Food for Thought

The Food Issue (July/August) comprised articles about interesting people doing things I admire, such as innovative science, or that I support, such as healthy and ecologically sustainable agriculture. But on the first read, I felt a strange uneasiness. On rereading the entire magazine, I felt a profound distress. I admire Stanford so much and see it as an essential and vital force to help us build a better society. What disturbed me was the lack of any mention of spirit-crushing hunger here in the United States or the extent of damage to our planet caused by destructive agricultural methods. From Stanford's perspective, is life just a bowl of (organic, if you please) cherries?

What is Stanford's current role? Is it to teach and inspire students to be productive citizens in a democracy that can serve the entire society, or is it subtly teaching a meritocratic elite the proper postures, preferences and positions to assume as they seek to enrich themselves? Stanford may suffer from being close to Silicon Valley's great money machine as much as it benefits. Are the privileges and choices currently offered to Stanford students teaching them to prioritize their choices in life in order to be able to maintain an expensive lifestyle, no matter what?

Here in Philadelphia where I live, there are 400,000 profoundly impoverished families whose choices are nothing like those of current Stanford students and faculty. Has Stanford forgotten or given up on these people or, in the rush to greater celebrity and success, has the University simply forgotten to care? Sometimes when I am on the campus, I see big money everywhere—in the new buildings, fancy food choices etc. I too like nice things, but money and the abundance of choices it offers can distort an individual's purpose in life. Are too much money and too much success also distorting Stanford's view of society and of itself? I certainly hope not.

Robert J. Berrier, '69

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania


What Students Eat

I could not help commenting on the article "How Students Eat Now" (July/August), as I found the whole thing quite over-the-top. When I went to Stanford the quarterly food service charge was around $300. While the food was not gourmet it was adequate. The best food was at Roth House, where we had one chef cooking for about 50 women and had very limited but delicious selections. The charge now of $2,000 per quarter seems excessive, as food costs have not increased seven times over the last 30 years. This calculates out to about $7.40 per meal. I am a professional with an advanced degree, in the top 5 percent of income earners, and I do not spend anywhere near this amount for both myself and my son. I do not want my child coddled and served restaurant-quality food 24 hours per day, as most people do not live this way. It sounds like a recipe for obesity or an eating disorder. I would much prefer the kids be served three healthy meals per day without all the hoopla. These kids will be in for a rude awakening when they graduate and have to cook for themselves on a budget. The college arms race to make everything more and more fancy has done nothing but price the middle and upper-middle class out of the private college experience. I'm sure the 1 percent see nothing wrong with this, but this is just more ammo for the charge that the elite will eat caviar and everyone else is out of luck.

Kathryn Fogarty, '81

Pasadena, California


In the dark ages BFE, Before Food Enlightenment, food on the Farm was a much different thing from that described in your feature on the cuisine of today ("How Students Eat Now," ). My personal favorite for the most disgusting thing served in the women's dorms was a dish of corn croquettes, by definition deep fried, with two pieces of undercooked bacon on the side and the whole mess drowned in maple syrup. In the '50s, Stanford's diet for men differed from that for the women. Our food was much fattier, higher in calories and much cheaper to serve. Of course, that has all changed, not because Stanford recognized the inequitable treatment of men and women regarding their diets, but because the University integrated the dorms.

Lois Mace Chappell, '59

Davis, California


Grass-Fed in Australia

We enjoyed the piece on the Carman Ranch in the July/August issue ("At Home on the Range"), not least because we grow grass-fed beef, although in Australia and at a much smaller scale. I noted especially the comment that there were "cooking challenges" because of the low intramuscular fat in grass-fed beef. We have found this to be true of beef from two of the most widespread breeds, Angus and Hereford, because these cattle have been bred for commercial traits such as rapid weight gain rather than the quality of the meat. There are, however, other less well-known breeds with greater intramuscular fat, which improves the flavor and the ease of cooking. One of these breeds is the Shorthorn (aka Durham), which we breed and are also bred in the United States and Canada. Many of the grass-fed beef producers in our part of Australia join polled Shorthorn bulls with Angus or Hereford cows to increase the fat content of the meat. A good experiment for the Carman Ranch might be to use a Shorthorn bull on a few of their cows and compare the results with progeny from a single breed.

