Monday, April 25, 2016


When TigerBlog was a sophomore in college, he got a terrible number in the room draw.

You know. The lottery that lets you select your housing for the following year. TigerBlog's number was awful.

His freshman year roommate was the perfect roommate. He and TB weren't quite friends, but they co-existed perfectly. Never an argument. Never a problem.

Back then, his roommate was certain he wanted to be a doctor. Today, he is Dr. Seth Rubin, an ob-gyn who practices about a half hour from Princeton. TigerBlog hasn't seen or talked to him in decades.

Still, they were good freshman roommates. As a sophomore, TB thinks, Seth went to live in a fraternity house. TB wanted to get a good single, but his number was bad, so most of the good rooms were gone.

With few choices left, he randomly selected a room in the lower part of the Quad. If you've ever been to Penn's campus, the Quad is the enormous series of dorms that stretch up Spruce Street from about 35th to 39th. It is 512,512 square feet of dorm space.

TigerBlog ended up in one of the forgotten parts of the structure. Ah, but as it turned out, he also lucked out a bit.

The room he randomly chose was in a section of a dorm that was being renovated, and so what should have been a floor with eight rooms instead only had two. It was TigerBlog and one other person, a guy from Minnesota. He and TB had a whole floor to themselves for a year, including a bathroom built for eight.

Anyway, the guy from Minnesota, whose name TB cannot for the life of him remember (Phil, he thinks), was a huge fan of two musical acts: Husker Du and Prince.

TigerBlog had never heard of either. Phil (let's call him that) was a huge fan of both.

Shortly after that Prince began to make it big. As you know, he became a mega-star and had a long career, before he passed away last week at the age of 57.

Despite Phil's efforts, TigerBlog never became a huge Prince fan. He liked some of his songs - "Little Red Corvette," "1999" and "Raspberry Beret" especially.

Prince? He was okay. Not the worse. Far from the best.

He didn't make TB cringe, but TB never wanted to go see him in concert. And what was with the whole "artist formerly known as" thing?

That doesn't mean that TB wasn't surprised to hear of Prince's death, which is obviously a shame. He senses wherever he is and whatever his name actually is, Phil took it harder than TB.

Oh, and TigerBlog definitely never got into Husker Du.

One thing TB thought of with the news of Prince's death was the presence of all of those bumper stickers that people have around here, with Prince's picture and then the word "Ton." You know. Prince+Ton.

 This was a good weekend for the softball team from Prince+Ton.

The Tigers took three of four from Columbia, which kept them three games in front of Penn in the Ivy League's South Division. The North Division got a little tighter, as Dartmouth's runaway instead has become a one-game lead over Harvard.

The Ivy League championship series will be either Princeton or Penn at either Dartmouth or Harvard. Brown, Yale, Cornell and Columbia have been mathematically eliminated.

The North winner will definitely host the ILCS. Dartmouth is 14-2, followed by 13-3 Harvard. Those teams play four times this coming weekend. The math is obvious.

The South winner will be either Princeton or Penn. Princeton has four to go against Cornell (two at Cornell Saturday, two home against Cornell Sunday), while Penn is home against Columbia Saturday and at Columbia Sunday in its final four games.

The Quakers would have to make up three games on Princeton to force a one-game playoff and four to win outright. In other words, Princeton's magic number is two - it needs a combination of wins or Penn losses that adds up to two.

On the baseball side, it wasn't as good as weekend for Prince+Ton, but the John Thompson rule does apply. You remember the rule? As long as you're in first place when the weekend ends, you're fine.

Princeton is in first place in the Rolfe Division, with one weekend to go. The Tigers dropped three of four to Columbia, though, so they will take a one-game lead over Penn into its four games against Cornell.

Unlike softball, Princeton will play at Cornell Friday, not Saturday. The rest of the weekend is the same as in softball.

By the way, if the final weekend of Ivy League baseball goes like this:
Brown sweeps Yale
Harvard and Dartmouth split
Princeton gets swept by Cornell
Columbia takes three of four from Penn

... then all eight Ivy League baseball teams will be 10-10.

Will it happen? Unlikely. But it's a cool note.

Princeton and Yale are both 10-6. Princeton was swept by Yale, so the Tigers could only host the ILCS by finishing with a better record than the Bulldogs.

