The Nonresident Membership Committee invited creative submissions from members on any topic not to exceed one page. The hope was to engage members who may have increasingly restricted lives and who are already at a distance from the Club. We provided this venue with the further hope that reflections on the pandemic, or any topic, would be relatable to readers and would enhance our connections and possibly lead to new or strengthened relationships. We called this initiative Words Unite Us – read member submissions below.

The Words Unite Us project has completed. The second phase – Writing Fulfills Us – is open for submissions (not to exceed one page) at [email protected].

A Miller’s Song
by Bryce Lefever (’05)

Harvest arrives. The race begins about
A quiet mill. Its stone turns when I lift
The gate which lets the water rush the spout.
The mill stream is alive and I drift
Down toward the wooden wheel which turns the stone.
The grinding grain turns white, the shaft creaks so
My neighbors know the seeds that they have sown
Have grown so high and yet are ground below.
My hair now white will someday turn to gray,
And I’ll no longer hear the grinding sound.
Oh let a broken millstone mark my grave
And sprinkle my white flour upon the ground.
The grain fears neither stone or cruel scythe:
And so we grind dead wheat into new lives.

Geodesic Motion of S2 and G2 as a Test of the Fermionic Dark Matter Nature of Our Galactic Core
by Remo Ruffini (’05)

The anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury around our Sun led to the greatest change of paradigm of physics thanks to the conception of General Relativity by Albert Einstein. The multi-year, high-quality data recording the motion of the closest objects around the compact source at the Galactic center, Sgr A*, led to the verification of the predicted gravitational redshift, to the anomalous precession of S2, as well as to the anomalous fly-by of G2. This heralds a fermionic dark matter dense core interpretation of the nature of Sgr A*, traditionally interpreted as a black hole. A new neutral fermion of 56 keV, a dark matter “ino”, for short a “darkino”, is basic to this alternative approach. New perspectives are open 1) to the understanding of the pre-dominance of dark matter in our Galaxy and in the large scale of the Universe, 2) to formulate a new paradigm for identifying the seed for the formation of ten-billion-solar-masses black holes in active galactic nuclei, and 3) to address the fundamental physics of the darkinos which, together with the neutrinos, appear to have a fundamental role in accounting for a large portion of the Universe mass-energy. These results are presented in the new article appearing on 9 September 2020, in Astronomy & Astrophysics, co-authored by E.A. Becerra-Vergara, C.R. Argüelles, A. Krut, J.A. Rueda, and R. Ruffini.1

This approach is rooted in the work of Enrico Fermi who introduced the fermions in particle physics. Remo Ruffini recalls: “Eugene Wigner, Nobel laureate colleague of Einstein and Fermi, often stated: the Thomas-Fermi model works better than it should. This model has been leading for 93 years the description of all atoms: a gas of electrons, negatively-charged fermions, attracted electromagnetically by a positively-charged nucleus. In 1973, in Princeton, I addressed the gravitational analog of a Thomas-Fermi atom. Many neutral self-gravitating fermions characterized by their mass and spin, kept in equilibrium by their collective self-gravitation [2]. This idea was developed for years in ICRA and ICRANet, leading to a new approach to neutron stars (see [3] and references therein), and to the dark matter distribution in galaxies in the RAR model [4, 5], here applied to the dark matter galactic cores.”

1 For references, please contact the author.

by Debora Lyon (’14)

Momma, I love you.

Tell my kids, that I love them.

I can’t breathe—I’m dead.

George Floyd,
May 25, 2020

COVID: The Bright Side
by Margaret Jenny (’19)

My gray hairs’ there for all to see
I can’t see whom I want to see
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I’m using a lot less TP

Some days I fear doom and gloom
I’ve run out of backgrounds for Zoom
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I’ve tidied up all of my rooms

To restaurants we cannot go
Cannot go out to see a show
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
My credit card balance is low

Food shopping causes much stress
I’m tired of puzzles and chess
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
Nobody cares how I dress

The gym is off limits to all
It’s not looking good for Baseball
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I know not to ingest Lysol

Week at the beach won’t take place
My life now is in cyberspace
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I won’t need to buy a suitcase

When we can travel’s not clear
These past months have felt like a year
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
The air in our cities is clear

I can’t stand to listen to news
I struggle to fend off the blues
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied 
I still can get my wine and booze

I’m not very good with the clippers
I find it hard to remain chipper
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I can spend all the day in my slippers

Some days I don’t want to cook
Deliverers charge just like crooks
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
We have adult coloring books

Twitter has gotten more vicious
Days getting more repetitious
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
My sourdough bread is delicious

The news has too much DJT
Zen is not my cup of tea
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I might get an online degree

Trader Joe’s has a long line
No refunds come from the airline
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
Vineyards can deliver wine

And now I have run out of flour
I feel I am losing brainpower
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
Costco has a senior hour

My yoga mat’s staring at me
My piano is now out of key 
But there’s a bright side
That can’t be denied
I managed to vote absentee

Cosmic Voices
by David Moran (’91)

Listen – The voices of the cosmos –

Rain pelting the roof of my desert tent –
Thundering Amazon waterfalls –
The cry of a new born infant –

Wind in autumn’s yellowing leaves –
Hembras humming, nursing crias –
Trees falling in silent forests –

Thundering darkness – crepitant lightning –
Uranic pulsars soundless message –
Mothers grieving hot tears –

Stars orbiting crickets –

Intimate thoughts of all living creatures –

These are the voices of our cosmos …

Story With No End
by Harold Albert Vaughn (’14)

They sat around a campfire on a sandy beach by an ancient lake. The last faint glimmer of a setting sun was fading behind the mountains to the west. Dry branches snapped like small firecrackers, their flames forcing the last breath from the wild apple and soft Northern Pine. They told stories. They sang. “Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago” and a song of riddles, “Whoever heard tell of a story that has no end?……. The story that I’m a tellin’, it has no end.”

