Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cake – "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" (2001)

She is fast and thorough
And sharp as a tack
She's touring the facilities
And picking up slack

The New Yorker recently had a piece about Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of Theranos, a Silicon Valley company whose technology threatens to revolutionize blood testing.  Click here if you'd like to read it.

Holmes was a Stanford undergraduate when she conceived of a way to perform multiple lab tests on a drop or two of blood drawn with a pinprick of your finger – which meant no more trips to a testing lab to get a needle stuck into your vein so that a syringe or two full of blood can be extracted.  (A conventional lab test for cholesterol costs about $50.  The Theranos cholesterol test – which is currently being offered in a limited number of Walgreens drug stores – costs $2.99.)

Elizabeth Holmes
She filed for a patent on her idea, and decided to leave Stanford to start a company.  Her chemical engineering professor tried to persuade her to get her degree first, but eventually chose to give up his tenured professorship and work for Theranos full-time.  

Today, the company's board of directors includes former cabinet members (Henry Kissinger and George Shultz), former Senators (Bill Frist – the former Senate majority leader, who also happens to be a cardiac surgeon – and Sam Nunn), the former director of the federal government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the former CEO of Wells Fargo Bank.

Theranos has an estimated value of $9 billion.  Holmes, who owns more than 50% of the company, has been called "the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world."   

Holmes is a vegan, lives in a two-bedroom condo, doesn't own a television, hasn't taken a vacation in ten years, and doesn't have time to date.  (Henry Kissinger and his wife, Nancy, have to tried to fix her up, but without success.)  

Elizabeth Holmes
Like the young woman in our featured song, I'm sure Elizabeth Holmes is "fast and thorough and sharp as a tack," with "a mind like a diamond."

And I'm sure Elizabeth Holmes "gets up early" and "stays up late" and "uses a machete to cut through red tape." 

According to the New Yorker article, Holmes always wears a black suit and a black turtleneck.  I'm not sure if her suits have short skirts and long jackets.  But whether they do or not, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" could have been written about her.

"Short Skirt/Long Jacket" was released on Cake's 2001 album, Comfort Eagle.  Cake can be a little too cool for school, but I've always liked this song. 

Perhaps that's because I work with a lot of young female attorneys who are "fast and thorough and sharp as a track," or because I have a daughter who I can visualize "touring the facilities and picking up slack" at her job.

(A note to all you grammar Nazis out there.  Yes, I realize that the "who" in the previous sentence is an object, not a subject – which means that, strictly speaking, it should be "whom."  But I have declared war on "whom" because it is used mostly by pedantic know-it-alls who are more interested in showing everyone how smart they are rather than writing prose that is simple and clear and doesn't draw attention to itself.)

Here's the very interesting music video for "Short Skirt/Long Jacket":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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