Currently browsing the archives for December 2004

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The Ghost of EphBlog Past

An anonymous comment in the thread of presidential searches provides occasion for me to give my view on EphBlog’s past, present and future. Come join me in navel study . . . Dickensesque it will not be.

Here are portions of the comment, with my thoughts interspersed.

Alright, permit me to offer another perspective that may clarify Todd’s frustration.

Essentially, DK has admitted that he’s interested in a particular market anomaly — the relative overcompensation of a specialized type of employee in an extremely complex market. That’s fine, and if this were PresidentialCompensationblog.com, or HigherEducationFinanceblog.com, his perseveration might be suitable or even admirable. But that’s not the case — this is supposed to be a blog about all things Williams, and currently there seems to be a bit of digression.

I have heard this same complaint many times before. Some didn’t like it when EphBlog was too much NigaleianBlog.com or BarnardVistaBlog.com
or MGRHSFunding.Blog or EphBlogBlog.com or DavesRandomThoughtsBlog.com or whatever. Soon I will be getting complaints about EphBlog being too much CGCLBlog.com.

Now, like any writer, I appreciate feedback. I am curious to know what other people think. I hope that people enjoy EphBlog, both all the postings/comments taken together and my own contributions. But, it should be clear by now that I often become very interested in a small aspect of “all things Eph” and pursue that aspect in mind-numbing detail. Few can compete with me in the category of dead-horse-beating. When I tilt at these windmills, and I plan on tilting for years to come, I try to segregate my posts, clearly stating the topic and leaving much of the commentary below the jump so that only readers truly interested need be bothered. If you don’t want to read any more of my posts about presidential compensation, well, I have a solution: Don’t read them.

Yet the commentator misses the point when she opines about what EphBlog is “supposed to be”. It is not for her alone to define what EphBlog is “supposed to be” — nor is it for me or Eric or any other author/commentator/reader. EphBlog is a collective effort. It is “supposed to be” whatever we make of it.

Now, of course, we do have an official EphBlog motto — “all things Eph” — which provides a three word summary about how many of us think about EphBlog. The motto should be interpreted as broadly as possible. We are interested in anything and everything related to any Eph. Of course, there is a sense in which this is impossibly broad. Since Ephs are everywhere and involved in everything, it would be hard to come up with a topic that was not Eph-related somehow. But we do try to always have a “hook” — some connection, however tenuous, to something that another Eph has written or done.

The best way to understand what “all things Eph” means in the context of EphBlog is to look at the body of posts over the last year or so. The range of topics that we have covered is representative, I think, of what “all things Eph” means to us as a collective. I predict that 2005 will see a similar collection of posts and comments. Adjust your bookmarks and blogfeeds accordingly.

What is EphBlog “supposed to be”? As the founder of EphBlog, allow me to state authoritatively the answer: EphBlog is supposed to be whatever the community of Eph authors, commentators and readers wants it to be. If you want it to be something else, then join us and contribute. To the extent that you’d like to remain anonymous, we would be happy to have an anonymous author. EphBlog is supposed to be whatever you make of it.

Granted, I’m not being completely fair, because DK has located his interest in the more general question of ‘What were the qualities of the presidential search a few years back, and what can we learn from it?’ Honestly, I don’t find this question especially compelling, and my guess is that many ephblog readers wouldn’t either.

I don’t care. Really.

Now that may seem harsh, and I do value people’s comments and we all have something to add to the conversation and I am a sensitive guy and blah, blah, blah. But . . .

I am not writing for you. I am writing for me. Even more, I am writing for my father, David H.T. Kane ’58. Now the topic of Ephs and their fathers is not one that I want to dwell on today, but I spent about as much time on EphBlog in the summer of 2003 as I do now, even though we had very few readers then. Yet I knew that my dad was one. As long as he reads, I will write. Feel free to join us on the trip.

