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Derek Catsam ’93 has been blogging about the about the recently completed Democratic Convention over at his non-Red Sox gig at Rebunk. He notes that

I am as much of a civil libertarian as the next jaded bastard writing a blog, but at some point, in the name of all things sacred, this has got to stop. Because, there are no red states and blue states, there are just people, Americans who never want to see middle-aged men dancing to a rendition of “Celebration” ever, ever again. I thank you for your support.

I distinctly remember dancing to Celebration at Dodd House, but, of coure, I wasn’t middle-aged then.


The 80’s

John Hendrickson ’04 asks:

Do you remember the ’80s? Reganomics, the Cold War amd Top Gun — now, those were the days.

Yes, they certainly were. Back then, we played paintball and went to OCS. Now they have these new fangled computer-thingies . . .


Sox Diary: 7-31-04

Saturday, July 31, 2004: Today marks the Major League Baseball trade deadline, or at least the deadline where teams can make trades without squeezing guys through the waiver wire, a complicated and difficult situation that means it is almost impossible for truly substantial deals to happen. Thus far across baseball there have been a few big trades, but none have involved Randy Johnson, and closer to my heart, none have involved the Red Sox. There are still rumors that we are negotiating with the Cubs, with Nomar and possibly Matt Clement at the center, but I would not want Clement straight up, and if our goal is to get better for this year, prospects, unless they are out of this world, simply will not do. The other main rumors seem to involve Derek Lowe, and I suppose tonight’s scheduled starter is still on the block, but I am not certain what sort of matchup there is that is still possible and that makes sense. I might be a blind optimist, but if we don’t find a fit with which we are comfortable, I see no need to trade him just to make a trade. I think he will continue to show improvement, and can be a suitable #4/5 for the playoffs, or a swing man, wo can start or relieve, much as we envisioned that Arroyo or Kim would do earlier, before Kim crapped out and Arroyo became one of our top 3 pitchers.

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Hirsh Article

Alan Hirsch writes in “Off the Court”
about a new bill that “would block federal judges from hearing key gay-marriage cases.” Hirsh is described as a “visiting professor of constitutional law at Williams College and senior consultant to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Project on Sexual Orientation Law,” but he is barely mentioned on the Williams web. Perhaps he starts this fall.

Where have you gone, Gary Jacobsohn?


Foster ’05 Acquitted of Rape

From the Eagle:

Following 3 1/2 days of testimony, a Berkshire Superior Court judge yesterday acquitted a former Williams College student of raping a fellow student last year.

Superior Court Judge Margot Botsford said the differences in testimony from the defendant, 20-year-old Mark H. Foster Jr., and his accuser made it impossible for her to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt whether Foster was guilty. The trial was held before Botsford without a jury.

See here and here for previous EphBlog commentary on the case.

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McNally ’05 Article

There is a nice local paper article on Geoff McNally ’05, incoming captain of the mens lacrosse team. The article describes McNally’s struggles with injuries over the last two years. He also has comments on the coaching changes that the team has gone through. See here for an overview of the team’s history. I especially liked this quote from Iam Smith ’91

The success of the program is found in its timeless nature. Tales pass from one generation of Williams players to the next, and each player is well aware of the heritage. When a player joins the Williams lacrosse team, he enters a continuum which has modeled itself on strong athletic and personal achievement. Four years of lacrosse on a tight-knit Williams team are great, but greater still is the lasting influence of the lacrosse experience, which extends beyond the all-too-finite undergraduate years.

The new head coach, George McCormack, has a difficult job in succeeding EphBlog favorite Renzie Lamb. McCormack’s resume makes me a bit nervous in that he has worked at several other schools, including two prior-gigs as a head coach. What is to say that he won’t leave Williams after a few years? Then again, it seems obvious that the College has planned this transition for awhile. I also suspect that anyone with 3 young sons is ready to settle down. So, I hope that McCormack stays as long as, for example, mens soccer coach Mike Russo.

