Dear Saratoga Rotarians,Rotary-July 7-2017-1527.jpg

We’re having a magnificent spring season in Saratoga, and I’m reveling in our glorious weather. As the son of a scientist, I often muse on the fortuitous accidents that conspire to make life on our planet so very agreeable.

For example, was it not for the fact Earth tilts on its axis we wouldn’t have seasons at all!  No autumn colors, no migrating birds, no anticipation of better days to come! During the winter months, the sun is actually closer to us than it is in summer, but as its light hits the northern hemisphere at a more oblique angle, much of its energy is deflected into space.

But that’s just one of the many accidents that put our blue planet in the “Goldilocks zone”. Not too hot. Not too cold. It’s not just that we’re the right-sized rock at just the right distance from the right kind of star (if we were only about 5% closer or farther from the sun, life here may not have been possible). But our proximity to a large moon and our unique molten core provide under-appreciated benefits.

 

Dear Saratoga Rotarians,Rotary-July 7-2017-1527.jpg

We’re having a magnificent spring season in Saratoga, and I’m reveling in our glorious weather. As the son of a scientist, I often muse on the fortuitous accidents that conspire to make life on our planet so very agreeable.

For example, was it not for the fact Earth tilts on its axis we wouldn’t have seasons at all!  No autumn colors, no migrating birds, no anticipation of better days to come! During the winter months, the sun is actually closer to us than it is in summer, but as its light hits the northern hemisphere at a more oblique angle, much of its energy is deflected into space.

But that’s just one of the many accidents that put our blue planet in the “Goldilocks zone”. Not too hot. Not too cold. It’s not just that we’re the right-sized rock at just the right distance from the right kind of star (if we were only about 5% closer or farther from the sun, life here may not have been possible). But our proximity to a large moon and our unique molten core provide under-appreciated benefits.

The moon’s constant gravitational tug helps to keep the Earth’s interior restlessly moving. The resulting volcanic activity created our atmosphere, and we have just the right amount of gravity to hold onto it. Cold, desolate Mars is too small, so its atmosphere was long ago stripped away by the solar wind. On the other side of us is Venus, with a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead. The sun’s rays hit Venus only a few minutes before they hit Earth, but those few minutes make a huge difference. Venus suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect, something that my father Von Eshleman’s pioneering research helped to explain decades ago.

And our metallic core also provides us with our magnetic field. Without its protection, we would be relentlessly bombarded with lethal cosmic radiation.

Here in Saratoga, we’re also in a Goldilocks zone: Close enough to the Pacific Ocean to receive cooling summer breezes and mediating winter warmth, but distant enough to allow our embracing hills to, as Steinbeck noted, “guard us jealously from the fog and wind”. We get enough rain to give us green forests, but plenty of sunshine to allow us to get out there and enjoy them.

And our club is, in my opinion, just the right size. Big enough to pool the talents and skills of a diverse group of professionals but small enough to get to know everyone on a first-name basis. Nevertheless, we want to attract new members, so be on the lookout for local residents displaying leadership qualities and possessing the desire to save the world.

We have a great thing going here in Saratoga, and the more you learn about it, the more you want to protect it! As Rotarians, we have ample opportunities to do just that.

Case in point (You knew where this was leading, didn’t you?): our annual ART SHOW, now just about a week away. Did you know that the show’s proceeds go to the Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation, which gives the money to local charities? There’s now well over a million dollars in the SRCF, and the more we contribute through our volunteer efforts, the more good they can do in the local community.

Yes, it’s hard work to stage a show of this size. Art Show chairman Wes Toy and his committee started working on it pretty much as soon as the previous show wrapped up. But it’s fun and satisfying work, and you won’t regret a single minute of it.

When I joined Rotary at the gentle insistence of Miles Rankin, he was careful to teach me his first commandment: THOU SHALT WORK THE ART SHOW! I haven’t missed one in over 20 years! I realize that we all have busy lives, and that sometimes events beyond our control conspire to rearrange our schedules. But deliberately plan travel during the first weekend in May?  Bad form. When you can’t make an assignment, it means that your work load falls on the shoulders of another Rotarian. So please, take your commitment seriously!

OK, the lecture is over. Now onto the fun! Don’t miss the pre-Art Show Party at Marcia Hansen’s (the perfect party house!) on the Friday before the show, and the traditional post-show get-together at the Community Center Sunday evening.

And of course, we wind up the Rotary year with the annual debunking on June 29. This will be one of the few years when I have not had the task of writing and directing the debunking show. One of my favorites was the “60 Minutes” report we filmed with the help of local TV personality Fred LaCosse. The report revealed how Evan Rohrbough’s time-consuming Rotary responsibilities pulled him away from his investment work, ultimately leading to the great recession! The late Ed Porter had a memorable cameo as one of Evan’s neglected clients.

I’m anxious to see what Past President JITKA CYMBAL has in store for my debunking! Might I suggest a gala evening filled with laudatory speeches extolling my greatness? How about erecting a 100-foot statue of me straddling Big Basin Way with a plaque inscribed “Dave Eshleman: He doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus”?  

Ok, I guess there are some budgetary constraints.

By the way, it was great to see so many past Presidents at our meeting April 13. I wish we had more time to hear their great stories. And sorry, Debby Rice, that you had to leave the meeting before you had a chance to speak. We’ll make it up to you!

And one of the highlights of the District Training Assembly April 14, was the opportunity to sing my Rotary Art Show song to the assembled multitudes at West Valley College. I hope this will become a tradition. If you have not already memorized the lyrics:

Come to the Rotary Art Show on the fifth and sixth of May

Food and wine and entertainment on a sunny day!

You’ll love the Rotary Art Show, works of quality and class!

And the most exciting thing is: It’s back on the grass!

Yes, you can see other craft shows, some of them of great interest.

But when it comes down to fine art, Saratoga has the best!

See you at the Rotary Art Show, helping local charities!

Row on row of priceless treasures, a show that’s sure to please!

Remember, of the things we think, say, or do:

-    Is it the truth?

-    Is it fair to all concerned?

-    Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

-    Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

PRESIDENT DAVE