Alumni Notes: November / December 2013

Note: Items with a (W) will be expanded in forthcoming editions of our website, www.yale62.org. Run like a magazine, it's skimmable.

The 118-room (eat your hearts out, mansion-dwellers) Rundale Palace near Riga, Latvia, echoed last summer to the harmonies of the Yale Alumni Chorus, in which the largest contingent came from '62. "As usual," brags Joe Holmes! His companions in mirth and song were Murray Wheeler, John Gerlach, Peter Sipple, John Knutson, Griff Resor, Biggie Moore, and Dan Koenigsberg (W). Other not-so-innocents abroad, Tappy Wilder and Dave Bingham, skylarked in the Louvre with a gimmick that apparently lets you take pictures of yourself taking pictures of pictures (W).

A magazine called Nautilus, a "New Yorker version of Scientific American," was launched last spring with a grant from the eponymous foundation that Jack Templeton runs. The September issue explored fame, from genes to Oprah.

Interesting books keep pouring from our pens. Fred Starr has published Une Belle Maison (University of Mississippi) with luscious photos and text describing his rescue and restoration of a former plantation house in New Orleans (W). The publicity around the possible nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve brought the name of her husband, George Akerlof, into the news. His latest book is Identity Economics (Princeton University Press, 2011). Extreme sportster Don Metz has written the well-paced More Than a Race (Mill City Press) about his participation with three other 70+ cyclists and a crew of 15 in breaking a transcontinental speed record (W).

Henry Childs' latest, Oblivion (Create/Space at Amazon) is a novel about a Welsh astrophysicist, Scotland Yard, and "an unlikely company of witches" who grapple with Dark Matter and dark forces (W). Ken Cascone's novel River of Triumph (W), now on Amazon Kindle, is "the tale of an American Indian, Yale's first Native American graduate and a medical doctor, during the American Revolution," with a parallel "contemporary murder mystery." And The Firesign Theater, the stoner comedy group which includes Phil Proctor, has released three new books of its scripts, whose titles give, um, whiffs of their well-wrought zaniness: Marching to Shibboleth, Exorcism in Your Daily Life, and Profiles in Barbeque Sauce.

Phil recently played Dick Cheney in a skit at a dinner benefiting the Hero Theatre Ensemble, in which "Cheney" says "Political unrest and natural disasters. Who do you turn to? Halliburton. Perhaps it's because we caused a lot of the shit that happened in the first place." In September, Sam Waterston's run ended as the crusty, principled (and well-reviewed) head of a national TV news organization on HBO's "The Newsroom."

Activism watch: Jim Long posted a note to friends in early September urging people to write their congressional representatives "if you believe as I do that attacking Syria is a potential world war." Bill Reilly spoke twice at Yale during October, giving a keynote to the alumni weekend of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Zucker Lecture (W) sponsored by Benjamin Zucker (W). The fracking controversy hasn't seen the last of Bill Weber's involvement. After losing the mayoralty of Pulteney, NY, he has "submitted to [local] pressure and perhaps my ego" and is running again this November. He'll give us a sequel (W).

Louis Audette's website article (July) about the trend to help people "age in place" in their own homes led to his giving remarks at a monthly lunch group in Long Island's Hamptons. Impressed, several members said they will think about encouraging a similar organization.

"Why stop doing what you love to do, especially when you can do it in better circumstances?" asks Ward Watt. He and his wife Carol, dissatisfied by "the constrained professional opportunities available to her at Stanford," have each become full professors of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, where Carol also will be Director of South Carolina's School of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. He adds: "SC is an 'up and coming' university, whose leaders are aiming for the top rank." Besides, they are "much more conveniently located to attend future reunions."

But why wait for New Haven? Pick an equidistant restaurant, like the steak house in Worcester, MA where Bob and Barbara Oliver (from New Haven) had a "reunion" dinner (W) with roomies Bob Breault (visiting on Cape Cod from Tucson) and Tim Hall (Boston) and their spice.

The life of the late Al Ordway drew Mike Kane, Roger Clapp, Willy Toal, Bob Spitz, Marsh Hamilton, Jack McCredie, David Willis, your Corsec, several spouses, and many alumni of his Winona Camps to a packed memorial in Bethel, Maine, on the campus of Al's other alma mater, Gould Academy, where Alan Ordway Hall honors his decades as board chair. Along similar sad lines, a number of classmates have commiserated with our Class Secretary, David Honneus, on the sudden death of his wife, Ginny, who many of us had come to know.