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Berries & Cream Cake

This would have made a great cake for the 4th of July.  But berries are still in season, and it’ll taste just as good on the 4th of September, or the 21st of August; well, you get the idea.  As far as layer cakes go, this is on the lower end of the difficulty level – the filling and frosting are the same, and you can whip the cream in just a few minutes.  The white cream is a great backdrop for all sorts of berry decorations, so have fun!

Berries & Cream Cake

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Today’s Eph Trivia

There can be no doubt that the lyrics to which song co-written by an Eph alum are known to more Ephs than any other? Any guesses? Answer to be posted this evening. Hint number one: it’s not by Stephen Sondheim. Hint number two: he is honored by a plaque in Central Park.


Casino in Gettysburg?

The thing I love most about Williams Alums is their willingness to discuss almost anything connected to our general nerdiness. Now that I’ve left the purple bubble, it’s harder to find someone to casually chat up the recession with, discuss the new Civil War book I’m reading (A Republic of Suffering by Drew Faust), or argue about a casino that’s proposed to be built in Gettysburg, PA.

If it wasn’t obvious at this point, I was a political-science major at Williams and I spent my senior fall/winter study writing an independent thesis on Lincoln. Needless to say, I’m a huge American History nerd. I just read about this casino tonight, and immediately shot out a few links to friends and family.

While I think all Americans agree that new sources of jobs are desperately needed, I’m not sure a quick buck is worth defiling the grounds around Gettysburg. The ghost tours already annoy me, but one of my favorite things about this country is our desire and drive to preserve our national history. From the Lincoln-Herndon law offices in Springfield, to Antietam, to Mount Vernon– we are free to enjoy our national treasurers. (And literally free, too, I don’t recall paying to enter Lincoln’s home in Springfield.)

If you agree (or disagree!) feel free to make your thoughts known here and tell other Williams Alums (or those of similar nerdiness standing) about the issue.

(I attempted to google “pro-casino gettysburg” but couldn’t find a centralized website for that perspective)

Ok, extremely geeky first post… accomplished.


Blues for Baltimore

From May, a performance at Chapin Hall by the Williams College Jazz Ensemble of Blues for Baltimore, written by precocious rising senior Rob Pasternak ’11 and featuring Andy Quinn ’13 on tenor sax. [Bear with it as there is some interference for a few seconds around the :36 second mark]:

I heard that the Williamstown Jazz Festival, an annual event for over a decade, was canceled last year as a cost-cutting measure. I really hope the college reconsiders.


Spoken Up

Archive of comments to Speak Up.


We’re Number, er, 60!?

Well, at least according to the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” rankings of America’s greenest campuses. They sent out 900 surveys but only 162 responded, so 60 is fairly middling, though I suppose those responding were a self-selecting lot probably more committed than most to environmental sustainability.


Saturday Foodstuffs

Three words for your weekend:

Great Bacon Odyssey.

You’re welcome.

[Crossposted at dcat.]


A Williams Parent on Morty

From Dartblog:

Morty Schapiro was a very impressive and effective president at Williams — he set the standard. He was present and personable, engaged and available on campus. He quietly prided himself in knowing each Williams student by name and something about them, so that when you saw him walking across campus, he would greet you by name and might stop to briefly ask you about your sports team’s recent struggles or accomplishments or how your workload is coming in that particularly tough Economics class you are taking that semester.

The students, alums and faculty (so far as I could tell) loved and respected Morty. He is the best speaker I have ever heard in academia. He rarely talked for more than 5 or 10 minutes, even at major occasions, but you sat with your gaze riveted to the dais, lest you miss a word. He would say fresh, insightful things, appropriate to the occasion, laced with his characteristic understatement, humor and dry wit (much of it self-deprecating), and you found yourself ruminating on his remarks hours or days later. He rarely made himself or his role the focus of his remarks. He was comfortable in his own skin, and it put everyone else at ease and made you feel comfortable as well. In an elite, innately competitive environment like Williams, that is no small feat.



Purple Noise

Your weekly place for all things non-Eph.


Purple Cow Hits the Big Time

Be sure to check out this Boston Globe article describing how the Purple Cow was selected to join more prominent mascots (heck, some had even been to mascot CAMP) for filming of an ESPN commercial.  Hint: it has something to do with Lee Corso’s experience at College Gameday.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to see the commercial itself: ESPN ads rarely misfire.  Tons more on James Dunn ’10’s experience filming the commercial, including great photos, here.


