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Steamed Egg Custard (Episode 3)

Can’t bake but want to impress somebody with a dessert? Try steaming! More episodes, blogs, recipes and photos at

Cooking with Steven is a Chinese cooking show created by two Williams students: Steven Cheng ’10 (host) and Danny Y. Huang ’11 (director and producer). The second season is edited by Juan Baena ’06.


Mafia Work: Chicago edition

Even as the dons of the Williams Art Mafia rake in the dough, its rising stars continue to earn accolades as well. Two younger Eph curators on the shores of Lake Michigan have recently seen new exhibits open to acclaim.

A jet engine is lifted into place for the Roger Hiorns installation at the Art Institute of Chicago

Read more


Purple Noise

While you are reading this, I am at Wrigley Field, drinking a beer and eating a Chicago-style dog.  You have my permission to hate me … you also have my permission to be random.


Big $*#()$ deal

Interested in faculty opinion on the early retirement program? Here is one comment (not from the same faculty member who sent me Wagner’s e-mail).

Basically if you say yes,

You work for 3 semesters more and then you get a semester paid to not teach and then 1.25 * your salary to leave.

Big $*#()$ deal….

I think anyone who’s negotiated retirement in the last 20 years has done at least that well.

I know of several people who have negotiated much better deals!

1) I don’t know if the faculty member is referring to several people at Williams or elsewhere.

2) You can see the details of the package here. (Kudos to the Dean of the Faculty for transparency.) Note also the Q&A. As usual, the quality of work produced by the office of the Dean of the Faculty is amazing. All hail John Gerry!

3) See these informed comments from Ephman87, Guy Creese ’75, and Vicarious ’83. As always, much of the most useful information on EphBlog is in the comment threads. Ephman87 and Vicarious ’83 ought to join us as authors. (And Guy should post more in the main page.)

4) My guess: Very few professors will take up this offer because it just isn’t that good. Also, many of those who do would have retired anyway, so the net savings to the college will be minimal.


Forum on Dining Hall Closures

There was a forum tonight on the closure of Dodd and Greylock dining halls. Were you there? Tell us what happened. Background from WSO:

CC was not consulted or informed in any way. This was a decision by the trustees.

Supposedly, we need to reduce our draw on the endowment by $21 million. Greylock costs $600,000 per year and Dodd costs $200,000.

Perhaps this was a necessary financial decision. But notice that it covers less than five percent of the budget gap.

If I had to guess, this might not be the last surprise coming down the pike…

Indeed. I understand the rational for closing Dodd, but I just can’t figure out Greylock. Don’t hundreds of students eat there every day, the vast majority from Greylock and the Row Houses? Aren’t all those students going to head to Paresky? (I can’t imagine any of them walking all the way to Driscol or Mission.) But Paresky is already very crowded during peak times. Does the plan really make any sense, just in terms of the raw number of tables/chairs?

Informed commentary welcome. My advice on how to stop/slow this idea here. If I were President Falk, I would be close Dodd for next year and see how that affects eating patterns. Wait on Greylock for at least a year.


Sociology Seminar Request! Help A Senior Out?

Hello Williams Alums!

I am currently writing a final paper for my Senior Sociology Seminar on the Williams College Hook Up Culture and in order to gain a historical perspective would love to hear alums’ side of the story. I have created an online survey for this purpose and though the content matter is somewhat controversial and sexually explicit, please know that any and all responses are completely confidential and that not even I will know who filled out the survey. I am using an online database, called “Survey Monkey” that ensures all responses are anonymous. In addition, please feel free to skip any questions you do not feel comfortable answering or simply close the survey window at any time. However, this survey is only for women, so I just need female participants please.

Here is the link to the survey:

If any of you are willing to divulge more information on what the Williams dating and/ or hook up culture was like while you were at Williams, please email me at 10jsc at

Thank you so much for any and all help!

Jess Cross ’10


Faculty Compensation 2009-2010

Looking for an update on faculty compensation at Williams? This is the post for you! (Reporting and links to underlying data from Inside Higher Ed.)