I would argue that the real problem is that more germaine issues are being ignored. I can name a couple really quickly — the issue of race relations on campus and the paucity of minority faculty; the degree of involvement of Williams students in activist causes and the local community; and, as one studly dude recently posted on the WSO forums, the federal cuts to Pell grants and what Williams’ reaction might be.

As a good economist, DK might say, if you don’t like what I’m doing, go found EphraimBlog.com and do it your way.

Calling me an economist is like asking me if I was in the Navy: they are fighting words. ;-)

More importantly, this is not what I say. I agree with you that all those topics are interesting. I think that someone should write about them, either at EphBlog or elsewhere. If anyone did write about them, I would be eager to read what she has to say and to comment on it.

But if you think that “more germaine issues are being ignored,” I am afraid that you are missing the point. EphBlog, as a collective effort, doesn’t ignore anything. We don’t have a morning editorial meeting at which agendas are discussed, assignments given and plans made. If you think that that Eph student activism is interesting, then write about it. Whatever you write, I will post. Just don’t tell me what to write about.

That’s fine — but I would argue that as someone who has founded ephblog as a specifically *public* forum, you have a bit of a responsibility to at least attempt to reflect the interests of the larger Eph community, and not pursue your own vanity projects. This isn’t Kaneblog, it’s Ephblog. Kaneblog would be fine, but don’t use Ephblog as a facade for it.

I have zero, zip, zilch “responsibility to at least attempt to reflect the interests of the larger Eph community.” Even thinking about the issue in this way is mostly unhelpful.

  1. Does the “larger Eph community” include the thousands and thousands of Ephs who do not read EphBlog and have no interest in doing so? Morty Schapiro, to cite just one example, does not read blogs (and more power to him). Why should EphBlog attempt to reflect Morty’s interests?
  2. To the extent that the “larger Eph community” means the current (and potential future) readers of EphBlog, I would argue that we are doing a pretty good job of interest-representation. How else would you explain our increased readership? Someone’s “interests” are being represented quite well, thank you very much.
  3. Perhaps you really mean to claim that I should “attempt to reflect” your interests. I am afraid that we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

I don’t mean to be too hard on this anonymous commentator. She (or someone at her IP address) has said many interesting and sensible things in the past. We probably agree about much more than the tenor of my rant might suggest.

But New Year’s Eve is a time for summing up and looking forward. The above is my view on what EphBlog has been. Everyone else can decide for themselves what EphBlog will be in 2005. My own hope is that it will be less blog and more discussion, less of my writing and more of everyone else’s. Time will tell all.

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Alumni Gifts

Stewart Menking ’79, who will be making his inaugural post to EphBlog any day now, writes in to note that:

This year, I am making my gift to the Alumni Fund in Honor of Katherine Sharpe Jones ’79. When you give a gift in honor of someone,
the College sends that person a notice letting them know that a gift
was given in their honor. While it is a small gesture, I will be proud
to have my name on the list of those who will be honoring Kathy this
year.

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Coming Soon to the Alumni Review?

Todd Gamblin ’02 has a Williams picture that will probably not be showing up in the Alumni Review. But that’s one of the reasons for EphBlog! This comes to us via Gamblin’s blog Waruiyatsu, easily the best looking of the Eph blogs in our blogroll. Alas, Waruiyatsu does not seem to be a part of EphPlanet, which seems a shame for all concerned.

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Presidential Search Documents

Many thanks to Chemistry Professor (and secretary of the presidential search committee 5 years ago) Hodge Markgraf ’52 for taking the time to answer some of my questions about the search process. Hodge pointed out that the search was thorough and professional. It involved a serious examiniation of 150 candidates, many telephone and in-person interviews, and meetings with the finalists by the full board of trustees.

Hodge was also kind enough to supply copies of many of the updates that Ray Henze ’74 (chair of the board of trustees at the time) sent to the entire community. (The College, or even WSO, really ought to archive documents like this in some public space. Future historians will thank you!)