College Confidential Request

Do we have any readers who are (or who know any) College Confidential regulars or admins. The Williams College page has had the Williams Regular Decision 2011!!! thread stuck at the top of the page for almost 4 years. Can someone fix this?


US Sports History Class

When I mentioned a few months ago that I would be teaching a sports history class this fall a number of readers requested the reading list (and made some good suggestions as well). Here it is, along with the course description. You’ll note that this is a US Sports history and social issues class. I’ll hopefully be following up with a global sports class in the spring.

S.W. Pope, Patriotic Games: Sporting Traditions in the American Imagination, 1876-1926

Andrew M. Kaye, The Pussycat of Prize-Fighting: Tiger Flowers and the Politics of Black Celebrity

Susan Ware, Title IX: A Brief History with Documents

Darcy Frey, The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

Patrick B. Miller, The Sporting World of the Modern South

Franklin Foer, How Soccer Explains the World: An {Unlikely} Theory of Globalization*

* This book is optional for purchase. We will be reading parts of it for class and I will provide those excerpts, but you might find it useful – and interesting! – to own the book and read the whole thing at your leisure.

Course Description and Objectives: In the summer of 2010 South Africa, against what once would have been seen as long odds, successfully hosted the world’s biggest sporting event, the World Cup. Against similarly long odds from the vantage point of two decades ago, the United States soccer team not only experienced some success in the World Cup, but the American public rallied behind the American team. Back in the United States meanwhile, LeBron James announced his decision to join the Miami Heat and his friends (and fellow superstars) Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, stirring up considerable controversy both for the way in which he made his decision and the decision itself. Tiger Woods struggled in the US and British Opens as he continued to deal with the fallout from his tumultuous winter. And throughout all of this the games went on. Baseball has experienced what some seem to see as the rejuvenation of pitching in the wake of the performance enhancing drugs scandals of the past few years. Fans are gearing up for the regular season of the NFL even as they fear a lockout on the horizon.

All of these issues and events reveal the ways in which sports and social issues merge and intertwine in our current sports climate. But these trends are not new. The Olympic movement has always been politicized even as politicians and athletes have proclaimed that sport and politics should not mix. Problems with race and gender have revealed themselves in sport, which sometimes has led and sometimes followed on these issues. In this class we will look at the intersections of sports, politics, and social issues in American history with particular emphasis on the twentieth century.


Support the Clark …

by voting in the final round of America’s Favorite Art Museum (aka, the art museum with the most effective social networking) contest.  Billsville can’t lose to Toledo!


Team Pinsky completes Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge was the weekend of August 7-8, and 10 Team Pinsky riders participated in the event in memory of Aaron Pinsky ’06. On day 1, all 10 riders completed the 111 miles from Sturbridge to Bourne, where a pack of Team Pinsky supporters waited with a banner cheering the team on.

On day 2, 6 riders proudly wore Team Pinsky jerseys – masterfully created by Galen Glaze ’06 – and rode 81 miles across Cape Cod, from Bourne to Provincetown. It was a special weekend, with perfect weather and an incredible atmosphere.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Pan-Mass Challenge through Team Pinsky. To date, Team Pinsky has raised $69,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, almost double our minimum fundraising requirements. We remain in awe that we will be able to donate so much to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Aaron Pinsky’s memory. Thank you to everyone for your support and contributions.

Thank you,

Team Pinsky

Ellie Schmidt ’06, Adam Ain ’06, Geoff O’Donoghue ’06, Alex Smith ’06, Mary Singer ’06, Gillian McBride ’06, Adrienne Boardman, Andrew Boardman, Eoin Byrne, Will Schmidt, and Mary Ridge

[Posted by Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07]


Purple Pub

Thanks to Jeff for this update:

The Selectmen on Monday welcomed the soon-to-be opened Purple Pub but cautioned the owner and new manager that alcohol control was of prime importance.

The Purple Pub, a mainstay on Spring Street for decades before going up in flames in a devastating fire three years ago, is reopening under new ownership in Mark Paresky’s $4 million retail and office development.

But the best part is the title and photo of the article:

Williamstown Selectmen Offer Advice to New Pub Manager

Exactly the sort of folks who probably know all about running a pub . . .


The Myths of Standardized Tests

Over at US News & World Report, in an article connected to the annual college rankings issue (We’re #1! We’re #1! USA!!! USA!!!) my good friend and classmate Ned Johnson (’93) has an article exploring “The 6 Myths of Standardized tests”.


