Posted by Editor: FDBobko
March 2, 2023 
CLUB MEETING, March 2, 2023 
Article by Stacy Trevenon
Addendum from Joe Brennan
Photos by EJ Dieterle
May 2 was a day and a meeting open for true Rotarian resourcefulness, since the club president was absent and the speaker for the day had cancelled. So Warren Barmore stepped up to the podium and set the tone for the meeting right off with laughter. Present were a handful of Rotarians plus guest Doug Mallon. Warren noted that since the speaker had cancelled, “there’s no meeting but we have a meeting, and it’s us,” so “we’re gonna socialize” with things everyone wants to say” about projects.

He began by passing around an old photo album and asking if anyone had any idea what the pictures were of? --- “Rotarians,” guest Mallon deadpanned – and how old? “Not as old as me,” quipped someone (Rose, maybe?) Warren estimated the photos were collected in or around 1988, and he put stickers on them for people to identify: current, past or no-longer-with-us Rotarians, and passed it around.

We’re having a meeting regardless of popular demand, a social, Warren said, starting with announcements. Ralph suggested a shop talk and Warren promptly nominated him. 

He  rang the bell and asked EJ Dieterle to lead the Rotarians in the Pledge of Allegiance which he did. Warren the asked if any veterans were present, and mentioned flag etiquette; for example, if the flag is flown at night it should be illuminated, and how the field of stars should always be flown in the upper left. 

He asked for an inspirational thought, and Ginger Minoletti said, “The sun is shining,” and Doug added “We had snow days,” which was cool (literally). Joe Brennan spoke of a first international exposition in four years, in La Paz, Mexico, on which he planned to be one of eight volunteers to help open a medical clinic and to which he would like the club to make a donation to support. After the visit, he said, he will make a report as to what the clinic really needs. The trip includes a visit to the coast to see the blue whales

“International service in action, right there,” Warren commented, and called for additional announcements.
Susan Kealey gave a community service update. She said that it was going to be a busy month: She asked Rose Serdy to report on Relay for Life (this is for the American Cancer Society) and Rose noted  that there is a way anyone can sign up to support the Pacifica Relay or you can sign up to be a donor, and she will send out reminders. Our goal this year is $4,000; last year we raised over $17,000. The club had already raised $500; we’ve been supporting this for a number of years, the total we have now is $750. Rose said she would like to see a team join her “so that we can have a presence” and learn about the cancer society and its research.  The event will be in July at Terra Nova High School, and she will bring us updates.

Susan talked about the Abundant Grace breakfasts; the next one is set for March 29, with shifts at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Lists were made of volunteers for each shift. It was asked, does anyone know where the bag of aprons disappeared, and speculation abounded. Susan also mentioned Coastside Hope packaging this month too; we’re on for the 15th at 5 p.m. at Mary Rogren’s house; it’s a monthly thing, so put it on your calendar. Abundant Grace is also doing Step Up for the Homeless; Liz visited the Web site and found the team for us. If you’d like to join, “it’s a virtual run/walk/roll/swim/whatever you want to do,” go in there and sign up. (

 Life Skills is also coming up, on the 13th through the 17th of this month;  at Pilarcitos High School; if interested, contact Charise.

There is one more Little Library that was just installed and is now awaiting more books, and needs Rotary stickers on the outsides. It’s at Oak Avenue Park, behind Tres Amigos. Liz and Joe are working on new labels for them with contact information.

Ginger shared a personal email she received from Rotary International President Jennifer Jones, thanking her for sponsoring a new member (Bella Bono.) In terms of getting new members, whenever you can and wherever you are, ask someone to come to lunch, it’ll be a good meeting. March 16th will feature Dr. Al Fricke, a forensic psychiatrist with a background in working in sexual crimes; he spoke at the women’s club and Ginger attended his talk, she noted the he spoke of his background and said it would be a great meeting to bring someone to introduce them to Rotary. All information pertaining to Rotary – District 5150, membership requirements, Rotary International, club meeting location, and more -- is all on the Web site. 

