Saturday, February 26, 2011

[In-depth interview] Helping others achieve America’s promise - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

Here is an interview with classmate Maris Chun.  It is a little dated, but just came to my attention.  I thought it interesting in light of the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” discussions taking place right now. 

[In-depth interview] Helping others achieve America’s promise - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

Class Bracket for March Madness

Last year, a number of classmates got together to do a March Madness Bracket.  Now, I know that March is still a few days away, but I wanted to let everyone know that they can participate in a bracket this year by clicking here.

Remember our group's password: eliyale

Direct Studies for Life

Yale has opened a new Directed Studies program . . . for grown ups.  A two week, intensive version of DS will be available this summer.  Would you sign up if you had the time?  Would love to hear what people think about this.

Yale College | Yale College Summer Series - Op-ed: All teens deserve a chance to succeed

Tamar Birkhead is a classmate who is also a law professor.  I found the attached op-ed from Tamar quite convincing.  I thought I would pass it along as food for thought . . . - Op-ed: All teens deserve a chance to succeed

Spouses (including our very own Tamar Gendler) band together, help recruitment | Yale Daily News

Classmate Tamar Gendler has been working to help Yale recruit new professors.  Read more about it in the Yale Daily News by clicking on the link below.

Spouses band together, help recruitment | Yale Daily News - BRUCE FEILER: 6 Lessons from the Bible for Egypt Today

Interesting . . . biblical commentary on current events.  Not our normal fair, but thought provoking. - BRUCE FEILER: 6 Lessons from the Bible for Egypt Today

What Nora Ephron Can’t Remember | The Jewish Week

Abigail Pogrebin has been hosting talks at the Manhattan Jewish Community Center with prominent cultural figures.  Her latest talk was with Nora Ephron.  You can read more about her talk by clicking below.  The next program in the JCC series of Pogrebin’s interviews with writers and artists is April 27, when she will talk to Alexandra Styron, daughter of author William Styron, about her new memoir, “Reading My Father.”

What Nora Ephron Can’t Remember | The Jewish Week

Abigail Breslin, Julianne Moore To Star In Vampire Thriller ‘Innocence’

Bruce Feiler is not the only classmate who is having a book produced for non-readers . . . Jane Mendelsohn’s Innocence is now being turned into a film.  For more, click below.

Abigail Breslin, Julianne Moore To Star In Vampire Thriller ‘Innocence’

Television - News - Three stars join 'Council of Dads' pilot - Digital Spy

Bruce Feiler has been busy.  A new book, frequent NYT columns, and now a TV pilot.  Bruce’s latest book, Council of Dads, is in development, with three stars joining the pilot’s cast.  Click below to read more.

Television - News - Three stars join 'Council of Dads' pilot - Digital Spy

Yale in Hollywood Comes to New York . . . and Features Ira Sachs

If you are in the film, theater or tv business, you should definitely check out Yale Hollywood and its very interesting “Summit” in New York.  If you decide to attend, you will be able to attend a panel that includes our very own Ira Sachs.  For those of you who don’t know what Ira has been up to, let me fill you in. 

Ira and moved to New York after graduating from Yale with a BA in Literature and Film Theory. His films, including the features MARRIED LIFE (2007), THE DELTA (1997), and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning FORTY SHADES OF BLUE (2005), have been screened at the Berlin, Toronto, New York, Rotterdam, and London Film Festivals, as well as in most of the major gay and lesbian film festivals worldwide. A recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1999, Sachs has been an Adjunct Professor in the MFA Program at the Columbia University School of Film, a creative advisor at the Sundance Director’s Lab, and a fellow at both the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He is presently working on a new feature, THE GOODBYE PEOPLE, co-written with Oren Moverman, and adapted from the fiction of screenwriter and novelist Gavin Lambert.  You can read more about Ira and his work at

Program | Yale in Hollywood

Y 87’s Bob Dow Weighs in on Beer Distribution

I used to enjoy a nice hoppy ale from time to time in College.  (Later, I even became a home brewer.)  Bob Dow was a much more serious student than I was, so it is great to see him weighing in a important beer-related issues now that he is a federal judge.  Read more about one of Bob’s recent interesting cases by clicking on the link below.  Some my find it more interesting than his recent carp-related case, although I still think the carp case is more important, despite my interest in a frothy craft brew.

