The Send-Ran-To-Spago Story

First some background..

In August of 1995 I gave a talk to the incoming freshmen at Harvey Mudd. I concluded the talk with the following remarks:

"I want to ask you to help me play a practical joke on one of my dear friends and colleagues, a professor by the name of Josh Hodas. Professor Hodas and I started at Harvey at the same time. We're both in computer science, we're very good friends, and in fact our offices are right next door to one another. To make things even more confusing, although my last name is Libeskind-Hadas, I often just use `Hadas' H-A-D-A-S. Professor Hodas' last name is spelled H-O-D-A-S. Professor Hodas and I have decided that we have to write a book together because `Hodas and Hadas' sounds great. We have no idea at the moment what the book would be about. But, I digress. Professor Hodas observed that I was having trouble finding a recycling bin for soda cans. He told me that he has a special recycling bin in his office and I was welcome to deposit my cans there. Later I realized that he was getting 2.5 cents for each can, and I told him that I was going to start keeping track of my deposits and would redeem them at some later date. We agreed that they would be redeemed for a meal at Spago, one of the most famous and expensive restaurants in LA. Professor Hodas has been there and keeps telling me how wonderful it is. So far, I have 27.5 cents credit towards Spago, not accounting for the interest that has surely been accruing. Anyhow, many of you will be taking CS 5 from Professor Hodas this semester, a class by the way that I think you'll really like. Even if you're in a different section or class, I still encourage you to participate. All you need to do is bring an empty soda can to class or drop by his office (243 Olin Hall) and tell him that you would like to contribute the can to the `Send Ran to Spago' fund."

Although Professor Hodas got some cans in class, the bulk of the cans were received in a deposit box conveniently located outside of his office. The box remained there all semester!

At one point the deposit box overflowed and I arrived to my office one morning to discover that the excess cans had been stacked very neatly in front of my door...

"I think I CAN get into my office anyhow..."

Students contributed generously and Professor Hodas made frequent recycling trips. By the middle of November there was over $60 in the fund! Spago at last!

Wolfgang Puck, the owner and head chef, was very impressed that my meal had been paid for with recycled cans. As he shook my hand he said: "Tell those kids to keep recycling!"

At the end of the evening we had just enough cans left to tip the valet. He was very nice about letting us take this picture, but I think he was a bit confused.