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Columns > David Steinberg - Some Are Mathematicians

Published: 2003/01/23
by David Steinberg

Seven Below

Snow is interesting. It can turn us into kids or make us swear. It’s
beautiful but it frequently kills. Regardless of how I feel about it,
traveling to the east coast in an El Nino winter means that it has
to be dealt with. Snow in all of its aspects was present over the New
Years run, a run that was indeed seen through Seven Below.
Part 1: Blue, splinter and grow.
December 21, 2002 Seattle, WA
As I was sitting down to watch Back to the Future II, my phone rang.
It was Lindsay Bubbles1. There were lots of Augustus Gloops and
Veruca Salts floating around with golden tickets, but finally we have
a Charlie. She wanted this ticket so badly and she got it through a
random friend calling and asking if she was interested in it. The
call was so cute. She couldn’t form words. All she could do is
scream and be happy. Good for her. She’s an extremely sweet person
and wanted to go more than anyone I knew who was shut out. She
deserved it.
December 22, 2002 Seattle, WA
My New Year’s trip this year started with stupidity. I have no one to
blame for it but myself. I looked at my Starman outfit and decided
that I was tired of handwashing it. I put it in the washing machine
in the delicate cycle. Hey that just worked fine. Let’s use the
dryer too.
New rule: clothing held together with hot glue and the dryer do NOT
mix. I was appalled with what was left. Nothing had actually fallen
off, but most of the costume was flapping around. Surely I couldn’t
go to the New Years show and not be Starman, right? I only had a week
to figure out a plan. In desperation I called a vintage costume
company. Fortunately they had a glue gun and knew how to use it. For
$30 my costume was repaired and the disaster averted. Surely that
would be my dumb moment for the run, right?
December 25, 2002 – Seattle, WA
But look out these windows. Rain.
This miserable city is too cold and wet to burn.
-Bradley Denton. (Wrack and Roll)
My Christmas ritual was going so well. Watch Fiddler on the Roof.
Meet with the Seamonet at 2 PM for Thai food and a movie. I drove
through the pouring rain to get to The Ave. Since it’s Christmas, I
got a nice parking space across the street to New Star, crossed the
street, went up to it… and it was closed. New Star is never
closed on Christmas. In fact, the reason I discovered it was
that it was the only place open on Christmas a few years earlier.
Instead though Karen and I had to walk through the downpour to find an
somewhere that was open. We finally did come across one. They were
swamped. While waiting for our food to arrive, I had a chance to look
at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that someone at the next table was reading.
"Merry Christmas," read the main headline right above, "North Korea
Threatens Nuclear War."
That definitely put a damper on the evening. All throughout Gangs of
New York I thought about what would be worth such a risk. Watching
a movie where people fight and plan revenge and kill for no apparent
gain for themselves was fitting. I probably missed some of the
subtleties of the movie as I pondered. I can appreciate that there is
a certain pleasure in playing power games and struggling to be the
king of the hill. What I don’t get is their insistence to get those
of us who don’t care about their maneuvers into the fray. Do I blow up
buildings because I want people to understand that 12/28/97 is a
better show than 12/29/97?

