Princeton University requires a senior thesis (the length of a small book) before graduation, and cap-and-gown season led the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) to reminisce on the theses of former Tigers and to wonder where all that has got them today. Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad ('53) wrote about turbojets; onetime hoop star Bill Bradley ('65), now a senator from New Jersey, analyzed Truman's second senatorial campaign; Southerner Hodding Carter ('57), the former State Department spokesman who now watchdogs the press on public TV, studied the Citizen's Council in Mississippi, and Lisa Halaby (74), an architecture major who has since become Queen Noor of Jordan, designed a subway station for the corner of 96th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan. Another career as unforeseeable from the senior thesis as Noor's was that of consumer advocate Ralph Nader ('55). His paper was titled "Lebanese Agriculture."
While singing at L.A.'s Palomino Club, Charlie Rich had the management mark off a certain parking space for him. Arriving for work one night, Rich found that some inconsiderate creep had parked in it. Thoroughly ticked off, Rich had the car's delinquent owner paged by having the license-plate number boomed through the room. Red-faced Charlie did indeed flush out the owner: Greg Blackwell, the producer of Rich's first and only movie, titled, with a touch of irony, Take This Job and Shove It.
The Tie That Never-Minds
Reagan Cabinet members wouldn't be caught dead without a necktie, and the tie they won't be caught dead without these days is studded with tiny Adam Smith portraits embroidered in gold thread. It symbolizes the Reagan administration's commitment to laissez-faire economics. (Smith was the 18th-century expert who recommended in The Wealth of Nations that private entrepreneurs should make all the money they could, without government interference.) The cravat is available through the Decatur Shop in North Adams, Mich. ($14 with stripes, $20 without)—if Washington supply-siders don't wipe out the supply. OMB chief David Stockman has one, and so has Reagan domestic policy adviser Martin Anderson. Economist Milton Friedman has sported the tie on his TV show Free to Choose, and Sen. Jesse Helms owns several in different colors. The top fan, though, may be White House counselor Ed Meese. He claims he has one for every day of the week, but "No," says his wife, Ursula, who sounds as though she's put in some time getting the soup stains off Smith's nose, "he's got 13 or 14."
Brentano's in Beverly Hills is carrying a book that causes odd behavior in movie stars. They tend to wander in, casually pick up the book, look around and furtively run their fingers down the index. Because the Irving Wallace family's Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People includes the escapades of only three living folks—Milton Berle and authors Georges Simenon and Christopher Isherwood (whose Berlin Stories were dramatized as I Am a Camera and Cabaret)—the bated-breath perusal ends with a heartfelt sigh of relief.
•Leslie Nielsen's 25-year movie career really took off when he played the demented doctor in Airplane! He's in two upcoming films, including an Alien spoof called The Creature Wasn't Nice, but he insists he's more lazy than ambitious. "If I do have a goal," he said when pressed, "it's to maintain enough celebrity status to continue playing in celebrity golf tournaments."
•It could be pretentious, writing an autobiography at the age of 24, but on second thought, the title is rather endearing. The author calls it Debby Boone So Far.