Cricket Creek Farm

The Berkshire Eagle has a nice article on Cricket Creek Farm and Topher Sabot ’99, along with other local artisanal dairymen:

Beneath federally mandated inch-high warnings — “Raw Milk Is Not Pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health.” — they (and Robert and Martha Kilmer’s Twin Rivers Farm in Ashley Falls) have been doing steady business selling milk in its natural state.

Dairy in Berkshire county is, as every census attests, a dying industry. But three local dairymen — Topher Sabot of Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown; Paul Paisley of Milk House Jersey & Swiss, Alford; and Sean Stanton of Blue Hill Farm, Great Barrington — are bucking the dire trends. Sabot and Stanton are in their early 30s. Paisley is around 40 — a decade younger than the average dairyman. None come from farm families.

Go read the rest at the Eagle — they’re doing a fine job reporting on local businesses.

And here’s the website for Cricket Creek Farm itself. As Larry George pointed out a while back, they have a farm store that sells more than just cheese and dairy products — it has the baked goods formerly available at Spring Street’s Clarksburg Bakery.


Write for EphBlog

Matthew Yglesias writes:

I’m always surprised-anew to discover how focused on print student publications still are. When you think about it for five minutes it makes sense—these publications are largely insulated from conventional economic pressures, and that matters more than lazy stereotypes about how the kids these days love the internet.

It makes sense, but it’s foolish. If you’re in school today and think you might want to be a writer some day, you need to really focus on the fact that future labor market opportunities in the realm of writing are going to be overwhelmingly focused on hypertext.

Indeed. Record editors take note. More broadly, if you are a Williams student who has ever considered being a “writer” — understood as broadly as you like — then you ought to be writing every day. And the best way to do that is to write for an audience. And the most easily accessible audience to you is EphBlog. So, write for us.


Ephs on Entrepreneurship #3: David Lerner ’90

We don’t usually think of New York as an entrepreneurial capital, but we should. It’s most visible, literally, at street level, where the optimism and energy of new Americans delivers an ever-changing rainbow of small businesses: restaurants, retailers, hair stylists. Less geographically visible, but equally vibrant, is the community of digital entrepreneurs — in the last couple of years, such familiar trendsetters as Foursquare,, and Etsy have emerged from the Big Apple.

 In an interview with the MIT Entrepreneurship Review, David Lerner ’90 talks about entrepreneurship in New York, with a particular focus on his work in promoting student startups and other university-based ventures:

David Lerner: Over the last 10-15 years it has become more and more acceptable for entrepreneurship to flourish on university campuses. Administrations, faculty and tech transfer professionals within the academy have begun to realize just how well-suited the university setting is for the incubation of new ventures. They have seen first-hand the benefits of successful spin-outs and student-led ventures to the reputation of their schools – just think of what Facebook did for Harvard or Google for Stanford. Universities may well now be the greatest breeding ground our society provides for a new class of emerging entrepreneurial talent to experiment and try new things that can lead to the formation of valuable technologies, teams and products. Not only do you have deep resources of intellectual capital on campus but you also have that essential raw human capital – a deep pool of talented, committed students, researchers, professors and the like who can play a central role in driving this phenomenon. Student entrepreneurship in particular is an emerging colossus. I have written about this phenomenon here.

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Photo ID, #125

Recent alumni and current students have an advantage on this one:

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

What two buildings are pictured here?


Game Scheduling

From Insider Higher Ed:

A sports conference that always scheduled weekday basketball doubleheaders in which women’s teams played the first game — letting the men play in the later time slot — has altered the practice, after an anonymous sex discrimination complaint charged that this made the women’s games appear to be a “warm-up” act for the men’s games.

Now, hoping to avoid possible gender equity suits, other athletic conferences are considering similar scheduling changes.

Last month, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference announced that it would alternate from season to season the order in which men’s and women’s teams would play in doubleheaders. The men will play first this season, and the women will play first next season.

How does Williams handle this issue? How should it?


HBO presents Stephen Sondheim — sort of

The word is out that the new HBO series, The Miraculous Year, is based on Stephen Sondheim ’50, and the gossip pages are buzzing.

According to the New York Post’s Michael Riedel, Sondheim is “furious” and was “blind-sided” by the similarities between himself and the show’s fictional Terry Segal:

Terry Segal lives in an elegant townhouse; Sondheim has a gorgeous brownstone in Turtle Bay.

Terry’s gay, as is Sondheim.

Terry writes sophisticated shows that please the critics but fail at the box office.

“Follies” anyone? “Sweeney Todd”? “Sunday in the Park With George”? “Passion”??

