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Bernard Bailyn, Humanities Medalist

Congrats to historian Bernard Bailyn ’45 on receiving the National Medal for the Humanities.  Read more about Bernard’s work here.

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Help Wanted: Ice Hockey Fan!! (Second Notice … so you know we are really hurtin’)

Zach Miller ’10
Wrestling Fan has done a great job giving us insight into the wrestling team this year.  After a dramatic come-from-behind win on Saturday, men’s ice hockey is hosting, I believe for the first time ever, the NESCAC semifinals this weekend. 

Are there any hockey fans out there who can provide some analysis of the team and its opponents?  If so, let us know!

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NESCAC Championship Weekend Preview and Liveblog

It is a big weekend for Eph sports, as Williams hosts a loaded men’s hoops championship and an ice hockey quarterfinal, plus heads to Amherst to try to knock off the Jeff juggernaut in women’s hoops and to Bowdoin looking for a NESCAC swimming crown.  For anyone watching any of these contests, be sure to keep folks updated on this thread.  On to the previews:

  • The main event is clearly men’s hoops, which pits number one Williams against a tough Trinity team, and then number three Middlebury against number seven Amherst, with the winners meeting on Sunday.  Three of these four teams are legitimate national title contenders.  Previous analysis of Middlebury here, and Amherst here and here.  Williams previews the weekend, and provides links for the free webcasts of all three games, here, the Berkshire Eagle, here, and Amherst, here.  Watch the Williams College basketball show here.  Chandler, inspired by the Sixth Man, should be rocking.
  • Women’s hoops had a dramatic, come-from-behind overtime win over Tufts last weekend (a win which likely locked up an NCAA birth, though nothing is guaranteed).  Now, things get even more difficult in the NESCAC semifinal, facing number two Amherst at Amherst.  The Jeffs have beaten Williams seven straight times, including twice this year.  Amherst previews the showdown and provides a link for a live webcast here.
  • Stephen Maier ’12

  • Men’s ice hockey looks to win its first ever NESCAC title, and earn its first ever NCAA birth.  There was no dominant team in NESCAC this year, and even though the Ephs are the second seed, the title seems wide open for the taking for all eight participants.  Click here for a game preview and webcam link.
  • Finally, men’s swimming and diving heads to Bowdoin, looking for its ninth straight NESCAC title.
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Eph Loser?

No, I’m not about to denigrate another Eph.  Check out this great audition video by Williams custodial employee Tee Martin, who aspires (with a little help from his undergrad friends) to be on The Biggest Loser.  Good luck to Tee (and thanks to the student who tipped me off to this video)! [Part two of the audition can be found here].

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February Athletics Round-Up

Huge NESCAC championship weekend ahead … preview coming Friday.  In the meantime, we are long overdue for an athletics round-up.  A few stories of note from the first two months of this year:

  • Be sure to read this great Lacrosse Magazine feature on lacrosse / singing dual-threat Matt Cranshaw ’11.  And speaking of lacrosse, check out this interview with future Eph John Maimone-Medwick ’15.
  • Another dual threat athlete-musician, Chloe Billadeau ’15, will be playing goalie for the women’s ice hockey team next year. 
  • Speaking of future Ephs, Tom Cabarle ’15 chose Williams over a variety of Ivy League options.  Cabarle was the Morris County football player of the year, and sounds like an extremely versatile player.
  • Khari Stephenson ’04, who was on loan last year to the MLS San Jose Earthquakes, signed a three-year contract extension.  Congrats!
  • Dave Paulsen ’88 continues to have a tremendous year at Bucknell.  His young Bucknell squad (they start three sophomores and only one senior) locked up first-place in the regular season in the Patriot League, and will host the conference tourney.
  • Check out this fun video from the women’s (incredible) eleventh straight NESCAC swimming and diving title.  At 3:45, you can watch as the Ephs drag their coaches into the pool before a massive splashing celebration.  Looks like fun.
  • The Eph connection here seems too coincidental to ignore … Kellen Pagel, a third string QB from Dave Clawson ’89’s Bowling Green squad, transferred to Kevin Morris ’86’s UMass team, where he will have an opportunity to compete for a starting job.  UMass, which had a strong recruiting year,  is still contemplating a potential move up to Division 1-A, where they would play Bowling Green annually as a member of the MAC conference.   Meanwhile, Clawson brought in a stellar recruiting class (consensus second-best in the MAC) on a shoestring budget.
  • Jennifer Gossels ’13 was recognized as the D-3 cross country student-athlete of the year.  With a 4.0 GPA in computer science and math, and perhaps the top runner in the country, she sounds like a great future Rhodes Scholar candidate to me!
  • Nice article on future Eph tennis player Monica Pastor ’15.
  • Football coach Aaron Kelton is one of the keynote speakers at an NFL coaching symposium.
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New North Adams Restaurants