Bill Lathrop, MS '69

Glenburn, Victoria, Australia


Fruit vs. Vegetable

Having spent the last 50 years in and about the fresh produce industry, and still slugging away at 79, I thoroughly enjoyed The Food Issue. Greta Lorge's "Bananas Are Berries" brought to mind a humorous incident involving "fruit vs. vegetable."

Back in the late '60s, California avocado growers found a loophole in the Japanese phytosanitary export barrier, which required avocados to be fumigated prior to entry into the Japanese market. The fumigation burned the thinner-skinned green avocados of the time, effectively prohibiting avocado entry into Japan. However, the new Hass avocado variety, with its tough, thick skin was able to withstand the rigors of fumigation and exports began to trickle into Japan.

Attempting to get traction and an understanding of the market potential, [exporters] decided to do an in-store display and sampling at the Takashimaya department store in Tokyo. Avocados were set out under a bold, colorful banner, supported with handouts claiming "California Avocados, The Healthy Fruit from California." A hidden camera recorded the shoppers' first taste experience. It wasn't pretty. Faces soured. Tasted samples were spit on the floor and consumers walked off in disgust.

Our local Japanese marketing adviser tactfully reminded us that Japanese expected fruits to be sweet, so we should advertise avocados as vegetables. The purists argued, "Avocados grow on trees and have pits. Therefore they are fruits and should be identified as fruits." Those who were interested in selling quietly trumped the purists, and the signage and handouts were changed. Cameras rolled again, now showing happy-faced kimono-clad shoppers enjoying avocados for the first time. The samples all disappeared, and the avocados on sale began to move off the shelf.

Today, all the islands of Japan enjoy Hass avocados from California, New Zealand and elsewhere, perhaps hastened by the blurring of the fruit's identity at Takashimaya some 40 years ago.

Steve Layton, '56

Irvine, California


Unflattering

I noticed a number of line drawings of various contributors—for example, in "Four Seasons" (Farm Report). I imagine these drawings are meant to imitate the style of publications such as the Wall Street Journal. However, as someone with an interest in portraiture, I find the current style, with its emphasis on harsh lines, rather unflattering to its subjects. If these portraits are to continue into future issues, might the artistic team gather some other opinions and consider modifying its style?

Steven Ngai, '03

Rancho Palos Verdes, California


La Pizzeria

I enjoyed The Food Issue, and it was fun to see Casa Italiana mentioned ("Four Seasons," "Remembrance of Things Pasta," Farm Report). I was one of its first residents in the fall of 1976. At my first of chef Maria Catena's fabulous dinners, I felt like one of the luckiest guys in the world. I wangled a job as her assistant and worked with her for two years. I learned a ton, enough to solo dinner for 55 a few times, but was such a knucklehead I never took notes.

Credit for Casa Italiana goes to Professor Annamaria Napolitano, whose effervescent personality charmed even the shyest of us nerds into learning a few words of Italian. One of my roommates, Matt "Matteo" Cobb, '78, MBA '83, fresh from Florence and craving some of Fiesole's Dal Lordo pizza, led a group of us through the formation of La Pizzeria. I took on operations and apprenticed at Tommaso's in North Beach (where they have a stone-hearth oven and still remember me). We opened in the fall of 1977, every Saturday night.

The Stanford fire department looked askance on baking with a wood fire, but we scored a world-class stone-hearth gas-fired oven that rendered reasonable facsimiles of what we remembered from Dal Lordo, complete with toasted semolina dust on the bottom of a thin, crisp crust. La Pizzeria, staffed by students, gave me my first lessons in management. I learned from many mistakes, but we had lots of fun, especially when Jim "Giacomo" Hartley, '80, would bring out his rich baritone and lead us in our theme song: "Pizza Nella Stuffa" (Pizza in the Oven), a collective composition sung to the tune of "Strangers in the Night."

When my daughter Claire Nassutti, '09, arrived on campus, La Pizzeria was still operating. Tanti saluti to all the students and faculty of La Casa Italiana.

Mark "Marco" Nassutti, '79, MBA'84

Seattle, Washington


One Man's Meat . . .

