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Announcement on Quay ’04

Here is the College’s e-mail.

I am very sad to tell you that Bob Quay ’04 died on Friday, June 25, as a result of injuries sustained in a biking accident last week. Bob, who received a B.A. in American Studies this month, served as president of the Williams Outing Club, a junior advisor, an assistant scoutmaster in the Williamstown Boy Scout troop, and a volunteer in the Stamford, VT public schools. A memorial service is being planned and will take place in his hometown, Amherst, New Hampshire, on August 14 (details will be available at my office). Condolences can be sent to Bob’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Quay, P.O. Box 729, Amherst, NH 03031.

Nancy A. Roseman
Dean of the College

We would be happy to publish further information as it becomes available.

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Praise The Boss

James Lee ’75 — universisally known as “Jimmy” — got a brief mention in a New York Times article today on the soon-to-be completed merger of JP Morgan Chase and Bank One. Lee is one of the most senior and successful Ephs in finance and seems to play the roll of senior statesman, on occasion, at JP Morgan.

“The guy is a rock star,” said James B. Lee Jr., a vice chairman of J. P. Morgan Chase, as he recounted how Mr. Dimon helped land a big underwriting deal recently, even before the merger becomes official.

Lesson: It never hurts to say nice things about your new boss, especially when the New York Times is calling!

Their dinners finished, Mr. Dimon and Mr. Harrison stepped up to the lectern for a closing interview, conducted by Mr. Lee. “Tell us some personal things about yourselves, Jamie and Bill,” Mr. Lee said.

After a brief pause, Mr. Harrison talked about growing up in North Carolina, coming to New York, all the blind dates he went on before marrying at the age of 42 and how his daughters, 11 and 13, greet him when he arrives home in Greenwich, Conn: “Hey, Billy boy. How were things at the office?”

As the crowd roared with laughter, Mr. Dimon took his turn. He recalled the reaction of the eldest of his three daughters when he told her that he had been fired from Citigroup. “Can I have your cellphone now? I guess you won’t need it,” she said.

Lee is maried to Elizabeth (Brownell) Lee ’75 (or at least the alumni office has them as residing at the same address). As always, we are big fans of Eph marriages.

Given Lee’s success in finance, he becomes a candidate for the role of mystery donor for the new INSERT YOUR NAME HERE student center. Recall my guess that:

we want a very rich but not shy Williams grad from a not-wealthy family without a history of major gifts to the College, probably not a current trustee, perhaps approaching a major reunion.

Lee and his wife are coming up on their 30th reunion. Investment bankers like Lee are definately not known for their, uh, shyness. It is not clear if Lee is wealthly enough to be able to afford a $15 million donation. His compensation in 1999 (the last that I can find on Bloomberg News) was only $12 million. Then again, he seems to have received a $14 bonus for 2000.

More on Lee can be found here:

James B. Lee, Jr. is Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of the Investment Bank, North America. He is responsible for Morgan’s relationships with many of its most important investment banking clients and supervises many of their strategic transactions. He chairs the bank’s Commitment Committee, Conflicts Committee, Executive MBA Program, and its National Advisory Board. He is a member of the Executive Committee, the firm’s policy-making group. He also helped develop and run LeadershipMorganChase, the company’s leadership development initiative.

Mr. Lee joined Chemical in 1975 and held various assignments in specialist lending areas until 1980, when he established and ran Chemical’s merchant bank in Australia. In 1982 he started the bank’s loan syndications unit in New York, and went on to build and run Chemical’s and then Chase Manhattan’s investment banking business. He was named Vice Chairman of the firm in February, 1997.

He was named one of American Banker’s 1992 “Forty Top Bankers under Forty Years of Age.”

In another Williams connection, Lee makes a couple of appearances in Bethany McLean’s ’92 excellent Enron book, The Smartest Guys in the Room. Lee comes off quite well in a story with very few sympathetic characters. He both sensed early on that everything was not quite right at Enron and, mostly, avoided throwing good money after bad at the end.

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Burger Me

Ed Burger is going to be at the Boston Public Library this evening.

If equations make you queasy, this is the lecture for you. Tonight at the Boston Public Library, Edward Burger, a math professor from Williams College, will present a magic show full of illusions — each of which can be unraveled with a simple mathematical concept. The show is geared for people of all ages who love, fear, or hate math. And it’s great for a date, according to Burger. Audience members will leave with a new perspective on math and a free mathematical memento.

Burger was by far one of my favorite profs at Williams… that said – “great for a date”? Come on.