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Otis ’77 new CEO of Darden

Great article about former Williams trustee (and CEO of Darden Restaurants) Clarence Otis ’77.

Otis was an unlikely choice in the eyes of some Wall Street observers to replace the retiring patriarch, considering his financial, rather than operational, background.

But Darden’s former chief financial officer did serve a two-year stint starting in 2002 at the helm of the company’s Smokey Bones barbecue unit, which doubled in size under his direction.

He is a decided change of pace for the company and its 141,000 employees. During a recent interview, Otis balked at discussing himself or his past, saying he didn’t want the spotlight during this important time of change at Darden.

I can’t think of an Eph who has more people working for him than Otis does. He is one of only three Ephs in charge of a S&P 500 company. The other two are Mayo Shattuck ’76 of Constellation Energy and Henry Silverman ’61 of Cendant.

Fans of the web of Eph influence will note that Otis serves on the board of St. Paul Travelers, along with trustee Robert Lipp ’60 and Dean Nancy Roseman. Lipp, chair of the executive committe of the board of trustees (i.e., lead trustee in charge) is almost certainly the person who recruited Otis (and Roseman) to the board.

There is nothing wrong with that, of course. Indeed, part of Lipp’s job as chairman of Travelers is to find smart, hard-working folks like Otis and Roseman to recruit to the board of directors. But critics of, say, George W. Bush’s business career should note that personal relationships play a role for everyone.

Indeed, one of the quips back in the day was that the main thing that we learned at Williams was how to make conversation aroun the keg. There was more than a little truth to that, of course. But what I didn’t realize till many years later is that being able to make conversation around the keg is a critically important skill in the business world.

Although I have never met Otis (or Lipp, Silverman, Shattuck, et al), I feel certain that he is a charming, engaging, personable fellow. It is almost impossible to climb to the top of a large company without these sorts of people skills, as well as many other talents.

So, current Ephs should be sure to spend a lot of time standing around the keg and making conversation this Winter Study. Your future success in the business world depends on it!

The whole article is a great read, but, for me, the best part is:

Family and friends describe Otis as intelligent, humble and driven to succeed.

His father, Clarence Otis Sr., 72, remembers the day he picked up the phone to hear the news of his son’s promotion at Darden: “I finally made it to the top, dad,” his son told him.

Otis is not the only Eph who hopes to impress his father some day.

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Petersen ’90 for Lt. Gov of Virginia

Whitney Wilson ’90 writes in with news that

Chap Petersen ’90 (whom you probably remember) has formally declared his candidacy for Lt. Governor of Virginia. Chap is currently a Democratic State Delegate representing Fairfax, and was formerly on the Fairfax City Council. Chap has bucked recent trends in the Virginia Assembly by prospering as a Democratic legislator in a body which has turned overwhelmingly Republican since I’ve lived in Virginia. Chap’s monthly newsletters are very interesting, giving a rare (to those of us not in politics) insight on how the legislative process actually works.

The Democratic primary is expected to be hotly contested. Surprisingly, Democrats have been reasonably competitive in statewide elections in Virginia, despite the horrible beating they have taken in the Assembly. Here are links to a recent Washington Post article about Chap (registration, but not payment, required) and Chap’s website.

As always, EphBlog supports the election of Ephs, regardless of faction or party, across the US and around the world. It is interesting to note that Chap’s biography does not mention that he is a graduate of the Marine Corps OCS program. Perhaps the fact that he choose not to accept a commission after graduation makes this more trouble than it is worth to mention.

Younger Ephs interested in seeking political office should consider this program as an easy way to see if the military might be for them. It is hard to believe that having served in the military won’t be an advantage in political campaigns for years to come.

Alas, the Petersen campaign does not seem to have a blog, although the monthly newsletter comes close. Since Chap is a smart and serious guy, I have no doubt that this will change soon. Chap’s daughters are quite adorable, like all mixed race children.