The timeless nature of mens lacrosse that Smith describes was no doubt nurtured by Lamb’s long tenure as head coach. Williams would be better off with more of the same.


Tolerance for Intolerance

In an excellent WSO thread, Tamanna Rahman ’07 writes

i have been thinking about tolerance, for intolerance.

. . .

ever since i have been at williams, i’ve gotten the impression that i’m supposed to exist in some sort of moral vacuum. i’m allowed to have my opinion, which everyone around me will duly respect and, yes, tolerate, and meanwhile, i am expected to keep that opinion safely locked up somewhere where it won’t interfere with my bland, monotonous, “respectful” interactions with other students, lest i should upset someone. well, that’s not how i work, and i don’t really think it’s how anybody who really cares about anything CAN work. engaging in discussions with people over the course of the last year, i was often met with intense resistance or criticism for expressing myself with unwavering conviction, or daring to say that someone might be just plain WRONG. in fact, pressing the issue on one particularly heated occasion, one individual informed me that it wasn’t fair for any of us to say what might be right or wrong, and that he was offended by my implying there was. everyone in the room seemed to agree. even trying to attain a basic level of moral agreement made everyone uncomfortable and “offended.”

And there is the rub. Read the whole thread. The writing is well done and the ending is happy.

I would be curious to know what Rahman’s take on the Queer Bash e-mail or Barnard/VISTA controversies last year would be . . .


Questions from Lapon ’05

Gary Lapon ’05 has questions. I can’t post to the WSO site, so I’ll answer here.

i have two questions for those who supported/support the war in iraq, mainly out of curiosity at this point because my mind is boggled: do you really believe that the war was fought primarily to help free the people of iraq from the dictatorship of saddam hussein?

Mostly Yes. Of course, I don’t know what was in George Bush’s mind and heart when he ordered the attack, so there is a problem of intentionality. Note also that the Great Plan of the Neoncons is not to free the people of Iraq simply because that would be a good thing in and of itself, although it would be that. The Grand Vision of the Neocons to to free the people of Iraq as a means to demonstrating the possibility of freedom and the rule of law as governing mechanisms in the Middle East, thereby attacking the root causes of Islamofacism.

Now, the NEOCONS and their puppet Bush may be wrong in this vision. They may have been stupid in their tactics — not enough troops, too little sucking up to the French, and so on. But they do have a comprehensible worldview.

Why does Lapon think the war was “primarily” fought? To gain control of Iraq’s oil? To improve Bush’s re-election chances?

and if so, are you aware that u.s. foreign policy, particularly during the 20th century, has consisted of supporting numerous regimes that time and again have violated human rights?

Certainly the US has supported its fair share of unsavory regimes, but is this all that US foreign policy has “consisted of”? I don’t think so. WW I and II come to mind. Even in those cases where the US did support such regimes — South Korea from the 50’s through the 80’s is an example — it is not clear to me that this support, in the context of those times, was a mistake. I would certainly rather have had a child in South Korea than in North Korea throughout this period.


Questions for the Candidates

Jeff Dougherty ’05 has some questions for the presidential candidates. Best one is “Where do we go from here?”


Putting Math to Work

Charles Soha ’05 shows that math is money. He also notes that:

At the casinos in Sydney and Melbourne at least, I couldn’t find any tables that had low minimum bet and high max bet. They cap it off such that the player can’t reap the benefits of the law of large numbers so that the casino is ultimately at a long-run advantage. If someone who has travelled extensively knows where theres a 5 or 10 min bet with a 10,000 or higher max bet, let me know, I want to go there soon, I could use a new car.

I am no math major, but I can’t see how the law of large numbers applies here. Almost all casino games are, obviously, tilted to favor the house. The more that you play, the more likely you are to end up a loser. Bet size, or range of bet sizes, has nothing to do with it.