For the first time in ages, I wondered about the intelligence of
traveling to the biggest target in the United States on a major
holiday. After a few moments though I came to the same conclusion.
Let’s say in mid 2004 the world does blow up. If I survive it, what
kind of memories do I want of the Golden Age? I’d much rather think
that I took full advantage of the ability to travel around freely than
that I did little because I was scared of things ending. If they end,
they end. I still think the wise move is to do what you want to do
and accept that disaster can come at any time. *Part 2: New crystals of snow * *December 28-29, 2002 Baltimore, MD *
"How was your trip?"
"The first three thousand miles were great. The last fifteen were
-Stephen Billias (The American Book of the Dead)
The flight across the country was quite peaceful. By the Midwest,
everything was covered in snow. It’s fun to look out the window from
20,000 feet and try to estimate accumulation. Even the Baltimore
area – except for the parts right by the harbor – had snow. The
roads looked clear though. I was raised in Baltimore. I know how
people there freak out during snow. Surely though, snow on the side
of the road couldn’t cause a problem right?
Everytime I fly into BWI these days, I quickly find cause to regret
it. Their security lines are incredibly long. Their employees tend
to range between stupid and obnoxious. When I flew in in 2001, they
had armed guards with machine guns at the ready. Those weren’t
present in 2002, but there were attack dogs. Fly into BWI, leave
with stress.
Compounding this problem was my rental car company trying to do me a
favor. I have an mp3 player. When I travel I like to bring it with
me. It’s barely larger than a cd jewel box, but it holds about three
hundred cds. Bring that and my tape adapter, and I have plenty of
music for my trip. However, Alamo knows what’s best for me. Tape
decks are old fashioned. Clearly what I wanted was a cd player in my
car. It took nearly an hour to find a car that actually still had
the cassette player. I’m going to have to find a different way of
using my player soon. There’s some sort of FM interface that might be
worth a try if it doesn’t destroy sound quality.
I finally got to leave the airport. I drove out of the parking
garage, onto I-195 and within a mile someone almost slammed right into
me. I was forced onto the shoulder. Merging onto I-795 a few miles
later it happened again. Apparently just seeing snow on the side of
the road was enough to freak people out.

My Mom’s house got just a little snow…

The meeting with the parents [2] went very well. There was football
to watch after all. Geoff, showing an anal retentiveness that I
could appreciate, had a list of all of the various things that would
have to happen for either the Browns (his team) or the Ravens (Mom’s
team) to make the playoffs. As games happened, he crossed off the
impossible scenarios. All of the games were incredibly exciting too.
One went to overtime. One came down to a goal line stand. It was a
perfect day for the NFL and not a bad one for the people watching. *December 30, 2002 – I-95/NJTP between Havre De Grace, MD and
Camden, NJ*
My plan for the 30th was to drive up to Albany to see George and
Elayne. On the way, I would have a bit of a nostalgia trip and visit
Bard. It had been ten years since I had graduated and I haven’t been
back since. Before all of that New York excitement though, Maryland,
Delaware, and New Jersey had to be traversed.
As I have mentioned, there are very few toll roads out west. I’m on
the east coast rarely enough that apparently I can get confused on
occasion. Crossing the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge [3], I got
ready to pay the $4 toll. I clearly saw a sign saying, "Cash – Use
all lanes." Spacing out a bit, I chose the shortest line. I got out
my money. I reached over to pay the toll booth operator… who
wasn’t there. I ended up in the automated toll taking lane somehow.
I tried honking my horn to get their attention, but there was just a
sign there. "Keep driving. A bill will be sent to you." It’ll
probably take some time for the bill to go through the rental car
company back to me, but I’m a bit worried that I’m going to get some
massive ticket.
I was so mad at the fiasco there, that I took the toll avoidance trick
at the Maryland/Delaware state line. Since that toll is up to $2.50
these days, as a public service, I’ll explain it. Get off at
the last exit in Maryland (Exit 109) towards Newark, DE. Make a right
on Delaware 2. Make another right on Delaware 896. That’ll get you
right back on the Interstate north of the toll. There are some
rumblings about changing the toll so you can no longer take advantage
of this, so use it while you can.
Back on 95, I headed further north. I crossed over the rather
majestic Delaware Memorial Bridge and then into New Jersey. The New
Jersey Turnpike has variable electronic speed limit signs. Those can
be rather useful when there’s bad weather or an accident or a reason
to lower the speed limit. They only can be useful under one condition
though. They have to be turned on. For the first thirty miles of New
Jersey, the speed limit was blank. Halfway through that stretch, I
saw a cop pulling someone over. How can they pull someone over for
speeding if there’s no posted speed limit?
December 30, 2002 – Annandale on Hudson, NY