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MMC Update

The New York Times has an update on the MMC saga that references a recent 8-K filing by the company. (By the way, is there a single class at Williams that assigns even one 10-K, 10-Q or 8-K in its reading list?)

The Marsh & McLennan Companies, the world’s largest insurance broker, said yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun a formal investigation into investments by its executives and directors in partnerships set up by the company.

Marsh, which was accused of bid-rigging and steering of business in a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general in October, said that the commission had requested documents and other information about “related-party transactions” in which directors, executives, or large Marsh shareholders acquired a material interest. The transactions included dealings with the company’s Trident funds, the filing says.

We covered this story back in October. I’ll stick with my prediction from then. Although several then-members of the board of directors of MMC should be very worried about this development, Morty is extremely unlikely to be one of them. He is way too smart to have gotten involved with this.

For those who care, MMC (the stock) has bounced back significantly from its October lows. Once the new management settles with Spitzer, the scandal should fade away.

One of the last remaining questions concerns what the non-executive members of the board, like Morty, will or should do once a settlement is complete. By all accounts, the board, as a group, has done a pathetic job over the last 4 years. Other boards (e.g., Worldcom, NYSE, Enron) involved in similar scandals did the honorable thing by first, saving the organization by bringing on new management and, second, resigning as a group so that an untainted board could then take over.

Whether or not the board of MMC will or should resign is an open question.

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The final (hopefully) word on e-mail notifications

Upgrading to the newest version of MovableType has broken essentially every customized part of the blog that we had outside of the colors.
So it comes to no huge surprise that the notifications were also broken in the upgrade.

The good news?
You can still get notifications and there are even some new features that should let you manage them on a personal level.

The bad news?
If you were previously subscribed, the current system is no longer aware of you (technically you are in the section reserved for MovableType notifications, but the old notification system won’t work and the new one doesn’t use that setup).

So what this means is that if you want to receive e-mail updates, then you need to go to the About Ephblog page, down at the bottom, and fill out that form with the e-mail address that you want to subscribe for EphBlog.
With each e-mail that you get from EphBlog, it will have a link that will allow you to remove yourself (or an admin like myself can do it too if you can’t figure it out).

If you are an author on the site, and you are also subscribed to the notifications, then you get two e-mails (it did this before as well).

Previously we had the option to subscribe to a specific thread, even without commenting on the thread. I wasn’t sure how much this was even used, so I removed it for now.
If there is demand for it back, I can put it back in since the current system will allow for that as well (meaning that if you are subscribed to get all of the new posts for the site or not, you could still subscribe to a single post and get an e-mail for each new comment on that post).

If you saw some other broken behavior today, it was likely due to a problem in enabling dynamic content. The documentation says one thing, but the site behavior decided to do something else – so I am going to put that one off for a bit.

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Still working out the kinks

It appears that notification still isn’t quite working properly, and there is also a problem in the code that was there for the “EphBlinders” pages. I have removed them for now and will eventually have something else once we can get a more dynamic system in place here.

It is possible that for a few days some of the small things won’t look/work quite right – just keep me posted on it and I can keep looking into them.

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Upgrades are in place

EphBlog is now running MovableType 3.14 and I am now trying to iron out the wrinkles in the upgrade. Please post up comments to anything odd that you see.

I notice that there are comments out there that are on the wrong post (my own included), but I am not sure if that is due to people not reading the actual post (myself included) or if it is due to an error in the system here.

Also, if you are subscribed to get updates, it was not working for about a day during the upgrades. But now I have upgraded the notification system as well, so it “should” be working now.

Most of the nice features of the new system are in the background so that the end user doesn’t need to know/care about the difference. So the less you notice the better.

That said, I am hoping to change the look/feel of the site here over time so that it is easier to read. If there are areas that you find particularly confusing/annoying/ugly, please speak up (or if you have an idea for a look for the site).
The most common complaint on this type of layout is that people can’t tell who wrote what comment. This is most prevalent in users that aren’t familiar with discussions on blogs, and unfortunately they are the ones that get most disturbed if you raise the question of how new they are to blogs.
So I am going to try to redesign the post/comments look and feel so that it is hopefully more clear who wrote what.