                   Number      Salary      Benefits    Total Compensation
Full Professors      145     $130,500      $39,000            $169,500
Associate             46      $88,800      $28,700            $117,500
Assistant             69      $74,700      $24,100             $98,800
All Ranks            260     $108,200      $33,100            $141,300

Last year, we had:

                   Number      Salary      Benefits    Total Compensation
Full Professors      142     $132,700      $38,000            $170,700
Associate             42      $92,100      $28,800            $120,900
Assistant             72      $75,800      $24,200            $100,000
All Ranks            256     $109,800      $32,500            $142,300

Not a lot of changes. See the AAUP webpage for all the messy details. Among all Baccalaureate colleges, Williams is above the 95th percentile in terms of faculty compensation. Last year, Will Slack ’11 was “a bit agog at the size of those numbers.” What do our readers think?

Instead of cutting financial aid and re-instituting discriminatory treatment of international students, I think Williams should have made other cuts, including freezing the salaries of, say, full professors making more than $125,00 per year. But that’s just me: An Obama-voting class warrior!

All the rest of you rich plutocrats probably think it is a great idea to force non-rich students to take on $15,000 in debt so that full professors can get that desperately needed raise. How can they possibly survive on $130,500 a year?


Students face drug charges

Basically two students had several ounces of pot each, and “material consistent with packaging for street-level distribution,” as well as single doses of other drugs like X/LSD/Percocet (painkiller)/Methylin (Ritalin). They were arrested.

What struck me was this part:

Security had discovered the drugs during the annual fire drills. The Security blotter notes that drugs were found in Bair’s room in Carter at 6:55 p.m. and in Morales’ room in Lambert at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, April 19. That same evening, the room checks also revealed bongs in Williams Hall F and Tyler…

… Upon receiving notification from Security, WPD proceeded to investigate the two rooms. The North Adams Transcript reported that WPD obtained a search warrant for Morales’ room, while Bair consented to a search. “It was a smooth process,” Johnson said.

So when exactly is security allowed to search your room?

Links to Record article and North Adams Transcript below.




Save Greylock!

Students seem upset over the proposed closure of Greylock dining hall. What should they do?

1. Form a group. You need an actual organization, with a catchy name, dedicated to preserving Greylock dining or, perhaps, just to ensuring that major changes in College life are only enacted after the appropriate amount of due diligence. It should have officers and a (long) list of members.

2. Create a web page. This does not need to be anything fancy, but it should be a one stop resource for people. It should include an overview of the proposal, links to various source materials, and a summary of the group’s argument. Take the high road and provide links to the best arguments that the Administration has to offer, along with your point-by-point rebuttals.

3. Consider a blog. Actually, EphBlog would be happy to host updates from you about your efforts. At the very least, the webpage should have a “latest news” section with updates, site additions and the like.

4. Start a mailing list. This does not have to be anything fancy, just a simple list-server from WSO would do the trick. You need a way to update people on what is going on.

5. Recruit a vanguard. Who are the 5 to 25 students who are really going to work at this? It should not be trouble to get hundreds of supporters, people willing to sign petitions and the like. But who are the ones that are willing to put in some hours? Identify them and cultivate them. Give them positions and titles. Look for people at the forum on tomorrow.

6. Find some faculty/alumni support. This is not about finding people who are willing to do anything just yet (although that time will come), but you want to have some names on the “advisory board”, or whatever, who are willing to lend their reputations to your cause. Dave Johnson ‘71 and Norma Lopez ‘95 come to mind immediately.

7. Get College Council on your side. CC has its faults but it is rightly jealous of its prerogatives. Recruit CC members to the organization itself. Request time at the next meeting to present your objections. Have your CC members handle that. You want a vast majority of CC to be on your side and to pass a resolution to that effect.

8. Demonstrate student opinion on several levels. First, nothing beats a written petition with a thousand or more signatures. Don’t start this until you have a sense of just the right question to ask. The powers-that-be will be impressed when you hand this pile to them. Second, try to use the JOSE system (Is that what it is still called?0 to hold an actual referendum. (You may need CC permission/support for this.) Even if only 50% of students participate (and you should try to maximize participation), 90% in your favor would still help. Third, try to show support house by house. Try to get House Presidents and/or CC reps to hold straw polls at snacks.

