So I recently saw an article in the New York Times that talked about the benefits of having a child experience alcoholic beverages in the home before the age of 21. I am a strong proponent of this and really see it as vital to bringing up a responsible young adult capable of dealing with the pressures of excess. My own personal experience from being in school and seeing two sides of this issue form the basis for my opinion on the matter. It always seemed to me that those freshman or otherwise who came from overly restrictive homes (in relation to alcohol) were the ones who drank to get drunk exclusively and otherwise abused the new found liberation of the college drinking scene. Those who were brought up with responsible drinking in the home by and large had less issue. I am certain that the reason behind it all is that there is really only two ways to view alcohol consumption. The first is that the purpose of wine, beer or otherwise is to get yourself inebriated or as self-medication for ones inability to deal with the trials and tribulations of being a person. The second view is that these things comprise a key part of "the good life." As such, they should be enjoyed but only to the end that they comprise a part of that ideal for consumption and not by any means as a way of getting wasted. Of course, your average college student probably doesn't think about it in those terms but the particular mores and norms associated with alcohol are most certainly shaped by one's family life before college and these two scenarios definitely come into play. Having been party to responsible drinking before the age of 21 (gasp!!!) I can say that I think it made me much more responsible with alcohol after the age of 21. I know some of my readers are now thinking to themselves, "Pat...thats just because you don't remember when it didn't work out that way." I of course don't have a response to that except to say that those instances were few and far between...I think. So perhaps, I am not really the best judge of this particular theory but in my own defense...I have never been arrested (for alcohol or otherwise), driven drunk, or put myself into any serious physical danger whilst under the influence. I have however, had a lot of really good times and been able to enjoy that "good life." I suppose what it all comes down to is a lesson in parenting from someone who is not yet a parent. But of course never being afraid to give advice where it is neither asked for or needed...give your kids a drink and they won't drive you to. I also think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 or ideally removed entirely...but thats a post for another day entirely. Patrick OUT!!!
So Easter weekend came and went. I managed to not go into the lab for a second straight weekend which is pretty good I think. If things go well this week, I might make it three in a row this coming weekend. All in all things have been pretty low key except for the NCAA tournament now being in full swing. I completed my bracket based on the number of graduate students a given school has. A quick recap, my picks focused around the ratio of graduate student to undergraduates with lower ratios winning out over higher ratios but schools without any graduate students never winning. Given that criteria, I managed to predict at a rate of 72% correct for the first round and also pick more than 50% (4/7) of the underdog victories. Unfortunately the second round has been less kind. Of my remaining 23 teams following the first round...only 7 have survived into the sweet 16 which comes out to a prediction rate of only 43%. Additionally, only 2 of my final 4 teams still remain, Washington State and Michigan State (which have ratios of 0.21 and 0.23 respectively). While I haven't looked at the actual vegas odds for such a final match-up...after doing some quick mental math I would estimate it at approximately 376,592:1 odds that those two teams will form the match-up for the championship game.
In other news, I finally bought a suit for Em's wedding. Really a pretty painless experience, walked in and in just a mere 45 minutes I was out of there with the suit being tailored as I write this. There is a real utility to having men's clothing be based on measurements and for certain styles to always be there. A large selection quickly becomes mangeable when one can quickly eliminate large swaths of items for one of a variety of reasons. I ended up with a fairly classic three-button chalk stripe gray suit with subtle peak lapels and a single vent. The pants were pleated but they are fairly small so i can deal with it. I think it should look nice...assuming the tailor does his job. In other news, there might be a trip to bangkok in my future. In planning this trip to China over the summer, Elsa found some pretty stellar deals on hotels and flights through some chinese travel agency which was really good because things were getting expensive pretty quickly. In addition to running things to beijing (one of our primary travel goals)...they also run trips to thailand which is really cool as well. Since we don't need visas to go there it really isn't any more work to head on over and explore a bit. I think Elsa is probably pretty excited to be going someplace where I don't have a major axe to grind with the government. Of course, I don't know much about Thai politics so there is still time for that to happen. : ) Anyways, more on all that later...Patrick OUT!!!
Heres a link to a blog I found a while back and have been meaning to post.