This post is also testing out the “post in the future” feature. This will allow authors to post things today and they show up at some date in the future. You should see the hundreds I have ready to go for 2029 after the asteroids come.

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Christmas Quandries

Do you have Christmas protocol questions? Emily Thorson ’02 has answers!

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Eph Tail

Stephen O’Grady ’97 has thoughts on the Long Tail — the idea that much of the activity on the internet occurs in very small, niche markets. In the land of blogs, this means that, while there will always be widely read blogs like Instapundit and Daily Kos, more than half of all blog reading will be of small blogs that 98% of all blog-readers have ever heard of. EphBlog will always live in that Long Tail.

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Over Confident

Boxer Day EPh readings should include this interview with Professor Mark Taylor. Taylor claims that

According to market fundamentalist dogma, investors are rational and markets operate efficiently in a world where every risk can be hedged. This is a religious vision — but a misguided one.

Given my own oft-stated suspicion of invocations of “market forces,” I am not sure that I qualify as a “market fundamentalist” in Taylor’s world. But the market fundentalists that I read (e.g., here, here, here, here), are not huge fans of rational expectations or market efficiency. They do believe in the Hayekian argument that freedom and the rule of law leads to wealth, at least faster than any of the other alternatives. I would be more likely to buy Taylor’s book if I thought that he took more seriously the arguments of his opponents.

Any large-scale solutions to the world’s current crises will have to involve recognizing that the simplistic ideologies and instruments we’ve invented to minimize political, cultural, and economic volatility always end up increasing it.

I am not smart enough to know whether Taylor is being extremely subtle or obviously stupid here. I am aware of no measure of “economic volatility” — the variance in, say, stock prices, unemployment, inflation, industrial production, et al — that is higher today than it was 30 years ago, at least in the US. Reasonable people might disagree about the cause of this phenomenon (perhaps financial derivatives haven’t had anything to do with the decline) but no one sensible should deny the facts.

Again, I really ought to read the book, ideally along with some smarter people who could explain the tricky parts to me.

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Jones ’79 Christmas Card

Pride of place in the EphBlog Holiday Card project must go to Kathy Sharpe Jones ’79. Thanks to Stewart Menking ’79, founder of the AdoptAnAlum and a new author at EphBlog, for passing along this picture.

Kathy writes:

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EphBlog Upgrades

At some point over the next 4-5 days, I will be upgrading EphBlog’s blog software, as well as hopefully tweaking a few of the styles to help readability.

I will likely be doing this in the late evenings, so it is entirely feasible that you won’t even notice that anything is changing. But if by any chance you do happen to come here and notice any oddities and/or downtime, that is likely the cause.

I will post an update once the upgrades are completed.

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Letters from Iraq Part XIV

Felipe is safe and sound. He sent a number of pictures, which I believe you can access (if anyone has trouble, let me know in the comments and I’ll post them on Ephblog).

Monday, 20 December 2004
Subject: Still Here

I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet lately, but that’s only because I’ve actually been busy. It’s a relief, actually, making the days fly by much quicker.

One of my long, wandering accounts of my lame life here will surely follow, but for now I just want to share with you all pictures I took while out on a mission last week. The pictures tell the story- I spent an amazing day meeting friendly, hopeful, beautiful Iraqis. I hope you enjoy the glimpse of another side of the story here.

Much Love,

Felipe

PS Here’s the link to the pictures- I’ll add captions soon, but for now just take them at face value.

Lots of cute pictures of kids. Fans who want a face to go with Felipe will be pleased with photo #45.

And today at Ephblog, readers get a two for one special.