Terry drinks a lot; Sondheim once told the Times, “I have a large capacity for alcohol.” A few years ago, I saw him polish off a bottle of Chardonnay — Kistler, if I remember correctly — during the intermission of “Follies” at City Center. His young boyfriend gently guided him across the street for the second act.

Terry also does cocaine, as did Sondheim in the ’70s, which he told his biographer, Meryle Secrest.

And at the end of the pilot, Terry, who’s 44, has a heart attack. So did Sondheim, in 1979, when he was 49.

Read the whole thing for details about Sondheim’s demands for changes in the script.

Sondheim isn’t commenting publicly, however. In London’s Daily Telegraph, Sondheim’s spokesman declined comment, stating only that “Steve is a very private person . . . [t]he closest he will ever come to revealing his own personal history is in the form of the book he is publishing with Random House in October called Finishing the Hat, and even that is in lyric form.”

The Miraculous Year is being directed by Kathryn Bigelow and will reportedly star Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella. HBO expects it to be released sometime next year.


EphBlog Traffic Report 14-20 August 2010

UPDATE: As pointed out by Ronit, the below should be taken with a bit of salt– due to methodological concerns.

A very brief traffic report for the past week:

Google Analytics’ (free) reports, report that we had 2,888 “absolutely unique visitors.” This is likely hogwash.

Google’s pay-$3,000- (or was it $4,000) -to-use Urchin product, along with QuantCast, both report we had approx. 1,900 visitors. That is more likely.

Of these, 68%, or about 1292, were “passers-by,” that is, individuals viewing the site only one or twice (ever). (These are also a quarter of our total visits).

That leaves us with 600 or so weekly estimated readers, who stop by “occasionally–” perhaps once a month, perhaps many times per day. (These are about 50% of our visits). (A good number of these may still be duplicates, such as office, handheld and home).

Of these, approximately <1% of the 1900, or about 15 of us, are the site 'addicts' who make up for one-quarter of all time on the site. (These represent about 25% of the grossly measured use of the site).

That would be:
1) David
2) me
3) a little law firm in Manhattan with no apparent connection to Williams
4) a machine in the corner of the third floor of Schow which may have been misconfigured[1]
5) one of the spy agencies that seems dedicated to monitoring our content[2].

So the question remains– who are these other 585 unknown EphBloggers? Who are we?

[1] Details obfuscated; you can tell something from this, but you can't tell who!
[2] Ditto, in essence.

As far as our previous (perhaps DDoS) attacks, I have severely severely reduced the resources available to any viewer. Sorry that this makes our performance momentarily weaker.


Clark Through to Final Four

The Clark has made the final four of the America’s Favorite Art Museum tourney.

The round of eight in MAN’s America’s Favorite Art Museum tourney is the round in which the social media accounts and email lists asserted themselves most forcefully. Our final four is made up of four strong museums with four highly respected collections, but look at those margins…

* Clark Art Institute d. National Gallery of Art 79%-21%.

Is the Clark, objectively, a better museum than the National Gallery of Art? Perhaps. But it certainly has a better e-mail distribution list! It would be interesting to know how many votes were case and how many of those came from EphBlog links.


Purple Noise

Your weekly dose of all things non-Eph.


Discuss: A Two State Solution?

Dear all, As PTC has recently expressed, I believe our forum can be many things, from a showplace for recent happenings on campus, to a focal point for ‘all Ephs’ to discuss common topics which touch us all.
In the near term, I believe we will best handle that by a transition from our current format, to one where it’s much easy to sort the news, opinion and discussion sections.
We are also, in some sense, an experimental medium, with fewer established formats and conventions. But even in the newspapers of a century ago, I believe local news and ephemera, benefited from being placed in the context of the events of its times.
And we certainly have come to live, in most interesting times.
In the below, I try to offer a little space, for any Eph[1] to comment as they wish, on the development of peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestine.

What I want to begin with, are my reservations, if I can, without pre-empting or distorting the discussion.
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Ephs on Entrepreneurship #2: Anon ‘0x

Not every would-be entrepreneur is in an encouraging community. Here’s the discouraging experience of one Eph emailer who graduated in the last decade (name and class year concealed):

I see great irony in the Alumni Review celebrating those who move back to Williamstown to start businesses, because the College was certainly hostile to current students who try to start them.

Over the summer before sophomore year, one of my friends and I hit on an idea for a web service in the online photo space. A friend of his mother expressed interest and asked us to draw up a business plan, and another friend put us in touch with a coding firm in Eastern Europe. Back at Williams, as we put the finishing touches on our business plan, we proactively notified the dean’s office about our plans and asked whether approval was required by the college regulations for “student businesses.”