The article by Nathanael Johnson ("Food Confusion" July/August) makes the important point that diets that are healthy or effective in weight loss for one person may not be as beneficial for another. I agree that much nutritional advice has been given without attention to that insight. I would go a step further and assert that the reasons for eating various foods also differ from person to person, at least in the importance assigned them. As Johnson notes, cost is likely to be paramount for people who cannot afford more than the minimum for their food budget. Few Americans really need to worry about getting enough calories to survive in the short term, but that reason is No. 1 in some other parts of the world.

Another reason to choose one food over another, as Johnson interprets the finding of Professor Christopher Gardner, is that it seems preferable with respect to "social, environmental and ethical issues in food production." I suspect this reason is much more important in the sample of convenience (Gardner's students) than for the vast majority of Americans. I don't know the content of Gardner's course, but that reason would be of most importance to people who maintain a dim view of profit-making companies—people like Kelly Brownell, who asserts that "The food industry has worked systematically to force higher-profit, processed food into every aspect of our lives." While I don't dispute that the industry wants to maximize profits more than it wants to be socially responsible, with respect to some definition of that term, I think profitability comes about when it offers foods that people want to buy, for whatever combination of reasons, not least of which are lower cost and greater convenience. I tend to avoid fast foods and convenience foods in the grocery, but not for ethical reasons.

Most nutritional advice seems to miss completely a reason that is very important to me: how good the food tastes. Cruciferous vegetables might be healthier for me than red meat or a sugary soft drink, but at least for me, they are not nearly as tasty. I find that adding butter, salt or sugar to foods almost always makes them taste better. Those three ingredients, of course, are regularly castigated in the nutritional literature, where the motto "eat to live, not live to eat" seems to be deeply embedded. I've found that a little of these additives can go a long way in improving taste, and I believe that excess is the big problem in obesity, so I think portraying such flavor-enhancing substances as essentially toxic is counterproductive. If nutritionists think that a food is good for most people, then at least make it palatable for most people.

Stephen L. Brown, '58, MS '61

Alameda, California


In Praise of Eating Clubs

I wonder if anyone else noticed the omission of any mention of men's eating clubs in the excellent Food Issue? As I recall, in the early 1950s there were seven: El Campo, Breakers, El Capitan, El Cuadro, El Tigre, El Toro and Los Arcos.

In addition to good, solid meals prepared by their individual cooks, the clubs provided several other benefits: priority in obtaining a berth in an on-campus dormitory during a time when such housing was in very short supply, optional social activities conducted in conjunction with women's residences, acceptance of those of Jewish ancestry and others who were passed over during fraternity rushes (such as myself), and a convivial place to eat for those whose demanding majors left little time for Animal House antics.

In addition, in exchange for modest bribes, our cooks would keep us well supplied with beer—an important consideration!

Of course, the eating clubs may no longer exist. I'd be curious to know.

Robert Gilman, '55, MA '64, PhD '69

Pacifica, California

Editor's note: Eating clubs ceased operations in 2009.


Kitchen Risks

I enjoyed this [food] issue, which gave me a chance to see what has changed on campus. I remember the student residences where everyone took turns cooking. Since then I took my interest in cooking so far that I spent time in the kitchens of Michelin two-star restaurants in Paris and Lyon. There I learned that cooking for so many people is a full-time activity. You have to bring the food into the kitchen, store it properly, prep it for the day's meal, label it in the storage area with date and contents, cook it and serve during mealtime, clean up—all of this three times a day.

This is a job that would require students to cancel classes for the week that they have cooking duty. These co-ops are a stark contrast to the dining room meals on campus prepared by a former Ritz Carlton chef. I wonder if anyone inspects the co-ops for food safety and kitchen cleanliness. The Food Network has many programs showing how even chefs who have attended culinary school or who have grown up in restaurants passed down from grandparents make many errors in food handling and safety. I think the students should be aware of the risks of cooking for a large group with no formal training.

Thomas Sharpton, MS '73, MD '77

Reno, Nevada


Counting Verbal Calories

Although Dan Jurafsky's "sound symbolism" entry is heavy on food, animals are mentioned ("Why Ice Cream Sounds Fat and Crackers Sound Skinny," Farm Report, July/August). What a lovely article! Front vowels; back vowels. Lemon ice; Rocky Road. Birds tweet and lions roar. So simple; so logical. (And I suppose geese honk to get the little tweeters out of their way.)

John Stahler, '60

Mountain View, California


Why Grow?