The only possible exception would be blackjack where minimal card counting skills will give you an edge that can be exploited by varying your bet size. But 1) Casinos know this and look out for customers who vary their bet sizes in this way and 2) You don’t need an excessively wide range of bet sizes for this to work.

But perhaps I am missing the point here . . .


Sox Diary: 7-28-04

Wednesday, July 28, 2004: I think one key to this year’s red Sox from here on out is simply not to get days off, or at least not to get days off if we have started hitting. We piled up runs throughout that Yankees series, and then on Monday night we pounded the Orioles in a rainy night at soaked Camden Yards. We won that one 12-5, and those last couple of Orioles runs came only because Pedro got a little tired after sitting for twenty minutes while we scored runs and the rain intensified. At one point he slipped and tweaked his hip – he never should have been out there, so if he had gotten seriously hurt, we’d probably have a new manager – Francona is just terrible at handling pitchers. He is maybe as bad as Grady, possibly worse.

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We’re #1 #1

It’s old news by now, but The Transcript notes that:

Williams College has earned the distinction of being the only National Collegiate Athletic Association member institution that has ever been ranked first nationally both in academics and athletics in the same academic year.

Last fall, the college was U.S. News & World Report’s top pick for liberal arts colleges from across the nation, beating out Amherst College (#2) and Swarthmore College (#3). Then, earlier this month, Williams won the Director’s Cup for the eighth time in nine years.

This year, Williams beat out 1,006 other NCAA member institutions for the honors, including all the Ivy Leagues and other major schools located across the country, said Richard “Dick” Quinn, Williams’ assistant director of public affairs.

“It’s never been done before,” said Quinn.

This may be true, but it isn’t that clear. Williams doesn’t directly compete against Ivy League schools for the Director’s Cup since they aren’t in Division III. There are also a myriad of problems with the ranking systems used by both U.S. News and by the NACDA. Still, both accomplishments make for good press.


Defrib an Eph

Exciting story with a happy ending.

Patricia Groves, 49, the fleet coordinator at Williams College’s department of buildings and grounds, was revived through the efforts of her co-workers and with the help of an automated external defibrillator put on board a Williamstown police cruiser just six months before her June 18 heart attack.

The external defibrillators are used on sudden heart attack victims to restore normal heart rhythm.

Groves said were if not for the external defibrillator, she would have died. Prior to her heart attack, Groves had known she had a heart problem, as she was born with a heart defect.

She now has a pacemaker, as well as a defibrillator of her own.

“But hopefully, we won’t have to do that again,” said Groves.

“I hope not,” said Briggs, laughing. “That was a tough day at work.”

The use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) is an interesting public health question. There is no doubt that they can (cheaply) save lives, but they aren’t nearly as “sexy” as some other public policy issues. See here for a good introduction to the debate.


Kolodny ’96 at Inc

Lora Kolodny ’96 is a writer at Inc. You can see a listing of her recent articles here. Lora has advice on “How to Start a Business And Keep Your Day Job“. I liked her brief review of the film “The Corporation”.

If corporations were people they would be psychopaths. Or so concludes an award-winning documentary coming out this month called The Corporation. . . . If you don’t see your business reflected in the film, carry on. If you do, a deeper examination may be in order. As the Greek saying goes, the fish stinks from the head down.

Lora might be related to Johanna Kolodny ’01 and/or Nicholas Kolodny ’94, but that is nothing but a guess on my part.


Eating Well

A book by Alexandra Nimetz ’99, Jason Stanley ’00, Emeline Starr ’98 gets a brief mention here.

For students with kitchen access but limited culinary prowess, several cookbooks are available, containing easy, quick, cheap recipes.

“The Healthy College Cookbook,” written by three students in a publishing class at Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass, is designed to “take the intimidation out of cooking,” said Emeline Starr, one of the authors.

Each recipe includes nutrition information, and quick-prep and vegetarian dishes are marked.