Two new restaurants opening in North Adams: Rub (which sounds awesome), a bourbon and BBQ joint, and Sushi House which is, well, a sushi place.  Hopefully a few Ephs will make the (short) trek over and check them out.

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A Good Day To Be An Eph

Fun video by, I’m guessing, a current First Year:

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Future Eph Veil Honored

Great to see that future Eph Alyssa Veil ’15 received the annual national youth award of the National Conference of LGBT, owing to her role speaking out against bullying of gay kids in schools.   Congrats to Alyssa, and welcome to Williams!  And while we are on the topic of gay rights, here is a related article of note from The Onion.

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An Obvious Proposal: Make Weston Residential

I read with delight that the OCC is moving from Weston and integrating with the Alumni Office.  This makes sense in and of itself (and probably warrants a post of its own), but the bigger benefit, in my view, is reopening Weston to its natural and proper use: upper class housing.   In the article discussing the future of Weston, there was no mention of turning it into housing.  Failure to do so* would be, simply, an enormous mistake for the following reasons:

  • It just makes sense, from a campus planning perspective, to have an uninterrupted row of residential row houses.  These houses represent the heart of senior (and on weekends, campus social) life.  For decades, Weston has been the outlier, remaining dark on weekends while its neighbors are teeming with life.  Why keep it as such?
  • Williams has gradually and slowly increased its enrollment in recent years, with entering classes moving from around 529 to around 550.  Over four years, that is an extra 84 people on campus (or, say, 70, accounting for study abroad and attrition).  Yet, not only has Williams not built additional housing, it has actually eliminated a few coops, and about 12 years ago it turned Bascom, which used to be the single best dorm on campus, into the Admissions Office.  What does that mean?  Fewer seniors getting prime rooms, more sophomores in doubles, and less common space in campus dorms.  Turning Weston into housing would alleviate all of those issues.

More thoughts below the break Read more

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No Lady Byng

Pretty insane fight featuring Alex Smigelski ’10 … didn’t know they made them so tough in NESCAC!  (And memo to those bothered by this: fighting is an accepted part of ice hockey …).

In addition to being a tough customer, Alex has some serious hockey skills:

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Hoops Rivalry Weekend: Payback Edition

(Photo from Williams Athletics site)
The Williams hoops squads had a disappointing trip to Lefrak gymnasium in January.  They are hoping to repay the favor tomorrow afternoon during the last regular season home game for seniors Troy Whittington and Harlan Dodson.  Hopefully the students will get there early to pack Chandler, and boisterously support the home team with some creative cheers.  Because, unlike the first meeting, these games count in the conference standings, the stakes are even higher.  The winner of the men’s game between second-ranked Williams and third-ranked Amherst earns the right to host the NESCAC tournament (unless Amherst loses to Middlebury tonight while Williams beats Trinity; then, an Amherst win over Williams would result in a three-way tie, with hosting rights decided by a coin flip), which is especially crucial this year, since the second-seeded team will likely have to face an equally-talented Middlebury squad in the conference semifinal.

Read game previews from Amherst here and the Berkshire Eagle here.  Watch the weekly Williams basketball show here.  For those in attendance, be sure to bring a few bucks Read more

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Looking to Procrastinate? Browse Ephblog Humor

There is now a sizable (and growing) group of humorous posts tagged under “humor.” Since the tag is fairly new, I’ve gone back and retroactively applied it to some of the past posts that qualify. I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few, so if you’ve posted something funny, please apply the tag! Even in the tag’s current nascent state, you can spend hours procrastinating watching Ephs on the Daily Show and Colbert, “Julianna McKannis” Onion videos, and writing from humorous (or in the case of yours truly, attempting-to-be-humorous) Ephs.  Of course, Ephblog is far from a comprehensive source — for example, we’ve missed quite a few Daily Show appearances by Eph Michael Beschloss.