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Robert Quay ’04, RIP

I just received word that Bob Quay passed away in a bike accident on Friday in New Mexico. No other details were available.

Condolences to all.

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Ladley ’96 Hoop Fame

This entry is only for those who think back fondly on high school athletics.

Sean Ladley ’96 has been named to the Pittsfield basketball Hall of Fame.

“Many of the lessons I learned from my family and from [PHS coach] Dave Harte I’ve been able to carry over into my professional career,” said Ladley, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., and works in the financial industry. “I’ve got great memories from my days at Pittsfield High.”

Ladley saw limited varsity time for Williams College under Coach Harry Sheehy — but there are no regrets.

“I loved my time at Williams,” Ladley noted.

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Technical Plea to the Masses (not Eph related)

I run a few different blogs and I am posting this comment, or some variation on it, to all of them.

I will make it simple, short, and to the point: If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer – any version – please don’t. Please never open it again. You will do yourself and the world a favor.

CERT has officially asked that everyone use anything to browse the web – just not IE. (CERT is the Computer Emergency Reponse Team – they step in when there is something so bad in software and causing such a global problem that there actually needs to be a group to smack you in the face and say “WTF?! Stop doing that!” – in this case it is over IE)

The options that they recommend:
1) Mozilla / Firefox (both free, the latter being just the browser, the former also being mail and news)
2) Opera (not free, but quite good)

Not only is IE a steaming pile of suck that is opening yourself to viruses and spyware – it also is the bottom of the pile in terms of web standards – it hasn’t been updated in over 5 years (in terms of how it displays pages) and is therefore very far behind.

Most of you viewing this page are using some form of IE, and you really need to stop immediately.

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Life According to Williams

If Richard Rodriguez ’05 kept his dairy of summer time activities on EphBlog, he wouldn’t have these sorts of technical problems. I wonder if the lost post was as good as this one.

Speaking of turning into things, I think I’ve had a mini-epiphany. I feel like since I’m been at Williams I’ve made a number of false starts and screw-ups. let’s call it “growing up” (note to smart-asses: that wasn’t the epiphany). Basically, I don’t know exactly why, and I may look back later on this point in my life as severely wrongheaded, but I feel ready now to put a lot of personal things behind me and forge ahead. Of course, this doesn’t imply a complete gerrymandering of my life-according-to-williams, but it does leave me a lot more free to do what I need . . .

“Gerrymandering of my life-according-to-williams” is a nice way to put it. Just wait till he has a chance to gerrymander his life-according-to-marriage or even gerrymander his life-according-to-children . . .

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Eph Hair

Esa Seegulam has some thoughts on ugliness. Alas, they are not nearly as amusing as his previous thoughts on hair.

Baxter Penitentiary Dining Hall, sometime in 2003, I am calmly eating my food. I look across the room to the table where all the track kids are eating. There is a half-Cuban, half-something-else member sitting at the table. I recognize him as a notorious former roommate, code names: Reorge Godriguez, Whore Hay, Havana Banana. He stares threateningly and menacingly, grimacing. I leave without incident. I return to check my AIM and other peoples’ away messages, as I do at ten to the hour, every hour. There is a message waiting. It is from the same Cuban Whore. It says “Lock your door. I am coming for you. I will cut your hair when you are asleep. I will shave you.”

My sources tell me that the Cuban Whore is all talk.

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EphBlog MatchMaking

Shimon Rura ’03 will be in Williamstown on Sunday. Although he is too proud to say so, he clearly needs to be set up with a good Eph woman. Shimon is a nice fellow who will make an excellent husband someday. There are many single Eph women in Williamstown over the summer who would be interested in, say, a nice hike up Pine Cobble on Sunday afternoon with an Eph like Shimon.

Surely we have some readers in Williamstown who can make this happen . . .

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Catsam ’93 with the Po-Mo’s

Derek Catsam ’93 is spending too much time with the Po-Mo crowd.

At breakfast this morning one of my colleagues was telling a story from one of her classes. Effectively the question on the table in the class related to whether or not it would be right or even acceptable for a man to steal food from another individual in order to feed their family and if someone would be justified in responding with violence in protecting their property. Reasonable issue, reasonable question. Then she told of how one of the women in her class answered with a resounding “No. I’d feel completely justified in shooting them.” This is not an answer I would give, nor one I agree with. But surely a student has the right to say it. My colleague concluded her story with, “I felt as if I had failed her.”