President John Hennessy's recent column, "Restoring Balance, Increasing Access" (July/August), is not the first time he has beaten the drum for expanding undergraduate enrollment. Years ago at a large Stanford conference in San Diego, I challenged him during the preconference Q & A session on the same subject. Even then, he was proselytizing for increased enrollment. I asked why, and received the same answer as in this column, something akin to, Well, that's what the Stanfords would have wanted. How do we know that? Do we really think the Stanfords wanted our university to slowly morph into megasize? I said then that before he continued on this path, he owed the alumni a chance to weigh in on whether we wanted our brand diluted, as they say in the marketing world, by churning out increasing numbers of Stanford graduates. I told him and the assembled group there is nothing wrong with the current class size, and that it has worked remarkably well for decades. I added a quote I learned as a history major, Lord Falkland's dictum: "When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change."   

Stanford, it is not necessary to change undergraduate numbers merely because of the rampant, even uncontrolled growth of graduate enrollment and new buildings, or because someone thinks that's what Jane and Leland would have wanted. Maybe we ought to have a dialogue about slowing growth and increasing quality, not growing for growing's sake.  

Wayne Raffesberger, '73

San Diego, California


On Learning

I applaud Steve Phillips, '63, MA '64, for rejecting President Hennessy's misguided assertion that "discovery does not happen in outmoded facilities" ("Big Changes," Letters, July/August). Some areas of research demand the most up-to-date equipment, but education as a whole decidedly does not. Those uncomfortable, outmoded classrooms served a real purpose, albeit unintended: They reminded us that we came to a college or university to learn, not to admire the appurtenances of wealth. When I was at Stanford, the people I mingled with, both students and faculty, were engaged first and foremost in the pursuit of learning. That may still be the case. I hope so. But if it is, you'd never guess it from reading Stanford.

Anthony Dangerfield, MA '81

Medford, Massachusetts


Law and Religion

The letter by Jeff Bloom, '84, on the new law clinic on religious issues, stirs concerns ("Law Clinic Concerns," July/August). If Bloom is accurate, Stanford is embarked on a threat to our liberties. I am fearful—as a liberal, humanist, probable renewed Bay Area resident and as an American.

Bloom quoted James Sonne, director of the new law clinic, as saying: "Our job is religious liberty rather than freedom from religion." To paraphrase the boy who pleaded with "Shoeless" Joe Jackson during the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal: Say it isn't so, Jim!

William T. Davis, MA '57

Ocean Park, Washington


I don't normally write in reply to letters published in response to prior articles. But the letter of fear and loathing written by Jeff Bloom was so filled with error and misinterpretation of the source documents, I feel compelled to respond.

He has totally misinterpreted the First Amendment language regarding establishment of religion. The operative word is "religion." The framers did not intend a godless nation. They intended a religionless nation. Their experience with the oppression and discrimination of the Church of England led them to beware the mixture of dogma and political doctrine. Sort of like the discussion today of Sharia law and governance. Thus Jefferson's oft quoted comment about the wall of separation between church and state is consistent with that premise. Not a godless nation, just one free of the tenets of a specific religion.

The second error is his contention that the rights enjoyed by Americans are granted by the Constitution. Really? Here I quote the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It doesn't take an advanced degree to understand that the founders believed our rights are "god given," not by a monarch, a man or a document. The purpose of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is to assure that power-hungry politicians were not able to infringe on these "unalienable" rights, one of which is free expression and the ability to practice and espouse a religion of one's preference.

I am sorry that Bloom believes religious people have no right to representation when political forces deny them their right of free expression. But we are lucky that someone out there understands our founding documents and is doing something about it.

Jim Haley, '69

Helena, Montana


Improve Gun Laws

The letter from David Altschul, MA '76, in the May/June issue is wrong in at least two salient respects ("After Newtown"). First, virtually every gun used in a crime was originally sold to a lawful owner. These "law-abiding citizens" then either sold them to someone who was legally barred from owning a gun or put in it the hands of someone who did, or carelessly lost the weapon or failed to secure it adequately and had it stolen. Second, the prior federal ban on "assault weapons" may or may not have decreased crime. Thanks in considerable part to heavy lobbying by the NRA and the firearms manufacturers, the ban had more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. Further, again thanks to heavy lobbying by the NRA, there is a paucity of statistical evidence that might shed light on the issue.

