|The Summary of the July 18th Meeting
The First Meeting Whiskey Drinking!
The Second Meeting Smooching & Dancing Girls! What's Next -- "Party Mike?"
Our new Rotary president is a blockhead! Well, maybe just a wooden head? At Wednesday’s weekly club meeting, San Jose Rotarians were greeted by a rather stiff and wooden Mike Blach standing at the podium. It took some of us awhile to realize it wasn’t Mike just being idle or pensive. Rather it was his life-sized likeness that graced the stage, complete with coat and tie, but lacking pants. See what happens when your president is gone for the day? Such foolishness abounds!
It was a good day for foolishness given our comedic speaker. But before we got to those laughs, there were a few other folks who made us chuckle. President-elect Carl Sals was the pinch hitter of the day. A deep, booming voice seemingly appeared from heaven and pleaded repeatedly for “wooden Mike” to ring the bell. Carl introduced us to the presidential stand-in and gently moved him off to the side where everyone who graced the stage thereafter politely greeted the smiling Blach look-alike. Lots of jokes about pants followed.
Phil Strong and Paul Tumason helped us all sing “God Bless America” as we stood proudly to face the American flag. Jorj Tilson offered up a Chinese proverb as an invocation which went something like this: “To enjoy the benefits of providence is wisdom; To help others enjoy them is virtue.” Jorj added some additional wisdom of her own, very fitting for the occasion: “May your life be full of wisdom and virtue; and I will add an American twist; Be sure to have your funny bone tickled regularly.”
All at once, two beautiful young lasses clothed in flowing purple and gold entered the room and sang a Carlos Santana classic. They were part of the Children’s Musical Theatre there to perform a Random Act of Culture. Wow!
Not to be outdone, John McLeod began a very interesting segment of the news, including the enlightened knowledge that new research shows women’s I.Q. has surpassed that of men’s. He said they would have discovered that a lot sooner, except that the researchers were all men.
Dennis Brach reported that membership recruitment will be a priority for our club this year. President Mike (the real one, not the wooden head) has set a goal of 50 new members and has pledged to recruit five new members himself. He’s off to a good start with a new member induction at this week’s meeting. Dennis said the membership and the membership development committees would be working very closely together. They have already revised the membership application which now requires fewer references and is an easier form to complete. The committees are also working on a new rewards system for recruitment success. He reminded everyone that there are funds available to pay for lunches for member prospects. Dennis suggested that members open up their Rolledex (or iPhone) and invite a friend to a Rotary lunch.
Rod Diridon, Sr., did the honors for President Mike (who was pretty quiet up on stage) and inducted new member Andi Ogen into Rotary. Read all about her in the newsletter. Welcome, Andi!
|Carl Honaker thanked everyone in the audience, and thanked wooden Mike who was stage right, for their past support of the fish dinner, a fundraising event designed to support the annual fish project. Carl said $8,000 was needed to host the annual fishing event for kids. He invited everyone to support the upcoming fundraiser – a dinner and auction on August 15, 5:30 pm-9 pm, at Too Much Fun Patio, Club Auto Sport. Call Carl at (408) 918-7711 or Debbie Blackwell at (408) 594-1032 for reservations. Cost is $60 per person.
As he entered the stage, Brian Adams was most respectful to wooden Mike, bowing to him and questioning if we had a new “pants optional” policy at the club. Brian was ready to auction off some baseball tickets donated by Larry Stone, who was fondly booed in absentia just for old time sake. But back to baseball and fundraising … Brian had two tickets, two dinners, parking and a guarantee of a good time for the July 21 baseball game between the Oakland A’s and the NY Yankees. After some lively discussion about how the proceeds should be dispersed, the tickets sold for $500. Brian first consulted with wooden Mike to be sure he agreed with splitting the proceeds between the Foundation and the Rotary Play Garden. Thanks for the tickets, Larry, and thanks for buying them, Bert George.
Carl announced the rumor that Larry Stone had made a hole-in-one, which was confirmed by a shout from the audience. Since Larry wasn’t there to pay up, we suspect we’ll hear about this story again.
Wooden Mike was looking a bit too “straight”, said Carl, so like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Carl pulled out two feathery boas in hot pink and bright turquoise, carefully wrapping them around wooden Mike’s head. He announced that for a $50 donation, any Rotarian could have their photo made with this much fancier wooden Mike. He even gave him a sign to carry that read: “Next stop, Burning Man.” Poor wooden Mike looked a little uncomfortable. He was actually blushing.
David Ginsborg introduced our speaker Jeff Applebaum and were we ever in for a treat. Jeff is an engineer turned comedian. With two degrees from MIT and the remnants of a Brooklyn accent, Jeff kept us all laughing for the next half hour. “A great group of people,” he said. “You like to dress up dummies and scalp tickets.” That got an initial smile out of everyone, followed by a very serious “I’m actually up here to sell you time shares.” Jeff asked his audience a series of questions. What makes something funny? What makes us laugh? He certainly did! His humor and his insight into comedy helped the crowd better understand why some things make us double over with laughter while others are not funny at all. Rotarians called out names of their favorite comedians, many from a bygone era. Names like Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield and Carol Burnett were shouted out. “What are the characteristics of all those people?” Jeff asked. Comedians observe life. They know the people they study. Comedy is all about relating, about telling a story. It’s about observations. So he told a story to illustrate his point. Jeff talked about profanity in comedy, what works and what does not.
“When I talk about connecting with an audience,” Jeff said, “remember that effective communication is more than 90% visual.”
Jeff said that anything in life makes good comedy material. He had a way of doing just that with poignant tales about his wife, his kids and people he had met in life. One such tale of being “sent to the grocery store” by his Chinese wife and buying the wrong kind of cream cheese for their bagels had everyone in stitches. When he returned the cream cheese, he watched as another guy in the store took a photo of a food product and emailed it back to his wife on the other end of the smart phone. That photo confirmed he had selected the correct item. “That’s how you stay married,” he advised.
The biggest fear for most people is public speaking, said Jeff. He advised that hecklers can be a nuisance for comedians or any speaker, but speakers can turn the wrath of their audience on the heckler instead. “My style is not to get into a battle.” He said hecklers are usually men and usually drunk.
Best advice: know your audience. He said there are many topics that remain taboo for comedians, but there are so many other topics that will bring an audience together rather than split them up. “A comedian is often the right person to walk you through a crisis; very few have the skill to walk the line effectively.”
Jeff was recently cast in an upcoming show as the character Joey Bishop, a member of the famous “Rat Pack” from the 1960s, which will play in the Bay Area in September. Check out his website for more information at www.jeffapplebaum.com.
Carl announced that next week’s speaker will be Maitreya Badami who will speak on “Hurdles to Justice: Eyewitness Identification and the Need for Reform.” And with that, the bell rang to signal the end of a very funny Rotary Club meeting.
Submitted by Victoria Emmons, Rotary Summary Committee
Photos by Carl Cilker, Photography Committee
Watch the slide show of the meeting. Click Here!