Clifford F. Mass, Professor at U of W,                                                                        Honoring Arlie Norman


August 9, 2021   

Book Review by Steve Ban 
I am reviewing a book titled The Lost Continent: Travels In Small-Town America written by Bill Bryson. The book was given to me by my brother-in-law to help pass the time while I was recovering from coronary artery bypass surgery about 11 years ago. However, I literally had to stop reading before I finished the first page because it hurt too much to laugh and I thought I was going to tear some of my stitches! When I did read it, I was the object of many dirty looks and verbal shusshing when I would frequently burst out in uncontollable and loud laughter on a quiet beach or at night when my wife was trying to sleep.
Bill Bryson is an American author of humorous non-fiction and is the funniest writer I have ever encountered. Some of his other books that you may have heard of include A Walk in the Woods, which was made into a movie, about his and his friend's hilarious attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, and In a Sunburned Country, about his misadventures traveling through Australia. Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, which he found unbearably boring, and escaped as soon as he could, all the way to England, where, for almost 20 years, he was a journalist, before returning to the United States to write books on travel, the English language and even science, always in a way, as one reviewer put it, that is “both incisively observant and pound-on-the-floor, snort-root-beer-out-of-your-nose funny”. 
This book is about Bryson's attempt to re-discover his youth by returning to many of the places, mostly small towns, where his father had dragged his family on their yearly, seemingly endless, road trip vacations. Bryson wound up expanding this to include 38 states. He first explored the Midwestern, Eastern and Southern US, returned to Des Moines, then traveled through the Great Plains, Southwest and West Coast, but not Washington. His descriptions of the various towns and small cities and their inhabitants are, as another reviewer noted, “funny, biting, outrageous, and more truthful than we may care to admit”. The book reminded me somewhat of the John Steinback classic, Travels With Charlie. Instead of a dog, Bryson's traveling companion was his trusty Chevy Chevette. 
So, if you would like to get an up-close and personal as well as uplifting look at small-town America and you aren't recovering from a surgical procedure, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.
Reporter's note: As many do, Steve read a few passages from the book.  Delightful.  Animated.  About a 9.6 according to the judges at my table.
Opening Welcome:  
President Peter Theisen rang the bell at 12:30 PM and welcomed both virtual and live attendees to the meeting.  
The Rotary Brass played America the Beautiful with a lovely stand-out performance by the base section!
In the invocation, Mike Plenkovich reminded us of Rotary’s values and the four-way test, which leads with the importance of truth.
As Minister of Fun Ken Marzocco continued his tradition of asking esoteric, impossible questions, yielding lots of bucks for RCOB.  Keep those bucks coming in Ken!
President Peter Theisen:
  1. If we’re sick of being reminded about the opportunity to sponsor the RCOB website, now is the time to act.  Annual sponsorships cost $350.00. The rotating ad appears on the RCOB webpage and a link takes people directly to your personal business webpage.
  2. There will be a Board of Directors meeting this Thursday at 4:30 via zoom.  Contact Sandee for the URL. All are welcome to attend.
Club and Committee Announcements

1. There was no time for committee announcements today!  If there had been, the Tattler Committee would have talked of our need for a couple more folks and the ease and satisfaction of serving RCOB  in this way.  Skilled mentorship for new reporters and editors is available for no or minimal cost.

2.  We are looking for Website sponsors for the next Rotary year starting July 1st . It is a great opportunity to advertise your business and support Rotary; cost is $350 for the year. Check out the current sponsors on our website by going to  We have 3 spots remaining, Thank you for those that have renewed their sponsorships!!



Weekly Meeting instructions:

You will still receive an email from Sandee each week prior to the Monday 12:30 meeting if you are unable to attend in person (you can start logging in at 12:00 for short socializing) with the link for that privacy protected meeting.  If you have not done so, please download the Zoom app on your computer (you need a camera and microphone on it), iPad or phone.  There is no cost to you.  If you do not have either, you can also call in.  On the invitation, there are US phone numbers you can call and enter the meeting ID number also indicated on the invitation.  HERE ARE ZOOM INSTRUCTIONS.

Four Points is not requiring a Contract thru 2021 and need only 72 hours to cancel an event. We will continue to evaluate other locations for a permanent location.   Lunch will be $22 for a sit down meal. We must notify them by Wednesday at 4:00 pm each week prior to the Monday meeting as to the number of members attending.  We are sending out meeting “Invite's” weekly and members are asked to sign-up ASAP. You can also sign-up by going to the event section of our website at  If you sign up for a meal at the meeting, you will need to pay the $22 even if you don't wind up attending the meeting after numbers are turned in.  If you plan to attend but not eat, PLEASE indicate that on your sign-up so we don't overorder meals and still make sure there is enough seating. 

Four Points also will not collect the payment weekly, so the Club will collect payments prior to the meeting or at the door.