The letter is also misleading in its statement about gun crime in Europe in that it doesn't refer to gun-related violence. The levels of such violence in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, where there are severe restrictions on gun ownership, are far lower than in the United States. I should add that here, states like Connecticut, which have strong gun laws, also have the lowest incidence of gun-related violence. The converse is also true: States with lax gun laws and regulation, like Louisiana, have the highest levels of gun-related violence.

I have been shooting since 1939, when I turned 7, and since then have shot all manner of rifles, shotguns and handguns, as well as a few .30 and .50 caliber machine guns. (Currently, I'm shooting handguns again, as part of a program aimed at teaching me the basic principles of firearms self-defense.) I hold a Connecticut pistol permit and am an NRA member. I am also appalled by the amount and cost of gun violence in Connecticut and elsewhere—30,000 killed and at least that many more wounded, and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars—every year. Because of that I joined the Board of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, which was very active in getting stronger gun laws passed this year, laws that I certainly support. They are not perfect and, by themselves, will not dramatically reduce gun violence. However, they will certainly do some good. Moreover, had they been in effect last December 14, the Newtown massacre might well not have happened. At least it would almost certainly have been less deadly.

The issues involved in gun violence are very complex, and reducing it requires attention to a lot of things in addition to stronger and more effective gun laws. However, these complexities are not valid reasons for opposing improvements in the gun laws and their enforcement. One other comment: "the straightforward language of the Second Amendment" is anything but straightforward. This is abundantly clear from the lengthy Supreme Court decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases relating to the individual right to bear arms, which only hold—by a 5-4 majority—that an individual has the right to have a gun, notably a handgun, in his or her home or place of business. Further, even the much criticized majority opinions state that reasonable regulation of firearms is constitutional. While there's a lot of debate about what's "reasonable regulation," to date the courts have sustained the vast majority of these regulations when they've been challenged by pro-gun interests.

James Greer

New Haven, Connecticut


True Humanities

Finally reading the November/December issue, I was deeply touched by Kevin Cool's column, which said it in a nutshell: "How to Be a Successful Human" (First Impressions). I abandoned my high school plans to become a high school music teacher in favor of a more practical medical career. Although I never regretted that decision, it was my humanities exposure at Stanford that left the deeper impressions. Those exposures helped provide acceptance of ourselves as vulnerable, occasionally helpless individuals, tossed about by circumstance, but simultaneously inspired to higher levels through music, art, literature and history. I treasure memories as a member of Stanford Chorus and Choir, led by wonderful Harold Schmidt, singing with the San Francisco Symphony under conductors Bruno Walter, Pierre Monteux and others. Those transcendental experiences produced by the broad humanities programs led us to higher goals, greater effort, and open-mindedness and understanding.

Sadly, in a huge distortion of those goals, there is also "teaching" at major universities [that goes] in precisely opposite directions, promoting debasing, pornographic, ugly, immoral behavior—such as "Sex Week" at Yale described by Yale graduate Nathan Harden in "Man, Sex, God and Yale" in Imprimis (January 2013). These events, rather than being liberating for women, place them in greater danger of mistreatment, abandonment and broken lives. I am not prudish, just disappointed. Let history objectively record those episodes of violent depravity forced upon others, along with other human errors, and promote goodwill and understanding instead. Teach human sexuality as it should be taught in a medical school: in an objective, dignified, scientific manner rather than subjectively distorting and titillating (particularly by setting aside a "Sex Week"). Thank you for the true humanities.

Don McCleve, '53, MD '56

Monte Sereno, California

The following did not appear in the print version of Stanford.


Food, Glorious Food

The Food Issue (July/August) provided me with both food for thought and thought for food.

Campus cuisine has come a long way since my undergrad years in the mid-’60s, when this native Milwaukeean had the brainstorm to introduce bratwurst to California and tacos to Wisconsin.  I did get halfway there, through our backyard Oktoberfests at the Theta Xi house. Little did I know then, incidentally, how well that Oktoberfesting aspect of my Stanford education would prepare me for my current status in retirement. For the past 11 years, since its inception, I have been a member of both the planning committee and the food committee of the Chippewa Falls, Wis., Oktoberfest. Prost!