Illinois Craft Brewers Fight To Protect Right To Distribute

Alien Species Reconsidered: Finding a Value in Non-Natives by Carl Zimmer: Yale Environment 360

Classmate Carl Zimmer publishes a great deal.  After all, he is a writer . . . many think one of the best science writers around.  I found his recent piece in Yale Environment 360 pretty interesting.  Please click below to read it.

Alien Species Reconsidered: Finding a Value in Non-Natives by Carl Zimmer: Yale Environment 360

After Obama's Gay-Marriage Decision, 'A New World' Says 1987’s James Esseks

Come check out what our class is saying about the Obama' Administration’s recent decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act by clicking on the link below.

After Obama's Gay-Marriage Decision, 'A New World' | 89.3 KPCC

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A note about class notes

A year or so ago, I blogged about my view of class notes. Based on some e-mails I have received, I thought it was time to republish that post, which is as true today as it was in 2009, when I first wrote it:

My periodic e-mails elicit responses from time to time, some of which suggest that classmates who have not written books, made movies, launched companies or been appointed by presidents sometimes feel like they have nothing of note to share.

Although it is true that I tend to highlight public successes -- often because I read about it on the internet -- I do not believe that this is the only worthy news of our class. Quite the opposite. The every day accomplishments of our classmates -- be they birth of a child, the graduation of a child from school, finding the time to get together with old friends, the celebration of a hobby or a cool trip, fighting for a cause -- are every bit as deserving of coverage on our class site as our more common fair. I am reminded of how true this is every Fall.

Eleven years ago, my little brother, Luke, died suddenly. Luke was not a fancy guy. He tended bar, managed restaurants and, in the summer before he died, was a white water rafting guide in Wyoming. He never graduated from college and sometimes looked like Grizzly Adams. Yet, he had a huge impact on people because of his kind and generous spirit, and his adventurous way through life.

The first Saturday after Labor Day, we get together with his friends to have a charity golf event so we can send kids to the summer camp Luke attended. We thought initially that we would do the tournament for a year or two. After all, what had he done that would bring people together year after year? Eleven years later, we are planning another tournament, and will get together with 100 or so people who will travel from all over the country to be there. At the end of our day together, this group will lift their glasses and remember their old friend. More than a couple of the kids who will be there are named after Luke. A fitting tribute to a wonderful life, that was completely devoid of the sorts of accomplishments I often report.

Luke's life is a steady and humbling reminder to me about how important the little things are, and how rich a life can be even without accolades. I have every confidence that the lives of our classmates -- whether heralded or not -- are just as full of wonder as Luke's was.

So, if you'd like to share the events of your life, even if they don't involve something fancy, I for one will look forward to reading about it.

News from Emily Greenwald

Here is Emily Greenwald's latest news:

I am living in Missoula, Montana, with two very friendly but extremely hairy Golden Retrievers. I am part owner and vice president of a history and archaeology consulting company based in Missoula with offices in Seattle, Portland (OR), and Washington, DC. Outside of work, I play a lot of ice hockey, and while I am not very good, I finally reached the point where I have more goals than I can count (which means over 10). I haven't seen any classmates recently, but I did visit Harper Summers in San Diego over Labor Day 2009. He is a pathologist and still runs and also swims competitively. Can we be called competitive at our age?

News from Cathy Livingston

Here is news I received recently from Cathy Livingston, a top mucky-muck with the IRS:

I have been named Health Care Counsel for the IRS. This is formal recognition of the work I have been doing at the IRS for more than a year now on the health care reform law. As the courts have recently highlighted, the tax system plays some key functions in how the law works. It's a big challenge but also quite rewarding public service. And best of all, my key IRS partner in this effort is Yale '79.

Well done, Cathy!