California just tumbled into the sea

A lot can happen in ten years. At first, little seemed to have
changed. The tolls on the New York State Thruway were exactly the
same. Exit 19 went to Kingston, just as always. A quick drive over
the bridge got me to the traffic light for River Road and Bard. I
didn’t know where to go really, so I drove off to the bookstore to
get a sweatshirt or something. As I parked in the lot by my old dorm,
security came up to me. He was curious what I was doing there. I
figured it was pretty obvious. Who other than a Bard graduate would
show up on campus on December 30 blasting Steely Dan’s "My Old
School?" Fortunately, he understood my desire to go to the bookstore.
"Do you know where it is?" he asked. Sure, it’s right over there.
It turns out that, yes, a lot can happen in ten years.
As he was giving me directions to the new location of the bookstore, I
said, "Oh that’s by the Ravine Houses, right?" The Ravine Houses were
these cool little dorms that were built into a ravine [4]. They were
raised on stilts and were built to sway in the wind… or when someone
was running up and down the stairs… or when someone breathed too
hard. All sorts of rumors existed about them. The most popular one
was that they were condemned – a rumor loudly denied by Bard Dean
Stuart Levine in an issue of the Bard Observer [5]. Imagine my shock
when I found out that a few years after that article they were in fact
condemned. Moreover, at least one of them actually fell into the
ravine. My first dorm room was in Bourne. Now apparently that’s just
a pile of wood at the bottom of a steep hill.
That caused me to leave campus in a somber mood. Fortunately, not
everything had changed. The two musical highlights of a Bard trip
were still there. Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues ends
with the lines, "The pump don’t work/ ‘Cause the vandals took the
handles." Want to know where the pump is? It’s on campus, right
across the river from Dylan’s 1960’s hometown of Woodstock. Bard
rumor has it that Dylan was the vandal. Bard rumor also has it that
Quinn the Eskimo was written about a famous drug bust spearheaded by
G. Gordon Liddy and then Dutchess County sherriff Lawrence M. Quinlan.
I don’t believe these rumors, but I also didn’t believe that the
Ravine Houses were condemned.

Ummm dude, where’s the handle?

Much more likely to be true is the supposed origins of Steely Dan’s
Barrytown. Barrytown is the "town" next door to Annandale. There
isn’t much there. There are a couple of houses, a railroad crossing,
and oh yes, a Mooney camp.

