Alumni Notes: January / February 2016

Eternal vigilance is the price of convenience, not just liberty, to paraphrase a familiar maxim. Typical case: Bob Oliver "was blissfully unaware on the island of Monhegan in the Gulf of Maine" this summer when his name online apparently was pirated by a "spoofing" e-mailer. Fortunately, the invasion was quickly spotted (his e-mail name was attached to a different address) and his office security consultant arranged a blockade. But Web problems are happening to more and more of us. As of this writing, Al Chambers was promising additional reflections and protective tips for www.yale62.org.

Our avid crew and hockey correspondent Mike Kane is "really happy for Yale crew, beating Harvard on the Thames last spring. The lightweight crew long ago threw off the Harvard curse but it seemed as if the heavies would never get it done." As another hockey season was about to start he reported, "Harvard was picked to finish first in our league (ECAC), as they did last year." When in Maine, Kane stays mainly in Southwest Harbor. There, he quips, he passed his "75th birthday with so many family that I was lost in the crowd and not the center of attention I had hoped to be." He plays "lots" of golf, "though USGA golfers in the class will not be impressed with a USGA index of 20." His wife, Nancy, dislikes hockey, so on game weekends she sometimes visits their daughter and grandson in Washington, DC. Their other daughter is clerking for a federal judge in Miami.

Fred Starr's monumental book Lost Enlightenment, about Central Asia's "golden age," is gaining increasing attention. A small excerpt, about the scholar al-Biruni hypothesizing the existence of the North American continent 200 years before Columbus discovered it, appeared on our website when the book came out three years ago. Last fall, the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman applauded the book in his blog, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/, saying it showed "an Islamic world far more diverse in its beliefs and thinking than anything you might imagine from current prejudices." Bob Connery, who called this to my attention, says the book "has already been widely influential among the community that pays attention to Afghanistan and Central Asia." He added: "The current migration of Muslims to Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, and the United States makes the historical accomplishments and potential of these populations more relevant now than ever before. Like Krugman, I had no idea of this history until I heard Fred address it a couple of years ago while writing the book. I think our classmates might well be interested."

Not shrinking from controversial areas either, Mike and Ann Moore safely spent two early-November weeks in Iran with a tour group of seven friends from the organization WorldDenver, reconnecting with the assistant conductor of the Iranian Symphony Orchestra, a fellow baritone who Biggie sat next to three years ago at the first Yale International Choral Festival in New Haven. Biggie and Ann strummed and sang "If I Had a Hammer" to informal gatherings and found people with "contradicting views and opinions. We saw a few signs denouncing America as a land of Satan/ Down with America. It's unfortunate that the media find signs like that and blow them up so as to appear to reflect the dominant attitude. When we told people that we were from America, they would enthusiastically say that they loved our country ... and welcome to theirs!" We'll have more details on our website.

Some people have all the versatility. John Stewart has become our class treasurer, replacing Bob Connery. John says, "I'm an idiot when it comes to finance, but apparently what is needed is enthusiasm."

As a legacy of his terrific loyalty to our class, this summer Bob Oliver had 38 50th reunion tote bags with the Wm. Hamilton cartoon, 28 class ties, 10 50th reunion class books and 10 50th reunion supplement pamphlets, and, for you history buffs, 15 25th reunion class books. He shares. Help him at oliver@moglaw.com.

Necrology: We regret to announce the death of Geoffrey Anders Williams. As usual, a full obituary will appear in due course on www.yale62.org.