I chimed in at this point – I asked why on earth she had failed a student who decided to make a different judgment than she would as to the issue at hand. She said that it was because the student had given such an “anti-intellectual” argument. She further said that what was most vexing was that she asked the student “Have you ever gone hungry” (the personalization of issues represents a sort of solipsism in the classroom that drives me mad, but never mind that for now) and the student responded (it was nearing 5:00 and class was at an end) “Yes, I’m hungry now.”

Me too. But how are the Red Sox’s doing?

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Dunn on Hamilton/Burr

Professor Susan Dunn has some reflections on the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the 200th anniversary of which is next month. Although the duel predates EphBlog by a bit, there is no doubt that we would have been rooting for Hamilton. Alas, Hamilton lost.

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Clapp ’45, RIP

Charles Clapp ’45 passed away last week. Clapp was a Navy veteran and had at least 2 of his seven children attend Williams (David Clapp ’77 and Nancy (Clapp) Kerber ’87).

Charles E. Clapp II, 80, died peacefully on Wednesday, June 16, 2004, at his home in Duxbury, Mass. He was the husband of Elinor Jones Clapp.

A longtime resident of Providence, Barrington and Duxbury, Judge Clapp served on the Barrington Town Council from 1974 to 1980, including two years as president.

The father of seven children, Judge Clapp also was a partner at the law firm of Edwards & Angell before being appointed to the U.S. Tax Court in 1983 by President Ronald W. Reagan.

Although it is always hard to tell from a distance, he seems to have led a remarkably well-balanced life.

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Which Ones

Fascinating article in the New York Times today about race in college admissions. Amherst, but not Williams, gets a mention.

At the most recent reunion of Harvard University’s black alumni, there was lots of pleased talk about the increase in the number of black students at Harvard.

But the celebratory mood was broken in one forum, when some speakers brought up the thorny issue of exactly who those black students were.

While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard’s undergraduates were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard’s African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them — perhaps as many as two-thirds — were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples.

They said that only about a third of the students were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves. Many argue that it was students like these, disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions.

I would imagine that things are unlikely to be different at Williams, but that they are different from the 80’s; there was no SoCa 20 years ago, I think. Finding out the exact facts about Williams — and how/why they have changed over time — would make for a great senior thesis. Indeed, Williams, relative to other elite schools, has a pretty proud heritage in this regard.

The president of Amherst College, Anthony W. Marx, says that colleges should care about the ethnicity of black students because in overlooking those with predominantly American roots, colleges are missing an “opportunity to correct a past injustice” and depriving their campuses “of voices that are particular to being African-American, with all the historical disadvantages that that entails.”

“Overlooking”? Isn’t that a tad misleading? Is Marx really claiming that there are hundreds of high achieving (meaning high SAT scores and high school GPAs with difficult courses) black 18 year olds in America who aren’t actively courted by Amherst (and Harvard and Williams)? That certainly isn’t true.

I suspect that his desire to “correct a past injustice” is probably illegal in the context of Amherst’s admissions policies. It is OK for Amherst to discriminate against, say, Greek-American students as long as the purpose of doing so is to increase diversity in the student body and, therefore, improve the education for all. It is not OK to discriminate in order to make historical redress to 18 year olds that Amherst has not wronged in the past.

But I am not a lawyer.

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Your Alumni Fund Donations at Work?

Although it isn’t about Williams specifically, a snippet from a recent Michael Lewis article (on Bloomberg, so no link available) struck me as interesting. The article is about the sad case of Gregory Earls, now convincted of swindling. (Full Disclosure: I knew two of Earls’s children.) Lewis notes that

Ten days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article about a man named Gregory Earls, who used his role as a prominent fund-raiser for Harvard University to persuade investors to give him money, much of which he stole, the rest he lost in spectacularly sloppy fashion.

Lewis makes the point that it is likely that the same factors that made Earls such a successful fund-raiser for Harvard also provided him with advantages in the swindling game. Any good fundraiser

must have an eye for human weakness. He must know that, while a few good souls may give with no hope of return, most give more shrewdly. They want to impress their old classmates with how much money they are able to give away, for example. Or they want to improve the odds that Harvard will admit their children. Or they want to highlight their affinity with the affinity group.

But here’s the rub: Unless they fork over a sensationally huge pile of dough, donors are unlikely to get anything in return from Harvard. A few thousand bucks is unlikely to impress anyone. Even 50 grand won’t improve their children’s odds. (The Harvard application from the legacy whose parents have given less than millions goes into the same pile as the one from the legacy whose parents have given nothing.) Thus there is a gap in Harvard fund raising between hope and reality, and it is the job of the fund-raiser to bridge it.

