YAM Notes: May/June 2013

By Marty Snapp

Best wishes to Gary Kopf, who has recovered from the heart-related issue that briefly hospitalized him last February. “He brought his new 27-inch iMac computer to the hospital and spent his time there researching and writing a blog of what caused his hospitalization, as well as how and why he was treated with two new medications chosen by his cardiology team,” says his wife, Judy. “We also brought to the hospital a couple dozen red foam clown noses, along with magic tricks, Mylar balloons, and latex balloons (to twist into animal shapes). As volunteer clowns at hospitals throughout the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, we wanted to bring smiles to the hospital staff who were treating Gary.”

Meanwhile, former Clinton special counsel Lanny Davis has teamed with former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele to found a communications firm called Purple Nation Solutions. Lanny also published his fourth book in March: Crisis Tales—Five Rules for Managing Crises in Business, Politics and Life. Each rule is demonstrated by true-life stories of crises he’s managed. The book’s release was celebrated at a party in Washington that featured a bipartisan bevy of cosponsors, from Rep. Elijah Cummings and David Boies (Al Gore’s attorney in Bush v. Gore) on the left to Rep. Darrell Issa and tax hawk Grover Norquist on the right. “Did I expect this book party to become a purple moment? No!” Lanny says. “But when I called some of the people to be cosponsors and I got both Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell, I started saying, ‘Geez, maybe this is a good occasion to bring all of my eclectic friends together.’”

Also in the DC area, Glen Homan reports, “About 20 years ago, I sold a small chain of print and poster galleries to a public company. After that, I spent a lot of time with my family and traded stocks and futures for my own account. We continue to live in Arlington, Virginia. Recently, I launched PaperCardShop.com, a website that sells paper greeting cards. The web is a much more appealing retail platform than operating multiple physical stores. I feel that it provides a vastly superior shopping experience compared to brick-and-mortar stores and to other greeting-card websites. Our goal is to offer only the finest greeting cards from the best publishers. You can check it out at www.papercardshop.com. I’d love to get feedback on the site, especially from classmates involved in e-commerce ventures.”

Phil Rettew reports, “I have had a long and very satisfying career in the securities industry that ended abruptly in February of 2010, when my employer was forced to close because one of our Canadian hedge fund clients lost a very large investor. The dominoes started to fall in our direction, and I was out of work, but nowhere near interested in retiring. So within a month of my unexpected ‘retirement’ I started to write a novel, The Fresno Incident. I always wanted to write a full-length novel but never had the time and energy at the same time to do it, so I reasoned that this was the time.

“One Saturday in early April 2010, I woke up early and told my wife I would not be available to anyone that day, because I had an idea for a story, and I wanted unfettered freedom to start writing it. I wrote 30 pages that first day, and managed to get my wife’s admission that I can actually write! During the next 19 months I would ride my bicycle during the evening, when plot lines developed and scenes fell together in my head, and I would go back home and write into the night. Oddly enough, the story came to me at a rather regular pace and much more easily than I could have imagined.

“Believe it or not, I never had a case of writer’s block, as I had originally been prepared to expect. The effort was intense and very emotional, as well as personally quite rewarding. I actually cried rather often during the writing of several scenes, as I no doubt was intensely involved with the characters and the story line. I had hoped to generate in my readers equally compelling and personal emotions, because, in the end, that seems to be much of what life is all about. I based many of the characters upon people I met during my life, so the realism is actually rather genuine more than one might ordinarily expect. I also based certain elements of the story upon some of my own life experiences, as I suspect many writers do. I most likely would not have been able to write this story without a computer and the Internet. (Boy, if I had had those at Yale!)”

Finally, Rick Luis is hanging up his judicial robes after 37 years as an administrative law judge in Minnesota. “It made financial sense, and I want to pursue or expand other activities. I intend to continue my several volunteer pursuits, including service to my local Yale Club and our class. I will consider seriously a mediation/arbitration practice, and some of my ‘retired’ colleagues who do that want me to explore associating with them. I will keep such options open. For now, lining up retirement benefits and coverages, making time for volunteer obligations, and preparing for travel to West Africa (Nita and I have long been curious about that region) have kept me as busy as when I had a work routine. I hope to see you all at our 50th, if not before.”

Actually, Rick is going to see some of us—those who live in the San Francisco area—at lunch on August 10 or 11, when the American Bar Association holds its annual convention here. We did this the last time the ABA was here, and we got a great turnout, both local classmates and out-of-towners. So if you’re going to be in Fog City that weekend please e-mail me, and we’ll do it all over again.