How does one tell a story that has no end? How does one begin? There was a beginning. Eleven thousand years ago, with the end of the Pleistocene epoch, a sheet of ice that had covered a large part of the earth was receding, transmuted slowly into rivulets of water, then into lakes and seas. Where once the earth was covered by the great sea Algonquin, nestled in a col between Mount Marcy and Mount Skylight, high above the frigid waters of Lake Avalanche, within the living memory of but few, there was a glacial tarn, a “Tear in the Clouds.” From that tear, out of the clouds, surplus water flowed into Feldspur Brook and then into the Opalesent River, wellspring of the ancient Hudson. The river, given birth more than 10,000 years ago, drop by drop until it became a brook, a stream, a rivulet, a torrent cutting and grinding through sandstone, limestone, and shale, slowly, over the ages, born again each dawn with the sun’s first soft touch parting the morning mist.

A Resume Reverie
by John “Jay” Cole (’14)

Goal Statement: To engage creatively in a creative writing exercise and secure my “dream job.”

Ph.D., Dionysian and Epicurean Studies
University of Margaritaville, Key West, Florida
Dissertation: Effects of Geospatial Relocation on Personal Psychological Constructs
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Joe Merchant

M.S., Warp Drive Engineering Theory
Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, California

B.A., Archaeology
Barnett College, Fairfield, New York
Undergraduate Advisor: Dr. Henry W. (Indiana) Jones, Jr.

Employment Experience 
Dungeon Master, Mystara
• Created new worlds using only graph paper and dice
• Managed intercultural conflict among humans, dwarves, elves, and orcs

Writer, Encyclopedia Galactica, Terminus City
• Assisted in cataloging and compiling the sum total of human knowledge

Research Assistant, 221b Baker Street, London
• Maintained extensive file system for reclusive consulting detective

Radio operator, Miskatonic University, Arkham, Massachusetts
• Helped with ham radio communications during ill-fated research expedition to Antarctica

Stable boy, The Inn of the Prancing Pony, Bree
• Mucked stables and cared for horses of travelers staying at the inn

Awards and Honors
Second place, Coruscant Dejarik Championship
Hogwarts Young Alumni Award

Haiku Dreaming
by Arthur Weinstein (’03)

Work is pedantic
Poetry is romantic
Back and forth I go.

Fifteen to One
by C. Stark Biddle (’87)

I was lucky to go to a good Quaker school. But Quakers have penitential faith in exercise. I despised exercise. Sports were dangerous and exhausting and I was both fat and clumsy and wore thick glasses. Then one spring afternoon our baseball coach “The Colonel” told me to pinch-hit. We were playing a military academy and behind by a biblical amount. I assume “The Colonel” was acting from despair or a misplaced sense of equity. The pitcher was very fast. I had never seen anyone throw a ball that fast. Being both large and clumsy I was hit on the first pitch and for the first time that day our school had someone on 1st base.

As the pitcher leered over his shoulder at me, I took a few small steps toward second. In a split second he whirled and fired while I stood there frozen and perplexed. For some miraculous reason the ball sailed over the head of the 1st baseman, skittered under a hedge and I found myself waddling down to second listening to the cheers from the stands.

On second, I saw that “The Colonel” was looking at me. He was leaning forward on his elbows and on the ground in front of him was a baseball mitt and in the mitt was a baseball. A baseball was in the mitt. In the mitt! That meant steal. It meant steal a base.

I was terrified of “Colonel.” I assumed he was called “Colonel” for a reason. People who are called “Colonel” make you do push-ups and run laps. They make you blow into tubes connected to pumps to demonstrate the health of your lungs.

But the steal was on.

I was about half way to 3rd base when I noticed that the catcher was taking his time. The 3rd baseman was standing nonchalantly over the bag holding an inviting mitt in the air. But then a second miracle: the ball sailed into left field and there I was, panting and triumphant on 3rd base.

There are times when a hopeful mind converts all that is cautionary into congratulation. What I heard from the school stands was a roar of applause and approval; what I saw were smiling faces. I was right about the smiling, but more accurately it was laughter. I was right about the waving hands, but more accurately the palms were spread down. I was right about the yelling but the words I did not hear were “stop,” “stay,” “don’t move.”

Colonel was holding his head in his hand. He was staring down at the ground. He was staring at the baseball mitt …………with a baseball still in it!

I felt an immense weight of responsibility. All that I would be in life was condensed into that one moment.

As I rumbled toward home plate I saw that the catcher was waiting for me. He was standing over the plate, with a smile on his face.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I ran into him. I didn’t slide because if I had tried to slide I would have simply hit the ground and stopped. I, the boy from the Quaker school simply ran into the boy from the military school. I ran directly into him and, of course, he dropped the ball.

We lost 15 to 1 but the 1 was mine; it always will be.

The Election
by David Speidel (’98)

What!!!! WHY can’t I vote??? ………BANG!

Trump’s End: A Brief Screenplay Outline
James V. Aanstoos (’14)

Election night 2020: Biden is winning by a landslide. Celebrations at Biden campaign HQ. Disparaging remarks about Trump, and “good riddance” sentiments expressed. News outlet overlays saying things like “margin of victory is so strong Trump can’t even say election fraud to blame.” Will he claim “massive voter fraud?”