As a special bonus, here is one from the humor archive never before posted on Ephblog, a Daily Show panel discussion featuring Eph Edward Larson ’74 who, incredibly, still believes in some crazy thing called “evolution.” [And by the way, Jon Stewart has a point about the scrotum.]:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Evolution, Schmevolution – Panel: Edward J. Larson, William A. Dembski, Ellie Crystal
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook
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Super Bowl! (Featuring Tim Layden ’78)

Check out Tim Layden ’78’s column on the zone blitz, which is sure to be heavily featured in this evening’s game, as well as his prior column on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.  Layden’s football book is available on Amazon.  I am sorry, by the way, that I missed her co-host explaining to Mika B. the meaning of some Steelers’ pre-game tradition of “making it rain.”

Feel free to utilize this post as an open thread for Super Bowl predictions, reactions, commentary, ranking of commercials (this one will be tough to top, so good), half time show critiques, or general refuge from overconsumption of beer, nachos, and announcer hypberbole.  And Go Pack!

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Winter Arts Round-Up

A few arts-related stories of note from the winter:

  • Lee-Hom Wang ’98 won three awards, including best male singer, at the Chinese Pop Music Awards.  Check out Lee-Hom in a Nikon commercial.
  • Steve Case ’80 nominated to serve on the Smithsonian Board of Regents (just one bit of news in a ridiculously busy week for Case).
  • Great Wall Street Journal (??!) feature on bassist Chris Lightcap and his band Bigmouth.  See Chris perform in the video embedded below.
  • There is a new member of the Williams Art Mafia, John Wetenhall, M.A. ’82, recently appointed President of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
  • John Sayles ’72 has picked his next project, an adaptation of Girls Like Us.  (Thanks for pointing that out, Eric Soskin).
  • David Turner ’97 is appearing in the Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia — previews beings on February 25 (unless, of course, delayed by any stunt-flying injuries).
  • Eph supergroup Darlingside has a snazzy new website.  They play February 12 in Arlington, VA, and have a number of other upcoming shows in New England.
  • Check out this Philadelphia Inquirer feature on architect Cecil Baker ’63’s home.  I really like the style of Baker’s firm, very elegant and clean, with simple yet visually arresting geometric forms and patterns.  The Louis Kahn (whom Baker studied under) influence is certainly visible in his work.
  • Great news for North Adams, as Wilco will return next summer to headline another awesome music festival.
  • WCMA needs a new director after Lisa Corrin decides to step down.  Williams certainly has no shortage of alumni to choose from for the position, should it decide to go in that direction.
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The First Annual Ephraims

We here at Ephblog are long overdue for an Ephblog awards ceremony.  Here are a few suggestions, but the floor is open for additional nominees and/or categories (leave them in the comments, or email me directly if you prefer).  Full list of nominees to be announced shortly and winners to be announced in conjunction with the Oscars.  Posts must have occurred (at least in part, in the case of a series) during calendar year 2010 to be eligible.  I will leave it to Dick Swart to create an “Ephraim” award statuette.  I also want to use the Ephraims as a way to popularize the “best of Ephblog” tag going forward, so I will add that tag to any post that receives at least one nomination, and one second.  In the future, feel free to note in post comments that you believe something is an Ephraim-worthy post, as it is difficult to remember the highlights from well over a thousand posts in any given year.  OK, here goes!

Most Missed Former Regular:

The nominees are Will Slack, JG, Ronit, Frank Uible, and Larry George.  (NB: Ronit and Will both still contribute posts on occasion, just not at the blog-carrying level they did once upon a time).

Craziest Dave K. Contribution of the Last Year:

The nominees are No African American Phi Betas, Sam Crane Obsession (over multiple posts, e.g.), Thesis-gate, Hating on Sheehy (multiple posts), Do Not Hire a Football Coach (or volleyball coach, or golf coach …), Falk Induction Speech Divination, Departure and Return Soap Opera

Most Entertaining / Humorous Blog on Ephplanet:

The nominees are Chan Lowe, Blake Schultz,  Jennifer Mattern, Brandi Brown, Seth Brown

Best Post Series:

The nominees are Photo IDs, Student Lens Series, Junior Anonymous, CGCL 2010, Eph BookshelfRephsearch (tough category — we had some great series in 2010!)

Best Analytical / Opinion / News Blog on Ephplanet:

Nominations are open.