9. Fight the process, not the substance. Your effort to stop the proposal needs to begin, this year, with stopping the immediate implementation. The focus should be on the process being too fast, with not enough student input, adequate study, relevant data, comparisons to other colleges and the like. The Administration makes a lot of empirical claims about what life would be like with no dining in Greylock. These claims are testable, to some extent, because of the natural variation of dining policies at other colleges like Williams. Demand that the data be gathered (which will take time!) and examined.

10. Don’t reach out to President Falk, Deans Merrill/Bolton and the trustees just yet. Get all your ducks in a row first.

Longtime readers will see parallels with my advice on fighting neighborhood housing: Fight the Power I, II, III, IV, and V.

What advice do you have for these students?


Dining Services Changes

Email below on Dining Services reprinted in full from a campus mailing. Thanks to ’10 for providing the email and for Steve Klass for letting us publish it here:

from: Stephen Klass
date: Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:00 PM
subject: Message from Steve Klass and Karen Merrill Regarding Dining Services

To the Williams Community,

As an early step in the College’s reorganization process, some creative thinking about our student dining operations has resulted in a plan that both reflects the way that students use – and would like to use – the system and decreases costs.

Master planners like to say that it’s most effective to lay sidewalks after you’ve seen where the grass gets worn down, and we now have meal-count data and student input on more than three years of Paresky Center and Neighborhood System co-existence.

The new plan involves opening our most popular venue, Whitmans’, seven days (20 meals) per week plus late night. Late-night operations that currently reside in the Lee Snack Bar will move to Whitmans’. Dinner will be offered each evening until 8 p.m. there and at Driscoll and Mission. At the same time we’re working with College Council to make the ’82 Grill more comfortable and visually appealing and to offer an expanded menu and hours of operation. Details of these and additional new arrangements are listed at the end of this message.

The changes will go into effect at the beginning of the fall, when the dining operations in Dodd and Greylock will be taken out of service.

All current Dining staff in Dodd and Greylock will be reassigned based on new operational needs. We recognize that these changes may be disruptive to some of our colleagues in Dining and express our gratitude to everyone involved in making these changes possible.

We’ll host an open forum at which students can ask us questions about these changes this Thursday at the Baxter Great Hall in Paresky at 7 p.m. Read more


Outman ’08 wins heptathlon at Penn Relays

Last week, Maddy Outman ’08 won the heptathlon at the Penn Relays. That’s a really big deal. (The last Eph to win at Penn was Caroline Cretti ’06, who won the 10k there before winning the Div III 10k title at nationals a few weeks later.) The Penn Relays are the biggest track meet in the world outside of the Olympics, and are the major event of spring track besides the national championships. Outman is currently a graduate student at IUP.

Maddy Outman of Indiana (Pa.) won the 2010 Penn Relays heptathlon title with 5,182 points Wednesday afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Franklin Field. In the heptathlon, Outman won all three track events and five of the seven events overall. Millersville’s Michele Frayne was the runner up with 4,764 points and Pascale Delisle of Sherbrooke was third with 4,330 points.

“But how good is that?” you ask. The Williams school record is 4,931 (achieved by Joyia Chadwick ’05, which won her the national title).

On day one, Outman was easily the fastest competitor in the 100-meter hurdles, earning 961 points with her finish of 14.12 and besting the rest of the field by more than a second. In the 200 meters, she outlasted Alexis Easterling of Coppin State to win with a time of 25.48 and gain another 843 points.

The hurdles performance beats Maddy’s Williams school record of 14.20.

On the second day of competition, Outman opened with a win in the long jump with a leap of 5.51 meters (18-01 ft.). Her 703 points in the event gave her full command of the competition. Frayne jumped into second-place as the runner-up with 671 points in the long jump, and as the victor in the javelin. Frayne’s best toss of 41.05 meters (134-08 ft.) garnered her 687 points. However, Outman solidified her win with an impressive 912 points in the 800 meters. Her time of 2:13.65 was more than 10 seconds better than the rest of the competition.