My question: Is the same true at Williams? I realize that the really big-money givers are in a separate category from the rest of us. But I would have guessed that the admissions office would be more kindly disposed to children of Ephs that are at least somewhat active — give a little money regularly, attend reunions, volunteer and so on — than toward the children of Ephs who have done nothing Williams related since graduation day.

Or am I being naive?

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Burns ’39 Channels Reagan

It is nice to know that Political Science Professor James MacGregor Burns ’39 can tell what Ronald Reagan would have thought about the the proposal to put him [Reagan, not Burns] on the dime.

James MacGregor Burns, a Williams College professor and noted FDR biographer, said: “I may not have agreed with Ronald Reagan on very much, but I liked him as a person. However, you display a real ignorance about Ronald Reagan if you think that he would support any attack on the memory of FDR, who Reagan regarded as a personal hero. Even after becoming a conservative Republican, Reagan remained a huge fan of President Roosevelt. I simply refuse to believe that Ronald Reagan would countenance the removal of FDR from the dime to make way for his own image. In short, he would be horrified by this idea.”

More info here.

It’s funny but I can’t recall Jim Burns saying that he “liked him as a person” about Reagan in the late 80’s, but I guess that we all mellow with age.

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Opera at Chapin?

A remarkable amount of stuff goes on in Williamstown over the summer. My favorite:

The Berkshire Opera Company will bring two performances of Rigoletto to Chapin Hall on July 2 and July 4 with an estimated attendance of 500 people.

More info here.

Any undergrad Eph who doesn’t spend at least one summer in Williamstown is missing out on a nice time.

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Tetragrammaton

Blog discussions that use the word “Nazi” are generally best avoided, but there is some interesting back and forth going on between Rolando Garcia ’02 and Joseph Shoer ’06.

The best writing, however, comes from a student whose nom-de-blog is “Schopenhauer? I don’t even know her!”

A comparison between two things only needs the two things to be similar in a relevant way for the comparison to be legitimate. If I wish to explain how beautiful a woman is, and I compare her to Aphrodite, I’m not saying that the woman in question emerged mysterious from the sea, or that she can sometimes be found standing on an enormous scallop shell. I am saying that, limiting the discussion to *beauty*, the woman is comparable to Aphrodite. If this were not how comparisons worked, then we could compare things only to themselves, and we would learn nothing.

Likewise, when Joseph compares the “we were only following orders” defense to that used by the Nazis at Nuremburg, he’s not saying that the soldiers invovled were anti-Semitic or genocidal or fascist any more than he’s saying that they spoke German as a native language, were born in the 1910s and 20s, etc. He’s showing how the defense of the torturers at Abu Ghraib is comparable to another defense that we all rightly acknowledge to be morally bankrupt.

Is there anyway, outside of the Williams system, to determine who this student is? In any event, Garcia responds to this with:

Look, I understand how from a purely intellectual and rhetorical point your argument for the validity of the comparison is undeniable. But you are illustrating what continually upsets me about the blogs on this website: you apply these arguments that are intellectually sound without considering the reality of the situation. When reality is inconsistent with intellectual logic (which, outside of intellectual institutions is a frightening large amount of the time) both need to be taken into account.

Note that this is a recurring theme in disputes at Williams and elsewhere. On the one hand, it would be nice if we could all sit on the log together and discuss, cooly and rationally and honestly, everything under the sun. On the other hand, there are certain topics that are, for some of us, beyond the pale.

The real problems arise when some Ephs don’t realize that other Ephs think that topic X or metaphor Y is not something that should ever be mentioned.

For the most part, EphBlog sides with Schopenhauer in this debate. We talk about everything. But that means that the onus is even more so on us to be sensitive to the viewpoints of those Ephs who find the subjectives that we address offensive.

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ABC on Hoxsey Street

Sad to read that

Dana and Judy Danforth are retiring after 23 years as resident directors for the Greylock A Better Chance (ABC) program, years in which they provided encouragement, guidance, patience, structure and above all, friendship to successive waves of teenagers in the ABC House at 58 Hoxsey St.

Steve Rogers ’79 (and current trustee) was one of

[M]ore than 50 students who have graduated from Mount Greylock Regional High School through the ABC program, which brings academically promising, primarily minority students, mostly from inner-city neighborhoods, to more academically rigorous high schools.

The entire article, like most things in iBerkshires, is worth a read. Note that there are many connections between ABC and Williams. Director of Public Affairs Jim Kolesar ’72 is co-President of the ABC Board and notes that

the challenges of living with eight teenagers requires a very intense commitment, and it’s an enormous tribute to the Danforths that they stayed at it for so long.