Funniest Post (AKA, The Trump):

The nominees are How to Break Up With William’s College, further nominations are open.

Most Valuable Neph (awarded to a regular commentator with no direct connection to Williams / Williamstown):

The nominees are Midprof, Johnwesley, AC ’98, Keilexandra.

Most Newsbreaking / Informative Post:

The nominees are When Williams had a Medical School (a three part series), further nominations are open.

Rookie Ephblogger of the Year:

Congrats to Eric Soskin, the runaway winner.

Special Award in Technical Achievement:

Shared by Ronit and Ken (of course).

And now for the big categories …

Quote  / Comment of the Year:

Nominations are open.

Post of the Year:

The nominees are A Deafening Silence, Final Four Mega-Preview (forgive my self-indulgence here at including one of my own, but this one took awhile, alas half the links are now broken), Five Years Out (a three part post), Ephs Who Have Gone Before.  Further nominations are open.

And finally …

Special Lifetime Achievement Award for Self-Promotion:

Congrats to award-winning political scientist (and now, award-winning blogger) John C. Drew, Phd. on earning another award to endlessly promote!

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Eph Psych Round-Up

Considering that Williams is the alma mater of  G. Stanley Hall, the founder of the American Psychological Association, it should come as no surprise that a number of Eph alums and professors have recently been engaged in newsworthy psychological research:

  • Professor Nate Kornell was quoted in a NYTimes article on how test-taking is the most effective way to learn.  Professor Susan Engel had a different take on testing published in the NYTimes back in September.
  • Professor Saul Levmore published an article on CNN discussing the psychology of a Jared Loughner type individual.
  • Professors Kenneth Savitsky and Nicholas Epley received a lot of media attention for a study conducted in part at Williams, in which they demonstrated the “closeness communication bias” in action.
  • HBS professor Mike Norton ’97 continues to publish interesting research.  Among his most recent publications, he demonstrates in the Harvard Business Review that eloquence is a more effective rhetorical strategy than honesty.  (And no, there is no truth to the rumor that Fox News subsequently provided a lifetime grant to Professor Norton to further explore these findings …).
  • Legendary Cornell professor James Maas ’60, whose Psych 101 class has achieved “near-mythical status”, was interviewed by the CBN regarding his research on the benefits of sleep (now THERE is a finding I can get behind!).
  • Sam Sommers ’97, as always, has interesting things to say on his Psychology Today blog, this time about our susceptibility to fraudsters (I will refrain from comment as to the applicability of this blog post to recent happenings at Williams), as well as about the egomanical nature of daily life.
  • More locally, Eph alum Jeff Johnson ’74 writes an advice column for the North Adams Transcript.
  • This isn’t quite as recent, but also worth watching is Professor Fein’s talk on racial prejudice, delivered at the 2010 Reunion Weekend.
  • Another slightly dated link of interest is this NYTimes Op-Ed on bullying by Professors Susan Engel and Marlene Sandstrom, also from the summer of 2010.
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Titanic Hoops Showdown Preview

Tomorrow’s basketball game between the last two NESCAC champions, fourth ranked Middlebury and fifth ranked Williams, could be one for the ages. Much like last season’s battles (both won in hard-earned fashion by the Ephs), Williams is the strongest offensive team Middlebury has faced all year, and Midd plays the toughest D the Ephs have seen, so something has to give.  Williams’ oft-overlooked defense is also tremendous, and ranks second only to Middlebury nationally in terms of limiting opponent’s shooting percentage.  You can watch a few video highlights (or really, more like random tidbits than highlights) of the Ephs’ recent victories over Wesleyan and Skidmore here, here and here.  Watch this week’s Eph basketball show here.  Williams has an extensive game preview here, including links for how to watch live.  Following the men’s contest, the tenth-ranked Eph women take on the Panthers as well.  Alas, the crowd may be limited for this one, considering that few people are on campus at Williams this weekend, due to the winter break.

My full game preview continues below the break.

Read more

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Ephblog Readers Recommend …

When you purchase a book on Amazon or a song from Itunes, you are directed to a batch of recommended books and songs, respectively, purchased by like-minded consumers.  So I am curious to compile two things: first, a list of leading internet blogs / internet sites devoted primarily to higher education issues (in other words, the internet sites that share most in common with Ephblog), and second, a list of blogs / sites, more generally, that Ephblog readers regularly patronize.  After comments, I will post a list of both categories.