Just how fast is that, really? Well, look at the picture — she is far ahead of everyone else. For those keeping track, 2:13.65 is 13.4 miles per hour. Fast! (results)


Faculty E-mail on Early Retirement Program

An anonymous faculty member provided a copy of then-president Bill Wagner’s March e-mail about the early retirement program. Entire e-mail is below the break. (Where else besides EphBlog can you find these insider documents?) Related Record coverage here and here. Comments:

0) Keep in mind the big picture: Williams wants to save money by either a) getting rid of faculty and not replacing them or b) getting rid of expensive faculty and replacing them with cheaper (read: junior) faculty. Examples:

Jay Pasachoff       $207,000
Jean-Bernard Bucky  $206,000
Charles Dew '58     $179,000

Those total compensation numbers are from the 2005 Form 990. There have been raises since then and several other professors (5? 25?) now make at least this much.

1) I (and many/most other business folks?) are highly skeptical of early retirement programs. We think that, at least as a first pass, you should fire your worst workers and try to keep your best. Call us crazy! That is not really possible with the faculty, but the underlying trade-offs are the same because of adverse selection. Who is most likely to leave? Precisely those who can easily get a similar or better job elsewhere, i.e., the people that you most want to stay. The more generous you make the program, the more that you exacerbate this problem. Who is most likely to stay? Precisely those so lousy, or teaching in fields so unpopular, that no place else would ever hire them.

The key programs to watch are economics, computer science and statistics. The College already pays these professors more (using various subterfuges) and has a great deal of trouble in recruitment and retention. These departments are all understaffed, so any departures would require replacements, new professors who might not be much/any cheaper than the ones they would be replacing. Unfortunately, these are also the professors who have the most options elsewhere.

2) According to the Record, 85 faculty members were eligible — Don’t forget that the average faculty age is 50 — and 18 expressed an interest in the program. How many will sign up once they get the details? I don’t know. It seems like a program that is not nearly generous enough relative to what a faculty member is giving up.

4) Most interesting paragraph from Wagner’s letter:

In a way, the Program involves all of us, not just the 114 staff and 85 faculty who are eligible. They are the ones who have to make a big decision about their futures. It is important that they be able to make those decisions independently, without any influence, conscious or unconscious, from the rest of us. It will be hard not to talk about this with the eligible people we know and care about, but for ethical and legal reasons it is vital that we not say anything that could be taken as a signal that we do or do not want someone to take advantage of the program. This includes saying what we would do if we were eligible or asking whether someone intends to take part. It will be up to those individuals to decide what they ultimately say to colleagues about their decision.

Interesting. What are the legal/ethical aspects? Presumably, the College is not supposed to put undue pressure on anyone to take the package . . .

Entire letter below. I trust that future historians will thank us for preserving these documents. What do current faculty members think about the plan?
Read more


Mid-Spring Athletics Round-up

Been awhile since we’ve had an athletics post, so lots of news to report …

  • Superstar Eph track and cross country alum Jen Campbell ’05 recently won the Boston Athletic Association 5k in record time.
  • The break-out Eph athlete of the Spring has to be super-frosh (and NESCAC ROY lock) Cedar Blazek, who was recently named NESCAC player of the week for the second straight week after batting an incredible .813 in last week’s games.  Blazek has put up other-worldly statistics, and currently leads the Ephs (and in several cases all of NESCAC) in virtually every offensive category, including batting average, on base percentage, slugging, runs, home runs, RBI’s, batting average, doubles, triples and stolen bases (!!!).  Blazek has already broken the Eph single-season home run record after only 2/3 of a season as an Eph.  A very inexperienced women’s softball team has really grown over the course of the season: following an 0-8 start, the team has since posted a 14-10-1 record, including a 7-2 record in NESCAC play.  If the Ephs win this weekend’s three game series with Amherst, they will clinch first place in NESCAC West and top seed in the NESCAC tourney.  Expect Blazek to be walked early and often, ala Barry Bonds in his prime (minus the steroids).
  • Baseball, winner of eleven of its last twelve games, has likewise been on a major roll after a tough start to the season.  The Ephs have already won the Little Three, and locked up the NESCAC West title this weekend as well with two victories over Wesleyan.  Williams is led by perennial all-NESCAC outfielder Al Matthews ’10, who is batting nearly .500 on the year.
  • Check out this great article on future Eph pole vaulter Jenna Adams ’14.
  • Two-time defending national champ women’s tennis has risen to its usual spot atop the national rankings, thanks to an upset of previously top-ranked Amherst and an incredible eleven wins against top 25 teams this Spring, including every team in the top five.  The site features numerous great articles on the Ephs tennis juggernaut.
  • Speaking of juggernauts, the top-ranked women’s crew dynasty keeps on chugging, dominating the competition this year while they aim for a FIFTH straight national championship.
  • Great article by former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, discussing the role creativity in, among other things, his stewardship of MLB, and giving a massive shout-out to math prof Ed Burger.
  • The presentation of the Deford and Pinsky awards, a great  unique-to-Williams tradition, occurred on Monday.
  • Williams has narrowed its football search down to six finalists, and the new head coach will be hired in May.  The pool of candidates sounds impressive.
  • Congrats to the men’s and women’s track teams, each of whom won its tenth straight NESCAC title last weekend … just an incredible decade-long run of sustained excellence for the track program.  Special kudos to Stephen Simalchik ’13 who shattered a 25-year-old conference record in the javelin throw.
  • Although I am in hoops withdrawal, I was happy to see tidbits on two future Ephs, Hayden Rooke-Ley, who turned down scholarhips offers for Williams, and Taylor Epley, who will be playing in the Kentucky-Indiana all-star game in June (last time I checked, hoops was fairly popular in those states …).
  • Fun article on Student Athletic Advisory Committee talent show.

