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On Sunday I was in New York City to attend the 35th Alumni Reunion of my old Class of 1973 of the High School of Art & Design. About 120 of us partied at the 260 Club on 5th Ave. A rooftop club that was done in a 70's style disco chic'.

" alt="" />Reunion organizer Joe Notovitz addresses all us kids.

The High School of Art & Design was one of New York's reknown FAME Schools, public high schools that stressed vocational training in the arts. Others included Music & Art and Performing Arts (yeah, the one with the TV show). I had to submit a portfolio to get in. It was a chance to take classes in illustration and sculpture and photography, as well as cartooning and animation.

A&D alumni include Ralph Bakshi(when it was called Industrial Arts), Dan Haskett, Lou Scarborough, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, Calvin Klein, Tony Bennett among others.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07EED7163CF936A35751C1A9679C8B63

It was fun hooking up with old schoolmates and some teachers, most of whom I haven't seen in 35 years. As one commentator on This American Life once said:" At my reunion, we all looked the same, except we all had swelled a bit."

My class of 1973 was kind of unique in that we never got a High School Yearbook. There was a printers strike or something that year. I forgot what it was. We're only now starting to get it together as alumni so we could finally print one.

I know to some of you it seems hokey, seeing lots of old folks pretend they were still kids. But don't knock it until you've tried it. I didn't think I'd have as much fun as I did. It's like reclaiming a long gone part of your past memory, finding a forgotten center of yourself. It is also amusing to recall some crisis you experienced as teens that seemed earth-shattering at the time, now reduced to the rosy-hue of warm nostalgia.

We all don't want to age, really. Shamus Culhane in his 80s told me in his mind he still felt 20, he didn't know what happened. Likewise, I never knew I'd be an Elder Statesman in my field one day. You just keep working and living your life and suddenly you realize 35 years have gone by! All the elders you looked up to had moved on. So perhaps these rituals, are a way of acknowledging a milestone in life, and taking stock of how far one has come.

And an observation to my current students at USC and UCLA: no matter how old you get, you still never really feel comfortable calling your old teachers by their first names! At this party I still referred to Mr Ginsburg and Mrs. Arnold.

" alt="" />Animator Juan Sanchez and I. We are both also veterans of Jack Zander's Animation Parlour

So thank you Joe and all the volunteers who made this event happen. I salute all my fellow A&D alumns and wish you all well. For those who couldn't make it this time, I hope to see you one day.


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Quiz: What does the term laissez-faire mean?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Why is New York City called the Big Apple?
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History for 6/24/2008
Birthdays: Earl Kitchener, the Sirdar of Omdurman, E.I.Dupont, Ambrose Bierce, Jack Dempsey, John Ciardi, Mick Fleetwood, Phil Harris- singer and voice of Baloo in Disney’s Jungle Book, Billy Casper, Michelle Lee, Claude Chabrol, Chief Dan George, Pete Hamill, Peter Weller, Sherry Springfield

1219- Pope Innocent III set today as the deadline for deadbeat knights who volunteered to go on Crusade to get off their ironclad butts and get going. Knights had an economic incentive to taking the Crusading vow: no one could collect a bad debt from you and you couldn't be imprisoned. So some knights would take the vow for the perks but then stall on making the dangerous trip to the Middle East where two out of three never returned.

1324- THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN- Scottish King Robert the Bruce defeated the invading army of King Edward II of England and secured the crown of Scotland for the next 300 years. The Bruce fought in the midst of his troops, hacking down Sir Hugh de Bohun in single combat with his battle-axe. Edward’s father, Edwards Longshanks, had developed winning tactics of using Welsh archers to shoot up an enemy before the mounted knights charged. But Edward II’s bad generalship bungled the system and knights and footmen scrabbled to get out at the Scots not allowing the Welsh bowmen a target.

1374- In the French town of Aix la Chapelle was the first recorded outbreak of Ergot Madness or St. John’s Dance. Groups of people frothing at the mouth danced around uncontrollably until they fell over dead from exhaustion.