In the first category, certainly, the NYTimes The Choice blog qualifies.  Same goes for the Dartmouth, Middlebury, and Wesleyan blogs, the three blogs most similar to Ephblog.  Are there other higher education-focused blogs /websites that Ephblog readers enjoy?

My own favorite general blog / sites, other than Ephblog, include Talking Points Memo (political blog with a liberal slant), Huffington Post (liberal political blog that also covers entertainment and humor, among other topics), the Blue Screen (a NYGiants blog, so that won’t interest most readers I imagine), Bill Simmons on ESPN.com, and Prince of Petworth (that one is focused on neighborhoods in close proximity to me, and would not be of any interest to non-D.C. residents).  What blogs and pages are in the regular rotation for other Ephblog readers?

(Ed note: Illustration added for visual interest only. No endorsement of the product is made or intended. Readers are advised that weeping, hugging, and/or personal revelatory moments may occur. )

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Life-Changing Learning Model


Must read: this great article on Jeff Thaler ’74’s tremendous Winter Study class, which combines student-teaching with living with a refugee family.  [As a side note, for anyone interested in learning about the refugee experience, both before and after arriving in the United States, I highly recommend reading What is the What].  The article features Jenny Tang ’13, who is also pictured below.

Thaler was inspired by his own experience as an undergrad:

Nothing Jeff Thaler learned from any classroom in the bucolic western Massachusetts town of Amherst had as much impact as what he gleaned from a five-month experiment in “uncomfortable learning” at the end of his sophomore year.

He spent five weeks living with a black family in Georgia and working at a funeral home. Next came a stay in rural Appalachia with a disabled Kentucky coal miner and his wife, followed by a stint on a small family farm in Iowa.

Finally, Thaler spent six weeks living with a black family in Detroit and working in a Chrysler factory where “nobody knew we were college students,” he said.

They kept journals. They wrote papers. They read extensively.

“It was,” he said, “a very powerful educational experience for all of us.”

Thaler is trying to pass that on to current Williams students, six of whom are currently immersed in Portland’s immigrant and refugee population, volunteering at local schools or adult education programs and living with host families.

(Ed note: Jeff also describes his own group of students. This may of interest and input to the discussion going on in the comments DS 8:34am PST)

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Colbert on Mika on Palin

First rule of Ephblog: anytime an Eph appears on, or is mentioned by, Stephen Colbert, it must be shared on Ephblog.  Why?  Because Colbert = God.  Here, Colbert reacts to Mika’s (understandable) exasperation at having to play yet another clip of Palin babbling about herself.  And by the way, Colbert pretty much sums up Palin’s current relevance in his brilliant-as-usual riff.  Enjoy. [Oh, and for those who missed it, Mika herself appeared on Colbert about a year ago].

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive
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Excentric Gyratory Coming to Campus

I noted a few months back that, thanks to the Class of 1961, the already impressive collection of campus sculptures will soon be augmented.  Apparently, next on deck is Double L Excentric Gyratory II.  Any guesses as to where on campus this will be installed? Any opinions on the art itself (I give it a thumbs-up)?  [Also, any updates / photos on the Holzer installation on the Science Quad?]

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Poling ’94 On Faith

Jason Poling ’94, Pastor of New Hope Community Church, writes an interesting column for the Washington Post, in which he applies a theological perspective to current event topics.  Check out the archive here.

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Udall ’72: Can’t We All Get Along?

Mark Udall ’72’s proposal that the parties intermingle during the forthcoming State of the Union address seems to be gaining steam.  Good to see an Eph doing his part to bring people together!  (Of course, if he asks me to sit with Amherst alums at the next football game, well, that is a bridge too far, Senator Udall).

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Dork Alert: Fathers of Science Fiction Events at Heritage State Park

Eph dorks (perhaps that is redundant) take note: the Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams has a nice series of events planned for January honoring “fathers of science fiction” Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  Check out the event schedule here.

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Winter Rivalry Weekend Preview and Liveblog

There are several high stakes Little Three Williams-Amherst showdowns happening this weekend.  incredibly, nine of the ten teams in action (all but Amherst hockey) are nationally ranked, and six of the ten teams are ranked in the top FIVE nationally!  Hopefully, a large crew of students will travel to support both the men’s and women’s hoops teams in action at Lefrak on Saturday.  Williams previews all the games here, and Amherst previews them here, including links for how to watch the events online.  You can watch highlights of the Eph basketball teams on the Williams basketball show.  For those following online, feel free to post about the events in progress here.  Detailed preview continues below the break. Read more

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Fall Into a Stupor (a Counterargument)

What is the real purpose of Winter Study, especially for lazy undergraduates?