Cut to Trump HQ; scene of resignation; they saw it coming. Trump does not even seem upset. Hints that he really did not want a second term. Concession “speech” is short and surprisingly non-vindictive. “You win some you lose some.”

A few weeks later: Biden transition team meeting with Trump transition team at White House. As team members get together, Trump invites Biden for a “tour of the White House” – Biden says he is already quite familiar with it thank you. Trump: “I know, but please join me in the Situation Room – yes, yes I know you’re familiar with that too – getting Bin Laden and all—but humor me.

Cut to the Sit. Room, enter Trump and Biden. The joint chiefs of staff are all there, along with the National Security Advisor, CIA director, and sec of state. “Mr. President Mr. President….” Not clear whom they are greeting….

Biden: “What’s going on Donald?”

“Well Joe – I promise not call you ‘Sleepy Joe’ anymore, since you seem to have woken up just in time for the election—Joe, we have an opportunity here. It is regarding North Korea. You may recall that Obama left me with some advice stating that North Korea would be my biggest problem. Well despite my super great relationship with Kim I wasn’t able to solve that problem. The present opportunity – well I want my generals to brief you on it. ‘cuz if I tried to do it, I’d screw it up somehow… you know I don’t pay attention to my intel briefings. But this one got my attention…”

CIA director: “Mr. President-elect, there is a window of opportunity to effect regime change in North Korea and disable their nuclear capability. During the transition period, Kim Jong-un will be awaiting the new administration and not expecting anything. But we have heard from his half-sister Kim Yo-jong that she wants to depose him and has been biding her time gathering trusted confidants in the military. She is ready to make her move and has contacted us. She is willing to give up North Korea’s nukes in return for our help in bringing her to power. She says she will then seek reunification with the south and full democracy for the Korean peninsula.”

Biden: “And you believe her?”

“To establish her credibility, she has managed to give us full details of all North Korean nuclear sites—manufacturing, storage, and launch facilities. We have verified this information as much as possible.”

Biden: “So we could take them all out with cruise missiles in one big strike?”

General Milley: “Not quite, sir. You see she has stated she is withholding one site with several armed missiles ready to launch in case we go it alone. She wants our help to plant explosives internally so it will not look like an American attack; she thinks it will help to win over the military and the people, who will then support her move toward reunification. She swears she will have that last site taken out if we help her and agree not to disclose the US role. Our role must remain secret for many years after reunification.”

Biden turns to Trump: “So you wouldn’t get any credit?”

Trump: “That’s right. No credit for me. But I am told it would not be cool to do it without you on board. Believe me, I wanted to. So, what do you think?”

Biden: “Go for it.”

Cut to scene a few days later of nuke sites in North Korea exploding. Kim Jong-un swearing at his generals. Kim being arrested, then soon after being executed. Kim Yo-jong triumphant, making a speech to the nation and shortly after meeting with South Korean leaders and shaking hands after sealing a unification deal …

Cut to scene of Biden inauguration speech, barely mentioning the historic Korean events. News stories show no leaks indicating any US involvement in the action.

Cut to Trump walking off into the twilight (or onto his golf course?) with voice-overs of stories about his “legacy” – all bad. Shouts of “good riddance” and “we finally got rid of him” … he just shrugs his shoulders.

Comedy or drama? End with depiction of Trump as flawed unsung hero, or add some comic relief?

The Pink Cadillac
by Roberta Cohen (’04)

In Memory of Lucille Pollack Nieporent ‘60

In the summer of 1959, Charles de Gaulle led the Bastille Day parade in Paris and I danced in the streets, in a haze of red wine, holding hands with a tall, lanky French intellectual from the Sorbonne. I was ecstatic. I’d planned my entrance to Paris for more than two years, by cultivating an intense left-bank look at Rienzi’s café in Greenwich Village, by reading political tracts on socialism at Barnard, by hanging a poster of Montmartre in my room, and by pushing books around Butler Library to save up enough money to buy a boat ticket to France.

In retrospect I see the trip as an antidote to the big cars, mink coats, and diamond rings overwhelming the Grand Concourse where my parents lived. In a letter home, which my father saved, I told them how “stupendous” it was to be on the road: “I hitchhiked through most of central and western England … and met all types—farmers, truck drivers, intellectuals, middle-class families, aristocrats, bums … It was interesting to hear them describe Americans—rush, rush, rush to keep up with the Joneses.” “Money,” I lectured my parents, “is a means to living and not an end. One obvious example is the English cars—small, practical, and maneuverable, using only a gallon of petrol for 40 miles.”

As if in response, my parents waited for me at the airport in a pink Cadillac, their newest acquisition, with big tails and a black top. Not only did this make me feel profoundly, even painfully, alienated, but it also caused a practical dilemma. How could I, in my black stockings and French knot hairdo, carrying Finnegan’s Wake under my arm, accept a lift from my father in this car to Milbank Hall? The alternative was an hour-long ride on the subway so I cleverly, or so I thought, asked my dad to let me out a block away. “No,” he said, “if I give you a lift, I’ll take you to the door.” I guess he figured that it was time I accepted who he was. I was nearly 20 years old, and there was also the small point that he was paying my tuition.

It was not until 40 years later, while waiting in the lobby of The Columbia College Club of New York for Lucille Pollack Nieporent ‘60 that this all came back. Having recently rekindled our college friendship, Lucille and I were meeting for dinner to reminisce. “What would she remember about me?” I wondered. From an oversized handbag she pulled out a gift that she said could only be for me. I couldn’t imagine what that could be. Unwrapping layers of paper, I came upon the replica of a pink Cadillac—pure art deco form a show in East Hampton. I shrieked, right in the middle of the stuffed leather armchairs and portraits of distinguished white men from Princeton and Columbia.