Film Night, Mr. Gaudino?

Mr. Gaudino was the first professor at Williams to incorporate film into academic life. After much Sturm & Drang, how about a quiet voyage? Direct flickr version available here.

Note 1: Best viewed full screen at your own pace. Learn the Flickr Controls (see ‘help.’)
[flickr 49591439@N03 72157623797811039]
2817 frame slideshow film, shot @ .8333fps in 6-frame bursts; unenhanced, unedited

Presented inflickr. Approx. run time: 120 minutes (at default settings).

Further notes: Viewer can adjust playback speed from .10-1 fps, use forward/back keys to skip, use other means to skip or rearrange.
Best viewed on a laptop or other device where the viewer can turn the screen, or learn to turn their head.
This may interest:
Those who have never taken the Williamstown->NYC voyage;
those with a particular interest in space, or the Berkshires;
those who have not seen the area in 20 years or so;
those who have never had the time or opportunity to look hard.

Further further notes: Viewer may need to click on Flickr area to use keyboard controls. Flickr does not seem to allow “full screen” mode from this type of embed; viewer will need to use Flickr site to reach full screen mode.

(With thanks for Peter Pan Bus Lines for their assistance.)


Spoken Up

Archive of comments to Speak Up.


Of Ephs and cartoons

Welcome back, David!

Apropos our discussion of EphBlog and David’s return, I was just noting a parallel instance in the real world that seems, in many ways, to parallel the questions that this community has been discussing, and why these discussions are not a time-wasting diversion that we’d be better off foregoing.

I’m sure many people have been following the latest installment of the Mohammed/South Park controversy, wherein an online Islamic group warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would “probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh,” the Dutch filmmaker murdered in 2004, if they persisted in plans to depict Mohammed in the latest episode. In response, Comedy Central again censored an episode of the show, either to avoid giving offense or to avoid violent retaliation, depending on your interpretation.

Although this is itself an interesting instance of the tension between valuable speech and offensive speech, the controversy has grown with the discussion about Everyone Draw Mohammed Day. The proposal, inspired by a cartoon and first discussed by Dan Savage or one of his commenters — I’m not really clear) to respond by celebrating May 20 as here” is attracting support and opposition both on the left and the right.

The question it frames is what made me think of EphBlog, however: is it worth it, as Ann Althouse puts it:, to “offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats” in order to achieve the substantive result described by Allahpundit: “only by sharing the risk of retaliation for blasphemy,” and ensuring that “each threat produces more blasphemers than it silences,” can we ensure that these threats “become counterproductive.”

I don’t think there’s a clear answer. But I think it illustrates why the discussions about similar questions that we have here on EphBlog are not a waste of time.


Swenson ’89 Testifying Before Congress

Michael Swenson ’89 is testifying before Congress right now.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

See here for why Swenson got this invitation and here for his written testimony. There are a dozen posts to be written about Swenson, Congress and the financial crisis. Shall I write them here?