Other moments from the meeting:                                                           

Ginger segued into Mitone’s “soiree” on Tuesday night at Barterra Winery, at which Ginger was present with Bella and some other Rotarians. Mitone spoke of introducing a Rotary Means Business event here recently, where she realized that there were not enough business networking opportunities here for people who were still working or who owned their own businesses, and were trying to grow them. We don’t have that networking opportunity at Rotary club meetings. So, she thought, let’s bring Rotary Means Business back. They had a first such event at Barterra on Tuesday evening, to which they invited about 20 local business owners, and they had a successful event with lots of time to mingle and talk and get to know each other. The speaker came from Toastmasters, and gave insight on how to evaluate and work toward goals. Mitone thought this was a great event and a great way to bring in new members and exposure to the Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay, and we should do it again. Ginger noted that networking and exchanging business cards was a great way to get to know people. 

Warren asked our new member, what was surprising or unexpected about that to her? What did she learn? Bella responded that she enjoyed the personal and workshop aspect of it, liked the opportunity to chat with other business owners, liked the good tips on marketing she got, and information to boost her marketing skills, and she found everyone “super welcoming.” 

Warren spoke of the workshop, how do you do a business plan, and what stood out for him was “finding the North Star; the why” and the acronym SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time out. If you have those in your business plan, it helps you achieve.

Mitone spoke of a speaker she had become acquainted with through Toastmasters, an engineer, a brilliant speaker but very introverted and who had joined that organization to help her break out of that introversion. She lives in Pacifica. 

Happy news: Steve Wilson spoke of a music cruise he and Kathy had taken last week, to Cozumel and other destinations he “could take or leave” and of the Americana music subgenre, stuff all the way from Appalachian to cowpoke and in between; the headlines were a group called Mavericks who did three shows and he called the music “stunning.” He and Kathy immersed themselves in it with probably 20 concerts over six days; found it “so worth it” and highly recommended it. 

Ginger mentioned that there is a new featured musician, Michael Hammond from the Florida Keys, performing on acoustic guitar on Friday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. at Barterra Winery. 

Dave Dickson said his seventh grandchild. Eleo (not sure if I got that spelling right!) was born January 20. He was vacationing, came home and then went to the cold weather in Chicago – from which he came back with Covid. But he’s fine now.

Doug Mallon happily spoke of his new “crar” or  “cruck” --  a brand new Ford Maverick, which combines the best of car and truck with roomy,  comfy passenger seating and four feet of cargo room, making it an ideal four-wheel-drive Rotary workhorse, for Pumpkin Festival and Doug’s DIY projects. He’s hoping for 20 years out of it.

EJ is alive and kicking with music right now. As far as Oktoberfest goes, it’s alive and kicking and will add cooking this year. And the Rotary Club of Pacifica, end of April, is having is Bowl-a-Thon, a lot of fun. If anyone is interested, let him know. It’s April 23 from 5 to 7. 

Bella mentioned Dream Machines, back this year on Sunday, April 30, supporting the Coastside Adult Day Health Center. Remember, we used to do that. Rose’s husband is the coordinator for the Food Court for Dream Machines; so if Rotary is interested for next year, now is the time to think about it. To have a presence there, with some kind of food booth perhaps. She was thinking clam chowder, except that Sam’s Chowder House is right there … the Lions’  Club is not doing hamburgers, but it’s something to put on calendars; let Rose know if we want to participate.

Joe Brennan says he does Sierra Club trips with stories around the campfire; he was asked last time about a program he had been active with, “Jackass Penguins,” whose call “sounds like a jackass bray.” They’re from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, where one good tanker breakup could decimate them so he was involved with a successful breeding program for them. The penguins, which mate for life, turned out not to be good parents, so they sent back from Kansas City for an incubator, which resulted in healthy eggs. He did some maintenance and so felt “parental pride” especially as the program took off. He ended up with a colony of penguins on the roof, but heard that a casino in Las Vegas had offered space -- “Oh my God, we’ve gone over to the dark side,” Joe laughed – but after being reassured by the local Fish and Game, he visited the area and found his “babies” among the pink flamingos. Flash forward a decade when he is preparing for the wedding of his niece in L.A., and he sees two penguins who had aged out of the casino program, were bought for Hollywood commercials, and took part in the wedding with the rings around their necks. 

