Droppin’ science

I’ve got a busy morning. Here are two of my favorite humans, Neil deGrasse Tyson and GZA, discussing science and hip-hop. Tyson has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia and a list of accolades as infinite as the cosmos, so it’s awesome to see how impressed he is with The (other) Genius. But that’s part of what makes Tyson so awesome:

Humanity’s pinnacle achieved

I don’t want to oversell this, but I’m pretty sure this kid who calls himself HandFartMaster on YouTube is the greatest artist since the dawn of human ears and hands. He’s got versions of “The Cave,” “Hallelujah,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Let it Be,” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” all performed with hand farts. Can this possibly be real?

Via Vulture.

Friday Q&A, pt. 3: The randos

Brief note: I am shocked, horrified and generally miserable after what happened in Connecticut this morning. It’s a shocking, horrifying and miserable thing. I’ve got nothing insightful to say about the subject.

I’ve seen several people suggest that anything written about anything else today is unnecessary and/or unimportant, and I certainly hear that. But nothing I ever write about here is necessary or important, and I don’t really know what else to do this afternoon but answer some silly questions about silly topics in a silly fashion. Is this the time for that? Of course not. But if you think about it that way, it’s never the time for that.

In other words: Please don’t take this stupid blog post as a lack of respect for the awful gravity of a shooting that killed 27 innocent people, 18 of them children. It’s not meant that way; it’s just a stupid blog post. I don’t blame you if you don’t feel like reading stupid blog posts today, so if that’s the case just click away. There’ll be plenty of stupid blog posts here whenever you feel up to returning.

Meggings, Rob has explained to me, are leggings for men. I don’t know why they need their own distinct name, since the term “leggings” is not at all gendered to begin with.

Regardless, they’re not for me. Maybe they’re comfortable, but my issue with pants isn’t their name but how constricting and unventilated they are, and that doesn’t seem likely to change with meggings.

Also, you guys can’t see my lower half on the web videos, but I’ve got disproportionately large legs. It’s a weird family thing. My brother held our high school’s squat record until I broke it eight years later. It’s a useful body type for pushing stuff around, but it’s decidedly the wrong build for tight pants of any sort. What I’m looking for is more of a toga or muumuu.

That is an outstanding article about a $26 chicken sandwich, and I’m far too vain to callously recommend lengthy sandwich reviews besides my own. This one’s funny and well written, and it demonstrates a very strong understanding of the nature of sandwiches. Kudos to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, whose Food Lab posts are also consistently interesting.

These sentiments should sound familiar to TedQuarters faithful:

…the First Rule of Sandwich-Making: a sandwich must be greater than the sum of its parts.

There are implications to this statement. In order to achieve sandwich greatness, you don’t necessarily need to start with great ingredients—so long as when you add those ingredients together and put them between bread, if they are thus improved, then you have succeeded at the art of sandwich-making.

I didn’t watch the whole thing; I got home late and fast forwarded through most of it, breaking when I saw Adam Sandler, when I noticed that Kanye was wearing a skirt, and then when I caught up with the DVR during Billy Joel’s set. As a Long Islander, I am oddly comforted by the music of Billy Joel and found myself getting a cup of warm milk and taking out my contact lenses during his performance — Billy Joel was literally putting me to sleep.

I don’t particularly like Coldplay and I thought Chris Martin sounded like he might have had a cold or something, but Michael Stipe’s appearance was great. It made me think of what other R.E.M. songs I would have liked to hear, which made me think of “Stand,” which made me realize “Stand” is probably too cheery for the occasion, which ultimately made me turn down the volume during Chris Martin’s last song so I could see if there was a way to sing a sad version of “Stand.” It’s not really possible. If you slow it down a lot you can make it sound sort of wistful, but without changing the melody you’re not really going to make it full-out sad.

I thought Paul McCartney sounded pretty great, and the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die” were amazing. I wish he did more Beatles songs and I wish he played more than one song with Nirvana, though. And I need to go back and watch Roger Waters’ set.