Mike Lindsay, ’68, PhD ’80

Eau Claire, Wisconsin


We were delighted with the recent Food Issue, and were taken down memory lane when we read about the influence of being at Stanford-in-Florence (“Four Seasons,” Farm Report) and about the food and people at La Casa Italiana (“Remembrance of Things Pasta,” Farm Report). We were also affected by Stanford, Italy and food. We were living in the same dorm our first year at Stanford (1976), started hanging out with the same group of friends, and now approach our 30th wedding anniversary.

Orlando spent a semester at the Villa in Florence in the Overseas Study Program—his wonderful tales of his time in Italy led us to return there for our honeymoon in October 1983. Since Orlando spent three years living at La Casa Italiana, BJ also spent much time there, and we absorbed Maria Catena’s wonderful authentic Italian food—the best food on campus by far (and spoiling us forever). We also worked at the student-run pizzeria—Saturday nights were one big festa and the place to hang out. We also remember the annual Roman Decadence Days at La Casa, with all of us dressed in togas and roasting a whole pig over the barbecue pit. The friendships developed over risotto and lasagna are still in place (though long-distance) today.

All those food influences have carried through our lives yet today. BJ recently wrote and published a cookbook about how we entertain at our home, and the book’s introduction fondly reminisces about the Italian and Stanford influences. Check out the book, Food, Fun, Family & Friends, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bjjones or visit BJ’s food blog at http://theinsidescoopnm.blogspot.com/ and our daily dinner menus on Twitter@bjinsidescoop.

Barbara “BJ” Jones, ’78, MBA ’82

Orlando Lucero, ’80, JD ’83

Albuquerque, New Mexico


Take the Cash, and Let the Credit Go

Not so fast. We are not in Second Life here, we are in first life. And it’s a lot different. I had heard about David Wolman’s experiment before the article in Stanford (“Time to Cash Out?” September/October 2012). And I laughed. Here’s why.

Try using Bitcoins, or even credit cards, in any small village in any country on any continent. Can’t do it in America, can’t do it in Zimbabwe, can’t do it in France or Indonesia or China. Because you not only need 21st-century technical stuff, like iPhones and Squares and Internet access, you need telephones and bank accounts and identity cards (or some other way of verifying you are who you say you are), and all kinds of other messy first-world items not owned by or even accessible to billions of our fellow citizens.

Unlike David Wolman, I set out two years ago to stop using my credit cards for anything except must-have big ticket items (cars, furniture) and the occasional online purchase (you often need to provide a credit card number to prove you’ll pay your bills nowadays). I will not willingly go back to plastic for my daily purchases.

I take cash to our local supermarket and make sure they get small bills in payment when I have some, so they can make change for the next customer. I buy dinners out with cash and tip generously, also in cash. I pay cash at the gas station. In fact, I pay cash whenever I can, and part of the pleasure is the friendly interaction I get to have with the vendor. Not just a swipe on a machine, but an opportunity to have a conversation, exchange items of value mano-a-mano, even pick up the occasional stray coin that rolls under the counter, and create smiles all around.

And at the end of the month, I save myself and my bookkeeper much time because I don’t need to access an electronic budget program, or reconcile various credit card bills or debit statements for ordinary daily expenditures. Nor do I need to make sure I have my ID with me for a short walk to the store or to get a coffee. I know exactly how much money I have available at any given moment, because it is in my wallet. I can proportion my expenses precisely. No nasty surprises at the end of the month, or at the airline terminal, either.

People say that money is dirty—oooooh, what a first world problem that is! Name me one disease anyone has ever gotten from handling money. They say it’s inconvenient to carry. Not nearly so inconvenient as being in a place where there is no telephone, no electricity, and not having any money to buy things. And of course, not nearly as inconvenient as not having any money anywhere, period.

Let’s overcome our bourgeois suffering and understand, as Alvin Toffler (actually, Heidi) understood 40 years ago, that change comes in waves, and while some of us may be gobbling up spaces on Virgin Galactic, some of us are still hunting dinner with a spear. Yes, things will change (we no longer snip “pieces of eight” off of gold blobs stamped with the king’s likeness, either). But the world is a much bigger place than we really know, and little changes we might make here have large ramifications elsewhere.

Of course, whenever you’re in Portland, I’ll be happy to buy you a coffee. With cash.

Leslie Wildesen, ’66

Portland, Oregon