Then, in 1991 and back in the Steinhart Aquarium, the Academy of Sciences had a photo display including the book “My Tibet” by photographer/climber Galen  Rowell, who paired his photos with phrases by the Dalai Lama. His Holiness liked birds, and one named Oreo was selected to visit him; Joe escorted His Holiness in, past a display of prayer flags, to Galen Rowell, and was reminded by the Dalai Lama that there was a proper order to the colors. The Dalai Lama calmy petted the penguin with both hands, with Joe nervously thinking, “this is going to end poorly” – but the Dalai Lama just inquires if the bird flies, so Joe happily conducts him on a tour of the birds. They stopped at the octopus tank where the Dalai Lama said, “That’s an ugly one,” whereupon the chairman of the board, without missing a beat, answered, “Yes, but it’s someone’s mother.” Then they went on to see the dolphins and penguins with the artist. 

Dictionaries were the next topic of discussion; they will be distributed to Hatch, El Granada and Farallone View schools. Prez-elect-elect Irwin will handle El Granada and Warren will handle Hatch; volunteers will be welcome to do others with brief introductory chats introducing ourselves, discussing Rotary and the Four-Way Test and leading the kids in looking up a word or two. Someone is needed to do Farallone View, and two to three Rotarians are needed to do the other schools. Joe will do Farallone View; now we need to reach out to teachers and bringin fellow Rotarians.

There as mention of a Sarasota County school district that refused dictionaries on a basis of health concerns. But all we do, Warren said, is just provide them, he won’t criticize; and this too will pass. What we can do is impact the third graders here. Joe gave an example of a student’s parent he knew, that, since they were learning English, made greater use of the dictionary than their child did.

Shop talks followed; Ralph Ely was scheduled to give one, though he pointed out that we should choose someone we don’t know instead. So Sean Engmann stood up and a few listeners agreed he was ready to go and urged him on. 

Sean modestly said that though he might not do as well as Joe, he could still talk till he was blue in the face. And he talked pleasantly and engagingly. 

He spoke of his background in sports: he coached high school baseball in the city for about 15 years and also refereed basketball for about 20 years and still does, in addition to transitioning into real estate in the last few years.  He just sold his house, and there was a Rotary connection; he had previously run several businesses in the financial data space and social media space. He had done extensive traveling but decided he didn’t like hotel rooms without his family, but real estate called to him. 

Back to the coaching, he was always known for coaching baseball; he takes really slow walks to and back from the mound, and met with success. He has coached at a small school; in the Presidio, and at an International high school. He argued calls and sought second opinions; and sure enough the other umpire changed his call “so the other coach goes nuts” leading to across-the-field yelling matches. 

He did a lot of coaching and a lot of refereeing; he recalled an incident with an article in the Review involving Warren’s daughter from 10 years ago. Arguments, good times, traveling; “not as entertaining as Joe’s penguin stories,” but – “that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it” and he trailed off amid happy laughter.

He  glossed over his personal life: He mentioned his wife of five years, Kristin, and one-and-a-half-year-old son, Shane, now “babbling a little … running me ragged and my hair’s a lot grayer” but “the best thing that ever happened to me.” They’re hoping that another one comes soon and he is sponsoring a Little League team with a firefighter, a narcotics officer, and a construction worker on it. He’s coaching 6- and 7-year-olds like they’re high school kids, and the realtor is the toughest coach of them all.

The issue of the chocolate factory in his past came up. Turns out it was for the best because it got him into real estate. 

He was born and raised in San Francisco, and his wife was born in Pacifica but moved to El Granada with a wish to live on the Coast, and he’d never have it any other way now. He coached at Balboa, attended International high school Both wished to have, and now happily do have, a lot of pets including a lot of dogs.

Enthusiastic applause followed.

Paul Wrubel, in something of a waggish mood since “Krystlyn’s not here,” suggested forming some phony committees that would decide to get rid of clam chowder in favor of, say, lox and bagels. Others caught on to his thinking with suggestions like meeting in the courtyard (in “rain, hail or sunshine,” said Warren) or having a social at the jail or at the dump, or an early April Fools, and inform her that Rotary Means Business was “a complete bomb,” said Warren.

Asked if Stacy was taking notes of all this, the retired journalist’s answer was: “Remember to whom you are speaking. Of course I’m writing it!” 

