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Ron Bodah, 22, turned a hobby into a small business and now claims to be the only U.S. manufacturer of clear crystal balls—the sine qua non of fortune telling. A native of Menomonie, Wis., Ron designed his own equipment to cut and polish scarce colorless quartz from Brazil and the Malagasy Republic. Bodah is currently plotting the metamorphosis of one $1,500 hunk of rock (below) into a flawless six-inch orb. Price: $6,000.

Bob Dahlin was fed up with copy-writing for a Chicago ad agency. Ducking out for basketball scrimmages during office hours seemed like a pretty good way to get fired; it wasn’t. Dahlin was promoted and had to quit. After a year as a schoolteacher, he enrolled in Northwestern’s graduate program in film-making. His master’s thesis—a 32-minute “Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock” titled Norman Nurdelpick’s Suspension—promptly won an Academy Award in the first year (1973) they were given for “student films.” Reverently ribbing the work of a master, the film lumps together so many vintage Hitchcock ploys—bathtub murders, landmark-studded chase scenes, even a cameo appearance by the director himself—that the bloodbath becomes a belly laugh.

Dahlin, a bachelor at 29, hopes that when he finally settles on one of several offers for a full-length feature he can direct it in Chicago. “I’m not really into the West Coast scene,” he admits, though prizes accruing to Suspension have taken him to Hollywood and across the Atlantic. At one point Dahlin thought he would catch up with the object of his satire in Paris, but Hitchcock had left the day before. “His people finally asked if they could borrow a print, but I said no. I want to be there to see if Suspension makes him laugh. That’s the ultimate test.”

Sana Hassan brings a special poignance to her reportage of the Middle East dilemma. For the 28-year-old daughter of a former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S.—and herself the wife of the present spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry—is the first Egyptian journalist officially invited to Israel. Her impressions of two summer months spent among rural kibbutzniks as well as urbanites from Tel Aviv have appeared in the New York Times. Next year her book Israel Through Egyptian Eyes will be published by Random House. In the meantime, she will pursue her Ph.D. in international relations at Harvard.