Here is a message fromSteve Blum, a member of the AYA Board of Governors. I did this last week when I spoke on the law panel, and found it to be a really great experience.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Dad goes on walkabout

Australian Aborigines have a rite of passage called walkabout, during which teenagers walk through the wilderness following "songlines" from the ancestors. Although hardly a teenager any more, my Dad just embarked on a walkabout of his own. He closed up his Northern Michigan home and has decamped to Sydney for three months all on his own, without a companion or really much of a plan. He has rented apartments here and there, so his trip is not entirely without structure. However, he has no master plan and will go where (and when) his fancy dictates. He has been to the zoo, he has gone out to check out interesting neighborhoods, and he has ridden the ferry to see what might look interesting. Yesterday, he went to lunch with some new found friends. My guess is that he will ultimately make it to the Great Barrier reef.

Why did he do this? Well, he has always wanted to go to Australia, but responsibilities (jobs, kids, etc.) always got in the way. Now that he is completely retired, he is for the first time in over 50 years free to wander. So, he is wandering. My brother used to call trips like this a "scamper." That pretty much sums up what my Dad is doing. I am enjoying living his carefree scamper vicariously.

As I read his dispatches and look at his pictures, I wonder what I would do with a completely unstructured life. What would you do?

A Note from Glenn Gutmacher

Glenn Gutmacher sent the following to the 1987 listserv. Thought I would pass it on:

Most people see Israel as a country full of prosperity, and its residents have worked hard to beat the odds to get it to where it is.However, one major crisis is threatening to undermine it: water.

Learn more at


Glenn Gutmacher
70 Edge Hill Rd., Suite 500
Sharon, MA 02067-1059 USA

Vince Jordan to Start at USC’s Cosby Screenwriting Program

I heard from Vince Jordan that he is about to start at USC’s Cosby Screenwriting Program.  Not knowing what that was, I checked it out.  The link is below.  Looks very interesting.  Best of luck, Vince!

News from Mirem Villamil

I received a nice e-mail from Mirem Villamil. Mirem let me know that she is working for Edible Schoolyard NYC, managing a new half-acre public school garden in Gravesend, Brooklyn, helping to create a curriculum, and teaching garden classes to pre-K through 5th grade kids. I'm beyond delighted that my personal mission - getting kids growing their own food - has become a full-time job with such an amazing organization.

As background - ESYNYC is an affiliate of Edible Schoolyard Berkeley (of Alice Waters fame). Alice Waters was behind the creation of the Yale organic farm when her daughter attended Yale, although I don't know details.

For more on Mirem's life, you can visit one of my 2009 posts, by clicking here.

Dominating the Man Cave - This Life -

Here is Bruce Feiler’s latest piece from the New York Times.  Very appropriate for the week before the Super Bowl.

Dominating the Man Cave - This Life -

Chang-rae Lee to Speak at Lowell Humanities Series - Boston College

Classmate Chang-rae Lee will be giving a lecture in March at Boston College as part of the Lowell Humanities Series.  If you live in the area, you might want to attend.  Click on the link below for more information.

Lowell Humanities Series - Boston College

Tony Nominee Amy Ryan and Todd Almond Unite for Wyoming and Parts of Kansas Concert -

If  you are looking for some music in NYC this February, you might want to check out this concert.  Classmate Jon Spurney will be in the band.

Tony Nominee Amy Ryan and Todd Almond Unite for Wyoming and Parts of Kansas Concert -

Age and happiness: The U-bend of life (or, Life gets better after 45)

Great news, Classmates!  We are, according to scientists, on the road to greater happiness now that we are . . .er, um, how to say this? . . . middle-aged.  There, I said it.  It turns out that right about now, the average person on the planet is at their most stressed and least fulfilled point in life.  And, at this point, things start to get a lot better.  Is it that the kids are now getting older, so we don’t have to listen to Barney of Sponge Bob Squarepants any more?  (That, for me, will be a source of much rejoicing.)  Is it that we are more firmly established and comfortable in our careers?  Or, is it that we now are at peace at the people we have become?  I don’t know, but I thought that this article was interesting enough to share.  Please let me know what you think.

Age and happiness: The U-bend of life | The Economist

Friday, February 4, 2011

JCC Career Panel -- Need some help!

Last night, I spoke on a career panel for Yale students. The panel related to careers in the law.

After the panel discussion, a student came up to me and asked about jobs she might get that would help her get experience with immigration/human rights/asylum issues. Any recommendations from the class of 1987?

I would really appreciate your input!