Warren gleefully held up some of the old photos – “Did you recognize Irwin Cohen?” and his daughter. Warren mentioned some longtime members, some of whom are no longer with us: Greg MiIler, Jug Shoaf, John and Larkin Evans, the Mackintoshes, the Palmers, Dr. Joy and her son, and more. Lots of memories.

Mitone mentioned the recent district social in South San Francisco with a theme of games. There were tables set up with boards and pieces for many games. She thought we might enjoy doing the same. 

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and there is an event put together by Rotary in San Francisco on Wednesday evening at the automobile museum. Mitone has  information.

Remember to sign up for the district assembly on March 25 at Redwood High School in Larkspur. It has a lot planned for incoming presidents i.e. airhorns, a barbecue lunch and information on many topics.

Mitone has been asked to put together a district social event in September on the Peninsula. No fundraising, it’s purely social. The date is Sept. 30 and she is looking for ideas and venue suggestions. 

Irwin mentioned an exchange student from Denmark that had discussed visiting, but had passed away. Rotary fosters lifelong friends, Warren pointed out. Discussion followed about exchanges, and how the children of exchange students sometimes visit host families.

The raffle was held; Doug’s name was picked but he got a green marble. Rats!

Ginger said that Inkspell  Books is doing a book fair at Barterra on March 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. It is providing the books, and the event will benefit Hatch School. Cindy Whittemore often brings books to the winery, and she has donated books around the coast.

See you next week! exclaimed Warren as he rang the bell.