Big mistake. We were told that it reaction was to confirm that they considered it a student business even though it wasn’t primarily aimed at selling anything to students — the fact that Williams students could be among the users was enough. And then, we were directly discouraged from proceeding. In repeated meetings, we were questioned about our grades, our course load, our other extracurricular activities, and even our social lives. Message: you don’t have time for this. Then we were told that we couldn’t use college Internet resources — not just for hosting (which we had never planned to do), but for design, maintenance, even communicating with the overseas developers. The process of getting permission dragged on for months.

In the end, we did get approval, but my friend had made the varsity [] team, I started a new relationship, and we put the project on the back burner. . . .

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Your next home base in the Purple Valley?

Photo by Flickr user girl_named_fred

Do you recognize these accommodations? For decades, the Wigwam Cottages and associated gift shop have sat astride Route 2, high above its famous Hairpin Turn and featuring a terrific view of North Adams, Williamstown, Pine Cobble, and the Taconics. Although most Williams students and alumni have probably driven past dozens of times, I’d wager few have ever been inside the gift shop, let alone one of the cottages. (Although I have).

For the last couple of years, however, the Wigwam has been closed. But good news is on the horizon: the site has been bought and will be refurbished — by Berkshire business mogul Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner of Stockbridge’s luxurious Red Lion Inn and MassMOCA’s Porches Inn.

On Monday, a blog post at the Porches announced:

Phew! No more keeping it a secret! We have a fun new project to share with you all – The Wigwam Cabins, located along the Mohawk Trail in North Adams, just 5 miles from Porches. These 1930s gems are ours to lovingly restore, and we can’t WAIT to get going on it!

The Transcript has more details:

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Your Board

The Ephblog board has two questions, or a variation on one question, that we would like as much of the readership as possible to answer:

What do you expect from us? What do you think the role of the Ephblog board should be?

And: Due to personal reasons one of the members of the board has had to step down. We need someone who is interested in serving at least into January and hopefully beyond. (In January we will hold new elections for what we envisioned as a truncated presidential term to get us started.)

We thank you in advance for any and all advice or ideas. None of us on the board are wedded to any particular vision so we would love for this to be as collaborative as possible.


End of Summer Athletics Round-up

Fall sports season is only a few weeks away, but in the meantime, here’s a slew of athletics stories from July and August:

  • Ephblog’s own Diana Davis ’07 has continued her impressive running results since college, winning a number of races this year.  Keep kicking butt Diana!
  • Cute story on the community service efforts Eph baseball players Stephen Maier and Harry Marino (both ’12) are engaged in with their summer baseball squad.
  • Nice feature on future Eph field hockey and lacrosse player Emily Jablonski ’14.
  • Congratulations to Alex Smigelski ’10 on surviving the Penguins’ Development Camp and, against the odds, earning an invite to the Penguins’ September rookie camp.  You can see a video of Smigelski’s remarks about the Penguins’ camp here.
  • Two bits of soccer news: Khari Stephenson ’04 has returned stateside to play in the MLS, and current Eph Andrew Trainor ’13 found success with his summer youth squad.  Stephenson made an immediate impact, assisting on the game-winning goal and earning man of the match honors in his first game for the San Jose Earthquake.  Watch Stephenson’s gorgeous assist here, and be sure to vote for the play as the MLS goal of the week (voting ends tonight at midnight!):
  • Congrats to former Eph hoopster Matt Hunt ’99 for his induction into the Kirkland Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Cincinnati star QB Zach Collaros gives a few shout-outs to position coach Mike Bajakian ’96 in his training camp diary.  Of course, considering that Bajakian will also be offensive coordinator, hence responsible for play calling, not a bad idea for Collaros to stay on his good side :).
  • Nice article focusing on Dave Clawson’s Bowling Green squad as they prepare for what could be a tough season.  BG is a very inexperienced squad which lost many of its key players to graduation, including stars at QB and WR.  On the plus side, it sounds like those who remain are far more familiar with his system.  Speaking of Eph football coaches, like all Giants fans, I am excited about rookie free agent sensation and UMass grad Victor Cruz, who dominated the Jets Monday night.  His former coach, Kevin Morris ’86, is already using Cruz as an inspiration to his current team.
  • Tim Layden’s book Blood, Sweat and Chalk has received strong reviews.  Layden answers questions about the book on the NYTimes website.
  • Be sure to check the August 23 Boston Globe for a great story on Eph athletics!

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