Saturday, April 30, 2011

GutRunners - Improving Digestive Health Brought to You By Y87’S Robynne Chutkan

Our own Robynne Chutckan has been a very busy woman.  When not being a mom or practicing as a physician, Robynne has started a foundation to promote healthy eating and exercise for better digestive health.  As someone who lost his mother to colon cancer, I found Robynne’s work inspirational.  To hear more about Robynne’s foundation, click this link:  GutRunners - Improving Digestive Health

You can read more about Robynne and her work by clicking here or here.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The end of the world as we know it

A few pieces of news from Carl Zimmer.

First, there is his recent thought-provoking piece on the end of the world.  Click below to read it.

Second, he has a new book coming out, A Planet of Viruses, due out soon.  (Click here for a review)

The end of the world as we know it

New Courses Available Spring 2011 — Open Yale Courses

Ten new courses, ranging from financial theory to Cervantes’ "Don Quixote," have been added to Open Yale Courses, the University's open educational initiative. With a total of 35 courses online, Open Yale Courses offers a full curriculum for free that reflects the broad liberal arts education provided by Yale College. The courses are available in high definition video and audio formats. There are also versions of the courses optimized for the iPhone and iPad, allowing easy access to the lectures for those on the go. Open Yale Courses has received over three million unique visits since its debut in 2007.

New Courses Available Spring 2011 — Open Yale Courses

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yale Day of Service -- May 14, 2011

A reason to participate in this year's Yale Day of Service:

And, here's a little bit about what the Yale Day of Service accomplished last year:

News about Paul Doiron

Paul Doiron has been busy lately.  His first novel, The Poacher's Son, has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Edgard Award for best first novel.  Well done, Paul. 

If that were not enough, Paul is coming out with his second book in June.  Entitled Trespasser, this book is again set in Maine with Paul's protagonist, Mike Bowditch.  Here is the blurb on the book:

In Paul Doiron's riveting follow-up to his Edgar Award nominated novel, The Poacher's Son, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch's quest to find a missing woman leads him through a forest of lies in search of a killer who may have gotten away with murder once before.

While on patrol one foggy March evening, Bowditch receives a call for help. A woman has reportedly struck a deer on a lonely coast road. When the game warden arrives on the scene, he finds blood in the road—but both the driver and the deer have vanished. And the state trooper assigned to the accident seems strangely unconcerned.

The details of the disappearance seem eerily familiar. Seven years earlier, a jury convicted lobsterman Erland Jefferts of the rape and murder of a wealthy college student and sentenced him to life in prison. For all but his most fanatical defenders, justice was served. But when the missing woman is found brutalized in a manner that suggests Jefferts might have been framed, Bowditch receives an ominous warning from state prosecutors to stop asking questions.

For Mike Bowditch, whose own life was recently shattered by a horrific act of violence, doing nothing is not an option. His clandestine investigation reopens old wounds between Maine locals and rich summer residents and puts both his own life, and that of the woman he loves, in jeopardy. As he closes in on his quarry, he suddenly discovers how dangerous his opponents are and how far they will go to prevent him from bringing a killer to justice.

Can't wait to read it. . .

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joe Gromacki -- Dealmaker of the Year

I was on a plane trip recently, which is when I get caught up on my reading of legal periodicals.  (Exciting life, I know.)  In any event, during my reading, I came across a full page picture of our classmate Joe Gromacki in the "Dealmaker of the Year" section of the American Lawyer.  Joe, it turns out, has been a busy guy.  He was lead corporate counsel to General Motors in its recent IPO.  Wow.  A very big assignment handled with skill and diplomacy.

You can click on the title of this post to read the whole article.