But then my eyes filled with tears. My father died in 1987. If I could spend just one more day with him, I’d happily ride around in that pink Cadillac. It’s in his and Lucille’s memory that a replica of the car now sits in my office in the Brookings Institution in Washington. It’s part of the inspiration I draw upon in writing my articles and books about the people in the world who are dispossessed and have no father to drive to school in a pink Cadillac.

25 Word Novel
by Richard Hibey (’99)

Flawed, he was born, was clothed in reason, marched imperfectly seeking perfection, unsure he achieved it, and departed as he began, happy he had tried.

by Richard Hibey (’99)

Grace acts with us
Inciting trough loving care
Health, joy, hope, new life.

Letter to a Friend, Midsummer 2020
by Naomi F. Collins (’03)


Some thoughts at mid-summer…

Centers and Corners:

I noticed cleaning my own house during this pandemic that dirt had accumulated at each room’s corners and edges. Centers all vacuumed or washed forced muck to hide beyond the Kenmore and mop. And I realized that if this were a parable it might lead us to think we should attend more to the corners and edges of our lives. But the pandemic has forced me to realize that it had been not just the centers, but that very range, breadth, depth, and richness that had characterized Our Lives Before narrowing….

Before we became exiles from our own lives
Before we were immigrants in the Land of Zoom
Before pieces of time evaporated off calendars into air

Before wisest action was inaction
Before mundane activities became fraught and fraught activities
Before proliferated people walking by seemed time bombs

Before the range of topics became one topic
Before prediction became obsolete….

Until and when …

When seeing friends won’t require fair weather
When performing arts emerge
When we stash our struggles with epidemiology, virology and meteorology….

When quotidian lists revert to bucket lists
When we can smell roses instead of our noses
When we may (as in Ecclesiastes) find a time to laugh rather than weep;
and to embrace, rather than refrain from embracing…

So …until we return to the center and the corners of our lives, may you stay well, stay safe, and stay in touch,

With love,

Words of Wisdom
by Charles Sullivan (’91)

Years ago I was embroiled in a public meeting about possible changes in a zoning ordinance. This happened to take place in rural Pennsylvania, but the basic issue and the two sides (change/no change) could be found in any community. When it was my turn to speak, I reminded the gathering of some words of wisdom attributed to George Washington: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

I paused for a moment to let that sink in, then added some wise words of my own: “Anything worth doing is worth undoing.” This changed the atmosphere from heated to less heated, and the two sides were able to work together towards a consensus that all could accept.

A Year in Papua New Guinea
by Seymour Sohmer (’19)

The year was 1978. I was in Papua New Guinea to research a group of plants that was the subject of my PhD. dissertation. It is a genus in the coffee family and it is taxonomically very diverse. There are easily 2000 species in the forests of the tropics and subtropics, 167 of them described and named by me. It was an exhilarating experience. Explorers were still making First Contact even in those days. I was hosted by the PNG Forest Research Institute in Lae. The Institute was in the Lae Botanical Garden and the Herbarium where I worked was across the road from where I stayed.

The first day I appeared for duty at the Institute I was ushered to the administrative office where there was a big safe. The safe contained an armory of weapons, Enfield rifles caliber 303, and a number of 10 or 12 gauge shot guns. I was told to select a weapon and my first thought was: “OMG, what have I gotten myself into.” To my relief, I soon found out that the rifles were used to shoot down branches of trees too big and high to climb, the shot guns were used for small game that became meals. With the rifles, one would shoot a hollow point bullet into the base of a branch and the result was usually that the branch would fall to the ground where it would be collected.

My first “patrol” was to West New Britain. The lowland forests that covered most of the island was largely unknown botanically speaking. As the Forest Service also had use of vessels, we were able to commandeer a small ship onto which I and 3 others from the Service were taken to several islands in the Louisiade Archipelago. On this particular patrol we landed in West New Britain and the local forest officer met us with a crew that included 4 tree climbers and a local Constable, and we took off into the rain forest. We carried with us a canvas tarp under which we would sleep after cutting sticks from small trees with our machetes to serve as poles. We had cooking equipment and camping gear. Most important we carried “stick” tobacco with which to pay local help. Our currency was usually worthless.

After about three days of camping in the forests, we stopped at a village. All of the inhabitants seem to have disappeared. Consider…if you were a villager and a half dozen strangers suddenly appeared, some of whom bearing arms, you sure as heck would disappear also! As we looked about, I realized there was a cooking pit in the center of the village. In Hawaii we would have called it an “Imu” or earth oven. When we approached the edge, I looked down. There was something cooking. I said almost under my breath, “that looks like man!” The constable, jumped into the pit, tasted a piece of the meat and declared: “it is!” I decided we would not stay overnight in that place!

There were many undescribed species in the group I was working with and I am sure in almost all of the other groups of plants as well. Papua New Guinea was, and still is, a wonderful botanical paradise and is the reason I try to get back as often as I can. As I get older, however, it is not so easy. From where I live now it is at least a 20 to 24-hour trip one way!

The Meaning of Life: Why Are We Here?
by Edward A. Molnar

There are two obvious purposes for us: procreate to perpetuate the species and, while we’re here, improve the lot of humankind. Individually we live and die, but as a species we survive and evolve. But to what end? Some perspective:  The universe is about 13.8 billion years old, the earth 4.5 billion years old, and we humans have been around for only some six  million years – evolving to build tools, create civilizations, adapt to our environment, and become what we are today (not all good). We can’t comprehend the enormity of the universe, nor the minuteness of quantum particles.

