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The bogus Mr. Krimsnatch '56

After a four-year absence, a fiberglass calf named Cal was mysteriously returned to the Dairy Bar March 29, accompanied by a note from Narby Krimsnatch, an "alumnus" who claimed to have a hand in the cow's reappearance. Cal and its "mother," Cornellia, the Dairy Bar's mascots, were stolen in August 2006; Cornellia was returned to the Hoy Field pitcher's mound in late November that year.

Who is Krimsnatch? The Cornell Chronicle uncovered this spurious entry in the 1956 Cornellian:

"NARBY KRIMSNATCH Hodeia, Yemen. Phillips Andover Academy. Transfer from Univ. of Pennsylvania. Arts and Sciences. Llenroc Lodge. Skulls; Pi Delta Epsilon; Chess Team, Mgr.; Vars. Rugby; Wearer of the 'C'; CIA, Assembly; Model UN; Yemen Delegate; Students for Republican Action; ROTC Band; Andorra National Rugby Award."

It emerges that Curtis Reis '56 created Krimsnatch after seeing a version of the name submitted on a form and declaring, "this name is too good not to utilize." He also posed for Krimsnatch's yearbook photo.

Reis went on to enroll Krimsnatch in the Army. But in response to an inquisitive colonel, Krimsnatch went AWOL, then presumably fled to his native Yemen. (His father was the Grand Marnier of Yemen with castles in Sana'a and Hodeidah.)

"On my trips to all seven continents, Narby has signed guest books everywhere and has attended many weddings (usually uninvited) where his glorious name lives on!" wrote Reis in an e-mail to the Chronicle in April.

Are you Cornell?

Cornell is bigger than a bunch of buildings sitting on a hill. Cornell is thousands of people, each with his or her own story.

"I Am Cornell," an online, ongoing photo project, is piecing together that mosaic.

To participate, make a sign telling what Cornell means to you. Then, have someone snap your photo holding it.

The only rules: Sign your name (first only) and write the phrase "I Am Cornell" on your photo. Alumni and students should include your class year.

Be creative. Have fun. Share your Cornell with the world via the I Am Cornell Flickr group at

You must have a (free) Flickr account to post your photo to the group; or you can submit your photo (JPG, GIF or PNG) to

Bird recordist Linda Macaulay wins ornithology award

Linda Macaulay, one of the world's foremost birdsong recorders and an associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has spent more than two decades risking her life with lions, hippos and even armed rebels to record bird and animal sounds -- many for the first time.

Macaulay's almost 6,000 individual birdsong recordings, representing 2,668 species, have taken her to more than 50 countries. All of her recordings are archived in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library, named after Macaulay and her husband, William Macaulay. The library is the world's largest archive of animal sounds and associated video, which are publicly available online.

For her recording work, the lab presented Linda Macaulay with the Arthur A. Allen Award for Outstanding Service to Ornithology in April. Allen was the lab's founder and director for 50 years.

Macaulay first became interested in recording in 1987. "The recordings that she has made are some of the best that we have," says John Fitzpatrick, the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the laboratory and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

"When you can pair traveling and seeing nature and these birds with something that contributes to the science, that makes it a quest, and something that people will value," says Macaulay, who lives in Greenwich, Conn.

He does more on one wheel ...

While unicyclists on campus are rare but not unheard of, it may be unique that the latest "unicycle guy" wheeling around campus is an engineering professor who not only unicycles around the Engineering Quad but who sometimes commutes from home on his mountain unicycle -- a 40-minute ride each way.

Peter Frazier, assistant professor of operations research and information engineering, has been riding a unicycle since he was 16 (he learned at a math camp at Boston University one summer). He usually commutes via a (two-wheeled) bike, but was even able to keep up the unicycling over the winter.

"In certain ways, it's nicer to ride from home on my unicycle on a really cold day than it is to ride a bike because there is much less wind, and the work of unicycling warms me up," Frazier says. "The key is to make sure to have some warm gloves, because it's difficult to keep your hands in your pocket while you unicycle. Once I tried juggling snowballs on the way home when the snow was just melting, but that wasn't very successful -- I'm not a very good juggler."

"There is something nice about unicycling as a counterpoint to thinking deeply about something in a mathematical way," Frazier says. "I find that there is a certain kind of concentration that unicycling requires of you while you're doing it that is quite similar to the way you need to concentrate in order to solve a mathematical problem, but at the same time is quite opposite because it's a physical concentration instead of a mental one. So it is quite intense, but it's also a great kind of rest from a more intellectual kind of work. There is also a kind of puzzled joy that I experience at managing to move around on only one wheel that is similar to the joy of solving a problem in a surprising way."

Shotgun designed by students in 2001 is for sale

Ithaca Gun Co. advertises a custom-made, lightweight, 28-gauge shotgun that's sure to titillate gun enthusiasts. Nearly 10 years after Cornell engineering students designed it, it's finally for sale.

Henry Asante, Faisal Mahmood, Chen-Tsuo Yen and Chris Tupino, all Class of 2001, designed the shotgun for their master of engineering project. They did it entirely in ProEngineer, a computer-design software program.

Ithaca Gun, an Ithaca fixture since 1880, ran into financial trouble soon after the students completed the design, and the company assets were sold in 2007. The students had graduated, and they assumed the gun would never actually be manufactured.

Now based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Ithaca Gun recently informed John Callister, the students' faculty adviser, that their long-dormant designs were to become reality after all.

"The folks in Ohio called me and said they were hoping I still had the computer files on a disk," says Callister, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering and operations research.

All the parts -- including the breech block, receiver, slide, carrier and trigger plate -- were designed by the students. Dimensions and tolerances were specified to within four decimal places -- possible because of the students' precise calculations.

15th anniversary of a cappella group draws alumni members

Seventeen years ago, three Cornell students started singing together in the basement of Cascadilla Hall. Today, their legacy is Last Call, an award-winning, all-male a cappella group with more than 75 former and current members.

During the weekend of April 16, Last Call celebrated its 15th annual spring concert with a reunion that included 44 alumni (about two-thirds of its alumni base), their families and 16 current members.

"It's a dream come true" to see how far the group has come, says Fahim Hashim '94, one of Last Call's founding members. The group not only brings music to Cornell, Ithaca and other parts of the world but also works to help the community, he says.

The spring concert, "Straight Up XV," included a performance by all alumni who attended the reunion. For the finale, the 60 former and current members sang two songs together on stage and exchanged hugs as the crowd applauded and shouted congratulations.

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