“They’re unbelievable,” Kolesar said. “Twenty-three years is a record quite unlikely to be broken. They’re a very important part of the Greylock ABC program. Setting a strong foundation at the house enables our students to grow academically and personally. And they do hear back from graduates who express enormous gratitude that they admit they weren’t always able to express at the time.”

My own daughters, even at ages 5 and 8, seem to have similar gratitude-expression problems. If I am lucky, they’ll be saying similarly nice things about me 23 years from now . . .

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Two philanthropy hits for EphBlog

First up, Dave’s post about the “mystery” alum who donated a bunch of money ($15.75M) is being discussed over at this blog.

While it doesn’t give us any hints as to who it would be that donated the money, it does ask (albeit rhetorically it appears) where “Eph” originates from.

The next hit on the web for us is that George W. Bush (I hear he’s president of some “United States” country these days) has made “philanthropist, entrepreneur” Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chair of the Red Cross.
The article states (right at the end) that McElveen-Hunter and her attorney husband have a 21 year old son at Williams in his senior year.

Both of these really have me caught off guard. It is so rare to find alumni that donate massive amounts of money, and we hardly ever have students with parents that are high ranking and influential.

A welcome change I say.

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Williamstown == Manhattan?

As much as we all love the Purple Valley, these are the sorts of comparisons that we rarely come across.

After a massive renovation, Mass MoCA opened in 1999, and its thousands of visitors — 120,000 last year — have helped to reverse the trend toward morbidity in North Adams. The town is slowly becoming hip, a kind of Brooklyn to Williamstown’s Manhattan.

Yeah, right. Manhattan.

Mass MoCA is not a museum like most museums. It’s more like a spa, a place you go for a while to immerse yourself in beauty and from which you emerge, a few hours later, rejuvenated.

Sounds good to me. And also much more reasonably priced than, say, Canyon Ranch.

In any event, Joe Thompson ’81 has done an amazing job at Mass MoCA.

That Mass MoCA exists is a miracle. The 13-acre, 27-building, 780,000 square-foot complex was until 1985 the Sprague Electric Company, North Adams’ flagship employer. When Sprague closed, the dead brick campus became a symbol of North Adams’ postindustrial malaise.

Joseph C. Thompson, then at the Williams College Museum of Art and now Mass MoCA’s director, saw possibility in Sprague’s absence. He helped to launch an implausible campaign to convert the space into a world-class museum of contemporary art.

In 1988 the Massachusetts legislature, implausibly, allocated $35 million to the project. In 1991 the funds were frozen by Governor Weld, however, and released in part only in 1995 after Thompson had managed to demonstrate his seriousness by raising more than $8 million in private donations.

Why not Thompson as Commencement speaker in ’06, timed to coincide with his 25th year reunion? I’d wager that his speech would be interesting and — dare I wish for it? — original to the occasion.

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Morrow ’08 Hopes to Play Two Sports

To sceptics of Williams athletics — especially those who think that the fact that Williams does so well is prima facie evidence of excessively lowered standards for athletes in admissions — the case of Allie Morrow ’08 is an important counter-example.

Loyola’s Allie Morrow wrapped up an amazing high school athletic career by leading her lacrosse team to the state final for the second straight year earlier this spring. Shortly thereafter, she was named the captain of the annual Pioneer Press girls lacrosse North Star team. Morrow is also the two-time captain of the North Star girls hockey team.

And now she plans on enjoying an equally rewarding college career. But she chose a road less traveled by leading local athletes when she decided to attend Williams College, a prestigious small school in rural Massachusetts that competes in the NCAA’s Division III.

“She had some pretty good Division I lacrosse programs recruiting her, but she wanted to play both sports,” coach John Dwyer says. “And Williams is a pretty special place.”

In other words, success breeds success. Williams can attract some oustanding scholar athletes precisely because it sports teams are so good and because they understand that students want to do more than just play a single sport.

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Red Sox Diary: The Start

Derek Catsam ’93 has kindly volunteered to join us as an author at EphBlog, the better to post his diary of a Red Sox fan. It may take a little while to get the technical details worked out. In the meantime, here is the first entry of the season.

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Sunday, February 22, 2004: Spring training has begun. Pitchers and catchers have reported. The sour taste of Aaron Boone’s late night home run to end the ALCS will linger forever, like Bucky Fucking Dent’s home run off Mike Torrez and that cursed ground ball through Buckner’s legs in 1986, but spring training represents a bit of a purging, anyway, and as always, even in cynical Red Sox Nation, hope springs eternal.