We urge members of the RCOB has set up a Venmo account for ease in payment of Meeting lunches, Happy Bucks, Minister of Fun, Dues or donations to the club.  Our account is @RCOB-Bellingham.  If you do not have a Venmo account you can set up an account with your computer then download the app. on your phone (just Google "Venmo" and you will find all the information you need)  You then attach it to a debit or credit card (a fee on your end) or attach to your checking account at no cost.  Payment will be sent directly to the RCOB checking account. When you use it for the first time it may ask you the last 4 digits of the RCOB phone number which is 0282.   Give Sandee a call if you need help.  360-734-5532

Other payment options are to bring a check in the correct amount to the meeting made out to RCOB or cash in the exact amount to speed up the payment process.  There is also the PayPal option as usual and we are set to take payments at the meeting.  We have a QR Code that you can simply click on to pay thru paypal also.

Website and Phone App instructions:
Here is a tutorial on how to login for the first time.  (Click here)  In order to login you need to know your user name and password in your Clubrunner account.  The user name is Yourfirstname.Lastname.264 unless you have changed it.  Example: Sandra.Lindhout.264  The password is initially set by Clubrunner at 264 unless you have changed it.  Sandee can see your Username from my computer but not the password.  She can also change your password for you from her computer at your request if you run into problems.
Once you have originally created your User Name and Password you can download the ClubRunner Mobile app on your phone:                                                             
Here is a link for you to take a look at the app:

Please contact Sandee at 360-734-5532 or if you run into any trouble.
Dale Rings zoomed in from Arizona with member Chuck Snyder
Steve Ban again introduced Corey Chaplin, who is inching ever closer to membership in RCOB.
Monty Haines brought his wife Gail
Other members who were on Zoom:  Loch Trimingham, Dick Tucker, Monty McAllister, Scott Wallace, Frank King, Mark Knittel, Vinson Latimore, Tom Grinstad, Robin Halliday, Jack Mulhern and Jim Cunningham.
Arlan Norman’s Eulogy written and delivered by John Dunne
Arlan Norman, or, as he was known to everyone, Arlie, a long-time member of RCOB, died July 31, a day after suffering a massive hemorrhage at the base of his brain. He was 81.

Arlie was raised on a farm in South Dakota. He was much like his father. His father never raised his voice in anger and saw every mistake or misstep as a learning opportunity, an approach Arlie applied throughout his life. After his father had purchased a new tractor, this one with a canopy to shade the driver, Arlie hit an overhanging branch, knocking off the canopy. Rather than getting upset or angry, his father said “So Arlie…What did you learn from this?” His father never urged Arlie to return to the farm as most of his cousins did but, instead, encouraged his academic pursuits. He met his wife, Diane, while he was a chemistry PhD candidate at Indiana University. He established his teaching and research career at the University of Colorado, where they raised their two children, before being appointed the founding Dean of Western’s College of Science and Technology in 2003.

As Dean, he had two prominent characteristics which characterized his entire life. He always worked collaboratively and sought out input from within his college and from other department heads. He always kept the larger goals of the university in mind, even while laying out his own needs. That approach allowed him to build the College’s financial resources substantially during the 8 years he was Dean. The other prominent characteristic was his focus on mentoring undergraduate students, grad students and young faculty, which he cared about deeply and saw as his guiding mission as an academic. He retired in 2011.

But it was not those characteristics that so endeared him to all of those who knew him. He was a uniquely genuine, humble person. He had no use for phonies or self-promoters. He cared about everyone he knew and everyone who knew Arlie liked him, a remarkable achievement in the internecine politics of a university administration. Even when he had to make hard decisions during budget cuts, those who were let go always understood what he was dealing with. He also had a wonderful sense of humor. As an example, in the traditional group photo after his son and daughter-in-law’s wedding, there is Arlie, lying on the floor, his head propped up on his elbow with a big grin on his face.

He was a devoted parent and grandparent. Like his father, he never raised his voice in anger and looked at everything as a potential learning experience. His children, Geoff and Hilary, loved reminiscing about all the adventures he took them on: traveling, camping, hiking, biking, skiing and fishing (although they were quick to note that they never caught much). He was equally devoted to his five grandchildren, all boys. He would drive to Seattle just for the brief moment he could cheer on one of his grandsons during a cross country race. He arranged an hour of flight time from Doug Cole to be able to take his grandsons on a bit of an adventure. When a close friend of his in Florida died a year ago, he convinced his friend’s widow to accompany them on a trip to Iceland. They planned to leave tomorrow.