ADDENDUM from Joe Brennan
For those of you who missed it, here is the story I shared at the meeting, “My unnatural history with Jackass Penguins in three parts” for your enjoyment.  JOE
I was asked by a woman around a campfire in Death Valley to tell a story the next night. I thought, her husband is from South Africa, what do I know about South Africa - precious little in fact but I had encountered the jackass Penguin, Spheniscus demersus, from there:
Spheniscus demersus live on the coast of the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip. Commonly called Jackass Penguins due to their call which resembles that of a donkey.
They occupy a relatively small range and would be vulnerable to an environmental disaster such as the Torrey Canyon’s breaking apart and oil spill…or Exxon Valdez’s. For conservation reasons a colony was established at Steinhart Aquarium to have a healthy diverse population in captivity should anything happen to them in the wild. The restoration of the Nene Goose to the Hawaiian Islands after its extinction in the wild illustrates the concept. There was a colony of them in the Toledo Zoo which provided the stock to do so.
Steinhart’s colony got off to a flying start, well not really flying, as they paired off and laid eggs. They mate for life and got right to it. They were not as good at parenting as the program anticipated so we bought an incubator from Kansas City and began hatching some eggs ourselves. The incubator was like a miniature Ferris Wheel in a nice varnished wooden cabinet, rotating them while controlling the temperature and humidity. I did receive a call or two at home about it from the night engineer to help troubleshoot and so got to feeling some vicarious parental pride and accomplishment as the flock grew. We sent many penguins out to fellow Zoos and Aquariums working toward the goal of a large captive population as planned. When I left the Aquarium some years later we had established a rookery up on the roof for the excess birds beyond the exhibit tank’s capacity and beyond what we could find homes for.  Their future was uncertain and I heard later that a Casino had made a credible offer to take them to be displayed and cared for in Las Vegas. I thought the worst but was assured that they had vet care and the support of Nevada’s Fish and Game etc…good luck little buddies!
1> Fast forward ten years and I am working at an art museum and attended a Museum Security Conference in Las Vegas where, hurrying from my hotel to the seminars, I took a short cut through the grounds of the huge Flamingo Hotel. I turned a corner and there was a big pond with Pink Flamingos and as I drew closer…Jackass Penguins! I was flooded with emotion, there were my babies happily frolicking in their artificial environment and I told them repeatedly; “Hey it’s me your godfather Joe!”
2> Fast forward ten more years and I am asked by my niece Louise to officiate at her wedding since I am a Universal Life Minister. It is arranged by Party girl Louise and her mother/my sister Lisa, known as the Martha Stewart of Agoura. It is to be at the large event facility Calamigo in Malibu Canyon on lush lawn under spreading oaks. We assemble the day before for rehearsal and who do you think the ring bearers are? Yes, two Jackass Penguins, my babies! Now entering old age and graduated out of the captive breeding program they are now appearing in commercials, Bar Mitzi’s etc. The handlers were great and loved hearing my backstory. They had done the wedding ring thing before, Because pairs are inseparable all they had to do was separate them by taking one up to the alter and holding the other with rings dangling around its neck at the back of the aisle to be released at my signal and it would walk straight to its mate. Very photogenic and a real crowd pleaser. Afterwards many people said how wonderful it was to have the two penguins marching up the aisle together…we do embellish our memories.
3> Flash Back to The Aquarium where the Penguin program is thriving. Coincidentally the Academy had just installed the show “My Tibet”; the photographs of Galen Rowell and the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Guess who is coming to grace the show with a visit, yes the Fourteen Dalai Lama himself! We heard that he liked birds so wanting to please we passed over all our amphibians, reptiles and fish and offered him the one bird species we had; a Jackass Penguin. At that time we had 17 in the colony, all pair bonded but little Oreo who was a feisty frustrated odd man out - all the staff bore at least one scar from handling Oreo but he was the obvious choice to display one bird. A three foot open top cube was constructed of plexiglass and the floor covered with kitty litter to keep Oreo’s feet dry and absorb the ghastly fish smell of his excreta.
I was lucky enough to be the one sent out to meet him at the curb where we exchanged Kata Scarves and mounted the front steps to meet the top administrators. We had decorated the central courtyard with two long strings of prayer flags. I had measured out the rope lengths needed and Carol Prince had purchased the one foot square flags. I had a bicycle weekend up at Brannan Island the weekend before and had my pals help me sew the hundreds of flags to the ropes asking them only that none of the five colors were next to themselves.
We escorted His Holiness across the courtyard and up the Aquarium steps to meet Galen and his wife Barbara at which point the DL looked up and pointing at the flags with his little finger as is his wont, asked who did that? Swelling with pride I said I had with the Highway One Bicycleers. He said “The colors have a proper order you know” Shriveling with embarrassment I wheeled and opened the door to present Oreo who had been installed in his pen.
The Dalai Lama smiled and took a few steps toward Oreo and stopped to admire him and I’m thinking ; mission accomplished. Then he takes a few steps and bends down to look more closely.
Then he is at the edge and reaching down toward Oreo and a voice in my head is saying tomorrow’s Chronicle headline will read ‘Penguin draws Dalai Lama’s Blood’. Oreo is cool as a cucumber and the Dalai Lama reaches in and picks him up! Things are happening fast, now he is raising Oreo to his face and he is deciding whether to hug or kiss him - I know because my wife Jan filmed it all and you can see him pursing his lips and that little voice has updated the headline to “Dalai Lama looses eye due to Brennan’s lack of caution” I felt faint but calm and amazed at Oreo’s cool as he has been totally placid through it all, and he is set back down in the pen. We start away and Tenzing Gyatso pivots back for another look, reaching down and holding up the wings and asks if it can fly; “yes powerfully but only underwater”. Then he is opening Oreo’s mouth and looking in maybe for teeth or just the curiosity of it all. Finally satisfied that he has seen a penguin he straightens up and we decide with his level of curiosity we should show him the whole Aquarium so ,if you’ll pardon the expression, ‘we Shanghai”, him and head around the Aquarium Hall.
He asks good questions at each new tank; What do they eat, when do they sleep, why don’t the big ones eat the small ones etc. It is a delight for all of us in the entourage. We arrive at the giant Pacific Octopus tank and are met by her writhing rhymithically while spread Eagle over the entire viewing window, What a sight! The DL says “Oh that is an ugly one” to which chairman of the board Jerry Hume quips “Yes but she is someone’s mother” to which the DL breaks out in his deep rolling laugh to the delight of all. We proceed around to the Penguin colony then the Dolphin tank where we find a staff member’s little dog running back and forth the length of the tank right in front of the glass while one of the Dolphins (Amphi or Thetis) is following its every step with nose up to the glass back and forth.
We finally finish the grand tour and enter the My Tibet show in Linking Hall. Galen, Barbara, the Dalai Lama and I move along the wall with him making comments at each photo. At a photograph of the Potala Palace he says something you would never expect to come from His Holiness. Pointing, again with his little finger, he traces the steep driveway up the back of the huge building and says; “Very Streep, I burned up the clutches of two Austins and a Dodge”