Starr recommends starting with the simpler pasta and chicken recipes and moving up as cooking becomes more comfortable.

“Once they do it they think it’s pretty easy,” she said.

The Amazon reviews are pretty good.


Clapp Family

David Clapp ’77 sent in a note about a recent posting.

I was just browsing through the Ephblog and saw your note on the passing of my father, Charles ’45. I’ll confirm that I am indeed class of ’77 and my sister Nancy was ’87. Dad’s father, John B. Clapp was class of 1918 and my son, Sam, is class of 2006; my wife, Susan was also ’77 so you could consider us somewhat of a Williams family.

Williams was very special to Dad. He served as a class agent and organized his 25th reunion. He traveled back to Williamstown innumerable times; the last was the fall of ’02 when Sue and I took him up to celebrate Sam’s 18th birthday. His classmate, Art Nims, with whom he served on the US Tax Court, spoke at his memorial service where we also sang “The Mountains”. In the reception line afterwards, a Wesleyan alum pointed out his purple and gold tie worn in Dad’s honor; I think that says a lot.

He was a remarkable guy and we miss him a lot.

Again, condolences to all. All of us should be spending more time with our fathers.


Sox Diary: 7-26-04

Monday, July 26, 2004: And the world is suddenly a good and virtuous place again, where children laugh and women smile at me and beer flows like water and pork products are in abundance. For all of the sturm and drang, the Sox wrapped up the series against the Empire last night with a satisfying 9-6 win that nonetheless still had its moments of exasperation – most notably in the 1st inning, when we fell behind 2-0 because of our horrid defense, the 7th, when Lowe came out of the game after 6 and 2/3 innings and Timlin gave up a grand slam to Matsui to make it uncomfortably close, and the 8th, when for a while it looked as if we might piss away the lead. Fortunately we held on. The offense was prolific, especially in the first couple of innings, when they broke it open after back-to-back home runs by Johnny Damon (Kevin Youkilis predicted that one with almost eerie precision, as he was mic’ed up on ESPN and he could be heard calling for a three-run yakker off the Pesky Pole, which is precisely where Damon knocked it) and Mark Bellhorn. Kevin Millar continued his Lazarus act by hitting another home run. He went 10 for 13 in this series and he has hit six home runs in the last five games.

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Sox Diary: 7-24-04 (Redux)

Saturday, July 24, 2004 (Redux): YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!! Billy Mueller hits a bottom of the ninth walk off home run after easily the most contentious regular season game between teams that matter in years. Tek smacks ARod then lifts his whiny ass off the ground. Tanyon Sturtz (Oh, sorry, “Worcester’s Own Tanyon Sturtz [or WOTS]) makes the colossal mistake of grabbing Gabe Kaplar (no doubt about it, the baddest, best built mofo in all of mlb) and he leaves the game with a “bruised pinky” even though in reality he had blood running from his face. (And somehow, some way, Kaplar gets ejected but Sturtze does not.) It went back and forth – at one point the Sox were down 9-4, and with Rivera coming in it was 10-8. This was a visceral game. As one SoSHer wrote; “This whole season feels like the playoffs last year.”

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Ephs and Indians

AB ’07 has some questions:

Does affirmative action include Native Americans too?

Yes. Like affirmative action for African-Americans, there are generally two motivations. First (and illegal, at least in the context of Williams admissions) is to make up for past discrimination, both by society at large and by Williams in particular. (Note that Ephraim Williams probably killed his fair share of Native Americans, and Frenchmen too.) Second (and legal) is to improve the diversity of the student body at Williams and, thereby, the education provided to all students.

Of course, just because affirmative action, in general, does include Native Americans does not mean that the Williams admissions office shows favoritism. I would wager that it does.

If it does — why does it look like next year Williams will have only its first Native American student in 4 years? (please correct me if I am wrong) and if it doesn’t include Native Americans, why not?