"But over there in Barrytown they do things very

Now you can see why exactly "Barrytown people got to be from another
world." A friend of mine once went for a walk, got lost, and ended up
in the camp. Apparently all over the place there are little plaques
saying things like, "On this spot the Reverend Sun Myung Moon gave a
speech in 1973." I never ventured there myself. Those anti cult
movies of the 80s had an effect on me.
December 30-31, 2002 – Albany, NY
I had one fear on this trip. It was the fear of the weather. I
obsessively tracked the storm that was supposed to hit Albany on New
Years Eve. The weather reports kept changing. Heavy snow became
snow. Snow became wintry mix. Wintry mix became partly cloudy. I
was feeling pretty calm about matters until I managed to pick up a
Woodstock radio station. Not only did WDST change their format from
being a rather eclectic mix of songs to a standard classic rock
format, they used the word "freezing rain" in their forecast. I started to
freak out again. I could just picture myself being trapped in Albany
somehow with my ticket as the show raged on. I was NOT missing this
I talked to Elayne a bit that night and calmed myself down by telling
old war stories. I told the story about the drive out of Colorado in
1993 over US 550 after the Gunnison show. That’s a lovely road.
There’s a thousand foot drop to the right. There are no guardrails or
shoulders of course. That would be wimping out. You get to drive
around these hairpin turns with no room for error, oh and did I
mention that there was ice on the road? If I survived that trip with
5 people loaded into my old Geo Metro, there was no way that a little
bit of ice was stopping me from seeing the return show. As the
freezing rain fell, I kept checking the thermometer in my car.
During the night it kept getting warmer. By the time I went to sleep,
it was up to 31. Maybe this won’t be an issue after all.
My sleeping habits are pretty messed up. I woke up and looked at the
time. 5 AM. George and Elayne won’t be up until about 9. Well why
don’t I just see what the conditions are like. I went downstairs and
unlocked the door. The ground was wet under my bare feet. Wet but
not icy! Yay! I turned around to open the door and… huh, I
thought I had unlocked it.
There I was in a t shirt and sweat pants, standing out in a cold rain.
At first I tried to be polite. I mean I was a guest in this house and
it was 5 AM. I knocked once or twice. I rang the doorbell once or
twice. After five minutes or so I gave up on that approach. Yes I
should be polite, but I’m freezing out here. BANG BANG BANG!!!
Finally, George heard some strange noise and figured he should check
it out. There might be a suave way of explaining that you locked
yourself out of the house at 5 AM, but if there is I don’t know it. I
just humbled myself before him and read for a while.
December 31, 2002 – New York, NY
It turned out that the roads were fine. We were even able to take
the Taconic State Parkway into the city. The Taconic is an amazing
road. It runs more or less parallel to the New York State Thruway
only it’s a free road, doesn’t allow trucks on it, and goes through
much prettier scenery. Despite that, there never seems to be any
traffic on it. The only drawback to it is that it was built
to 1920’s motoring standards. Some of the entrance ramps give you
about ten feet to get up to highway speed and merge. If the weather
holds though, it’s the best way of getting into the city. This day it
held. I kept watching the thermometer – thank you Alamo for giving me
something to geek out on. By the time we hit Manhattan, it was well
in the 50s. I’m used to freezing on New Years Eve. This would be a
welcome change.

Ever since I first saw the Dead at Madison Square Garden in 1988, I
had always wanted to stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania. It had the great
location of course, but it was also famous. How many hotels have
their phone number immortalized in a jazz standard? This was the
year that I would finally do it. If you exclude the blood that Elayne
found on the toilet, the incredibly crowded lobbies, and the fact that
it took George two hours to get to the room after the show because
people couldn’t understand that elevators have weight limits, it was
almost acceptiable.
Staying there does have its advantages. We got to walk around the
Garden taking photos and seeing the insanity. It wasn’t as bad as I feared.
Sure there were a lot of people out there and a lot of very clever
signs, but it looked like the scene outside of a New Year’s show to
me. It didn’t look any worse than that. I was scared that people
would be ripping tickets out of other fans hands and stuff. Instead
it was just the usual madhouse.