Its exactly as it sounds. He has a pretty comprehensive list of things that white people do in deed like. Of the 90 items currently listed, I would say that I like 42 of them or approximately 46%. At first I thought, "Damn it I am soooo white...what a cliche I must be living." Of course then i figured that its taken me this far might as well just keep on with it. So with that, I am probably going to be putting a down payment on the new prius before going to see Juno for the fifth time after meeting up with my gay friends for sushi at the little japanese restaurant thats right next to the quaint little coffee shop and breakfast place I like to go to and read the sunday new york times. ahhh...i feel right at home now. Anyways, check the list out and let me know how you score. Patrick OUT!!!
So its that time of year again when the snow has finally started to melt away and the sound of birds can once again be heard echoing through the newly flowering trees. Unfortunately, the other thing we have now started to hear echoing is the voice of the inimitable dick vitale. The voice of college basketball and the NCAA tournament is back BABY. Another year of listening to his rants about the quality of the Duke program and coach K...when they aren't even playing. They made the tournament this year...again and as a #2 seed no less. I hope they lose. Don't get me wrong, they have a strong tradition but they are the yankees of college hoops and just the fact that I can reasonably make such a comparison means they must be despised to their very core. Of course, when I fill out my bracket they will do well...not because I favor them but because I know better than to fill it out on tilt. However, my pick for the end...the other ACC powerhouse, North Carolina. Sure, i've only seen two of their games this year but I can already tell that they are going to win it all...its a lock. UMass didn't make the tournament this year, which is good because now I don't feel the obligatory alumni response of pushing them exactly one round further than they could ever be expected to get. There are a few new teams in the tourney this year though and I figure if I've never heard of the school then what are the chances of them actually winning. I mean seriously, is UMBC actually expected to go anywhere or Coppin St., I have absolutely no idea where that even is. I think that all state schools should have at least somewhere in their name, the state that they represent. Another surprise for me was Oral Roberts University, which together with occidental should, in my mind, turn out the finest dentists and orthodontists in the world. In stead they turn out religious right conservatives and california uber-liberals...ahhhhh, the worst of both worlds and neither one has a dental school. Furthermore, neither is going to win the big dance this year. Anyways, we started a pool for the lab /office so people can get their gambling fix in regardless of what deval patrick and sal demassie figure out. I still need to fill out my bracket and I'm thinking about filling it out based solely on the number of graduate students they have. Those with lower percentages of grad students indicate to me that their focus lies elsewhere...like in basketball. Thus the number of grad students is directly proportional to the importance of graduate research to the administration and thus inversely proportional to the quality of the athletic program for a good example see WPI Div III champions in lots of stuff. The inverse being UMass...lots of grad students but a somewhat lackluster athletic program ( I know the swimming team and gymnastics teams are both top notch but nobody really pays attention to them anyways.) Following the tournament, an update will follow as to how my strategy turned out relative to random guessing and picking higher seeds. Patrick OUT!!!
In a crazy mixed up place like Iraq...there apparently is one ounce of sanity and its name is Chuck Norris.
The last line is by far the best thing I have ever seen in a reuters news article and truly sage advice for not just the Iraqis but for us ALL. Patrick OUT!!!
So last night the Celtics won against the Pistons and in the process have gained the first clinched playoff spot. First of all this is absurd and its really an oddity in professional sports. The NBA has a playoff scheme with less sense than some fraternity beer pong tournaments. Here's how it goes...the top 8 teams from each conference (there are two for you non-sports fans) make it to the playoffs. As I do my math...thats 16 teams vying for a championship. Heres the catch...there are only 30 teams TOTAL. Thus, the entire season doesn't even eliminate half the teams from contention. In my mind...this would be like the presidential primaries going on for 8 months only to eliminate Dennis Kucinich and Tom Vilsack. Just isn't satisfying...I want to see people go down in flames and other really fight to win as they teeter just on the edge of contention. Why do we bother with a season at all...why not just extend a playoff bracket all the way to the beginning and seed teams based on last years performance. Ok, so I don't really believe thats a good idea but I think it would save a lot of time. But seriously, if they playoffs started today the celtics would be playing the NJ Nets who dont even have a winning record. If you can't manage to win even half your games over the course of a season then why should you ever be considered a contender for the championship. My solution...turn the NBA playoffs into the NFL playoffs. Each division winner (3 per conference) and then a wild card team. That brings down you numbers to only 8 total teams in the playoffs which means we eliminate 70% during the regular season...thereby giving people a reason to watch the regular season. I'm kind of feeling like...we have now played just over 70% of the season...so why not just give our team a rest for 20 games or so to get really refreshed for the playoffs while the rest of the rif-raf duke it out for the remaining 15 spots. Go Big Baby!!! Patrick OUT!!!