Maybe. The operative part of this question is “if you were a monkey.” If I’m a monkey, I’m not into the same things that the human me is into. What do we know about monkeys? Monkeys like eating things, climbing things and throwing feces at people. You can do all of those things at Ikea!

Plus, presumably the monkey version of me wouldn’t be holding a lot of cash, both because I don’t often hold a lot of cash as a human and because monkeys are more or less unemployable. And say what you will about the food at Ikea, it’s reliably a pretty great deal. Don’t sleep on those Swedish meatballs.

Problem is, you need something that you could stomach for breakfast and something that you wouldn’t get sick of too quickly. My instinct is to say it’d be my mom’s ravioli, but I don’t know that I could handle eating it for breakfast. So it’s probably a cheeseburger, preferably one with lettuce and tomato so I get my vegetables. I could pretty much always go for a cheeseburger.

Oh, ahh… this is going to be sadder than it should be. Growing up, my family had one ornament that was a really tacky gold metallic bird with bendable legs that clamped on to the top of a branch — like a bird, get it? — instead of dangling from the branch. Everyone thought it was pretty ugly, but my brother always thought the bird was the neatest thing. The original got lost or broken or thrown out at some point before he died, but after he died, I got my parents and sister similar birds at a Christmas market in France. After I got married and started getting my own tree, my wife got me one of my own. It’s great; the bird clamps on top of the branch like real birds do. Very neat.

Notable fashion choices from last night’s Sandy benefit concert

Last night’s 12.12.12 benefit concert for Sandy relief featured some great music, some less-great music, some heartwarming and heartbreaking moments, and a bunch of odd fashion choices.  Obviously I mean no disrespect to those who gave their time to charity last night, all of whom have accomplished way more than I ever will in anything, or the cause itself. It’s just…

Roger Daltrey’s exposed nipples:

12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden - Live Concert

Roger Daltrey’s in pretty good shape for a 68-year-old man, which is to say that he should still never go shirtless in public. Also, it’s strange that Daltrey and Pete Townshend still call themselves The Who when they’re playing without two original members. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr aren’t about to start touring as The Beatles, I promise you that.

Bon Jovi’s turtleneck:

12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden - Live Concert

In his old age, Bon Jovi looks a little like a very straightlaced and lame version of David Bowie, playing much worse music.

Quentino Tarantino’s Wu Wear sweatshirt (via Twitter):

I usually like Quentin Tarantino’s movies up until the part when Quentin Tarantino shows up in them. He always seems like the kind of guy who’d wear a Wu Wear sweatshirt and Kangol hat to introduce Paul McCartney. Really psyched to see Django Unchained, though. Movie looks awesome.

Finally, and most importantly:

Kanye West’s leather skirt:

kanyeskirtThis is really conflicting. I have long fantasized about a world in which it’d be more socially appropriate for men to wear skirts, and Kanye West is the type of cultural tastemaker the manskirt movement could really use in its corner. But his skirt appears to be leather and he seems to be wearing leather pants under the skirt, both of which run totally counter to the whole point of wearing skirts. How sweaty must Kanye have been, performing under so many hot lights and so much leather? Kanye, if you’re reading this: Cotton. Go for cotton next time. It breathes with the body.

Also, I can’t think of Kanye West anymore without thinking of Aziz Ansari’s cousin Darwish. Language NSFW:

ALERT: McCartney to play with living members of Nirvana

Paul McCartney will fill the role of Kurt Cobain when he plays with the surviving members of Nirvana at the 12.12.12 concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy on Wednesday night….

McCartney said: “I didn’t really know who they were. They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said: ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time?’

“And somebody whispered to me: ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

The Guardian

I’ve seen a lot of joking and incredulity about this, but I think it’s actually a pretty logical fit. If you strip them down, a bunch of Kurt Cobain’s melodies sound a hell of a lot like they could be Beatles songs. Exhibit A:

Also, the other thing to consider is that Paul McCartney rules. I think he’s actually underrated among Beatles because of some of the lamer material he put out toward the end of the band’s run, but McCartney had the best voice in the group, wrote some amazing songs, and is a great bass player. Dude’s a treasure, and we should value every opportunity we have to see him perform.