I Am Back

Thanks for the words of support and encouragement offered by our readers. More to come . . .


Eph Time Capsule

My other alma mater recently unveiled the very  interesting contents from a 1958 time capsule, which got me to thinking … [cue lame insult here] … once Williams finally builds its new library, what would you place in a Williams-themed cornerstone time capsule that might be unsealed 50, 100, or 250 years from now?

Speaking of time capsules, Matt Sly ’99 created a virtual time capsule for our individual thoughts, the website futureme, nearly a decade ago.  It is still going strong.  Sly co-authored a book that evolved out of the project as well.  Somewhat related random, self-indulgent reminiscence below the break …. Read more


Mafia Work Pays Well

Today’s New York Times featured an article describing cuts in compensation to leaders in the non-profit sector.  Two esteemed members of the Williams Art Mafia featured in the article, Glenn Lowry ’76 and Michael Govan ’85, are faring quite well (even after a steep salary cut in Lowry’s case) despite the recession [NB, the following block quote is derived from three different sections of the article, I just edited out the non-Eph materials]:

Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, earned $2.7 million in the year that ended in June 2008, including several one-time bonuses and the cost of his apartment in the tower beside the museum.But in the past 18 months these cultural executives and many others have frozen their salaries or taken cuts as arts budgets have shrunk. Mr. Lowry, for example, has twice agreed to salary reductions, and last year he received a package worth roughly half of what he took in during 2008.

Jerry I. Speyer, chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, where he is involved in setting Mr. Lowry’s compensation, said: “If you are lucky enough to have the best executive in the field, you should compensate the person accordingly. I think oftentimes boards are worried about the implication of a big salary and, frankly, I think that’s a mistake, because if you want your organization to be well run, you’ve got to find the person who can accomplish it.”

Institutions sometimes try to recruit leaders, and they boost compensation as one of their tools. In 2006 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art lured Michael Govan from the Dia Art Foundation in New York to be its director; a big enticement was a compensation package worth roughly $1 million a year.

“He wasn’t looking for a job,” said Eli Broad, the museum’s main benefactor. “We wanted him, and we had to induce him to leave where he was, and the financial package was a major part of that inducement.”

“It’s a market,” Mr. Broad continued. “You’ve got to be competitive.”


A disturbing incident

A campus email has been sent, and can be read here.

(Note: this post has been edited multiple times by the author due to issues of privacy and copyright with the original posting(s). We apologize for any confusion caused.)


Spoken Up

Archive of comments from Speak Up.


Photo ID, #108

Once again, this building was labeled over its entrance, so I edited the photo (badly) to make it nontrivial to guess:

Photo from Flickr user Marco P. Sanchez; original photo here (warning: link contains puzzle answer).


The iTunes Shuffle

At the risk of self indulgence, but in hopes of adding a bit of levity (or at least diversion), I am going to cross-post something I wrote at dcat last night. I am doing so at the request of a regular Ephblogger. Just a note of warning: This has zero to do with Williams.

In one of the (too) many magazines to which I subscribe they have a little feature where they ask a musician to listen to their iPod on shuffle for five songs, with no fast forwarding, and then to talk about each song. Part of the purpose is to get a sense of what they might actually listen to as opposed to what they might want everyone to think they listen to. But it also allows them to talk and think about music without filters.

It seems like a good idea, so I’m going to try it on dcat. I’m just going to click on play on my iTunes and see where it takes me. It could pretty much give us anything, as I have some 17,500 songs downloaded, which is something like 45 days straight of music if I were to turn it on today and just let it play straight through with no repeats 24/7. So away we go with the iPod Shuffle:

Sebadoh, “Mystery Man” from Bakesale: Sebadoh, Lou Barloh’s post Dinosaur Jr. project, had a little two album run with this album and Harmacy that captured just about perfectly the early 90 indie rock ethos. My impression of Barlow, both from what I know of the way things went down with Dinosaur Jr. and from a couple of interactions with him after live shows, is that he seems to be a bit of a dick. This song as well as any embodies Sebadoh’s sludgy guitar fuzz-driven indie pop rock. (Holy crap, songs go by fast when you’re doing this.)