Tuesday, 21 December 2004
Subject: The Other Shoe

Dear Friends-

Today’s horrible explosion occured in Mosul, but at a base across town from us here. Please pray for those killed and wounded, and for their devastated families.

Always-
Felipe

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Dunn ’02 Senior Thesis

As always, we here at EphBlog want to bring attention to the excellent work done by Ephs far and wide. Of special concern is work done by current undergraduates. My personal hobby horse is to urge the College to do a better job of putting senior theses on-line. As a small contribution to that effort, I am pleased to have pestered Richard Dunn ’02 into making his thesis available. Excellent holiday reading.

As before, special congratulations to the economics department which, as best I can determine, is the only department at Williams to proudly display the theses completed by members of the class of 2004. I believe that Professor Steve Sheppard was the driving force behind this effort, but David Zimmerman, as chair of department, deserves credit as well. Also praise-worthy are the efforts of Professors Kim Bruce and Joe Cruz to publicize and save the work of their theses students.

It is a shame that other departments at Williams are not, seemingly, that proud of the work that their students do.

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Random Williams Sighting

I may be mistaken, but just came from seeing “Meet the Fockers.” On the “Wall of Gaylord” a young Gaylord Focker appeared to be wearing a Williams College t-shirt. Did anyone else spot this, or am I just nuts? I am not sure if it is such an honor, because the rest of the wall of gaylord celebrated mediocrity — such as a tenth place horseshoe toss ribbon. If it was indeed Williams, the shirt would be, most definitely, misplaced.

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Asians Walking

Luis Taboada ’02, EphBlog’s favorite amatuer anthropologists, notes that:

No one walks anywhere on Long Island. Instead, everyone drives anywhere. I’ve even seen people drive from one part of a parking lot to another when they’re going to different stores found in the same strip mall. I swear I’m not making this stuff up! So the only people I ever see walking are this crazy homeless looking guy and random Asian people. I always wonder why I never see anyone else walking along the streets/roads of Stony Brook. Or why these random Asian people are walking, instead of driving like everyone else. As Cory puts it, it’s like we live in a “only-Asians-walk” zone. Everyone else gets to drive except for the random Asian people who have been destined to walk. This all seems quite unjust to me. I’m going to go ahead and blame white people for it since they already get blamed for everything else. Damn white people…

I blame Amherst for this injustice.

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WMS 58

Emily Thorson ’02 is no fan of vanity plates.

Who are these people, and are they really that hard up for somewhere to spend their money? Note to crazy people: check the internet, there’s some stuff for sale there.

I wonder if she would object to the “WMS 58″ plate that my father has had for more than 40 years or the “WMS 88″ and “WMS 90″ plates that my brother and I had several years ago . . .

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Efficient Superstar Signalling

Richard Dunn ’02 was kind enough to provide extensive comments on our discussion on the salaries of college presidents.

A few weeks ago, you posted an email from Prof. Zimmerman and your response to his economic arguments. In general, I agree with you that his argument about competition from the private sector does not adequately explain the high wages that college presidents receive. Nonetheless, I do believe there are reasonable economic models that address the issue:

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Ayer ’09

In our continuing series on the the class of 2009, here is an article about Massachusetts state wrestling champ Kyle Ayer.

In the process, he became a well-recruited wrestling prospect. Some of the Ivies (notably Princeton) and the NESCAC schools were all over him.

“St. John’s Prep made me a realist about my education and looking ahead to the future. They put me on the right road,” Ayer said.

That road will take him to Williamstown next fall. Ayer has just been granted early admission to Williams College, where’s he not only projected to fill the 197-pound varsity slot as a freshman, but also recruited to play football.

An all around nice story, but with no information about whether or not Ayer was an official “tip.” He certainly seems like a true wrestling prospect, but “recruited to play football” covers a lot of ground.

Those made nervous about the entire tips program at Williams, as I used to be, will be pleased to note that Ayer scored 1,390 on his SATs, putting him in the middle of the Eph distribution. If he doesn’t end up fully engaged in the intellectual opportunities available at Williams, the fault does not lie with Admissions.