And scientists estimate the sun will explode and burn out in 5 billion years, not long after followed by the universe expanding and cooling until the last star dies out. Meanwhile we’re threatened with other forms of apocalypse and extinction: super volcanoes, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, rogue planets, freezing of the earth’s core, wandering stars, nuclear war, overpopulation and our own man-made ecological disasters. So, what do we engage in while dodging bullets and heading toward a final extinction (besides denial)?

We need to prolong earth’s life while seeking a safe, temporary haven like Mars. But eventually we’ll need the means to reach another safe haven far, far away (or the means to extend the life of the sun). We also need to stabilize our destructive human condition. Religion – a belief in something that supplies hope – is necessary but must be in concert with science, morality/ethics, and law.

Of course, we’ll work to cure disease, seek alien contact, understand consciousness, determine what dark matter and dark energy are, etc., but these answers will get us only so far. Can we see and understand quantum particles and the furthest reaches of the universe? Can we travel close to the speed of light? Can we fully understand time, space, gravity? What are the ultimate questions that need to be answered, and then, what does it mean if/when we answer them? What can we hope to achieve, besides (temporary) survival? And can we know – find out – what we don’t know?

Stephen Hawking said knowing the answers to – why are we here, where did we come from, does the universe have a beginning and end, and if so, what are they like – would be to know the mind of God. I’d augment that: The universe may have a beginning and end, and we may search backwards and forwards to find them, but I believe there’s also a sideways – interface with dimensions of which we are unaware; I believe someday, hopefully soon, we’ll make headway there.

As to why we’re here, knowing why is equivalent to knowing there is a God. No why, no God. How we’re here – if there’s no why – may just be an accidental, evolutionary result of nature and the universe. So whyhow – and what – what does it mean if/when we find all the answers? I believe that’s the ultimate question.

by Arthur Appleton (’17)

Covid-19 comes
Foreign members must stay home-
Quarantine is here.

The Browning of America
by John M. Keshishian (’59)

As we cruised down Route Fifty on our way to our recluse on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, something caught my eye. Something was wrong! Almost shouting Mayday! It finally dawned on me!

This beautiful landscape was being done in! What were once scattered areas of lush green were being covered by rows of ugly rectangles of Solar panels. Browned out fields! Weeds! What to do?

One of the driving forces behind the mad movement to replace fossil fuels with solar energy is the assumption that our Climate has been adversely altered by the release of noxious products into our atmosphere, namely Carbon particles and gases. But consider that plants depend on CO2 and in turn release our sustaining Oxygen supply. More, this attitude has led to closing coal fields leaving thousands Unemployed! Not good! Further, solar panels cost more to install and maintain than other sources of energy.

But has our environment been adversely affected? East Anglia scientist Clive Wilkinson’s research group has shown a planetary temperature change…. a two degree rise over the past century. His data, mostly incorrect, suggests that the world is doomed. One such investigator has suggested it will happen in 12 years! This does not conform to information released by European Maritime commissions. (Many of whose countries have turned to atomic energy).

What has been proved to be a surprisingly factual, tangible source of information has been the Ship’s Log! In the 1600’s when Spanish Galleons roamed the World’s seas.

Most of these ancient logs were scripted by the Captain. This information has now been translated and stored digitally (in the Spanish Maritime collections), becoming a never-ending source of information. This has humbled a few doomsday naysayers—many of whom are hopefully mollified to a certain extent.

My wife and I had an opportunity recently to interview some graduate students in Seville, Spain engaged in this historic work. They told us that the data that they had amassed in these ship’s logs was the first and only such information ever collected. Each page gave the weather conditions including wind and temperature at a particular geographic location—providing in essence the first Weather reports! But more importantly the data demonstrates that no significant temperature changes have occurred.

One simple mathematical breakdown of our planets surface will show that only 1% of earth is occupied by humans. It is difficult to see how the behavior of this 1% could adversely affect the remaining 99%.

One solution is to consider the small nuclear reactor units used by Admiral Hyman Rickover to power our submersibles and many other Navy ships. In no scenario should the use of fossil fuels be eliminated. Doing so would make lubricating machinery impossible and aircraft could not fly.

Nature has gifted us with vast deposits of crude oil. It’s our responsibility to use it wisely.

Fluid Motion Associated with Coughs and Sneezes
by D. W. Pepper (’07)

It is well known that coughs and sneezes produce vapor clouds that allow infectious droplets to stay suspended over larger distances than first imagined. This is a common occurrence as these droplets develop near someone who is coughing or sneezing who does not prevent the spread of the droplet cloud. Since many of the droplets are small, or essentially invisible, it is not surprising that the range of travel of these droplets can extend over considerable distances. This can be seen in Fig. 1 of a person sneezing. The smallest of these droplets can travel up to 200X further than droplets normally grouped as unconnected droplets. Scharfman et al [1] found that these droplets can stay airborne, and become resuspended within the gas cloud, as a result of ventilation patterns common to HVAC systems. This ventilation contamination hazard is common in workplaces, hospitals, airplanes, auditoriums, and places where masses of people and/or confinement in tight places occur.

Scharfman et al [1], using high-speed imaging of coughs and sneezes, showed that the interactions of droplets with the overall gas cloud significantly affects the trajectories of the droplets. The previous belief that large droplets travel farther than smaller droplets was shown to be in error, where a circulation pattern occurs within the cloud, allowing the smaller droplets to stay suspended longer within the eddies, as seen in Fig. 2. The larger droplets settle out more quickly due to gravitational settling and less suspension. They found that droplets of 100 nm diameter can travel about 5X farther than previously estimated, with droplets around 10 nm traveling up to 200X farther. Of particular importance was the fact that droplets < 50 nm in diameter can remain airborne longer and reach ceiling ventilation portals.

