Sunday, August 30, 2009

Karen Yarasavage Honored

Three Yalies were recently honored by being inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, including our classmate Karen Yarasavage. According to the Yale Press release announcing the honor:

Yarasavage was the team leader in field goal percentage in her freshman season and stills hold the program record for career field goal percentage at .615. She also led the Bulldogs in rebounding in 1986-87. As a senior, she was team captain, a first team All-Ivy selection and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Yarasavage graduated with a degree in psychology as a member of the Class of 1987.Always a strong supporter of the Yale women’s basketball program, her legacy was recognized in 2006 with the institution of the Karen Yarasavage Award at the annual year-end team banquet. The award is presented annually to the player who most displays the attributes of grit and determination, Karen’s trademarks.

Congratulations, Karen!

New Book by Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler is coming out with a new book, entitled "America's Prophet, Moses and the American Story."

Here is the Amazon blurb on Bruce's book:

The exodus story is America's story. Moses is our real founding father.

The pilgrims quoted his story. Franklin and Jefferson proposed he appear on the U.S. seal. Washington and Lincoln were called his incarnations. The Statue of Liberty and Superman were molded in his image. Martin Luther King, Jr., invoked him the night before he died. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cited him as inspiration. For four hundred years, one figure inspired more Americans than any other. His name is Moses.

In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler travels through touchstones in American history and traces the biblical prophet's influence from the Mayflower through today. He visits the island where the pilgrims spent their first Sabbath, climbs the bell tower where the Liberty Bell was inscribed with a quote from Moses, retraces the Underground Railroad where "Go Down, Moses" was the national anthem of slaves, and dons the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments.

"Even a cursory review of American history indicates that Moses has emboldened leaders of all stripes," Feiler writes, "patriot and loyalist, slave and master, Jew and Christian. Could the persistence of his story serve as a reminder of our shared national values? Could he serve as a unifying force in a disunifying time? If Moses could split the Red Sea, could he unsplit America?"
One part adventure story, one part literary detective story, one part exploration of faith in contemporary life, America's Prophet takes readers through the landmarks of America's narrative—from Gettysburg to Selma, the Silver Screen to the Oval Office—to understand how Moses has shaped the nation's character.

Meticulously researched and highly readable, America's Prophet is a thrilling, original work of history that will forever change how we view America, our faith, and our future.

For more information, check out Bruce's website:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bank reform architect defends 600-pages of changes - MarketWatch

Classmate Michael Barr is often in the news these days, given his high profile role in the Obama administration.  MarketWatch did a piece on his views.  Very interesting.

Bank reform architect defends 600-pages of changes - MarketWatch

Bruce Feiler: Charlton Heston the Face of the USA? How Moses Was Chosen for the Great Seal

Bruce Feiler had an interest piece on the Huffington Post.  Check it out.

Bruce Feiler: Charlton Heston the Face of the USA? How Moses Was Chosen for the Great Seal

The Index of Banned Words | The Loom | Discover Magazine

Classmate Carl Zimmer is teaching writing this summer.  He has banned the use of certain words -- something I have done when teaching younger lawyers to write briefs.  What do you think about Carl's list?

The Index of Banned Words | The Loom | Discover Magazine

Microbes Within Microbes Within Microbes - Origins

Our classmate Carl Zimmer has been blogging and writing some interesting posts.  I am passing two along . . .

Microbes Within Microbes Within Microbes - Origins

Friday, August 7, 2009

News from Abigail Pogrebin

I have heard from Abigail Pogerbin, whose second book will be published October 20th from Doubleday. It's called "One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned about Everyone's Struggle to be Singular" and, in addition to fascinating interviews with twins, it includes personal revelations about her own twinship with Robin Pogrebin, also class of '87.

Curious about Abigail's first book, I snooped a bit on the internet and found that her first book, "Stars of David", featured interviews with prominent Jews about being Jewish. She interviewed a very impressive list of accomplished individuals for that book. For more information, you can visit

Abigail, I also learned, has been a producer for Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, and 60 Minutes—for Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley. She was a senior correspondent for Brill’s Content, a contributing writer for Talk magazine, and is now a free-lance journalist whose work has appeared in many magazines and newspapers. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Monday, August 3, 2009

News about Devin Odell

News from the Google wire . . .

A former newspaper reporter and natural resources attorney has been appointed to take over the district court docket of retiring Judge James Hiatt.

Effective Friday, Devin R. Odell of Fort Collins, Colorado, is the newest judge in the 8th Judicial District of Larimer and Jackson counties.