I think that AB is wrong. The Provost office reports that there were 4 students on campus during 2003-2004 that were “American Indian or Alaskan Native”. This compares to 6 the prior year and 8 in 1998-1999.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind here. First, this does not prove that there were 4 Native Americans on campus. All we know is that there were 4 students that checked this box. Depending on one’s point of view, these Ephs might not be “real” Native Americans — or there might be many more who would qualify. The precise definition of “Native American” is, as one might expect, a matter of some dispute.

The trickiest issue concerns cultural, generally tribal, influences. There are millions of Americans (including my niece and nephew) with Native American “blood” — meaning the presence of Native Americans in their family tree. Most definitions of Native American require more than this. That is, you must be able to specify a specific tribe if you want any of the associated benefits, like an improvement in your chances at admission to Williams.

Note that this is related to the issue of who counts as black at places like Williams and Harvard.

The rapid progress of bioinformatics means that this whole topic will become much more interesting, and controversial, in the next few years. Although I am no expert, it seems clear that we will soon be able to determine the exact family tree for any individual. That is, the Williams Admissions Office won’t have to rely on someone truthfully checking boxes. Instead, a simple blood test will determine if an applicant has, say, at least 16 of 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents with the desired genetic characteristics.

Whether or not this will count as progress will depend on your point of view.

Over to you, Oren Cass!


Detmer ’75 on CRM

Tom Detmer ’75, CEO of CenterStone, has an article on the web and CRM. If you don’t know what CRM is, then there is no way that you want to read this piece.

The advent of sophisticated sales automation tools is one of the fastest-growing and most interesting technology trends of the last decade. As sales order management (SOM) technology becomes more important for customer satisfaction, retailer accuracy, and profitability, many retailers and wholesalers are investing in these systems, and wisely so.

Besides Tom, there are 3 other Detmer’s (Howard ’41, Eugene ’45, Martin ’50) listed in the alumni directory. Given that all four are listed as football players, I have to think that there is some sort of family relationship.


Richards ’70 Passes Away

Victor Richards ’70 died last Monday.

Vic Richards, the Atkinson town administrator since 2002, died Monday evening after spending the last three weeks in a coma. Richards suffered a heart attack last month after an evening jog, then lapsed into a coma. He was 55.
Richards leaves his wife Janet, and his two daughters Emily, 16, and Molly, 12, who reside in Stratham.

Life is too short. The whole article is worth a read. Most heart-rending bit:

Vic scheduled special time every week for his daughter Molly, who has Smith-Magenis syndrome. The disease, which affects about 1 in 25,000 births, poses behavioral problems for her and prevents her from doing many typical activities of a 12 year old. Vic and Molly often went for a drive on the weekends to get a sandwich at Moe’s sub shop and have some time together.

Condolences to all.


Morgan ’07 Summer Baseball

Via Noah Susskind’s ’07 blog, we find this article by Ben Fleming ’04 on Paul Morgan’s ’07 summer baseball exploits. (The College also has posted a copy of the article.)

It’s an adequate read, but I’ll leave it to our baseball bloggers to comment on
whether someone with 21 strikeouts in 66 at-bats can be fairly described as a “disciplined hitter.”


Hungry at Admissions

Perhaps it is time for the admissions office to serve milk and (purple?) cookies.

Jacqueline Guidry and her husband, Michael Duffy, became experts at this process a few years ago when it was time to look for colleges for their daughters, Alison and Anne, both graduates of the Pembroke Hill School and both excellent students.

Guidry’s top rule for college visits?

“Never visit a school when you’re hungry.”

She and her family learned this by packing three college visits into one day. They arrived last at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and even though they had heard wonderful things about the school, they couldn’t get past their experience there.

“When we got there we were starving, we were late for the session, and we were grouchy from the minute we walked into the room,” Guidry said.

The Duffy girls ended up at Carleton and Yale. If only they had tasted some of the desserts from the mid-80’s . . .