A cough or sneeze acts as a multiphase turbulent buoyant cloud. This cloud then mixes, or entrains, surrounding air, enabling the cloud to diffuse, or expand. As the expansion occurs, the diffusion rate slows down and the cloud begins to lose (or deposit) the droplets. This type of behavior cannot be modeled using simple particle motion to represent an isolated droplet. A rethinking of airborne respiratory aerosol dispersion, and the influence of ambient air conditions on the spread of the droplets, needs to be undertaken to more accurately represent the distribution patterns and regions of potential infection. The fragmentation associated with this fluid breakup, or eddy cascade, dictates the formation of the pathogen-bearing droplets attributed to the indoor transmission of these respiratory viruses [2]. Droplet size distribution develops as the fluid breaks up in the respiratory tract and exits the mouth.

In the Guadalupe Mountains, May 2017
by C.M. Mayo (’11)

Mountains blush in mist
dawn’s breezes kiss the oaks
distant roar of trucks

Peaks zigzag the sky
thorns, scat, prickly pear flowers
fossils underfoot

Deep blue well of day
by my shoe a lizard darts
under cream-white rock

Tiny pine cones scattered
water burbling upon stones
wind nudges me home

Sun sinks to the ridge
sumac’s shade lengthens, shivering
cloud like a squished frog

Birdsong at twilight
sudden silver on sotol
shadows sculpt puddles

Like handfuls of salt
stars in a velvet cold bowl
Carlsbad glowing pink

The Fairy Tale
by Carson Eoyang (’99)

Once upon a time, they lived happily ever after!

by William Dunlap (’98)

The Loves were an old and well thought of family in the county. They had helped settle the region before the treaty of Two Forked River, circa 1830, had removed most of the Choctaw and Chickasaw to the Oklahoma territory. The Loves either killed or cohabitated with the indigenous population and now there were Loves of every size, shade, and social order. To be “Loved” had a different connotation hereabouts.

Leroy Love had daughters and followed Texas Governor Big Jim Hogg’s example and did him one better. The good Governor had named his only daughter Ima, (contrary to urban legend there was no Eura) and Leroy named his daughters, True, Holy, and Lucky Natchitoches so that middle initial, when used, would read Lucky N. Love. His final daughter was named Young Love.

They all married and moved away except for Young who stayed. She was about to turn sixty and not at all happy about it. Her father had died a decade or so earlier and left her a small fortune which she soon turned into a large one. Like the First Lady of Texas, Ima Hogg, Young was something of a philanthropist.

Young took her name seriously and was a fit and handsome woman who stood five feet nine inches tall, rode her horse everywhere and every place. She had little time or patience with small town conventions or gentlemen callers. Every December she disappeared for the month. To where? No one knew, and Young Love wasn’t telling.

Young’s name in French was Jeune Amour, and she often used this alias when booking flights, apartments, houses, boats, etc. She even had a bank account and an American Express Black Card in that name.

What her friends and family could not know was that every December brought a different adventure. Sometimes she went to a place like Calcutta, and volunteered with Mother Theresa working with untouchables in the stultifying slums. At other times she frolicked on the beaches of Barbados or Mustique, with young men and women hired for the purpose of diversion and carnal pleasure.

Upon her return, she would host an elegant dinner party on New Year’s Eve for a handful of select friends. Sometimes she looked ravaged by the previous month’s experience, other times exuberant and rejuvenated. Young Love never spoke of her time away.
This past New Year’s Eve the usual suspects gathered in her parlor for drinks. Young did not come down to join them. Everyone was summoned into dinner by the granddaughter of the woman who had worked for Young’s father. Lucretia, whose last name was Love, was herself elegant, well-read and traveled, and a conscientious keeper of Young Love’s secrets.

Everyone took their seats in expectation of Young Love’s entrance. They didn’t have to wait long. Lucretia produced a silver box and placed it at the head of the table in front of the empty chair where Young Love usually sat. Lucretia opened the jewel encrusted box to reveal a granular ash-like substance. She dipped out a generous spoonful and held it up for all to see, then poured it back into the container. This act produced a cloud of dust that hovered over the table. A collective gasp came from the guests who inadvertently inhaled the odorless particles. Lucretia closed the box, dropped her apron on the empty chair, and left the room with Young Love under her arm.

Peace in Tokyo Bay: 75 Years Ago
by Chris Kolakowski (’19)

On the morning of September 2, 1945, Allied dignitaries congregated on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri to conclude Japan’s formal surrender and end World War II. The proceedings were broadcast via radio across Japan and around the world. General Douglas MacArthur presided on behalf of all Allied powers.

Shortly before 9 A.M. the destroyer Lansdowne approached the Missouri and offloaded the Japanese delegation. The Empire of Japan was represented by its Foreign Minister, Shigemitsu Mamoru and General Umezu Yoshijiro, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, plus a selection of aides. The Japanese proceeded to Missouri’s veranda deck, where they formed a group near the gangway. In front of them stood the Allied representatives and a table covered with documents. Kase Toshikazu, Shigemitsu’s secretary, later recalled that the Americans all wore khaki, while the other Allied representatives were “animated by a motley of sparkling colors” of their different uniforms.

Suddenly General MacArthur appeared from below, flanked by Admirals Chester Nimitz and William Halsey. MacArthur strode to the microphone and read from a paper which trembled in the wind.

We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues, involving divergent ideals and ideologies, have been determined on the battlefields and hence are not for our discussion or debate. Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do the majority of the peoples of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice, or hatred. But rather it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone benefits the sacred purposes we are about to serve, committing our people unreservedly to faithful compliance with the understanding they are here formally to assume.