In what has to be an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of athletic competition, the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees (let it be known that I used the term “Evil Empire” in an essay on the Sox a good two years before Larry Lucchino uttered it in 2002), already the most intense in all of sport, has become even more intense in the off-season. The Red Sox signing of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke made theirs an incredibly productive Hot Stove Season as it was. But then in November rumors began to circulate that we might be about to trade for Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, the consensus best player in baseball, for Manny Ramirez, our idiot savant hitter extraordinaire who comes with more emotional baggage than US Airways. For the record, I was never very keen on the trade. I thought that giving up Manny and Nomar (who we would have traded for Magglio Ordonez of the White Sox if the knights of the keyboards are to be believed) and taking on A-Rod’s salary would not be worthwhile. Talks finally fell apart after several revivals, Tom Hicks, the Rangers’ loose-lipped General Manager, declared A-Rod to be the Rangers captain in mid-January, promising Texas fans that he would be their starting shortstop indefinitely, and then promptly and stealthily he traded Rodriguez to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. Immediately the media whipped out the dual canards about the Curse of the Bambino (enough! Enough! A thousand times ENOUGH!) and about the tortured Red Sox fan, forgetting that many of us diehards are more than willing to go into the season against the Yankees with Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield, and Foulke on the mound and Nomar, ‘Tek, Manny and the rest of the Dirt Dogs who Cowboyed Up last year in the lineup.

Yup, spring training has begun. I couldn’t be more excited. And in this memoir, we’ll follow the Boston Red Sox, and in so doing, hopefully we’ll explore the psyche and life of a Red Sox fan, an otherwise well-adjusted and successful individual who nonetheless has devoted way too much of his heart and soul to the Olde Towne Team.

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Going to Reunion: The Long Way

I am still working on my long-awaited reunion retrospective. In the meantime, the Transcipt tells the tale of one grads return to the Purple Valley.

Williams College alumnus Hugh Germanetti took the scenic route to his 50th reunion this year: The 71-year-old bicycled 2,030 miles through 11 states over 28 days from his Austin, Texas home.
A graduate of the class of 1954, Germanetti said he had planned to bike to Williamstown “for a long time.”

Originally, he and a few of his classmates who also enjoy biking discussed making the trek as a class activity. But by the time Germanetti finished the planning necessary for the journey, his buddies already were committed to other things.

“So I was the only one left,” he said. “As I was the ringleader, I just went ahead and did it.”

Always the right choice in such situations . . .

Once [Malcolm] Kane [’52, but no relation] joined him in Buffalo, Germanetti went from biking about 80 miles each day to about 70 as the pair took in a little sight seeing. But, even with making a few extra stops, they arrived a day and a half earlier than expected.

The men were greeted in Williamstown by about 30 of their classmates and their friends who threw a surprise reception for them as arrived at their destination.

“They were cheering and ringing bells as we came up the hill” to the park across from the Williams Inn, said Germanetti. “It was kind of neat.”

If I can bike my way into Williamstown 34 years from now, I’ll be a lucky Eph indeed.

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Aidan’s Way

Political Science Professor Sam Crane has an article about his son Aidan in Salon. It is a must read for every Eph-parent (or would-be parent) on this Father’s Day weekend.

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Red Sox Diary

Thousands of readers have been waiting for the start of the EphBlog’s diary series. Your wait is over. Although there are still details to work out, our first dairy series — Derek Catsam’s ’93 chronicle of his year as a Red Sox fan — starts today. Of course, Derek has been keeping this record all season, but we’ll start off with yesterday’s entry.

Again, the purpose of the diary series is to provide a forum at which Eph readers can read Eph writers. It will also serve, I hope, to highlight the great diversity of views and experiences in the world of the Ephs.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004: Redemption comes in many forms, some large and some small. In the grand scheme of a long season, today’s redemption will probably go down as a small one, but it felt pretty big.

There is no ideal Platonic form when it comes to a baseball game. But if there were this one came pretty close. DLowe came up big, going seven innings in heavy rains, giving up four hits and four walks, no runs, and three strikeouts. Perhaps most important, in Colorado’s thin air, 17 of the balls in play off of Lowe were ground balls, meaning that his sinker was at its peak form. Of twenty one outs, twenty were either groundouts or strikeouts, with the last being a fly out. If Lowe is pitching like that, and this is his second consecutive stellar outing in a row, he has pitched 14 innings of shutout ball, so we have reason to believe that he will, we suddenly have what is arguably the best pitching staff in baseball. In Lowe’s 100th career start he was the central player in only the 25th shutout in the history of Coors Field. Scott Williamson cam! e in and pitched the eighth – his return has been less heralded than Trot’s and Nomar’s, but in returning he also gives us our preferred relief rotation. DiNardo pitched the ninth.

