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Winter 2000 Home

Winter 2000


EXCHANGE

AROUND THE POND

BRANCHES OF
LEARNING

THE WIT OF MAN

HOT ENOUGH
FOR YOU?

L.A. STORIES

LET IT SNOW!

ARTS

BOOKS

EXTENDED FAMILY

GREAT SPORT

NORTH 40

Around the Pond Highlights


 

Also

A SILVER YEAR
FOR SAUL PERLMUTTER

AMHERST SKIES, FROM BOTH SIDES NOW

LONELY? TRY LYING!

MARTHA STEWART
PLAYING

THE CHANCELLOR
AND THE SUFI
MASTER

SCOTT PRIOR AT
UGALLERY

BREAKFAST WITH
BRIANA

UMASS ATHLETIC
FUND CD-ROM


Follow-Ups

MARGULIS, BULGER,
GOODHUE AND MORE


Snapshot

Y2K MINUS ONE


Campaign News

ISENBERG SCHOOL
LANDS KRESGE
GRANT

GENEROUS PEOPLE:
RANDOLPH AND
CECILE BROMERY

 

 

 

Recent News from UMass

Lonely? Try Lying

There’s something to be said for it socially, says UMass psychology professor Robert S. Feldman. His research, recently featured on Good Morning America and elsewhere, indicates that the “more socially competent” kids and teenagers turn out to be the most talented liars. “Children are taught at an early age to be polite and say something nice in social situations,” Feldman notes. “Even if it’s not the absolute truth.”
     Among Feldman’s other findings among children and adults: Up to 60 percent of people lie. Older adolescents are more adept at deception than younger ones. Males lie more than females. Females are more likely to excel at lying. “This study tells us something about people,” says Feldman. “It’s unrealistic to expect them to always tell the truth. In fact, it’s not even the way we want people to always behave.”


Fairy godpartner

Films from the former East Germany now available on video in the U.S. include six fairy tales, two sauerkraut westerns, and the original Jacob the Liar. A partnership between UMass’s DEFA Library and ICESTORM International made it all possible. See Arts, and visit www.icestorm-video.com.


Martha Stewart playing: He rehearsed Photo: Stewart and Nelsonfor more than eight hours before she arrived on the set. “It’s amazing how much there was to learn,” says English prof John Nelson, who appeared in December on Martha Stewart Living. “Martha is always on your right. Always turn to her; never look at the camera. Try to keep your hands moving, pointing things out, handing things to her.” On the show, Nelson discussed the history detailed in his award-winning how-to-book, American Folk Toys, and helped Stewart construct an early-American yo-yo. “Martha obviously loves toys,” says Nelson approvingly. He found her “very personable.”


Timeless moments in time

If you passed by the FAC on February 9th and wondered if that series of syncopated sighs emanating from the University Gallery was some sort of performance art, here’s what you missed. The collective oohs and ahs were coming from the standing-room-only crowd and were in response to painting after dazzling painting in a slide lecture by Scott Prior ’71. The lecture, a chatty ramble through 30 years of the artist’s work, was held in conjunction with Light on the Familiar: The Paintings of Scott Prior, a retrospective of Prior’s paintings shown at the gallery this winter. The exhibition catalogue was written by curator, Rachel Rosenfeld Lafo G’74, of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, where the show was organized and first opened. Barbeque in Winter, reproduced here, shows both Prior’s remarkable ability to render tangible the intangible elements of light and atmosphere and his drive to capture and make timeless the moment in time.

Photo: Wheaties boxBriana Scurry ’95C is a household name – literally. Households across the land are now seeing the UMass soccer star on that yardstick of sports achievement, the Wheaties cereal box. (Other national sports icons so honored have been Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Mary Lou Retton.) Scurry’s competitive scowl appears on boxes commemorating the U.S. team’s victory in last summer’s Women’s World Cup championship, which she secured with her game-winning save . . . . After breakfast with Briana, slip your new, free, UMass Athletic Fund CD-ROM into your computer, for sound, music, action, and information about women’s soccer and the other twenty-eight varsity athletic programs. The interactive disc lets you click on interviews with coaches, action video clips, or background on the fund and its support of athletic and academic excellence at UMass. The CD was produced for contributors and season ticket holders, but is FREE while supplies last to readers calling athletic development at 413.545.4290.

Say amen: Pioneering black actor and musician Jester Hairston ’29C died in Los Angeles in January at age ninety-eight. A veteran of Amos ‘n’ Andy on both radio and TV, Hairston in his early career encountered Hollywood racism at its most puerile: his earliest credits are for the roles of “Native Boy” and “Witch Doctor.” The on-screen lot of the black actor at the time was “to be in a picture half-naked,” said Hairston at UMass in 1992. Off-screen, he was choral director for Lost Horizons and other films, and wrote the song “Amen” for Lilies of the Field. (He also dubbed the voice of Sidney Poitier singing it.) His later acting credits include In the Heat of the Night, Finian’s Rainbow, Lady Sings the Blues, and the ’80s TV sitcom Amen. His last was for Being John Malkovich in 1999.

Cyberwhacks: “Students move from ‘Lizzie Borden Took An Axe – Did She or Didn’t She?’ to a much more thoughtful understanding of time and place,” says Elizabeth Terhune ’98G, who helped develop a UMass history course showcased in a PBS broadcast last fall. UMass students use virtual archives to comb through late nineteenth-century maps, photographs, census records, and trial transcripts of the Lizzie Borden axe-murder trial in Fall River. Other courses built around the use of original documents have exhumed the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and the Salem witch trials.

U.S. kids just naturally hyper? You might think so from the infrequency with which English children are prescribed Ritalin. But Ph.D. candidate in anthropology Ken Jacobson finds that the “symptoms” that in America define AD/HD – Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – are defined as normal in England. “Either English children have dramatically different genes than American children, or the English are defining the expression of those genes differently,” says Jacobson.” He suggests that AD/HD is a culturally defined disorder.

Gross: You can imagine what a piece of cheese pizza can do to a book. But sticky-notes? Eraser? “Disasters, Donuts and Dastardly Deeds,” a recent exhibit in the Du Bois Library, took this gummy subject as its text. The library invites proposals for exhibitions in the library’s lobby; for guidelines call Linda Seidman, 545.2780.

Dreaming dot com: Students with hustle and business ideas they’re itching to try have a chance to win a $10,000 prize. Alumni who’d enjoy teaming up with that kind of student have a chance to mentor and network. A UMass-based program called Entreclub is underway this spring, bringing students, alumni, and area college faculty together for a series of practical seminars on the skills needed to start a business. Student teams will write business plans for a final competition to be judged in May by venture capitalists and alumni. Students are joining up and mentors are signing on, says UMass director of economic development Jaymie Chernoff, who directs inquiries to www.entreclub.com.


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