MacArthur went on to wish that “a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.”

General MacArthur’s magnanimity impressed many of the delegates. Kase stood transfixed. “He is a man of peace,” he wrote later. “Never has the truth of the line ‘Peace has her victories no less renowned than war ’been more eloquently demonstrated … Is it not a piece of rare good fortune, I asked myself, that a man of such caliber and character should have been designated as the Supreme Commander who will shape the destiny of Japan?”

MacArthur finished his remarks and signaled the Japanese to sign the surrender document on the table before them. Shigemitsu sat and deliberately signed the capitulation. Umezu followed in a hurried and disdainful fashion.

Before signing for the Allies, General MacArthur ensured that one more piece of symbolism was in place: Lieutenant Generals Jonathan M. Wainwright and Arthur E. Percival would flank him as he accepted Japan’s surrender. In 1942 these men had surrendered Corregidor and Singapore respectively, subsequently enduring three years as Japanese prisoners. Their presence spoke silent tribute to the thousands of Allied troops lost at the war’s start and in Japanese prisons. MacArthur signed using six pens: one each for Percival and Wainwright, one for the Naval Academy, one for West Point, one for himself, and one for his wife. In short order he was followed by representatives from the other nations at war with Japan: the United States, China, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. MacArthur issued a call for lasting peace and declared, “These proceedings are now closed.” B-29 bombers and carrier planes flew overhead to punctuate the conclusion.

The entire ceremony had lasted just 18 minutes.

I Am a Bird
by Gigi Geyer & Aaron Budgor (’99)

You are like a kite
lifting off the ground,
your feathers blue
like the crashing waves,
your beak like a freshly
sharpened pencil

Keep Your Dance Card Full Six Feet Apart
by Nancy K. Schlossberg (’88)

We are in the midst of a dramatic transition with no end in sight. Before, we were encouraged to keep our dance card full; now we are experiencing a world where isolation is a necessity, and touching is forbidden. The spread of the disease has forced us into this unexpected, unwanted transition that is filled with ambiguity, has no endpoint, and seems out of our control.

The Pandemic Transition

A transition can be an event like the pandemic, retirement, or great-grandparenthood. But it can also be a non-event like not getting to retire as planned, miss the birth of a great grandchild, or the delay of your daughter’s wed-ding. Whether an event or a non-event, any transition can be measured by the degree to which it changes one’s assumptions, routines, roles and relationships. The more areas that are changed, the more challenging the transition.

  • Changing Assumptions. One man summed up his changing assumptions when he wrote, “What will the new normal look like? Will we continue to practice safe distancing? Will we ever again hug and embrace? Will we learn more about the meaning of love and compassion? Will this make us more sensitive to making the planet a safer place?”
  • Changing Routines. Instead of going to work by car, subway or taxi, many work from home. What they wear, when they eat, when they relax, even where and when they shop has changed.
  • Changing Roles. Many health practitioners have become virtual clinicians using tele-medicine, Zoom, or phone rather than seeing patients in person.
  • Changing Relationships. Loss or weakening attachments as a result of social distancing and isolation counts as one of our biggest challenges. On the negative side, I feel the loss of physical, in-person connection with my daughter and grandchildren. Zoom and FaceTime are great but no substitute for the visit they had to cancel because of the virus. On the positive side, an 82 year-old man, a member of a group I co-lead called the Aging Rebels, wrote: “We have the luxury of using this enforced downtime for reading, conversation, and reflection on our life—past and future. We grieve for the many neighbors who have a less comfortable present and an uncertain future.”

Paths To The Future

For elders who are poor, unemployed, homeless or suffering from chronic illness, the change occurring now is almost certainly exaggerating the difficulties they already faced. The divide between the haves and have nots has increased. But we have the resources to strategize how to respond. For example, if a planned retirement is delayed—maybe forever—a worker will probably experience a period of grieving for what might have been. If the pandemic has forced a change in our routines, we can develop a new structure for the day. If it has interrupted relation-ships, we can stay in touch—if not by physical touch instead by e-mail, phone or Zoom. Most importantly, when our assumptions have been shattered, we must strive to realize that today is not forever and we will survive this.

What Matters at Ninety
by Bunty Ketcham (’12)

What matters at ninety is damp earth under a woods path in summer
Fire from candles that flicker before mirrors and make of my room a chamber 
of Versailles
Air fresh and cool from the open window that breathes me to sleep every night
The sweet scent of lilies that greets me spring mornings
Water – my life giver –
Tears or rain
The creek that flows by my window.

What matters at ninety is time
Long stretches of memories
Short bursts of todays
Visions of possible tomorrows

What matters at ninety is love in all forms
Love seen, love heard, love tasted, love felt
As the touch of a hand, a wink, a smile, a hug

What matters at ninety is the essence of things
Colors blue yellow and red
Ever-present elements of earth air fire water
Time, love
Words few
Feelings many
Stirrings of newness
A song a picture a poem a happening

The Island
by D. James Baker (’93)

We arrived in the early morning, hot and buffeted by the constant wind. After navigating our small boat through the reef, we waded ashore avoiding the colorful but poisonous coral branches. Thousands of nesting birds, grey and black sooty terns, covered the island. As we walked through the dry lagoon, the birds grudgingly moved aside, not afraid, or even interested in us. We saw an old structure and fleetingly a few gray cats trying to hide. Broken eggshells and bones revealed how the cats survived. It was April 1971, and I had helped organize an expedition to the equatorial Pacific to measure ocean currents around Jarvis Island. We learned later that we had come at a time when the island was in transition back to its natural state after undergoing discovery exploitation, colonization, and even an invasion of cats. The resident birds made it clear to us that humans are now the interlopers.

