For the 66 active members of the San Pedro Peninsula Cancer Guild, raising $85,000 for cancer research in one year is no laughing matter. But you'd never know it from the antics displayed during the group's January installation luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro. The eight most important new officers received a fun-filled roasting at the hands of Mark Karmelich, dressed in a black judge's robe as the would-be chief justice.

The script, written by Mark's mother, member Marie Karmelich (who is known for her hilarious installations), took its lead from President Barack Obama's inauguration, which took place on the same day. New officers were escorted to the podium by faux Secret Service agents Martin Jank and Don Mole, while new inductees waved American flags to the vibes of "Hail to the Chief."

Member Betty Marinkovich was the first to be thrown under the bus as the chief justice commanded she place her hand on a huge Bible and repeat after him.

"I, Betty Marinkovich, as stand in for Christine Fenwick, as membership chairman ... (he pauses while she repeats the words) ... "promise to review bylaws with each member ... whenever their memory starts fading ... which, by the look of things ... could be at any moment."

As the responsibilities increased, so too did the ribbing. Witness the oath taken by Louise Polsky, incoming treasurer:

"I, Louise Polsky, as treasurer, promise to act, according to my new political party, which is called the `Hide and Spend party,' and try to do ... a fairly honest job ... as I always do ... when sober."

The hilarity and audience delight only escalated when the other six officers took their turns in the bucket.

Not even the incoming president, Madam Lynne Venturini, was spared, as she replaced outgoing president Yvonne Bogdanovich, who did such a good job that she was rewarded with the job of second vice president.

"Repeat after me," said a stern justice: `I, Lynne Venturini, promise to make all important executive orders to benefit me and me alone ... for accepting this prestigious, but thankless job. God bless our guild."

Other 2013 good-sport volunteers included Jeannine Shearing, corresponding secretary; Pat DiLeva, recording secretary; Phyllis Weitzman, another second vice president and Jan Moore, first vice president.

Clearly, these guild members have fun(d)-raising down to a science. Even the board meeting that Venturini called following lunch was peppered with outbursts of laughter. Typically, the group raises amounts in the high five figures annually with just four general meetings a year. Members also attend committee meetings for the annual fund-raising event, An Affaire to Remember, in November.

Harlyne Norris, during the few minutes she wasn't laughing, graciously accepted an over-sized $85,000 check for The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and posed for photo ops.

Membership is open to volunteers wishing to help raise funds to find a cure for cancer. The next meeting, in April, is open to guests and will feature a doctors forum dinner in which cancer specialists share the latest innovative results, trends and breakthroughs.

For information on membership, call 310-375-2968 or email aeharder2@cox.net. For information on attending the doctors forum, call 310-832-3307 or email coolpedrodad@aolcom.

Quilt show

Dozens of unique quilts will be on display at the South Bay Quilters Guild 2013 Quilt Show 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3330 Civic Center Drive. In addition, there will be a merchant mall with vendors selling everything related to quilting, from fabrics to books. At 1 p.m. on Feb. 17, there will be a quilt auction.

Admission is $8 at the door (children are admitted free.)

New speakers series

Members of Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach invite the public to a new three-person speakers series that will explore the moral and ethical issues that confront us in the 21st century. The series was devised as an outreach to the community with emphasis on especially high-caliber speakers addressing controversial subjects. 

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine Law School will kick off the series at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Temple Menorah.

Chemerinsky will discuss "The New Technology and the Constitution," in which he will focus on First Amendment rights while answering the question, "Can texting, Facebook and Twitter be used against you in court?"

The other two speakers include Arthur Gross-Schaefer on "Ethical decision-making in the 21st century" at 7:30 p.m. March 13 and Elliot N. Dorff on "Matters of Life and Death" at 7:30 p.m. April 16 at the temple. The cost starts at $25 a ticket for adults and $10 for students. For information or to order, visit www.OurLeadersInAction.com or call Robin Franko at 310-316-8444.

Tea at Two

The Torrance Historical Society will host Tea at Two, a Valentine's Day tea and program at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Torrance Historical Museum, 1345 Post Ave., Torrance.

Hats and gloves are optional at the tea, which will include highlights of the History of Tea by Councilwoman Emerita Maureen O'Donnell. There also will be a collection of vintage teapots, a vintage linen sale and exhibit of historic hankies and valentines.

Tickets are $14. For reservations, call the museum today at 310-328-5392. For information, visit www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org.

Meredith Grenier is a freelance writer. She can be reached at meredithgrenier@yahoo.com