1497-English explorer John Cabot discovered Canada -Eh!

1812- NAPOLEON INVADES RUSSIA with the largest army yet assembled.
Around 600,000. By December, barely 30,000 came out alive. This day while inspecting the troops Napoleon’s horse stepped in a rabbit hole and threw him on his butt. This was taken as an ill omen.

1876- CUSTER APPROACHES THE LITTLE BIG HORN- General Custer's scouts reported a large Indian camp at the Little Big Horn River. Custer decides to attack tomorrow without waiting for the other armies to catch up. Through his interpreter Mitch Boyer he tells his Indian scouts that after he has destroyed the Sioux he will go back east and become the Great White Father. The Republican presidential nominating convention was next month. The Crow and Mandan scouts were troubled by the signs and began their death-songs. Embedded N.Y. Herald reporter Mark Kellogg made a final entry in his diary: "I go to ride with Custer and will be there at the death...” In the dawn's light a survivor from Renos command overheard Custer's chief Mandan scout Bloody Knife tell Custer: " You and I are going Home today -but by a different path."

1901- The first exhibit in a Paris salon on the Rue Lafitte of a dark-eyed ,young, Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso.

1939- Pan-Am airlines began regular transatlantic passenger flights from New York to London.

1945- Meet the Press debuted on radio. Two years later it moved to television and it remains t.v.’s longest running program.

1947- THE FIRST MODERN UFO SIGHTING. A commercial airline pilot flying out of Seattle notices 6 silver disc shaped objects hovering over Mt. Reynier near Seattle. They then shot off at terrific speed. They are never identified nor explained. The pilot, Kenneth Arnold had impeccable credentials as an ex-combat Marine pilot and chamber of commerce member. The government response was to hit him with an IRS audit. The "flying-saucer" craze, with allegorical overtones to postwar atomic paranoia, sweeps the American imagination throughout the 1950’s.

1949 - "Hopalong Cassidy" becomes the1st network western on television-NBC.

1950- THE KOREAN WAR BEGAN- June 25th in some records because of the International Date Line- 30 North Korea divisions armed with heavy Soviet tanks and artillery crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. The attack was a complete surprise and most South Korean officers were at a party dedicating a new Officer’s Club. The US had deliberately kept the Korean Army lightly armed to diffuse Cold War tension. Mao and Stalin were equally surprised by North Korean Kim Il Sung’s attack. The previous January Secretary of State Dulles had said during a conference that the US "was not interested in the Korean Peninsula." But when President Harry Truman was informed of the invasion he responded in typical Truman fashion:" We gotta stop those Sons of Bitches!" At this time there were only 500 US troops in Korea called KMAG, for Korean Military Advisory Group, which one Yank this day changed to Kiss My Ass Goodbye! This is considered the first war fought by the United Nations, since Truman pushed through a resolution sending troops under the UN banner. The Russians were boycotting the Security Council over its refusal to seat Red China so they were unable to veto the move.

1963 - 1st demonstration of a home video recorder, at BBC Studios, London

1970 – The movie "Catch 22" opens in movie theaters.

1997 - Brian Keith, actor (Family Affair, Dirty Dingus McGee), shot himself at 75. He was suffering from incurable cancer and tired of fighting the disease.

2004- On the Senate floor, the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, told the Democratic Senate leader, Patrick Leahy, to “Go F**k Himself!” Republican Majority Leader, Senator Tom Delay, said the Vice President “was having a hard day”. The Vice President never apologized for this vulgar breach of Senatorial etiquette. While this was happening the Bush Administration was urging the FCC to stiffen penalties on DJ’s like Howard Stern for his use of naughty language.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Why is New York City called the Big Apple?

Answer: Jazz musicians in the 1920s used to say: “When it comes to places to play gigs at, there are a lot of apples on the tree; but when you play New York, you got the Big Apple.”


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