Sheila Chandra, “Speaking in Tongues,” Virgin Records: Signed, Sealed, Delivered 2: I have no memory of this “song” (which really is just this woman making weird percussive noises with her voice) and I have nothing interesting to say about it other than that I imagine that in anything but very small doses it would grow tedious.

Nirvana, “Territorial Pissings,” Nevermind: Nirvana helped to transform the way many of us listen to music even if we did not know it to be the case at the time. What then seemed unbelievably raw holds up pretty well over time but there will always be a subtext, in listening to Nirvana, of melancholy over what might have been.

Sol White (Quote From History of Colored Baseball, 1907) as Read by Ossie Davis from Ken Burns: Baseball Soundtrack: Ossie Davis is one of America’s underappreciated gems. Baseball is awesome. And this little excerpt from the soundtrack to Ken Burns’ monumental documentary on baseball is so brief that I’m already typing into the next song on the playlist.

Neil Hefti, “Coral Reef,” Kings of Swing, Vol. 1: I have always been a huge fan of big band music from the 1940s. Perhaps it is from my grandmother on my dad’s side, for whom this was the music of being a teenager. Maybe it comes from playing in jazz band in high school and naturally playing a lot of big band classics. This was rock and roll before rock and roll, but with a lot more glamour, and frankly, significantly better musicianship.

Well, that was fun. And remarkably fast. I’m already into Oasis’ “My Big Mouth” from Be Here Now, which I bought in South Africa in 1997 the day it came out. I think this could become a regular feature.


Mr. Gaudino (definition)

The Robert L. Gaudino Memorial Fund is a unique educational resource inspired by the work of a gifted professor, Robert Gaudino. His educational and profound moral visions had a lasting impact on the lives of generations of Williams students. At the heart of that vision were experiential education, rigorous scholarship, and a respect for the different perspectives people bring to a question or problem. With insight, discipline, and an unfailing insistence on civility in discussion, Professor Gaudino brought students into contact with uncomfortable differences between their accustomed views of the world and alternative ways to see it. His work was done in the classroom and outside it, placing high value on improving the openness and quality of intellectual discourse throughout the campus.



Sondheim on Sondheim

Story on

Link to MP3 download

(thanks to Parent ’12 for sending this)



Most teachers I know see mobile phones in the hands of kids as a distraction from class. A local, Williamstown-based startup named MobileEd thinks they can change that. Their thesis is that mobile phones, as computationally powerful tools that most kids already have, can be integrated into the learning process and the curriculum in useful ways, without much additional expense.

Their proposal, to provide resources and curriculum development tools for teachers interested in integrating mobile phones into the learning process, is currently a finalist in the Macarthur/Hastac Digital Media and Learning Competition. Their proposal video features a pilot project held at Williamstown Elementary, where kids used mobile phones to collect data, gather photographic documentation, and record interviews and podcasts.


Purple Noise

Your weekly repository for links and comments pertinent to the small sliver of humanity (or other civilizations) that relates in no way, shape or form to Williams.  Apologies to anyone who grew up in the 80’s and who, consequently, now has a certain extremely catchy theme song stuck in their head for the rest of Friday afternoon.   Breaking away from the non-Williams Purple Noise theme for one moment, I note that Williams has one close (and super-awesome) connection with Jim Henson, Jon Stone ’52.  Wow, who knew?


Spring St.– Williamstown Actual here

Spring Street though of humble origin has long been the real business street and center of the town and college life. It has often been called the “Meeting Place” since visitors and returning residents are scarcely regarded as in town until they are seen on “The Street.”

It was first a lane to two springs where townspeople and students went for their water supplies.  It became a street in 1846 on the land of S.V.R. Hoxsey.  Several people built residences on either side in the next few years,  as the nearby water had its attraction[…]

–from Williamstown, The First 250 Years,  1753-2003,  page 126,  left page,  bottom.;  By a Mr. Brooks.  Et. Al.


Material World

A sneak peek of a new exhibit at Mass MoCA, set to open on April 24.

As Aidan points out, this is reminiscent in form of the “Narrow are the Vessels” exhibit from last year:

More about that here.


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