Moshe Cohen and I had dinner here in DC recently. Moshe lives in Boston with his family, but travels the world for his sideline as a mediation expert. His day job is teaching MBA students at Boston University. This is an unexpected career trajectory, as far as I’m concerned, given that he majored in physics at Cornell, and has a masters in electrical engineering from McGill. But he is a Renaissance man, and the multiple interests suit his can-do nature. We ate at Martin’s Tavern, a Georgetown institution, and one that has mercifully never sported a fern or wood fired bruschetta oven.
Steve Crump, his wife Lisa, and their daughter Paige have lived in Basel, Switzerland for years. The other kids have flown the coop for college, medical school, jobs, and the like. Steve writes a blog called “An American in Basel.” Those of you fortunate enough to receive his annual letters, or to have followed his class column in the Cornell Alumni Magazine, know that he is a gifted writer. While the Swiss are ripe for skewering, Steve treats their fabled fastidiousness with gentleness and awe. Plus, he’s funnier than a … a… thing that’s really funny. I don’t know – barrel of monkeys. Funnier than me, anyway, for what that’s worth. Look him up at www.crumpinderschweiz.blogspot.com.
Steve’s brother-in-law, Andy Bjork, is branching out into the toy business. He started a company called Justa 'Bout Any Thangoes, LLC to make and market Head-Liners™, which are described as “Retro-POP Art Collectable Toys.” The prototypes look pretty keen. You can, of course, get in on the ground floor, but I’m not getting any kickbacks, so you’ll have to hunt him down yourself. As you know, Alpha Theta Director Ed Catto is also in the toy business. There seems to be a trend here, one that involves regressing further back than college beer parties to the warm comfort of the playroom and mommy’s ample bosom… oh oh. Bad visuals, given that mommy’s ample bosom is now below her even more ample knees. In any case, I am regressing, too – I’m packing up my toys and moving back to Florida with my lovely bride, where I will sleep late, go fishing, and grumble at the incomprehensible world. I’m retiring from Federal service, selling the manse, and going to where the climate suits my clothes. At some point I will work again – not because I will need to stay busy and get out of the house and all that, which will be the official story, but because I will need the money. I suppose I could sell a kidney – if you have a spare, give me a call, or send it to me packed in dry ice.
Monti’s son, Justin, and a couple of other college age kids stayed at our house for a few days over the summer. They were performing the traditional rite of the American youth whereby they explore the USA without spending any money. Remember that? Pack up the folks’ castoff Studebaker, couch-dive for gas money, and hit the dusty trail. Most of us did it. Anyway, despite the iPhones and piercings and tattoos, America’s youth is still as it was, ‘lo! those many years ago, namely deeply appreciative of free lodging, food, and beer. When peers visit us, our goal is give them a rich, cultural experience, showing the best that our Nation’s capital has to offer. When peers’ children visit, our goal is to send them home alive. Mission accomplished!
During the recent front stairs fundraiser I rallied enough of my classmates – Pledge Class of ’77 – to pay for and get a step in front of the fraternity house named after us. Yup, if it weren’t for us, anybody trying to get to the front door would fall into the bowels of the earth. It’s going to be engraved, and everything. Next time you’re huffing your way up those goddamn stairs, stop and think of us, as you admire our step, and curse us for not installing an escalator.