And a pitching staff that gets eleven runs has a lot of room for error. For most of interleague play we have scuffled. Not today. Ortiz had a career high five ribbies, one on a shot of a home run in the 7th with one on. Reese continued to solidify himself as a fan favorite by driving in two, Bellhorn also drove two in, and McCarty and Varitek each pushed one across. Nomar went three for five with a triple, and Trot went 2 for 3, though apparently he was limping quite a bit, revealing that we need to be careful with him and his balky quad.

So it was a good day in Denver. It was an afternoon game, so they were able to get away for their trip to San Francisco, which should be a good matchup. The pitching was sterling, and the Derek Lowe reclamation project continues apace, and the offense revealed flashes of last year’s wallbangers with a lineup that no longer resembles a spring training split squad game (Cesar Crespo sightings should be mercifully infrequent). Losing a series to the Rockies is unacceptable, but we salvaged a win, and it looks like my prediction about Schilling was wrong, that he will be ok. At least until the next start. Somehow it seems appropriate that after such a good win there would still be some anxiety.

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Belated Bloomsday

Alas, here at EphBlog we are two days late in our celebration of the Bloomsday Centenary. For those without the time or inclination to make it through all of Ulysses, we recommend the College’s handy news release.

In “Ulysses,” James Joyce captured the progress of Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, Molly Bloom and other residents of Dublin on June 16, 1904.

A celebration of fictional events may be mind-bending, but all over the world Joyce scholars and tourists will do just that for the centenary of Bloom’s day, known as Bloomsday.

Robert Bell, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Williams College, finds general agreement that “Ulysses” is the number one novel of the 20th century in the English-speaking world — and his favorite book.

Bell is the current herald of the Joyce tradition at Williams College, carried on when he first arrived in 1972, by the late James Clay Hunt and Don C. Gifford.

Hunt taught at Williams College from 1941 to 1976. He did not publish on Joyce — in fact he vigorously eschewed scholarly journals, but Joyce was one of his favorite authors, whom he taught regularly to senior English majors. Bell has retained a copy of the remarkable guide to writing a paper on Joyce that Hunt gave his students in 1972. Twelve pages long, it provides students with the information they need to assume the role of Joyce, in order to express his/their artistic souls.

Those 12 pages really should be posted on the Williams web somewhere

Gifford taught at Williams College from 1951 to his retirement in 1989. He published two indispensable books annotating Joyce, one on “Dubliners” and “Portrait of the Artist” and the other, with his former student, Robert J. Seidman ’63, on “Ulysses.” Extraordinarily erudite, Gifford was a man of wide-ranging intellect and the annotations are, in the words of his colleague Stephen Fix, “factually oriented and encyclopedic in scope, explaining everything from the Irish slang spoken by Joyce’s characters, to details of the political and theological debates that shaped Joyce’s imagination.”

I have heard it said by more than one faculty member that it is no longer possible for someone like Don Gifford, much less James Hunt, to get tenure at Williams. Gifford was, by all accounts, a superb teacher who was totally devoted to the education of his students. He published very little scholarly work in his first 30 or so years at Williams. A professor who did that today, who prefered to spend her time teaching rather than writing, educating rather than scribbling, would have a tough time of it today.

Where, after all, is Lisa Wright today?

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That’s right, I said WTF

The Williamstown Theater Festival stands strong in my mind as it was a part (although admittedly small) of my summers that I spent at Williams. It was because of WTF that I could put the face of “that beautiful actress that was in Se7en” to a name – Gwyneth Paltrow (she wasn’t nearly as huge a star then as she is now – yet as I far as I know she still is involved with WTF every summer).
WTF also offered me the chance to stand next to Scott Wolf (then of Party of Five “fame”, and now of… whatever it is that he is doing now, aside from marrying that attractive girl from MTV’s Real World: New Orleans), and come to terms with the fact that he is a midget. A short one at that.
Conversely WTF provided me with the opportunity to see Sigourney Weaver from across Spring Street and now I know that she is about 18 feet tall and appears to weigh roughly the same as a basketball.