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Northern ’89 Holiday Card

Happy Holidays from Sue (Northern) Lacy’s family.

Definition of “busy mom”: 4 sons — and a medical practice.

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Candy Cane Forest

Jacob Eisler ’04 quotes President Bush telling an off-the-cuff Christmas story to first graders:

Listen, I know how — I know Scruffy McMuffles’ heart. I know how much he cares for the Candy Cane Elves. He and his wife go out to the Candy Cane Forest all the time to provide comfort and solace. I have seen the anguish in his — or heard the anguish in his voice and seen his eyes when we talk about the danger in The Marshmallow Valley, and the fact that youngsters are over there in harm’s way. And he is — he’s a good, decent man. He’s a caring fellow. Sometimes perhaps [h]is demeanor is rough and gruff, but beneath that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the Candy Cane Elves . . .

Go to WSO for the punchline.

Eisler may be interested to know that McMuffles is quite popular among the Candy Cane Elves. Make of that what you will.

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Gripping

The Economist‘s year-end review of business books notes ($) that:

An imbalance always exists between the few good books and the piles of unreadable ones, made worse this year by an exceptionally poor crop of corporate histories and “inside stories”. Nothing compared with last year’s “The Smartest Guys in the Room” (Portfolio and Viking), a gripping account of the Enron story by two journalists from Fortune that should be a sort of “Barbarians at the Gate” for the early years of the 21st century.

As EphBlog readers know, one of those journalists is Bethany McLean ’92. It is nice to see her book receiving more of the sort of praise that it so richly deserves. To be compared to Barbarians at the Gate, easily one of the best business books of the last 25 years, is high praise indeed.

I am somewhat tempted to use The Smartest Guys as the text for WSP 0: CGCL, but it is longer and less academic than I would like, as well as not-freely available.

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Leung ’89 Holiday Card

Happy Hollidays from Ed Leung ’89 and family.

I hope that Derek Catsam ’93 enjoys at least one of these costumes.

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Shanks on Tourism

Professor Cheryl Shanks, a long-time Ephblog favorite, is quoted in USA Today in an article about Mexico’s efforts to increasing tourism from Mexican-Americans.

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WSP 0: CGCL

If we can all agree that Robert Jackall’s description of Williams as cross-generational community of learning is a pleasing one, whether as fact or aspiration, the question arises as to how readers of EphBlog might better participate in this CGCL.

My proposal: Over Winter Study, Ephs of all types (alums, students, faculty, staff, town residents) would be invited to participate in a virtual seminar about a specific scholarly work.

I believe that other groups on campus have been working on similar ideas, but haven’t been able to find out the details. Certainly, the idea here is nothing new.

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First Class of 2009 Story

Williams has begun selecting its class of 2009, completing the early decision round. Here is one story on the type of scholar-athlete Williams’ dual excellence in both arenas helps to attract:

http://www.pressconnects.com/football/football112704s132952.shtml

Pretty impressive, the state football player of the year and its scholar-athlete of the year as well.

Meanwhile, I’m still recovering from my cousin’s early decision acceptance to Amherst …

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White-Nicholls-White ’04-White ’08 Holiday Greetings

Although these pictures our not exactly a holiday card, they do come along with good holiday wishes from Philiosophy Professor Alan White.

Pictured here are his children Nico ’04 and Charlotte ’08 — also known as the “blond beasts” from the acknowledgement in one of his books (this one, I think) — from about the last time that I saw them.

White and his wife Jane Nicholls, director of the parent’s fund at Williams. Students of history may be interested to know that White often dressed this way for class, at least in the 1980’s. I am not sure if he has continued the practice.

Those who observe that my poor efforts here at EphBlog are sloppy and incoherent should take it up with White. He taught me much of what I know of writing and logic. Remember: Never blame the student, always the teacher.

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