Well done, Joe.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chang Rae Lee's "The Surrendered"

Even though I was a Literature major, I am a literary wimp. That wasn't always the case, of course. I used to read anything, no matter how tough the themes might be. Life changed that, as I found some authors getting too close to painful truths I have learned through personal experience for me to abide. (Loss, for instance, is an interesting abstraction for a teenager who has never truly known loss; not necessarily so for me anymore.). I don't like admitting this, of course, because I believe that literature can bring understanding and illumination to even the most difficult-to-examine aspects of life. Nevertheless, there it is.
Because I am a literary wimp, I have been staring for months at my copy of Chang Rae Lee's "The Surrendered.". I could tell from the reviews and the dust jacket that this book would grapple with some tough stuff. Death, fortitude, redemption, cruelty, selfishness, human and moral frailty - just to name a few. So, on my shelf it sat.
Until this week.
I read The Surrendered with an ever quickening pace as I was drawn to the books denouement. This was not a page-turner in the traditional sense. Impelled by the majesty of the prose, though, I could not stop myself from wondering what would happen next (or what had already happened), and why. Would the characters, who feigned brutal honesty, allow each other to cling to the fictions that sustained them? These questions drove me on.
I won't try to review The Surrendered, as many other people better skilled at doing so have already done that. I will say that this was a powerful and moving book. It was worth delving into these tough issues, through the lives of these difficult-to-love characters, and I highly recommend this book to our class.
One last note: if you've read the book, too, please let me know. I would love to discuss it with someone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

25th Reunion -- Our First Class Assignment . . . We Need Your Pictures from College

People have already started responding to our call for help with the 25th Reunion.  This outpouring of interest has sparked our first 25th Reunion Class Project -- a commemorative video looking back at our time at Yale.  Remember those unfortunate hair cuts, strong fashion statements, great times with good friends?  We do, too. We would like to take the walk down memory lane together at reunion.

What do we need?  Simple.  We need you to dig out old pictures from college -- from Spring Break trips, parties, team events, concerts, Old Campus, whatever -- and scan them in.  Do you have video clips of college?  We would love to see those, too. 

Send us whatever you have to

News from Sandra Luckow

I received an e-mail from classmate Sandra Luckow with news and an invitation to classmates to collaborate on a project.  Here is what Sandra had to say:

I have been teaching film production (both documentary and narrative) at Yale for almost 14 years now.  I run the production arm of the Yale Summer Film Institute which is a comprehensive, intensive six week production workshop for filmmakers and performers.  Like everyone else on the planet, we have a facebook page.  I am also teaching at Columbia with Dr. Annette Insdorf who as many of our classmates will recall taught Masterpieces in American Film History when were at Yale or, as we referred to it then, "Tuesday Afternoon at the Movies."  Teaching has become my income staple in order to be the kind of independent filmmaker I conceived while an undergraduate at Yale.

I am regularly in touch with Andrea Pincus, a big shot attorney at Reed Smith and a fabulous friend.  Her oldest son Jake just had his bar mitzvah and her youngest son Sam is my godson!  She allows me to be their adult bad influence,  

I am looking forward to reconnecting with more classmates at the reunion, but hopefully before.  I was stunned to see, during the memorandum at the Oscars, that my friend and fellow Branfordite George Hickenlooper '86 had passed away and it got me to thinking about making opportunities to reconnect and work with the people with whom I shared such important formative years.  I would like to offer up a feature film project to the class of 1987 to create an opportunity to produce something together.

When I was at Yale, I ran the Yale Film Society with a law student named Marion Hoogstraten Kandel.  I met and later worked with her father, Dr. Barth Hoogstraten to write his memoir, "Eyes of the Blind,"  which recounts his experience of going into hiding in 1942 Nazi-occupied Holland because as a young medical student he refused to sign a declaration of loyalty.  He was hid in plain sight by two blind middle-aged music teachers who taught him to act blind, music and what one can appreciate beyond appearances.  I have spent years adapting this memoir to a screenplay entitled, "Blind's Man Bluff."  Meryl Streep read it and sent me a note saying, "It is a wonderfully told story that I'm sure will make a compelling film -- it certainly deserves to be seen."  Anyone from the class of 1987 who would like help me and be a part of making this film, please let me know at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

25th Reunion -- Need Your Ideas!

