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In Memoriam: Susie


[Here is 聽is a poem聽written by Kerrie for the last ISBA cabaret in聽Cancun, to Susie who could not make it to a Valencia meeting for the first time… Along with a picture of Susie, Alicia and Jennifer taking part in another ISBA cabaret in Knossos, Crete, in 2000.]

This is a parody of a classic Australian bush poem, 鈥楾he Man from Snowy River鈥, that talks of an amazing horseman in the rugged mountain bush of Australia, who out-performed the 鈥榗racks鈥 and became a legend. That鈥檚 how I think of Susie, so this very bad poem comes with a big thanks for being such an inspiration, a great colleague and a good friend.

There was movement in the stats world as the emails caught alight
For the cult from Reverend Bayes had got away
And had joined the 鈥業SBA鈥 forces, and were calling for a fight
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

All the noted statisticians from the countries near and far
Had flown into Cancun overnight
For the Bayesians love their meetings where the sandy beaches are
And the Fishers snuffed the battle with delight.

There were Jim and Ed and Robert, who were 鈥榝athers of the Bayes鈥
They were known as the whiskey drinking crowd
But they鈥檇 invented all the theory in those Valencia days
Yes, they were smart, but oh boy were they loud!

And Jose M Bernardo came down to lend a hand
A finer Bayesian never wrote a prior
And Mike West, Duke of Bayesians, also joined the band
And brought down all the graduates he could hire

Sonia and Maria strapped their laptops to the cause
And Anto, Chris and Peter ran 鈥 in thongs!
Sirs Adrian and David came with armour and a horse
While Brad and Gareth murdered battle songs

And one was there, a Spaniard, blonde and fierce and proud
With a passion for statistics and for fun
She鈥檇 been there with the founders of the nouveau Bayesian crowd
And kept those Fisher stats folk on the run

But Jim鈥檚 subjective prior made him doubt her power to fight
Mike Goldstein said, 鈥楾hat girl will never do,
In the heat of battle, deary, you just don鈥檛 have the might
This stoush will be too rough for such as you.鈥

聽But Berger and Bernardo came to Susie鈥檚 side
We think we ought to let her in, they said
For we warrant she鈥檒l be with us when the blood has fairly dried
For Susie is Valencia born and bred.

She did her Bayesian training in the classic Spanish way
Where the stats is twice as hard and twice as rough
And she knows nonparametrics, which is useful in a fray
She鈥檚 soft outside, but inside, man she鈥檚 tough!

She went. They found those Fisher stats folk sunning on the beach
And as they grabbed their laptops from the sand
Jim Berger muttered fiercely, 鈥榬ight, twist any head you reach
We cannot let those Fish get out of hand.鈥

Alicia, grab a Dirichlet and break them with a stick
Chris, it鈥檚 easy, just like ABC
And Sylvia, a mixture model ought to do the trick
But just you leave that Ronnie up to me.

Jose battled them with inference and curdled Neyman鈥檚 blood
And Ed told jokes that made them shake their head
And posteriors lined like beaches like sandbags for a flood
And Jim threw whiskey bottles as they fled.

And when the Bayesians and the Fishers were washed up on the sand
The fight was almost judged to be a tie
But it was Susie who kept going, who led the final charge
For she didn鈥檛 want objective Bayes to die

She sent the beach on fire as she galloped through the fray
Hurling P and F tests through the foam
鈥榯il the Fishers raised surrender and called the fight a day
And shut their laptops down and sailed for home.

And now at ISBA meetings where the Bayesians spend their days
To laugh and learn and share a drink or two
A glass is always toasted: to Susie, Queen of Bayes
And the cheering echoes loudly round the crew.

She will be remembered for setting Bayesian stats on fire
For her contributions to the field are long
And her passion and her laughter will continue to inspire
The Bayesian from Valencia lives on!

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