Because of its isolated location on the equator, halfway between Hawaii and Tahiti and thousands of miles from the nearest land, Jarvis Island has had few human visitors. Just under two square miles in size, the island has been worn down to just a few feet above sea level by waves, winds, and storms. Its grassy dunes and plentiful coral reef fish made it an ideal nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat. The island served as a way station for migrating sea birds for millions of years before humans explored here.

Although we don’t have any records, it’s likely that the first visitors were Polynesian traders and settlers who explored this part of the Pacific Ocean around 1000 CE. They would have seen thousands of birds including sooty terns, brown, masked, and red footed boobies, blue boobies, great and lesser frigate birds, albatrosses, blue and brown nobbys, and various shearwaters. By the time humans arrived, the island had become covered with deposits of guano from thousands of centuries of bird habitation.

For centuries, the island was known only to migrating birds until it was sighted in 1821 by Captain Brown of the British ship Eliza Francis and named for the Jarvis ship builders in London. The U.S. annexed Jarvis Island in 1857 under the 1856 Guano Act that provided for unoccupied islands to be claimed and mined. The guano deposits on Jarvis turned out to be among the richest in Central Pacific Ocean. But after twenty years of mining, the guano was mostly gone, with only low walls remaining from mining later providing suitable dens for cats. Jarvis was abandoned by the U.S. and became an unoccupied British Overseas Terri tory in 1879, visited only by whalers or passing ships stopping for a picnic.

In 1935, the Roosevelt Administration, anticipating trans-Pacific air travel and hoping to stave off Japanese attempts at expansion, decided that Jarvis and some other small Pac ific islands should be occupied. A group of young men from Hawaii were the first “colonists,” living off canned food and bottled water, watching their coconut trees fail, and eating the coral reef fish. Unfortunately, when they left at the onset of WW II, pet cats were left behind. The cats flourished on birds’ eggs, baby birds, and rats. By the 1950s the bird population had dropped to a fraction of its former level. To rescue the birds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a cat eradication program in the 1960s.

In 1971, we had seen a few of the remaining cats, and by 1983, the cats were completely gone. Today, the Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge, surrounded by the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, is home to about one million sooty terns, one of the largest bird colonies in the world. With steady protection we can expect that this isolated way station will last into the indefinite future. That is, at least until climate change and rising seas change the geography. But that is another story.

Milk & Cookies
by Paul Piazza (’11)

The boy shakes his head
Will not dunk the fragments
Stray puzzle bits at the bottom
Of the porcelain jar
It’s evening
Everywhere in America
At the Formica kitchen table
The father laughs,
“But they taste the same,
As the boy’s fingers crummy from
Rummaging about – still doing so –
For that perfectly
Round wafer.

An Ezra Pound Pandemic
by Richard Hibey (’99)

A plague upon us God damn, say I Fever, chills, vomitus Ventilate — too late! God damn, say I God damn, say we God help us, say all.

Graceful Talk
by Abigail Rian Evans (’01)

We are living in difficult and challenging times, some might say, a time of crisis. As the two Chinese characters for crisis danger and opportunity reflect, these times may bring the occasion for change even in the midst of peril. Adversarialism marks our society as reflected in the deterioration of civil language. The rhetoric between political parties consists of harsh words and half truths, community agencies criticize each other’s mission and staff, professionals belittle others and lie to get to the top, and people curse those with whom they disagree.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary there are 615,000 words in the English language. We have plenty of choices for how we speak to one another. Language is a gift to humans. As Horace Bushnell explains there are two types of language voluntary and involuntary; the first of speech in the literal sense, and the other the expression of the eye, the face, the look, the gait, the motion, the tone of cadence, which is sometimes called the natural language of the sentiments. Speech, or voluntary language, is a door to the soul that we may open or shut at will; the other is a door that stands open evermore, and reveals to others constantly, and often very clearly, the tempers, tastes, and motives of their hearts.

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian sociologist, founded the education for liberation movement where literacy leads to empowerment. He believes that what we read and write leads to how we speak to each other and think about the world and how it might be more just. He coined the term conscientização, i.e. a bringing to awareness of our situation. In a nutshell, it is important to use language with sensitivity so that all people may feel included not demeaned. Racial or gender epithets or exclusionary names are never acceptable. This attention to language should not be reduced to political correctness but rather showing honor to all people. In this case, recognizing that words can cause offense, that our speech may injure others.

The central issue is to use helpful not harmful words. Words can unite us. This now is our opportunity to change the discourse in our country; to lead the way from dangerous divisions to an understanding of one another which is reflected in our conversations at all levels. As Mother Teresa wrote, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are endless.” Or as the Chinese proverb states, “Kind words can warm for 3 winters, while harsh words can chill even in the heat of summer.” If our national leaders, our professionals, and ordinary people begin to speak with kindness this could translate into deeds of justice and mercy. Let us then begin to change our communities and country with graceful talk which is the first step in transforming our society.

Too Late
by David M. Crane (’09)

He woke up gasping in a darkened bedroom, heart pounding, tears leaking out of wide open eyes. It was a terrible dream, his wife had left him and he saw her walking by arm in arm on the street with some faceless man, smiling, talking…happy. I will be a better husband, he murmured turning to the other side of the queen bed. It was empty, a note on the pillow. It said “I am leaving you, don’t try and find me.”

Six Word Short Story
by Alison Brown (’09)

Brown shirts rise in red, white and blue.