ANDY ANDERSON “now has a haircut and he’s willing to receive visitors”.
The family picnic is this Sunday at 2 pm at the Siskels. Bring main dishes if you are A to M, and after that, desserts, please. And bring the kids and grandchildren they want to see the golfers and seed-spitters perform!
President DON asked those who attended the USC football game to stand and only PP STEVE DAY could be seen. He then asked the UCLA attendees to stand, and PP STEVE was still on his feet he attended BOTH games. When DON learned that Steve had been a guest at the UCLA game, thus saving all kinds of money, he fined him a hundred big ones these games are expensive!
The tickets for the UCLA-Washington game were then offered at bid. ELLIOTT TURNER, who used the same tickets for the Oklahoma game, was asked if they were good seats. Outside of being right next to PP MIKE NEWMAN, they were excellent On the 35-yard line, good parking, etc. There was some spirited bidding, with new member REZA BUNDY winning them for $165.00. The game on October 8th, UCLA Cal, was sold to SEAN McMILLAN for $175.00. PP MIKE NEWMAN had the winning bid on the Oregon State game for $100.00. That left Arizona State, but they will be offered later.
PP JOHN SINGLETON (and you’ll pardon the pun) was singled out. He has missed a couple of meetings, and after briefly describing his 2,000-mile road trip, the obvious question of an appropriate fine was introduced. Arbiter GEORGE COX suggested 98 cents, but this was rounded off to a buck, so PP JOHN kicked in two grand! I guess the lesson to be learned here is that road travel is expensive. PP JOHN then came up with the following touching story:
This fellow was in a bar, and looking across, he saw a gorgeous lady nearby. He moved over to her, asked if he could buy her a drink, and she agreed. As they were chatting, she suddenly sneezed and her eye popped out of its socket. Our hero caught it in his martini glass, and offered it back to her, for which she thanked him. The evening progressed, with dinner and a movie. The next morning she invited him over for breakfast, and it was, of course, excellent. Almost overwhelmed by all this attention, he asked, “Is this what you do when you meet someone?” “No”, she said, “You just happened to catch my eye”.
President DON, of course, had a joke of his own:
An older man was asked what he liked to do now that he was retired. He replied that he liked to have a little fun every day. Recently, he was in a convenience store, and when he came out, there was a policeman writing a ticket. He said to him, “How about giving a Senior a break?” He was ignored, so he called the officer a Nazi. This produced a second ticket, for having worn tires. Our hero called him an obscene name, which produced a third ticket. This went on for about twenty minutes the more he was reviled, the more tickets he wrote. Personally, I didn’t give a damn my car was parked around the corner.
Having introduced the subject of jokes, I now have a couple of quotes to pass along. These came to me via the Internet, and they are the recorded prayers of several little kids:
“Dear God, thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up “ -Joyce
“Dear God, I read the bible. What does beget mean? Nobody will tell me" love, Allison
“Dear God, my Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go?" Love, Dennis.
“Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What’s up? Don’t forget.” Mark.
“Dear God, is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you know him through the business?” Dorothy
And finally, “Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool.” Thomas
TONY MARRONE introduced our Speaker, Justin Houchin. Justin was recruited when he was just sixteen, and is now known as “The First Teenager in Space” since he flew on a military jet, even piloting it briefly all this while he was just seventeen. He’s now an old man of eighteen, but already he is an Eagle Scout, a scholar-athlete, musician, actor and robotics champion. He is the first teenager to fly a military jet, which he accomplished at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave. In May of 2004 he shared the dais with John Glenn on Space Day at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. In August 2004 he formally enrolled for flight training, in which he is still engaged.
Justin began by showing a brief videotape of his appearance on NBC. When the jet which he shared with one of the test pilots landed, he was given a ‘shower’, literally, in recognition of his accomplishment. He began speaking by thanking us for inviting him, noting that he likes to speak before Rotary Club since he very much admires what we do for the community, Katrina Relief, etc. When asked, at 16, what he wanted to do with his life, he replied, “Everything”. As he was being interviewed, he was asked if he wanted to be the first teenager in space. He was extremely excited but a little bit scared. His Mother’s reaction she was a bit scared, but also had nausea.
The sponsors of this idea first began working with Boy and Girl Scouts. He was eventually selected, because of his broad interest in science and his gymnastic activity. He in turn attributes all his accomplishments to the Scouts they do an excellent job of training for leadership, and thinking on your feet. He gave an example of how his Boy Scout training helped awhile ago, his brother was involved in an ATV accident, and he recalled enough first aid that he was able to keep him stable until he got back to the house, where his Grandfather was a doctor.
He graduated from high school at Pinewood Academy, on an accelerated program. This included working his way at the school to pay tuition. The National Robotics competition was held recently, and his team had mentors from JPL and Honeywell who helped them.
He will be taking a pre-Astronaut Training Program. The company who will be building the rocket he expects to ride is Interorbital Systems, and they participated, but did not win, the recent first civilian aircraft to enter space race this was won by Burt Rutan we have seen some of his work here at WVRC. The next target is the Bigelow Prize, which will be awarded to the first private company to orbit the earth.
He is taking flying lessons at Wrightman Air Force Base, and expects to get his pilots license later this year. Today he spends a lot of time talking to kids, emphasizing to them all the opportunities they can take advantage of. He isn’t in favor of video game playing, and feels kids can spend their time a lot more profitably in learning activities. He hopes to go to Russia next year for Cosmonaut training, and the Johnson Space Center has allowed him to study and share some of their data.
Q&A I had the first question, asking if he was the pilot or just a passenger in the video we saw. He was first a passenger, but then was allowed to fly the jet once they leveled off at altitude. LENNY FRIEDMAN - Why take Cosmonaut training? NASA is not currently opening up any of their training facilities to this teenage program. LILLIAN KLIEWER What are your hobbies and activities? When he was 12, his mother finally allowed him to play unlimited video games and after three weeks, he realized it wasn’t leading anywhere. As soon as he turned the games off, his imagination took over. He first wanted to be an acrobat, then an actor, a musician and so into robotics. He has been a Boy Scout since he was eight. REZA BUNDY of all the Astronauts you have met, what are their common characteristics? They were engineers and passionate about their work. President DON Will you still be a teenager when you get into space? If it doesn’t happen in the next two years, we’ll just have to do the best we can. LENNY, again Have you had any Astronaut training? Only a little bit so far. CLARK McQUAY, Will Burt Rutan’s firm win the earth orbit race? He certainly is in the lead, with an excellent design. But whoever gets into Space Travel will benefit all the others who are trying. PP HOWIE HENKES Have you seen or worked with the scale components developed by Rutan? I met him once, and have seen some of his designs. Dr. Charles Wick What is your projection for our landing a man on Mars? NASA is planning for 25 years from now, but if they switch to today’s technology instead of using older systems, it could be sooner.
President DON’S final If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?