Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Game

Here is my account of The Game. . . .

Tailgating. A large area surrounding Yale's stadium (which is quite far away from campus, BTW) is reserved for tailgate parties. Harvard students have one section, Yale students another, and graduate/professional/alumni organizations another. At first, I thought it strange that the school would feel the need to separate the various groups. As it turns out, the set-up made a lot of sense. Harvard students were a relatively calm group. A few of their trucks had club music playing and half-naked students dancing around in wigs. But these mini-raves paled in comparison to what was happening in the Yale student section. I can't really explain it - the place was a madhouse; and the images I have could never do it justice. Let's just say that Yale students know how to party. Then, there was the grown-up section, which had a lot of people but was considerably less "energetic" than either student section.

The Game. I don't remember when I've seen such a lousy game of football. Interceptions, fumbles, and sacks. And yet, I never saw a flag on the field! Blatantly illegal maneuvers went unnoticed. It's like my mom was refereeing the game. The half-time shows were crap, with Harvard's band a serious embarrassment. Why do all of the "red" schools have such shitty bands? Think about it: Harvard, Stanford, USC, . . . At least Yale's band made some kind of effort to be entertaining. What's worse, the Yale student section was on the shady side of the stadium, so we were all freezing our a**es off. I suppose we could have just moved to the other side, where more than half the seats were empty! LOL.

The Post-Game Parties. Non-existent. I did walk by one of the residential colleges after the game to hear Britney's "Toxic" blaring from one of the windows and sounds of a party inside; but I think everyone was too liquored-up to be of any use that night. Strange, given the restrictions the Yale administration placed on alcohol consumption at the game this year. ;)

It's clear to me that The Game has almost nothing to do with football. My recommendation to future students is to skip the game entirely and spend your time at the tailgate parties. You'd be amazed at the drunken, bawdy mischief engaged in by this country's future leaders. And you're guaranteed a good time.

P.S. Even though Yale was poised to win when I left in the middle of the third quarter, Yale lost to Harvard. BUT ALL WAS NOT LOST, as my alma mater won its big game that day!

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Harvard-Yale Debate

So I attended the Harvard-Yale debate tonight. The topic was energy independence and whether government or business should drive the effort.

Surprisingly, both sides argued very poorly. Each team had four debaters; coincidentally, two who were great, and two who were decent. Harvard made more (in terms of quantity) solid points; but, because Harvard was arguing the affirmative, it had the burden of proof. Unfortunately for Harvard, it failed to meet it. Yale won.

In seven hours, I'll be eating bagels and downing bourbon. Then, on to the tailgate parties and the game. I'm already pretty pooped. So we'll see how long I last.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Efficient Frontier & Other News

Last week in Finance, we covered the "efficient frontier," how to get a more accurate rate of return for individual stocks, and the CAPM. Our professor is amazing. He doesn't really lecture so much as tell a story. Every now and then, I'll take me eyes off the prof and look around the room to find my classmates on the edge of their seats. We hang on his every word, waiting for the next major revelation, as if at any moment he's going to hand us the keys to the kingdom. I got so excited when he finally taught us how to determine alpha that I needed a cigarette afterword. Yeah, it was that good.

In other news, "Dr. Bad" was at it again this week. Some of us received a letter in our inboxes that singled us out for "displays of inappropriate behavior." The funniest was,

At Thursday's "Happy Hour" a student was inebriated to the point of vomiting in the school building. That same night, corporate recruiters complained to the CDO that drunken students entered a presentation and took food.

Unfortunately, first years now automatically assume that such ridiculous requests/comments/accusations must be the work of Dr. Bad. I can't imagine that anything short of a felony will manage to get our attention at this point. So maybe second-years should stop wasting their time. Hint. Hint.

Next week . . . Thanksgiving break and The Game between Harvard and Yale. Apparently, the drinking starts at 9 a.m. and goes until you pass out. Look for me on TV, as I do plan on stumbling into the stadium at some point. If you see a guy with a "Y" on his face getting belligerent with Harvard fans, then you will probably have seen me! (I find it very easy to fall into the mob mentality. And I turn into a real smart-ass when I get drunk. Trouble, here I come!!!)

On a personal note, I've been listening to ELO non-stop over the last few days. I have no explanation for it, but to say that music in this country has more or less sucked over the last couple years or so and the time has come for a really awesome band to come along. "Dont' bring me doooooooooooown, BRRRRRRRRUCE!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Quality, Not Quantity

I'm in a class now where the T.A. has a list of names in front of her. Whenever a student makes a comment, the T.A. places a check mark by that student's name.

At the end of the term, all of those check marks will be added together and we, the students, will receive scores based upon our participation. These scores will be worth 15% of our grade in the class.

Now, from my previous post, it should be clear that I have a problem with the concept of grading individuals on the basis of their participation in class. In part, this is because it allows professors to reward sycophants; but it is also because, wherever there is a class participation grade, there are two to three times as many comments made. Anything over the mean is usually irrelevant. So you can imagine what this particular class is like.

I have a real interest in the material being presented here. I just want more quality discussion. To the professor's credit, he displayed considerably less patience today for students whose ideas were not well-developed. But he'd have a lot less of that if he changed his grading.