The real purpose of Winter Study is to fall into a food, beer, and videogame-induced stupor.

You will never, ever be surrounded by as many continuous deadline-free hours as you are right now.  Life after college, is, comparatively, a job-having, bill-paying, house-fixing, kids-to-care-for, stress-filled wasteland.  Of course, as you pass into the great beyond, you will have three-day weekends and even the occasional sick day, but you’ll probably waste those days waiting around for cable guys and plumbers, caring for kids with the flu, or trying to work off your fast-advancing waistline.  More importantly, even your twelve annual vacation days will primarily be spent contemplating how you can possibly keep pace with the various responsibilities of adulthood.  Exiting Williams without having sixteen weeks of pure, unadulterated, hedonistic bliss to be nostalgic for is not necessarily a one way ticket to an unhappy life, but it is not a smart way to play the odds.  The odds favor leisure now.

It isn’t that your classes and papers, your theses and sports teams, are unimportant.  (Well, actually, to be honest, they are).  But enjoying 12 hours per day of sleep for the last time in your life, being able to drink without suffering debilitating 24 hour hangovers, playing four hours of hoops without your body requiring a three day recovery window, and eating endless amounts of subs and pizza and gaining nary a pound (I’d add guilt-free sex with peers in their physical prime, but let’s be real, this is Williams after all) — this is much more important than falling in love or learning to juggle.

So, stop reading this blog, chug two beers, place an order with Hot Tomatoes, and take a three hour nap with an empty pizza box as your blanket.  I did the same 14 (and 15, and 16, and 17) years ago, and have never regretted it since.

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Prieto Battery and Alternative Energy Ephs

Check out this great article on Amy Prieto ’96’s research into creating a more powerful, cheaper, and longer lasting battery.  Prieto is an assistant chemistry prof at Colorado State, in addition to heading Prieto Battery.  Between Prieto and the equally revolutionary work being performed by Joshua Smith ’91, we could someday be thanking a small handful of Ephs for helping usher in a new generation of alternative energy sources.  [Rumor has it that Amherst alums have taken a slightly different energy approach].

Other Ephs working in the alternative energy arena (and I’m sure there are others) include Wayne Davis ’78, Vice President at Harvest Power, Samuel Arons ’04, a member of Google’s Green Business Strategy Team who has written about hybrid vehicles, Christopher Elkinton ’98, who works as a wind turbine engineer, Kristina Weyer ’03 (who like Prieto was affiliated with Colorado State), who works on algae-to-biodiesel energy at Solix Biofuels, and Alex Mokover ’10, who is immersed in alternative energy policy.  And of course, Senator Mark Udall ’72 is one of the leading advocates for alternative energy production in Congress.

Considering (a) the huge opportunities in this field, (b) Williams’ continued excellence in Geology, Chemistry, and Physics, and (c) the efforts of the Zilkha Center on promoting sustainability initiatives on campus, I imagine that Williams will continue to produce the next wave of alternative energy researchers, policy-makers and entrepeneurs.

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New Yorker on Marsh ’95

The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin wrote a lengthy article this week discussing the life and tragic death of Nicholas Marsh ’95.  You can read an abstract of the article here [Note: full article requires subscription -93kwt].

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End of Year Athletics Round-Up

Several stories of note from the end of 2010:

  • Football coach Aaron Kelton was recently recognized in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd.  All-NESCAC WR / PR Darren Hartwell ’13 was earlier recognized as a Face in the Crowd as well.
  • Great article on Zoe Dillon-Davidson ’15 and Simone Frank ’15, current teammates and future Eph softball players who both hail from Amherst, where I imagine they will continue to have a winning record when they return as visiting players.  Here is another recent article on Dillon-Davidson, focusing on her recovery from a concussion last season.
  • Another article discussing a  future Eph, this time Kellie Macdonald ’15, who was a regional MVP in both soccer and basketball.
  • UMass Football, coached by Kevin Morris ’86, may soon be moving to Division 1-A (they are currently in Division 1-AA, which I believe is a football-only designation, and one which may be on the verge of obsolescence).  Speculation involves them joining the MAC, where Morris would get a chance to match wits with another Eph, Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson ’89.  If only University of Cincinnati offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian ’96 had been named head coach at Central Michigan (he was one of two finalists last year), the MAC could be a three Eph league!  Speaking of Morris, he is quoted in this article on the evolution of head injury treatments in football, among other sports.
  • Article on future Eph Andy Grabowski ’15, who as a pre-med National Merit Scholar and lacrosse star, sounds like a great fit for Williams.
  • Sam Flood ’83 of NBC Sports is quoted in this article on the NHL’s Winter Classic (which has been enormously popular, and probably the best NHL innovation in years).
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The Weekly Debate: Movie Comedies

