YAM Notes: March/April 2017

By Christopher T. Cory

By the time you read this, I hope you will have seen the interview with Bill Reilly about environmental policy under Trump. Bill thinks Trump’s early pronouncements would “roll back the clock,” and has submitted a legal brief “vigorously disputing” the “interpretation of the law and the very role of the Environmental Protection Agency on climate” by Scott Pruitt, the Trump nominee to the post Bill once held as head of the agency. However, Bill thinly allows that the “competitors and peers” of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regard Tillerson’s former company, Exxon Mobil, “as the most environmentally effective and safety conscious of all the major [oil companies].” The interview originally appeared in Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Impressive is the very least one can say about the latest work by Paul Corby Finney, a history of art major who now is professor emeritus of ancient history at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He is general editor of the three-volume Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology, named for its publisher, the Wm. B. Eerdman Company. Published in November, its daunting stats required him to herd very sophisticated cats: eight advisors and more than 400 contributing scholars, including archaeologists, art historians, historians, epigraphers, and theologians. From Aachen to Zurzach, the 1,455 entries offer what the publisher calls “a basic orientation to early Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, mosaic, and portable artifacts created roughly between AD 200 and 600 in Africa, Asia, and Europe.” The result of two decades’ work, illustrated with over 800 photos and illustrations and 78 maps, it costs $495, so most of us will peruse it in libraries—and/or donate copies to them.

Alden Jenks, who claims to be semiretired from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has written a new musical theater piece called Afterworld, which he describes as “a kind of serious comedy about ecological destruction, robots, and interspecies sex.” He entertainingly says it “falls somewhere between opera and vaudeville. Somewhere.” He recently gave two concerts of recent work and put two pieces on YouTube— “Hammered” and “Oh It’s You.” “I hasten to add,” says he, that “this may not be to everyone’s taste: I have been involved with the more experimental side of things in music, and was an early user of electronic devices. But I hope that, though the language may be unfamiliar, the meaning speaks clearly. See what you think.”

Lee Rust these days describes himself as “a chronic non-joiner and, other than in my business, somewhat of a recluse,” and says he “hasn’t spoken to a classmate since I left Yale in 1962” (except by e-mail recently with your CorSec). Still, he writes, “After spending about 35 years as a corporate finance consultant working most often from my home office, I have just published my third book, Management: Is This Any Way to Run a Company? (in print and eBook formats via Amazon and Barnes & Noble).” Hank Resnik, who has phone numbers in Florida, California, and France, and John Marr and their wives had lunch in Charlottesville, Virginia, just before Thanksgiving.

Not dizzy yet, Dave Hummel and Cindy have several trips planned for the new year, which should rocket their total country count even higher, from 150 to 158. Dave reported that in his art collector mode, he traveled last year—in the US—to “major art auctions in Scottsdale and Santa Fe” and to art shows in Kalispell, Montana, and Big Horn, Wyoming, all in the service of further expanding his collection of western art. He and Cindy last year wound through the Czech Republic to Slovakia and Hungary; visited Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, and Luxembourg; touched the Greek Islands, Cyprus, and Israel; saw Barcelona and nearby Andorra; and went to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and the nearby cities of Savannah and Charleston, capping the year in Hawaii for Thanksgiving with their closest family members. They repaid the kindness of others by hosting a couple from Germany on five days of driving through Yellowstone National Park, the Tetons, southern Montana, and Jackson, Wyoming, and welcomed another friend with whom Cindy taught German 35 years ago, who made her annual pilgrimage to Billings. Dave is one of only three classmates in the dwindling number who write and share their holiday letters with your lonely CorSec. He pleads for more.

Necrology: We sadly note the deaths of Don Bagley, Eric Carlson, Mick Caulkins, Joe Hargraves, Klaus Kertess, and Mike Ross. Full obituaries will be posted in due course on www.yale62.org. Obituaries are now available on the site for Tony Dean, Bill Hamilton (with cartoons), David Loving, Dinny Phipps, and Lee von Rhau.