Our Reunion Team (more on that soon) has started putting together our 25th Reunion weekend.  One of the things we are doing is designing "classes" so classmates can share their interests with everyone.  We would LOVE your input.

Here's our idea -- we would like to have four "levels" of classes . . . from the silly to the serious and everything in between. 

100 Level Activities - activities for everyone

   Maybe a classmate can teach a group dance class, or a crazy science class, or cooking.  Or something else entirely, so long as it is something everyone can do together.

200 Level Activities. - activities aimed at kids

Let's have some classes aimed at the kids who will attend our reunion.  
Maybe something future focused:  What's it like to be doctor, build a house, work for a President, write a book, work for a newspaper, climb a mountain, go fly fishing?   Or, maybe something else altogether.
What would your kids like to do?   Let us know.

300 level activities. Activities aimed at adults

Book talks, debates about current events, discussions of movies, etc.  Grown up stuff.  What interests you?

400 level activities - seminars on life issues

One thing we share is our stage in life.  Would you like to talk about these sorts of things with people in the class?  Some ideas we have kicked around include:

Dealing with aging parents
Careers in transition
Dealing with educational challenges of our kids 
Avoiding the road to nowhere/are we Tiger Moms and Dads?
At this stage what is important is your feedback.  We need ideas and would like to shape the direction of the reunion with you in mind.  So . . .
Please let us know what you think.  

Nominate a classmate.  

We would love to hear from you at

Saturday, April 9, 2011

25th Reunion dates set -- May 24-27, 2012

The dates are set, so make your plans.

Our 25th Reunion will be on May 24-27, 2012.

What's Next?
Contact your friends!

The key to a great reunion is getting as many classmates as possible to come to New Haven. Start reaching out to friends, roommates, teammates and everyone you'd like to see at the reunion now! For contact information, log into the AYA's Online Alumni Directory.

Make hotel reservations in the late fall.

In late fall, you will receive a reunion update and the opportunity to let us know if you are planning to attend. You will also receive information on reunion hotels at that time, including the AYA reservation code to take advantage of special reunion rates when making a hotel reservation.

Register for your reunion in Spring 2012!

In March 2012, you will receive a detailed communication containing all you need to register for your reunion - a preliminary weekend schedule, including events planned specifically by your class, information about meals, campus housing, transportation, campus accessibility and childcare. You will also be able to register online for your reunion.

And, if you want to help plan to reunion, please contact me at

Monday, April 4, 2011

A new book by Jackie Horne

Jackie Horne wrote in to let us know about the publication of her new book, History and the Construction of the Child in Early British Children's Literature, which you can find at:

LoNYla is looking for space in London

A international theatre/film group, LoNYla, which is driven by Yale College and Yale Drama School grads, needs conference room space in London on Sunday evenings from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm.

If anyone knows of any Yalies in London who might be of help on this front, can you let me know?

The Lunch Tray — kids and food, in school and out

A while back, I told you about Bettina Elias Siegel’s new blog, The Lunch Tray.  Well, Bettina has really kept the blog content-rich.  You should definitely check it out if you are at interested in nutrition.

The Lunch Tray — kids and food, in school and out

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Springtime Yammerings from Carl Zimmer | The Loom | Discover Magazine

We are lucky to have one of the most respected science writers working today as a classmate.  If you don’t follow Carl’s work, you should if you have interest in science.  It is informative stuff, and I find it very entertaining.

Carl has a number of upcoming speaking engagements, so you should stop by to listen when he is in your area:

April 5, 7 pm, New Haven CT: The Ordinary Evening Reading Series. Come to the dive bar extraordinaire, The Anchor, to hear me talk about viruses, and Annie Murphy Paul talk about her book, Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, in which she explores  how life in utero shapes life ex utero.

