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CLASS OF '91   
Quiet on the Set!
And No Vacuuming, Please

The audience won't hear the vacuum cleaner roaring in the background of My Engagement Party, the new romantic comedy written and directed by Christopher Heisen C'91. But Heisen knows it's there, along with other extraneous noises made by the family in whose home the independent film was shot. Continued...

Making Movies
Penn alumni will need a large quantity of popcorn to go with all of the new movies created by their classmates. Here's an undoubtedly incomplete list of current films with Quaker connection. Continued...


Feasts Fit for a Writer
Ernest Hemingway's fictional characters typically met unhappy endings, but like their creator, they at least ate and drank well along the way -- dining on woodcock flambé in Armagnac in a Milan hotel room in A Farewell to Arms, sipping manzanilla and snacking on garlic olives in a Madrid tapas bar in The Garden of Eden and warming up the Spanish Pyrenees with hot rum punch in The Sun Also Rises. Paying tribute to the well-traveled writer's adventurous appetite for life -- and food and drink -- Craig Boreth C'91 has created The Hemingway Cookbook (Chicago Review Press). Continued...

Illustration by Campbell LairdCLASS OF '97
Wired for Speed
It began with an argument. Late last year, Elie Seidman EAS'97 and John Possumato W'82 L'85 were at a get-together in the office of a mutual friend. The group began debating the most efficient way to provide businesses with high-speed Internet access. Seidman favored wiring entire buildings for Ethernet -- which allows for Web browsing at speeds dozens of times faster than current modems, but at a cost of several thousand dollars per month -- and then running connections to individual offices. Possumato, though, claimed that an evolving technology called DSL (Digital Subscriber Line, a method of providing lightning fast online access over conventional phone wires) was capable of offering businesses the advantages of Ethernet at a fraction of the cost. The two agreed to stay in touch. Continued...

His Sail Near Over, Chanteyman Still
Enjoys Music of the Sea

Howard Hornstein D'67 was a pediatric dentist who delighted in gathering with friends to sing sea chanteys -- work songs made popular aboard 19th-century sailing ships, and later on land, along railroads and in lumber camps. At festivals the Ancient Mariners Chanteymen brought audiences to laughter and tears with their salty tunes and mournful ballads. Continued...

Collection Reveals Richness of Puerto Rican Culture
As Puerto Rican legend has it, a farmer named Gerardo González was about to be gored by a bull one day in 1599, near the southwestern village of Hormigueros. He called upon the Virgin of Montserrat for protection, and the animal immediately fell to its knees. This miracle is depicted in a colorful, wooden devotional carving, or santo, of a dark-skinned Madonna and child, seated above a man and a kneeling bull. With Catholicism established as Puerto Rico's official religion in its early years of colonization by the Spanish, but few Catholic priests around at the time, rural families created their own religious traditions, and one of those was the worship at home altars covered with santos like this one. Continued...

A Neighborhood's Revolutionary Revival

More than two centuries ago, George Washington's troops outmaneuvered the British along the banks of the Assunpink Creek. Today, the same Trenton, N.J., neighborhood, known as the Mill Hill National Historic District, is the site of a more peaceful revolution. Under the leadership of architect David Henderson C'81, houses which had fallen apart during the city's economic decline are being returned to their earlier elegance. Continued...

Modeling Corporate Success
"You'd be surprised how many people don't realize that you're supposed to wear a suit for a job interview," observes Erica Skala C'94. "Or that you're supposed to have an alarm clock to get to work on time." Many welfare recipients and low-income workers trying to enter or move ahead in the job market lack role models from which to learn such behaviors. Skala, a financial analyst for a Manhattan investment bank, cofounded a not-for-profit organization two years ago which she hopes will help fill that void while providing practical job skills and computer training. Continued...

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Copyright 1999 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 5/5/99


Killer Beard

   Though the Africanized "killer" bees adorning his face may look menacing, Matt Vespa C'95 reports that he was not in that much danger while modeling this bee beard during his stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. A swarming bee colony, already less aggressive because it has no hive to defend, is first lured into a box and fed honey. As a result, the bees become so bloated that they can not contract their abdomens to sting. Smoke is then used to confuse them and disrupt their communication system, which relies on odor. "After these precautions are taken, the queen is identified, placed in a small mesh cage and tied around the chin," Vespa writes. "Where the queen goes, the colony follows, and within a couple of minutes, a bee beard is created."
   According to Vespa, beekeeping is an excellent, non-polluting source of additional income for subsistence farmers in Paraguay. He did not explain the value of bee beards.