Of course, Princeton needs to finish with a better record than Penn, Columbia and Cornell before it can worry about the championship series.

Still, it's makes for a pretty exciting end of the leagues season.

So that's Ivy baseball and softball.

As for Prince, rest in peace. You left behind a long legacy of original music and millions of fans, even if TigerBlog wasn't one of them.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of "Prince+Ton," here’s a college ranking which has a more tangible impact on Ivy graduates than a lot of the other lists out there. This ranking been floating around the internet for a few years, mostly on college admission message boards.


Okay, let's forget about educational quality, graduation rates, student happiness, suicide rates, alumni giving and US News rankings. Instead, let’s focus on what’s really important. For the rest of your life, people will ask you where you went to college.

What sounds best as your response? I don’t mean what's most impressive from the standpoint of prestige. There are enough other threads on this board about that unimportant stuff. Instead, I mean what SOUNDS best? What is going to be pleasant coming out of your mouth? You’re going to be saying this word a lot for a long, long time. It should at least sound good.

Here are the eight Ivy League colleges ranked phonetically.


I’m sorry. The short, blunt sound. The soft “br” consonant and the round “ow” diphthong vowel. This is the clear loser in the Ivy League. "Brown" is also hurt by the fact that it’s a color — the fact that the color is an unattractive one — the fact that the unattractive color is associated with a personal human function. I mean, if the school in Providence were called "Aqua" or "Chartreuse," that would be awesome. But "Brown" just doesn’t cut it.


From a phonetic standpoint, all the one-syllable schools are at a disadvantage. Just too curt. Brusque. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d miss them entirely. "Penn" ranks above "Brown" because it’s not a color, but it’s still hurt by the fact that it’s a word. And a pedestrian word at that. Any word for an object that people don’t really mind losing does not connote value. The folks in West Philadelphia have long complained about the confusion with Penn State. I say it’s time for an upgrade. Let’s go for two syllables. Why not aim for the top? Rename it "Porsche."


By far the best of the one-syllable names by virtue of the fact that it’s not also a word. But starting off with a “y” is not as sharp as, you know, a real consonant. "Yale" almost sounds like half of a name. Now "Vail" or "Shale" would sound cool. Even "Bail" has a certain positive tough guy sound. Sadly, "Yale" doesn’t get there.


A huge step up from the one-syllable names but "Columbia" almost goes too far. It’s so long that it almost sounds like a sentence. How about this exchange? ”What did you do last night, Bob?” ““Columbia.”” “I see.” But it does have a certain flowing, almost mellifluous quality. Like I said, "Columbia" draws the dividing line between the bad Ivy names and the good Ivy names, and it’s on the good side of the line.

Anonymous said...


Now you’re starting to get to the high rent district. The two-syllable names are long enough to have a personality but still short enough to be strong and powerful. But “Corn” is a weak way to start off the name. Again, a bit too pedestrian. Suggests "Soybean" or "Wheat." Neither of these two would be a good name for a university.


Some people consider HYP to be the Big Three, and therefore Harvard is a two-time winner. It’s also in the Phonetic Big Three. The ”v” is a unique, clearly identifying consonant. However, like the round ”ow” sound in "Brown," "Harvard" is hurt a bit by the round “ar” vowel. Not just once, but twice. And don’t even get me started about pronouncing it with a Boston accent. But still no apologies for "Harvard." A distinctive, strong sounding name.


Extremely difficult to differentiate among the Phonetic Big Three. The ”d” is an excellent, sharp consonant to start off with. The ”t” is also a superb ending consonant. Very resonant. Trails off after that, though, to the slightly weaker “mouth” at the end. Not a great sound, especially the way it’s pronounced ”meth” in this context. But overall, ranks right up there.


Ladies and gentlemen, your winner. A very close call over "Dartmouth" and "Harvard." But gets the nod due to the strong starting “Pr” consonant package and because “ton” is the sharpest and best of all the two-syllable names’ second halves. Bonus points because “Prince,” like its namesake, simply sounds regal. There’s a reason “The Princeton Review” is not called “The Brown Review.” Crisp, clean and refreshing, "Princeton" has it all.