This article in the Berkshire Eagle alerts me to the fact that WTF is now looking for more money via donations. Apparently while it is great that they are getting this fancy new theater from Williams (due to Herb Allen of course), it is also going to add on additional expenses for them which they need to account for.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival has launched a campaign to increase its $3.1 million endowment by $7.5 million over the next four years.

Nearly half the goal — $3.7 million — already has been raised from 100 donors who have been solicited in a “quiet” campaign over the past four years. Among the contributions were two separate grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council totaling $183,000.

During this “quiet” campaign they have averaged $37K from each of their 100 donors. Apparently now they are entering the “uproarious” stage of their campaign and want to get up to their “crapload of money” target point.

Since WTF has clearly touched me with faint and barely discernible memories of people I don’t know whom make a lot more money than me… well, you would think I would be throwing money at this cause. After all, I want them to stick around so that perhaps other young Ephs may have a chance to see the dad from Alf or perchance the ability to fulfill the dream to watch that girl from Small Wonder perform her rendition of what it is like to be a Jet.

But quite frankly, while there were those memories of meaningless moments with “stars”, I must also recall that when I would actually go and see one of the shows I would be horrifically bored out of my mind and continually reminded of how much I can’t stand musicals.

So essentially, what I am getting at is that WTF isn’t getting my money. At least not this year.
If they are willing to usurp the reigns to their acronym and maybe have the nerve to step it up and become OMG, or NSFW, or maybe even LMAO – then.. yes, then, I would scrape together what I could for their cause. Surely a noble one at that.

But until then, I must ask of you Williamstown Theater Festival, WTF?

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Attn: Williams College Has Moved

Sorry everyone – especially to those of you that recently went to your “reunion” just a few days ago, or perhaps those of you that “graduated”. Seriously, I hate to be the one that brings you this news and I honestly feel bad that it has to come this way – so cold and impersonal.

But the fact of the matter is that Williams College has moved to Maine. Those of you that feel like you went to some sort of formal gathering celebrating your time at Williams – it was all an elaborate sham and a cruel veil of lies.

The truth is all exposed here in this article. It is about some dude that was named… ahh, really it doesn’t matter since that really has nothing to do with it.
They key is this well crafted part here:

Gentile was selected president of the Research Corp. following a broad national search, according to Stuart B. Crampton, past chairman of the board of directors, a member of the residential search committee and former provost at Williams College in Maine.

Yeah, I’m not sure who it was that was involved with Williams – this Gentile fellow or Stuart – but I think we can all clearly agree that one of them was involved with Williams College moving to Maine.

So again, I feel really awful that I have to be the one to tell you that the Williams you know/knew is a lie. This article seems to indicate that this was no recent thing, so I think for some time now we have all been deceived.

I feel so used.

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Eph Mating

Holly Smith ’99 has observations on the Williams Reunion scene.

It was, however, a bit artificial to see only members of your own class, seeing as our Williams experience is made up of those both in grades above and below. So it is a bit of false memory at play – now you see people that you may have casually known, and all of a sudden this sense of affinity has been amplified.

Which I supposed is how networking and this whole “society of alumni” thing works. Now our class has rebonded in this new configuration, which I suppose is supposed to have all these after effects for both ourselves and the college. Stronger friendships. Increased loyalty and alumni participation. More donating to the college. And the realization of how that incestuous Eph-marrying-Eph phenomenon may have its genesis.

I am pretty sure that most Eph/Eph marriages have their genesis long before the 5th year reunion.

The best solution to only seeing folks from your own class is, obviously, to marry someone from a neighboring class. You then get two reunions every five years. Highly recommended.

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Summer Cass

Oren Cass ’05 does not seem to be overly taxed by his summer job or worries over his thesis. Which is good for us, I guess, since there is plenty of new material at his blog.

He asks:

Lots of liberals become conservative (David Horowitz and Mickey Kaus come to mind)… do any conservatives become liberal?

I’m not really talking about the swing-voter spectrum, i.e. changing views on a given issue. I’m talking about the sort of hard-core left wing stuff associated with College campuses. It seems like a one-way street. You can give up those views, but no one takes them on later in life. Doesn’t that sort of suggest that experience and maturity move people away from those views, and those who hold on to them are intellectually stunted (or at least stuffed away in an ivory tower somewhere and not exposed to the world that seems to change a lot of other people)?

Surely David Nickerson ’97 will know about the academic literature on this off the top of his head, although Cass seems to be more interested in folks from a particular slice socio-economic spectrum.

As far as Williams goes, there is probably a small N problem here since the number of out-spoken conservatives at Williams (at least in the late ’80’s) was not — how should I put this? — large.

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