Finally, FINALLY, it was time to go in. First show back! FIRST SHOW
BACK! Waiting in line, people were chanting the "Wilson" line to each
other. It was hard to keep the excitement in check. What would it be
like when the lights went out? I killed time by playing with my
update script.
Since I couldn’t get anyone to agree to stay home and receive phone
calls for this show, I decided to try something different to update
the setlists. I created a hidden form on ihoz that would link to a
script that I wrote. That script would update a public page that I
told people about. I bookmarked the hidden one on my palm pilot/cell
phone. All I would have to do is write in the form, and the page
would be updated. It worked reasonably well. Of course it did take
me twenty minutes to get a connection at midnight – it kind of slipped
my mind that perhaps people would want to be calling each other then.
It more or less went smoothly, but it was a complete pain in the ass
to update all of the time. Part of this was my fault; I said I
would update after every third song, but I ended up giving into the
temptation to update whenever a song started. Way too much of my
energy in the show was focused on doing the updates. I’m glad that I
did it for this one show, but never again.
The stream of welcome back songs (Welcome Back Kotter, Reunited, The
Boys Are Back in Town, etc.) was suddenly halted in the middle of Long
Time. The lights went out. The crowd went crazy. It was good. I
confess that I was expecting more. I was expecting an earth
shattering, life changing moment. It wasn’t that though. It
felt less like the end of a long break and more like they had never
left. I found it very easy to slip into my old habits of writing
detailed notes after two years of not keeping setlists when I was at
a show. More than my mom’s house, more than Bard, it felt like
returning home.
Maybe that explains why Phish actually ended the Piper. Maybe that
explains the old school first set and the fact that there were no
covers played in all of 2002. We might not have been the only ones
relieved to have our Phish back.
By now detailed reviews of this show have been posted all over the
net, but there’s no way I can bring up this concert and not talk about
midnight. When Seven Below started, I was pretty happy about the
song selection. It’s one of my favorites off of Round Room. I
thought I liked it before, but it’s nothing to how I feel about it
now. Whenever I think about this song now, I think about the snow
falling. First it fell in confetti form. Then the snow machines went
to work spitting out some bubbly confection. My section got quite a
bit of snow, admittedly not as much as the white out conditions in the
section behind us, but still it was amazing. There was other stuff
going on but all I could do was jump up and down. It’s snowing! It’s
snowing!!! Once again a perfect moment was defined. That itself was
worth the price of the trip.
Part 3: Seen several kinds
January 2-4, 2003 – Hampton, VA
The off day was spent back in Baltimore. The Bagel Boys and I drove
back down to my parents’. We were pretty much in agreement about the
show. It was a good show, better than anything that I saw during the
hiatus, but not the best quality Phish show ever. New Year’s is
never the best show of the run. Fortunately we had three more shows to go.
The last time that I had been in Hampton was in 1992 to see the quasi
stealth Dead shows. Oh ok, there was the Phish show at the Boathouse
in Norfolk later that year, but when people say Hampton, they mean the
spaceship. I had never seen Phish inside it before.
Walking into the venue the first night, I had a scare. My ticket
didn’t scan. The ticket taker told me to go over to the box office
and they would take care of it. I started to walk in that direction
before it hit me that I was already inside the venue. Why not do the
wookie thing and go right in. It turned out that a lot of mail
orders had the same problem and most people used my solution. It was
probably easier on the venue that we did that for that matter.
I think this night’s first set was the set of the run. There are so
many definitive versions of songs here. The Chalk Dust was the second
best I’ve ever heard live or on tape. [6] Bathtub is always a great
jam. Get Back on the Train is at least equal to the 6/14/00 version.
I can’t think of any Water in the Sky that comes close to the one from
this set. Sure the end of Silent fell apart, but the peaks were
amazing. I’d much rather have a show that is half 10s and half 4s
than a show of all 7s. It’s those peak moments that give me the
permagrins and keep me coming back to the show.
Friday had a surprise adult moment. The Mockingbird Foundation had a
formal meeting at the Embassy Suites conference room. We had a white
board and pitchers of water and candy jars. It felt quite formal and
business like, except for the fact that we were listening to a