Arlie loved Bellingham. In addition to being active in Rotary, he was the longtime chairman of the Sparks Museum, which he hoped would spark an interest in science and technology in children. He was a member of the Bellingham Technology Advisory Council and was a full partner supporting Diane with the Bellingham Festival of Music. He will leave a hole in Bellingham and in all our hearts. For those who would like to make a donation in Arlie’s name, you can contribute to the Arlan Norman Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring at
Doug Cole introduced today’s presenter, Clifford F. Mass, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington.  Mass is author of the well-known, The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, which is coming out in a new edition in the next few weeks.  (Reporter note: This book makes a great gift for newcomers to the PNW.)  Mass has a blog of his current perspectives on PNW weather and climate that can be found by clicking here.
Mass shared his research-based insights into the recent record-setting temperatures in the PNW.  Yes, the temperatures were extreme, with at least 95 deaths attributable to the heat, as was the extreme drying of the landscapes east of the Cascades.  Speculation about the causes of these extreme temperatures is widespread.  Of course, Mass’ research brings him right into the middle of those discussions, where, in characteristic curmudgeonly manner, he dissents from a view commonly found in the media that the recent record high temperatures were largely the result of climate change and global warming.  Rather, Mass sees the temperatures as a reflection of the continual variability in all weather.  Global warming played a part, but the modest degree of global warming (i.e., 1-2 degrees over the past century), cannot account for the dramatic increases in temperatures we saw, sometimes 30 degrees or more above historical averages.  Global warming made extreme temperatures only slightly worse.
Rather than being attributable to just a single factor, these extreme temperatures were likely the result of a confluence of atmospheric conditions: There was a high pressure zone over the PNW, with a trough of low pressure next to it, which caused very strong winds from the Southeast. As these winds whipped the low pressure system under the warm, high pressure air, that warm air was compressed towards ground level, making it much warmer. Thus, “a perfect storm” (which is also the name of Mass' favorite movie) developed, in which various extant conditions amplify others. Mass noted the nonintuitive golden rule of climate attribution, which is that the more unusual and extreme the event, the greater the proportion of the event’s causes likely is natural variability rather than global warming.
Mass believes the headlines (he paused for a moment to call out the Seattle Times and Gov. Inslee) are often misleading in the direction of being sensational and oriented to global warming attributions.  That said, Mass’ models do predict a higher contribution of global warming to increasingly extreme weather in the second half of this century.  He stated that today’s forecasts are increasingly accurate and very useful in predicting and protecting society from weather events.
In response to a question, Mass noted temperature is always measured in the shade by meteorologists.  In response to a question about the newly released UN Climate report, Mass claimed there was little new in the report and only modest adjustments had been made from previous analyses (e.g., changing the assumption about when significant reductions in coal-burning would occur).  Inaccuracies in this report, according to Mass, are similar to inaccuracies in models which are predicting the incidence of forest fires, which he also studies. They overemphasize the effect of climate change and underestimate the influence of a multitude of other factors like forest management practices and droughts.  He criticized but didn’t elaborate on the statistical modeling that was done by scientists authoring the report.
When Ann Jones mentioned the dust bowl days of her youth in Kansas in the 1930's, Mass noted that this was a perfect example of an extreme, but natural, weather event, that we too often forget, as we focus too heavily on global warming and climate change. The recent marked decrease in the level of Lake Mead, as noted by Mike Plenkovich in his question, is another example Mass sees as a phenomenon created by a multitude of factors, only one of which is climate change.
Covid Report:  Submitted by Gary Goldfogel 
Covid report for this past week is not good: 22 patients in the hospital, six at ICU level of care, two intubated; transferring a critical young person to Harborview. Cases are increasing, almost all of them unvaccinated. There is talk of a potential nursing strike at PeaceHealth over a requirement for vaccination.  
Program Recordings:  We are now recording the speaker portion of our meetings:
Missed a meeting? Remember a great speaker but want to revisit the content? You can catch the recording on our Rotary Club of Bellingham YouTube page:
August Rotary Anniversaries - Thank you! 
Brian Griffin
Member Since 1960
Steve Hager
Member Since 1988
Kelli Linville
Member Since 2011
Sara Maloney
Member Since 2018
August Birthdays
  • Robin Halliday
  • Ken Marzocco
  • John Pedlow
  • Debbie Ahl
  • Dave Blair
  • Lynda Hinton
  • Ken Culver
  • Susie Thomson
  • Cathy Buckley
Sep 20, 2021
Chris Kobdish - Way Station
Sep 27, 2021
Doug Ericksen, Washington State Senator
Oct 04, 2021
Beyond Net Zero Commitment, PSE's Clean Energy Implementation Plan and local clean energy projects
Oct 11, 2021
"Port of Bellingham 101"
View entire list
Upcoming Events
RCOB In-Person Meeting September 20, 2021
Four Points by Sheraton
Sep 20, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
RCOB In-Person Meeting September 27, 2021
Four Points by Sheraton
Sep 20, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
View entire list
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Executives & Directors
President Elect
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Vice President/Program Chair
Past President
Director/Vocational Service & Membership
Director/Community Service
Director/International & Youth Service
Director/Club Service & Meetings
Website Administer
Editor:  Steve Ban
Reporter:  Catherine Riordan
Invocation:  Mike Plenkovich
Greeter: Mike Plenkovich & John Dunne
Raffle Sales:  Michael Mallory
AV:  Ward Naf and Dominique Zervas
Photographer:  Shauna Naf
Music:  Rotary Brass consisting of Doug Cole, Brad Burdick, John Dunne and Del VandeKerk