I am going to step into DCat’s role today, and hopefully help fill a slow week.  Per PTC’s suggestion, let’s go with top movie comedies.  Criteria include number of scenes that made me laugh out loud on the first few viewings, rewatchability, originality, quotability, memorable scenes / characters, and how iconic the film is. 

I’ve excluded from consideration movies that are more in the realm of dark humor / drama-comedies (Dr. Strangelove, Being John Malkovich, Fargo, The Graduate would all otherwise be strong contenders, as all are among my favorite movies of all time) as well as action-comedies along the lines of Back to the Future and Midnight Run.  I am also excluding films that are unintentionally comedic, such as Battlefield Earth.  So bascially, we are talking straight-up, unambiguous comedies.  With that caveat, here goes:

1. The Big Lebowksi — an easy pick for number one.  Every scene, every character, every line of dialogue is perfect. Endlessly rewatchable.  And no other comedy has created an entire mini-economy akin to the annual Lebowski fests. 
2. This is Spinal Tap — because it goes to eleven. 
3. Flirting With Disaster — few others would rank this so high, but this movie is incredibly underrated.  Ben Stiller in the quintessential Stiller role, and an amazing supporting comedic cast including George Segal, Mary Tyler Moore, Lily Tomlin, and Alan Alda, all at their very best.  Warrants admiration despite being directed by a Lord Jeff.   
4. The 40 Year Old Virgin — endlessly rewatchable, and by far the best of the Apatow films.  Star-marking turns for Carrell, Rudd, and Rogen. 
5. Caddyshack — the Danny Noonan portions are now borderline unwatchable, but the Murray / Chase / Dangerfield / Ted Knight quartet is impossible to top.  Remains the most quotable comedy of all time. 
6. Bad Santa — so wrong, and so brilliant.  Plus, in a strange way, with a heart. 
7. Best in Show — the best of the Chrsitopher Guest-directed mockumentaries.  “Rhapsody-in-White has two mommies.” 
8. The Freshman — another chronically underrated movie.  Brando’s self-parody is incredible.  Lots of subtle, dry brilliance from comedy genius Andrew Bergman here, in a totally original film.
9. Fast Times at Ridgemont High — Spicoli remains the best stoner character ever.  And no one can lovingly mock high school better than Amy Heckerling. 
10. Groundhog Day — Bill Murray at his very best. Inventive and somehow never gets boring despite endless repetition. Watch out for that first step …
11. A Fish Called Wanda — Kevin Kline and Michael Palin are brilliantly over the top, but John Cleese’s genius drives the show.
12. Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail — needs no justification.
13. Stepbrothers — something about this movie just absolutely cracks me up. And I can’t really explain it.
14. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex …  — have to include at least one Woody Allen film, and the Gene Wilder Daisy vignette is as good as it gets, with the sperm vignette not far behind.        
15. Brain Candy — another controversial choice, perhaps, but this is the Kids in the Hall at their very best, and has a few truly brilliant sequences.  Also, a dead-on parody of the pharma industry.                                                                                                                        

Also considered, and difficult to omit in many cases: Anchorman, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Hangover, Old School, Animal House (I know, I know, but feels dated now), The Blues Brothers (ditto), The Jerk, Trading Places, Ghostbusters, Stir Crazy, The Naked Gun, The History of the World Part I, School of Rock (another underrated personal favorite), Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Beverly Hills Cop, Zoolander, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Clueless (dang I hate to exclude that one, but I already have one from Heckerling), There’s Something About Mary, Team America: World Police, Mighty Aphrodite.

Special mention: Freddy Got Fingered — Tom Green vehicle that is beyond bizarre, but is strangely compelling / brilliant.

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