FOB cd of the NYE Waves. Those moments are important because they
put the rest of my tour into sharp relief. I don’t spend all of my
time dressed as a superhero.
I had predicted Pebbles and Marbles to open the run. It was the one
song I was most excited to hear. It finally came in the middle of
Friday’s first set and started the peak moment of the entire week.
The beginning could have been smoother, but once the jam got started
it kept going and going. At the end of it I called out for them to
just play it again. I got my section to help me out with a Pebbles
and Marbles cheer. This is really good stuff.
The power continues for some time. Sure Trey restarts You Enjoy
Myself and then flubs it just as badly on the second attempt. It
doesn’t matter. The jam is just amazing. It had a strong effect on
me. All I remember about the set break was being incredibly
annoyingly cheerful to everyone. It reached the point where I
proposed to my friend Ann because she gave me some Dipping Dots. I
think her fiance took it in good spirits. The first half of the
second set just kept it going. The Wolfman’s Brother especially is a
must hear.
There were definite patterns forming after the first three shows of
the run. Time Loves a Hero (and yes Auld Lang Syne) was the only
cover. There still wasn’t a Mike’s Song, Down With Disease, or 2001.
Were these new post hiatus rules or were they just saving a lot for
the final show? The cover song suspense ended quickly when Boogie On
Reggae Woman appeared in the second slot. As much as I love Rock and
Roll, I was worried when it opened the second set. Mike’s Billboard
interview where he talked about retiring songs that they wrote in
college made it seem likely that Mike’s Song would be retired. Walls
of the Cave included a slap part that sounded a lot like the
Weekapaug intro. Perhaps those songs have been superceded.
...or perhaps not. Mike’s followed. The rest of the set looks like
someone’s wishlist. Mike’s, Rock and Roll, 2001, What’s the Use, and
DWD all in the same set. It’s not quite as good as the setlist makes
it look, but I’m not sure it has to be. The Bagel Boys said that they
thought this was the best show of the run. Personally I think they’re
insane because 1/2 and 1/3 had higher peaks, but I like this kind of
question. As George put it when I asked him which show was his least
favorite, "I wish all of our Presidential choices were like this.
Which amazingly good option should I choose?"
For the record I rank the shows: 1/3, 1/2, 12/31, 1/4 but I constantly
change my mind about them. They all have flaws, but they all have
moments of peak goodness. Listening to the shows right now to help
write this column is getting me extremely excited for Vegas.
Part 4: Through seven below *January 5, 2003 – I-95 between Fredericksburg VA and Columbia,
The drive back to BWI was not making me happy. One of the best weeks
of my life had come to an end. The music was so good and I was with
so many people that I love. This run wasn’t an ending though. It was
a beginning. It was a celebration of the fact that we’ll be
having many more weeks like this in the future. Maybe they won’t all
be this perfect, but they’ll have a shot. [7]
As I was thinking that, I started noticing something. It was
snowing. A quick call to Ellen [8] let me know that there was about
an inch of snow in her house, ten miles from the airport. I was
raised in Baltimore. I know how people there freak out during snow.
Surely though, a couple of inches couldn’t cause a problem with my
flight right?
January 5, 2003 – Linthicum, MD
BWI is the most frustrating airport, but at least I know that now. I
made sure to get a flight that left late on Sunday to give me plenty
of time to get to the airport and go through security. I dropped off
my car at noon, watched the end of the sad Browns/Steelers game, and
waited for my flight. Around 3 PM or so we boarded. I was getting a
little nervous about my connection in Cincinnati when they started
talking about delays due to deicing. Then they suddenly announced
that the airport was closed. Admittedly my window was covered with
snow, but it wasn’t coming down that hard. When they said they’d be
showing a complimentary movie while we waited, I knew I was going to
miss my connection. What floored me though was when they suddenly
announced that the flight was canceled.
Any airline can provide good customer service when things go well.
The challenge is to come through when there are problems. By that
standard, Delta completely failed me. We poured out of the plane and
into a line. It took over two hours for them to get me a new flight
to Seattle. It wasn’t a good new flight mind you. It had two
changes – one of them with only a 30 minute window to catch the flight – and wouldn’t get me into town until 5 PM the next day. Moreover,
they decided that they would stick to the exact letter of their
obligations. Meal vouchers? Hotel vouchers? Ha! Technically, this
