They Might Be Giants recently did a free concert at the Kennedy Center, and I was able to successfully drag my sweetie along to see it. This was their set list:

  • She’s An Angel
  • Clap Your Hands
  • The Guitar
  • Nonagon
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Fingertips
  • Never Go To Work
  • Particle Man
  • Your Racist Friend
  • I am a Paleontologist
  • Pirate Girls and I
  • James K Polk
  • Older
  • Dr. Worm
  • Damn Good Times
  • The Mesopotamians
  • Alphabet of Nations
  • What is a Shooting Star
  • Istanbul Not Constantinople

Alas, and unlike me, my sweetie found it less than unceasingly awesome, but that just means I need to take her to tens more TMBG concerts. What problems aesthetic differences cause, Stockholm Syndrome can cure. :)

CD/DVD separators

Admittedly, I haven’t done the exhaustive research needed to verify the feasibility or originality of all of my business ideas, but that’s not the case for this product. I know it would be salable because I want it, and I know it would be original because I’ve looked and can’t find it.

Many DVD and computer game discs come in boxes that contain multiple stacked DVDs, with nothing separating them. (This is also the most common way to store packs of writable discs.) After a while, discs stored in this way become scratched and unreadable due to rubbing against each other. The solution? Disc separators. What would work best would be thin (plastic?) platters, with a scratch-free (cloth?) coating on either side, and outer and inner diameters the same as the discs themselves. Each disc would be stored with a separator in between, and a problem would be profitably solved.

Wailin’ Jennys at the Birchmere

Ever since becoming captivated by their heavenly harmonies, I had been itching to see the Wailin’ Jennys in concert, waiting until they were close enough for me to drive to them. On 4/7/09 they came to the Birchmere, and I jumped. It was a wonderful concert. I had been up until 3 AM the morning of the concert grading papers, and had class that morning as well, followed by the three and a half hour drive to Alexandria, but my sleep deprivation was completely forgotten once the Jennys began singing. This was their set list:

  • Arlington
  • Beautiful Dawn
  • Intro: Manitoba, Man-it’-o-ba (This wasn’t a song, but a spoken intro of the Jennys’ impressions of the US while traveling it doing concerts. Very funny.)
  • Old Man
  • Bring me little water Silvie (which showcased the amazing range of Heather Masse, hitting bass notes as well as any tenor)
  • Drivin’
  • Deeper Well (an Emmylou Harris cover, and not a Jennys standard at the time)
  • Glory Bound
  • Motherless Child
  • One More Dollar
  • “Paint a Picture”? (not sure of the title on this one; it was a new one from Heather Masse)
  • Happy Birthday to You (in five-part harmony!)
  • Heaven When We’re Home
  • Payin’? Rayin? Pagin? Ragin? (very much not sure of the title of this one)
  • Weary Blues
  • Racing with the Sun
  • Avila
  • One Voice
  • The Parting Glass

The last two were the encore, and the best of the concert. The last was heartrendingly beautiful; the Jennys stepped to the very front of the stage, and the lights went down. The hall became so quiet I could hear Heather softly hum their starting pitch, then they began: a nearly perfect, achingly beautiful rendition of an old Irish tune.

And then, alas, it was over. The only thing that could have made it better was the inclusion of some of Annabelle Chvostik’s material (Apocolypse Lullaby, Devil’s Paintbrush Road), but considering that those were songs she had written before she joined, she probably wanted to retain exclusive rights to them after having left.

The only outright blemish of the evening? The audience, one of whose drunken members couldn’t resist shouting “Nice makeup!” to the Jennys. Nice rudeness, jerk. Feel free to be nicely absent the next time they perform there.

The economic advantages of fraternization

It’s often used as an advertisement for them that fraternities and sororities are advantageous because they increase business opportunities for their members, but is that really the case? Some enterprising economics grad student could get a thesis out of answering that question. Take fraternity/sorority members and nonmembers, correct for socioeconomic status, age, religion, nationality, and the other usual suspects of economic drivers, and see who earns more over their lifetimes. Even more interesting: lump all professions together, then separate them out. If being in a frat makes you richer, is that because of your business contacts, or because being in a frat makes you more likely to get an MBA instead of an MFA?