I don’t know how long they’ll play since it’s a benefit concert featuring a variety of acts less exciting than Paul McCartney fronting Nirvana. Supposedly they have a collaborative song, but I hope they’re able to get in some McCartneyed versions of Nirvana songs and Nirvana’d versions of McCartney songs as well. It’ll be on PBS, so I suppose we’ll find out.

A-Rod denies existence of ‘Minotaur’ painting

No, I do not have a painting of my upper body on a Minotaur. I don’t know where they get that stuff.

Alex Rodriguez.

Well, yeah, but no one ever accused him of having a painting of his upper body on a minotaur. Minotaurs have the head of a bull with the body of a man, so replacing the head of a minotaur with Alex Rodriguez’s would just make it a painting of Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod was accused of having a painting of his upper body on a centaur, an entirely different type of Greek mythological manimal. And I really, really hope he knows the distinction, the above quote is misdirection meant to imply that he doesn’t, and a portrait of A-Rod as a centaur still hangs proudly somewhere in his apartment near the original Warhols and Basquiats.

Also, and not to be too cynical about A-Rod’s interest in art — he’s on one of the ads outside the Met, after all — but is it a coincidence that the two famous artists A-Rod owns are the same two referenced by Jay-Z on a song from Watch the Throne?


Today in things that exist: This video

I tweeted something about how horrible Wham’s “Last Christmas” is — and it’s awful — and the backlash led me down a Wikipedia rabbithole of Christmas songs popular in England. That brought me to this, from the band Wizzard. Good luck. It’s actually pretty catchy:

For what it’s worth, the costumes/outfits in the above video were not out of the ordinary for Wizzard:

With Wood’s distinctive warpaint make-up and colourful costume,[3] not to mention regular appearances on BBC Television‘s Top of the Pops in which members and friends, including Wood’s girl friend, singer Ayshea Brough, variously appeared in pantomime horses, gorilla costumes or as roller-skating angels, often wielding custard pies for good measure, they were one of the most picturesque groups in the British glam rock era.

Here’s Wizzard’s entry into the library of great band photos of the 1970s:

Here's what Wizzard looked like.

Bahts and balls

Good read from John Manuel at Baseball America about Steve Meinke, a Thai-American hand model who made Thailand’s World Baseball Classic team despite not having played baseball since a two at-bat Division III career in the late 90s:

“I had to deal with the language barrier, chickens, oldness, no medical training, more oldness, blown hamstring, water and food poisoning, more injuries, the whole cultural aspect of society there, and of course their approach to baseball, which many times drove me crazy,” Meinke said. “And I loved every minute of it.”

For his trouble, Meinke got to make a WBC-paid trip to Taiwan as a member of the Thai national team, where Damon was his teammate. “Johnny was always awesome and considerate to his teammates,” Meinke said, “and always warmed up with the non-Americans and even had the players sign his jersey.”

Meinke never got into a game, though. He was warming up in one game that Thailand lost by mercy rule, and was set to pinch-hit in another game that also ended early by mercy rule.

Before the WBC qualifiers, I started and scrapped a post about all the new participating teams to jokingly determine if there were any I might be good enough to play for. Once I realized that basically every country in the games has its own domestic baseball league, I figured I was eliminated not only by heritage but by utter lack of practice and athleticism. My grandmother was born in Scotland, though, and I’m hoping Scotland goes independent in time to field its own club for the next WBC just so I don’t have to give up the dream.

I’m going to Thailand in January, for what it’s worth, but by my best Internet research there isn’t any baseball in the places I’ll be. Also, though there’s little I’d rather do than watch baseball anyplace, it doesn’t seem like the best use of my limited time in Thailand to spend it doing the exact same thing I do all summer long at home.