Odell is an assistant attorney general in the Natural Resources Division of the Colorado Attorney General's Office, a position he has held since 2006. His wife is a professor at Colorado State University.

Odell said he "off and on" wanted to be a judge from childhood, but a rough experience working at a law firm initially put him off.

Born in Colorado but raised largely in California, Odell said he graduated from Yale in 1987 and eventually worked as a “roving reporter” for the trade newspaper Alaska Fisherman’s Journal.

“It’s been downhill since then,” he said with a laugh.

Working in Alaska got him interested in water and other natural resources issues, Odell said, and he eventually went to law school, graduating from the University of California-Davis School of Law in 1997. He clerked for Alaska Supreme Court Judge Dana Fabe and then took a succession of private-sector jobs before he and his wife moved to Fort Collins and he took a job with the attorney general’s office.

He said his selection as judge is a testament to how welcoming the Fort Collins community is, having moved to the area only about six years ago.

Odell said he will take over Hiatt’s docket, which carries a mix of civil and criminal cases. Odell said he’s aware of Hiatt’s reputation as a fair jurist who listens carefully to all sides and said he aspires to do the same.

“That’s one of my goals as a judge — to work hard at being able to do that,” he said.
Odell said the 8th Judicial District has a reputation for being well-run, and he said he looks forward to helping administer justice efficiently.

“It’s really well-run,” Odell said. “They get cases done in a timely way. It’s a good court.”

Ritter chose Odell from a field of three finalists that also included Mary Joan Berenato, a Larimer County magistrate, and longtime Fort Collins private practice attorney Steven B. Ray.

Hiatt also served as chief district judge handling administrative duties. His retirement led the Colorado Supreme Court to name Stephen Schapanski as new chief judge for the district.

Odell’s initial term of office is a provisional term of two years. He will then have to stand for retention. He and his wife have two children, ages 11 and 6.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Passing Strange | Jon Spurney

Classmate Jon Spurney has been working on Passing Strange, an interesting piece of musical theater that is the subject of a Spike Lee documentary coming out in a few weeks.


Jon is an accomplished musician who played keyboards on David Byrne’s latest album, Looking Backward, and played guitar and sang on John Cale’s recent release Hobo Sapiens. He has performed with artists as diverse as Jewel, Natalie Merchant, Stew and Amy Rigby, and has made numerous television appearances including NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS This Morning. He performed in Sarah McClachlan’s Lilith Fair Festival in 1999, and most recently appeared at the HBO Comedy Fest in Aspen with TastiSkank.

Jon performed on stage in the off-Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch with 80’s pop icon Ally Sheedy, which ran for two years at New York’s Jane Street Theater from 1999-2000, as well as in Greenburg and Goldwasser’s rock musical People are Wrong! at the Vineyard Theater in 2005. He served as musical director for the off-Broadway hit Planet Banana at the Ars Nova and as bandleader for The Soundtracks Live shows at the UCB Theater featuring cast members of Saturday Night Live. He participated in the Sundance Theater Lab in 2005 with Passing Strange, and participated in further workshops of the show in New York and at Stanford University.

Jon most recently composed and performed music for the new sketch comedy show Short Circuitz. He also composed and performed incidental music for The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. He has composed jingles for television commercials for over 19 years and was awarded a Bronze Lion at the Cannes film festival for his commercial scoring work. He provides live piano accompaniment for silent films at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of the Moving Image, and for the Film Studies Department of Yale University.

If you would like to read more about Jon and his work, including a very interesting interview he gave (that includes a question about Jon waking up with Clarence Thomas in a Las Vegas hotel room), you should check out the link below.

Passing Strange | Jon Spurney

News from Joshua Berman

Josh Berman wrote recently. Josh writes: "Our daughter Karen was born in February, and at four months loves to "work the crowd" as did her older sister Rachel (now five years old) at the same age! I continue in private practice in psychiatry and in neuroscience research, and run into members of '87 when I least expect it."

News from Marcella Rosen

Marcella Rosen wrote in recently. She writes: "I just spent a fantastic week in Montauk, Long Island with Louisa Garry (Gerritz) and Liddy Manson. I brought my three daughters, Gabby (12), Anna (10) and Eva (5) who joined Louisa's two daughters, Kira (16) and Katrina (13) and Liddy's twin daughters, Katherine and Annie (8) for days of fun on the beach. Over the Fourth of July, Kathy Graff, busand Ben and son Nicholas joined our family for festivities at our summer house in Chatham, NY. Come September, I am looking forward to returning to a full-time teaching position as a 6th & 7th grate Humanities and English teached at The United Nationas International School, where my daughters are enrolled."