November 11, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club

Coming up on November 18th

Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is a retired English teacher from Palisades High School. His topic will be the benefits of reading good literature, both practical and aesthetic.  He will discuss the reading habits of enormously literate people namely Winston Churchill, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and Oprah Winfrey.

Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for November 11, 2021

               I felt a little guilty for missing the pledge to the Flag while waiting to be admitted into
the meeting but, listened intently as David Stover began his Thought for the Day—and a
Big Thought it was.

He described the Fermi Paradox. Enrico Fermi was one key nuclear physicist who
worked on the Manhattan Project during WWII which led to the first atomic
bomb. The scientific community at that time had been trying to calculate with
uncountable billions of planets in the Milky Way and thus, equally
uncountable billions of planets out there capable of supporting life, what are the
odds of other intelligent life in our galaxy.

           One day at lunch with his physicist colleagues, Fermi is said to have
blurted out “Where is everybody?” (referring to intelligent species from 
other worlds. This is the elegantly simple Fermi Paradox. He was disappointed
that, with billions of suitable worlds and billions of years of scientific discovery
and opportunity for travel through space, no visitors had arrived at Earth.
Among hundreds of theoretical answers to this little question, David related
the scariest one: intelligent life is instinctually destructive. The more advanced
a society becomes, the more likely it will easily destroy itself. Before we follow
this path, David suggested we actually guarantee our futures by changing the
way we regard the rest of Humanity. And, I would add, by dealing with climate

         PP Admiral Edwin Gauld was called forward to deliver us from these
serious and troubling ideas. Since it was Veteran’s Day, he sang that great
George M. Cohen 1917 ditty “Over There” with great enthusiasm. To my dismay,
I recalled that this was not “The War that Ends Wars” after all, but
I still felt better.

            PP Tom Barron quickly moved us on to the following news:
Phil Gabriel is in charge of the Christmas Shopping Spree for the children of
The Salvation Army Transitional Center in Westwood. It will involve
Zoom and the Amazon this year again, I’m afraid, but the kids are waiting
and we need more volunteers. Start date to meet and shop with a child is ASAP! 
So, if interested in participating contact Phil by email.

           PP Mark Rogo introduced a Special Guest, Dr. Sameh El Kharbawy of Cal
State Northridge, attending our meeting today, and we welcome him with

           Rotary District 5280 needs volunteers for the Angel City Celebration
on December 13 and 14. Toys and food will be in plentiful supply. More information available on District 5280’s website.

           Early Registration is now open for next year’s RI Annual Meeting in
Houston and will continue at a discount until December 15. Let’s hope
Texans accept the mask mandates long before the Spring!

           Club Service is planning a Holiday Lunch for our Members and their
Spouses (also members, mostly). It will NOT be on Zoom but, at Guido’s in Santa Monica on
December 16th!

            John O’Keefe was called forward to introduce our guest speaker.
She is Elizabeth Breen, PhD, whom John has heard speak before. She is an
adjunct assistant professor at UCLA’s Cousin Center for Psychoneuroimmunology,
or PNI. PNI is a cross-discipline approach to wellness that addresses:

  1. The Mind - concepts like purpose, determination, love, hope, faith, will to live.
  2. Neural Centers - physical brain and central nervous system
  3. Immunology - preparing the immune system for trauma, disease, depression, etc. in the pursuit of individual well-being.

     Most adults would agree that what you think does impact your bodily
health and conditions like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. My body’s
healing power is not independent of what I believe. We also know that laughter,
humor, positive thinking, etc. have healing powers not unlike the effect of
exercise on our bodies. Psychologists have long pointed out the power of
Mindfulness (paying conscious attention moment-by-moment) anecdotally
without focusing on it scientifically, as PNI does. Mindful Awareness is the
practice of being fully present and non-judgmental in the world.

           PNI, working across disciplines, has created new studies that validate
and quantify the power of healthy mindfulness. Prof. Breen told us about
actual experiments where subjects suffering from depression were shown to
have a poor vaccine response, but after successful therapy for the depression
were shown to have a much stronger response.

           Older adults (like the audience) have long praised the Asian practice
of Tai Chi (slow and mindful movement) and experiments have proven that Tai Chi
practitioners have a much superior vaccine response than other oldsters.

          Sleep disturbances have long been correlated with cancer, diabetes,
high blood pressure, depression, and mortality. Mindful meditation has been shown to
greatly improve sleep quality after only five weeks of practice-
a bigger improvement than sleep seminars and other advice provided.

           With all the mental and addiction problems our society suffers from
in large numbers, the PNI collaborators have a lot of work to do. Americans,
with all their affluence, are more unhealthy than ever. If some healthy
habits could reduce our awful morbidity, we could save a lot on drugs.
Of course, we’d never reach more than 70% of American adults!

YOPP Dwight

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing