I remember my first PASS Summit in Denver in January 2002 (Delayed from Sep 2001 in Orlando due to Sep 11). One of the last sessions that I attended was led by Fabian Pascal. He runs a website called www.dbdebunk.com and is rather entertaining at times. At the time that I attended the Summit, I was teaching at High Point University. At many academic institutions, practicality doesn't count. Perhaps I did not realize when I was listening to Fabian at the time, but it soon became clear to me why vendors "customize" the ANSI SQL Standard. It is very evident that Fabian thinks things through carefully and has a great command of database concepts.But he is very "academic" in his thinking. I am not saying that this is bad, but if there is a way to perform actions in a more efficient manner and increase performance by deviating from the "standard", it should be considered.
On a lighter side, I learned that I could stay up all night drinking and still make it to sessions the next day. I learned this in (take your pick of years). :-)