was a weather related delay. No vouchers need be given for that.
Never mind that at the same time that we were being removed from the
plane, other people were boarding their flights [9]. As if that
wasn’t enough, they just took all of our bags and dumped them in an
unsecured area by baggage claim. The entire time I was waiting in
line my bag was just sitting there waiting to be stolen. Delta
didn’t care though.
Baltimore Washington International is not the best airport to sleep
in. Even at 3 AM they felt compelled to announce every five minutes
that you wouldn’t be allowed through security without a ticket, both
in English and Spanish. That was a fun thing to constantly wake up
to. I also appreciated the excellent "customer service" that Delta
provided the next morning. When I asked for a person that I could
officially complain to since I didn’t want to bother the people at the
gate, Natasha angrily told me, "Yes don’t bother me with your
problems." Hey, you weren’t the one who spent the night on an airport
floor last night. Don’t give an attitude. It did seem to be a BWI
thing, not a Delta problem. Once I made it to Cincinnati, things got
a lot more polite. We even got to Salt Lake City early to make my
life easier. I was quite amused boarding my plane in Salt Lake
(and calling in sick to work, "I’m sick… sick of being in damn airports
that is.") to discover that I was given a first class seat for that
leg. I had never flown first class before. It was ok I guess, but
for a ninety minute flight it doesn’t get you much. The cookies were
rather good though. [10]
January 8, 2003 – Seattle, WA
Ah home. Being back at work was lame, but at least I had something to
listen to. My first Live Phish experience was amazing. The boards
downloaded quickly and sounded amazing. Thank you Phish once again.
There is one problem with everyone having boards. It’s easier to
notice flubs in soundboards. I suspect that’s why the reviews of the
Hampton run have become negative. There might also be a generational
issue happening here. I grew up seeing the Dead. Trey spacing on a
verse of Simple or not quite nailing the intro to You Enjoy Myself
isn’t a flub to me. Mumbling your way through an entire Stella Blue
is a flub. I don’t expect perfection from Phish. Would I prefer
it? Yes. However, as long as they give me moments of bliss, a
missed chord isn’t that big of a deal to me; sometimes it even adds
some character to the show.
Between the Piper, Waves, Harry Hood, Seven Below, Walls of
the Cave, Chalk Dust, Bathtub, GBOTT, Water in the Sky, 46 Days,
Pebbles and Marbles, YEM, Wolfman’s, Possum, Contact, Rock and Roll,
and Weekapaug I had more than enough moments where my jaw was
completely on the floor. I’m going to hold the line. This was a
great New Years run. Phish are back and they’re jamming incredibly
well. I can’t think of anything that is a better sign for a great
[1] No, that’s not her real last name. She just likes bubbles.
[2] Well mom and stepfather. Parents is just shorthand.
[3] If you’re curious, Millard E. Tydings was a US Senator who was
from Havre De Grace. There apparently are very few famous people from
that town. Cal Ripken now is the most famous native of the town; if
the bridge were being named now, it might have been named after him.
[4] Hence the name "Ravine Houses"
[5] "Zero! Wrong! They were absolutely never condemned!" The
article also denies the rumor that they were flown in from Austria by
helicopter and that they were designed to burn to the ground in four
minutes. It could be argued that Bard students have way too much
time on their hands.
[6] 7/10/99 of course being the first best.
[7] Ok Hampton wasn’t completely perfect. I have one regret. The
only night I saw the 7 Below t shirts, I had no cash on me. I
really want one of them. They’re beautiful. If the person who made them is
reading this, please contact me at if you have any
more. Thanks.
[8] Doesn’t it make sense in a column about the return of Phish to
have the return of an Ellen reference?
[9] Ironically a Northwest flight to Seattle departed from the gate
right across the aisle. I thought about begging to be let on it, but
they probably had some obscure rule about wanting passengers to have
a ticket for the flight they were trying to board.
[10] Followup note: I sent Delta a letter about this experience.
Their response was to write back a letter dripping with sympathy and
to make it up to me they decided to give me a thousand frequent flier
miles. A thousand frequent flier miles? That’s not exactly helpful
David Steinberg got his Masters Degree in mathematics from New
Mexico State University in 1994. He first discovered the power of live
music at the Capitol Centre in 1988 and never has been the same. His
Phish stats website is at
and he was the stats section editor for
The Phish Companion.
You can
read more of his thoughts at

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