April 7, 4 pm, Philadelphia: University of Pennsyvlania Center for Neuroscience and Society: “Soul Made Flesh: The Origin of Our Brain-Centered World”

April 9, 10:45 am, New York, Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism My talk will be on a suitably skeptical note: “Viruses: Believable Myths and Unbelievable Reality”

April 13, 5:30 pm. Manchester CT: Connecticut Association of Biology Teachers. “Synthetic Biology: Playing God or Harnessing Nature?”

April 15, 12:15 pm, Plattsburgh, NY: “Parasite Rex” Room 206, Yokum Hall, SUNY Plattsburgh.

May 3, Cambridge MA: Cambridge Science Festival (more details to come)

May 12, 7:30 pm PST, Fresno, CA: California State University

May 15, 11 am PST, Los Angeles, Feed Your Brain; and  4:30 pm PST, Costa Mesa CA: Center for Inquiry

June 2-3, New York: World Science Festival (more details to come)

June 7, San Francisco, The Long Now Foundation, “Viral Time”


Springtime Yammerings | The Loom | Discover Magazine

Friday, April 1, 2011


As you can see by the posts this month, a big theme this month is service.

Please read the posts about the Yale Alumni Service Corps tour to the Dominican Republic.  The first post gives you the main background, so start there and read on if you find it interesting.

Also, please check out the Yale Day of Service website.  The Yale Day of Service is May 14, 2011.  Many in our class are leading service efforts.  Please go out and support them!

Your Creative Life

I saw recently that classmate Steve Harper has become a creativity coach.  Click the link below to check out his website that explains what Steve is up to . . .

Your Creative Life

News about David Cash

Here is some news about classmate David Cash . . .

Secretary Sullivan Appoints David Cash as Undersecretary for Policy
A veteran of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, he will have a key role in advancing Patrick-Murray administration’s “green” agenda 
BOSTON – January 27, 2011 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced the appointment of David Cash of Newton as Undersecretary for Policy. Cash, who served as Assistant Secretary for Policy for the last four years, will focus on developing policies that advance the Patrick-Murray administration’s goals to create jobs in the clean energy sector, conserve and steward open space and parks, and enhance air and water resources.
“Working with EEA’s six agencies and officials in other Secretariats, David was a key problem-solver and thought leader during Governor Patrick’s first term, providing expertise and counsel and helping to set policy on issues ranging from energy and climate change to land, water and fisheries management,” Secretary Sullivan said. “I am happy to announce that he will continue to enhance EEA’s senior staff through his expanded role as Undersecretary.”
“It is an honor to be able to continue to pursue Governor Patrick’s agenda of growing a clean energy economy, conserving our cherished natural resources, and assuring clean air and water in the Commonwealth,” Undersecretary Cash said. “I thank Secretary Sullivan for giving me this elevated role in advancing the Commonwealth’s national energy and environment leadership.”
As Undersecretary for Policy, Cash will build on his previous work developing and analyzing policy options to further EEA’s mission in areas such as energy; land, water, and ocean management; wildlife and fisheries; air and water quality; climate change; transportation; and waste management. Chair of Governor Patrick’s Sustainable Water Management Initiative and the Congressionally-established Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, Cash’s achievements during the first Patrick-Murray administration include helping to develop a package of landmark legislation signed into law in 2008 – the Green Communities Act, Clean Energy Biofuels Act, Green Jobs Act, Massachusetts Ocean Act, and Global Warming Solutions Act (GSWA).
Recently, he led the Secretariat’s effort to comply with an integral mandate of the GWSA – advising the EEA Secretary on his determination to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and developing the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, which lays out a portfolio of policies and programs that will lower energy costs, create clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gases and keep Massachusetts leading toward the clean energy future.
Before joining EEA six years ago, Cash was a research associate and lecturer in environmental science and public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and taught science in the Amherst public schools.
Cash, 45, earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government. He, his wife, and two daughters reside in a 140-year-old house that is fully insulated and features solar panels and a super-efficient combined heat and power furnace.