Sox Diary: 7-24-04

Saturday, July 24, 2004: So I guess the A.L. East race is effectively over. Curt comes in, gives up seven runs including five in one inning, and that makes it nearly impossible for us to come back. The nattering nabobs on SoSH cast a lot of blame on Millar’s defense, but from what I can tell, some of that blame is misplaced inasmuch as at least twice he may not have had any play at all to make. Plus, he hit three home runs on a night when the offense otherwise was leaving loads on base and in scoring position. Manny has looked execrable of late. We did tie it up in the 7th, only to have Foulke blow yet another game.

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Sox Diary: 7-23-04

Friday, July 23, 3004: The Red Sox are not getting any less frustrating. They managed to salvage the second game of the doubleheader yesterday on a masterful and gutsy performance by Waker, who went seven and pitched shutout ball, as they won 4-0. Nonetheless, losing a series to the Orioles, and especially with a horrid loss Wednesday night and an equally bad one in the afternoon game yesterday, is not good. The following is what I wrote my friend Rob last night. It sums up a lot of what Sox fans are feeling right now:

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Hot on David Wright’s Trail

Former Eph firstbaseman Jabe Bergeron ’04 has been tearing up rookie ball with the New York Mets’ Kingsport affiliate lately. After getting off to a slow start, Bergeron is hitting .288 with 3 homers (all of which have come in the last week). Clearly the Eph network paid off both for Bergeron and Mets GM Jim Duquette.


Walsh ’83 for DA

John Walsh ’83 is running for district attorney in Colorado.

He even has a campaign blog. Alas, it is pretty lame. [Stones. Glass houses. — ed. Hey! At least we add new material most days.]

Since there are no Republicans in the race, the winner of the August 10 Democratic primary will get the job. Walsh’s chances don’t look good (at least according to the news articles I read), but I have to pull for a guy who is a Bruce Springsteen fan — although maybe that is an 80’s thing.


Muzyka ’75 Reappointed

Daniel Muzyka ’75 has been reappointed as Dean of the Sauder School of Business at the University of Britsh Colulmbia. Here is a presentation by Muzyka on business conditions in Britsh Columbia. I, however, am more impressed that he gets to go to Davos.


I’d Like to Buy the World a . . .

Perhaps we should try to sell some ads on EphBlog to Chuck Fruit ’69, newly promoted to senior vice president at Coca-Cola.

Mr. Fruit was named chief marketing officer of the Company in June. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Company’s worldwide marketing and brand building, as well as providing leadership and guidance to a diverse network of Coca-Cola marketing professionals responsible for communicating with consumers in local markets all over the world.

You can read more about Fruit here and here.

Who is Chuck Fruit?

During the early 1980’s, the cable industry was struggling to survive much in the way the Internet is struggling today. Marketers favored better known and more expensive media, like network television. And no one was willing to commit large sums of money to “risky” cable ventures like ESPN, MTV and TBS. No one, except, Chuck Fruit.

Fruit, while buying media for Budweiser in the early 80’s, saw that cable TV buys were priced well below market. Recognizing an opportunity, he negotiated a long-term ad buy with an obscure Connecticut based sports channel. That channel was the Entertainment Sports Network, which was doing little more than broadcasting college football games.

The rest, as they say, is history. In time, ESPN started charging premium rates and raking in millions in advertising revenue. Thanks to Chuck Fruit, Budweiser got in early, controlling a highly efficient relationship for several years to come.

Fruit would surely have made a better Commencement speaker than David Halberstam and, even better, the College would not have had to shell out thousands of dollars for the privledge.


Quay Obituaries

See here for the obituary for Bob Quay ’04 in the Transcript. The one in the Eagle is not nearly as complete.

Reading through these, it is hard not to see Quay as the very embodiment of everything an Eph should be — from his high school athleticism to his love of the outdoors, from his time as a JA to his well-done thesis.

Life is too short.


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