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Posted by Alan Galbraith
on May 15, 2015
Meeting Report for May 12, 2015
Reported by Alan Galbraith
Speaker of the Day:
Donn Black introduced anthropologist and historian “extraordinaire” Jay Greene, who spoke on the causes of “The Great War” -- or “The War to End All Wars” -- in its second year one hundred years ago. Jay brilliantly condensed the complex history leading up to World War I in thirty minutes. The three major causes, as identified by Jay, were the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (a humiliating French defeat, with the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and the subsequent rise of the German State), the scramble for colonies in Africa and China, and the race for sea power (with the British introducing a powerful new class of war ships (“dreadnaughts”) in 1907). Jay also reviewed psychological and cultural factors, including the influence of Herbert Spencer’s “Social Darwinism” (the fittest survive in a competitive world), along with its emphasis on “national honor,” condescension toward neighbors, and the need for a threatening response to any national insult.Jay also reviewed the immediate run-up to World War I, starting with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand (heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne) and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, with Austria one month later declaring war on Serbia, with Germany, Russia, and France then entering the fray in support of their alliance partners (Central Powers versus Entente Powers). The British (a non-Entente Power) came in when the Germans invaded Belgium, as required under an 1839 Treaty guaranteeing the borders of Belgium. And so, as Don observed in his introduction, the European powers “stumbled into a war that nearly destroyed them.” A highlight of the talk was Jay’s focus on German strategy (the Schlieffen Plan) to avoid a two front war (with France and Russia), including railroad lines aligned mostly east and west and fast mobilization at railroad stations, allowing for concentration with fast success of German forces in the west before hostile forces in the east could mobilize. But the strategy failed when the German Army was impeded by the Belgium forts, tying up German troops, slowing their march into France, with trench warfare then resulting in northern France, and giving the Russians time to mobilize.Jay finished up with the consequences of the war – including that reaction to the blood letting was in substantial measure responsible for the policy of appeasement that then would enable Hitler to dominate the German military. Jay briefly reviewed major histories of the conflict, making special note of The First World War by Lawrence Stallings, a compelling compendium of photographs.
Special Presentation: Bryan Remer, an investment advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors, discussed his specialty in Technical Analysis, which provides insight into when to purchase and when to sell securities. The approach seeks long-term capital appreciation but with a defensive posture in dead and down markets. Bryan credited Charles Dow and Dorsey Wright & Associates as the authors of this investment philosophy.
Thought of the Day: Alan Galbraith recited President Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” (message to Congress, January 6, 1941): “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon for essential freedoms. The first is freedom of expression – everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want – everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear – anywhere in the world.”
- Paulina Greene (Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agency), guest of Donn Black.
- Rebecca Yudice (interior design and development construction), guest of Doug Ernst.
- President Norm Mitroff announced that next week’s luncheon (May 19) would be at Napa Valley College (Upper Campus).
- Charlotte Williamson sought (and obtained) volunteers for a cleanup at Rotary Centennial Park (in front of the High School) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 16.
- Cindy Warren persuaded Rob Andreae to join the Scholarship Committee in its interviewing that then leads to the award of scholarships.
Birthdays and Anniversaries: Polly Keegan, John Sales, Wendell Laidley (birthdays); and Jack Neal and Jim Smith (club anniversaries); Jim Smith (wedding anniversary).
Finemaster: David Brotemarkle, taking advantage of his daughter’s recent move to Maui, devised a series of obscure questions related to the island. Example: what is the island’s nickname (“The Valley Isle”); second example: what once dominant crop is no longer cultivated on Maui (pineapples – which your highly fined reporter answered correctly with a lucky guess).
Bell Ringer: Jack Neal, in appreciation for a most successful charity golf event.
Raffle: Jack Neal drew the black marble. Bryan Remer and Lester Hoel were also lucky winners (with prizes coming from Olivier in downtown St. Helena, as noted by Suzan Rada)
Posted by Cindy Warren
on May 08, 2015
" Happy Cinco de Mayo"
- Mary Sykes, Architect; Mary enthralled us with her story of growing u p on a homestead in Montana. Her parents built their home from trees they felled. The family was self-sustaining and lived on what they raised and grew. Early on, Mary learned to be self sufficient, taking any job that enabled her to save money for college. At age 3 was was pounding nails! Mary started out as a music major and in her senior year of college decided that wasn't for her. She married and was a self proclaimed " Hippie Mom". She took art classes and when she took drafting she found her passion. After working under an architect for many year, she took the architect exam. You will find her identified with many wonderful works in the Napa Valley.
- Wendell Laidley, E-learningBorn and raised in Montreal, Wendell eventually found himself at McGill majoring in engineering. After graduation he worked at IBM and eventually Booz Allen and Hamilton one of the premier companies for strategy and technology consulting.Wendell started several consulting businesses in Canada but the changing Canadian tax laws eventually put him out of business. He moved to New Jersey in 1985 and did management reviews.He started more businesses. Wendell specialized in sexual harassment training for businesses and e-learning. When his lovely wife Inger retired, they left VA in search of an idyllic place to live. Aren't we lucky they landed here!
Guests: Denise Armstead, guest of Gene Armstead. David Borman, guest of Doug Ernst, Sharon Ebersole guest of Steve Ebersole.
Visiting Rotarians: Kathy Polachek
- Cindy Warren announced detail on the Scholarship interviews which will take place on May 19th.
- Raffle: Winners were Rod Ellison, Paul Dean - in a gorgeous sombrero, Gene Armstead, Alyssa Samrick and Ben Hill.
- Finemaster: Matt Endriss quizzed us on "The 60's" with some really groovy questions.
- "Muchas Gracias" Suzan Rada for the wonderful Cinco de Mayo decor and libations.