### Stuck in my head: Kanye meets Zach

Sometimes Youtube can be so beautiful. I found this a while back, but I can't remember if I was searching for Zach Galifianakis (gal-eh-fin-ah-kis) or Kanye West because they are two of my favorite artists in comedy and hip hop, respectively. Now they're my favorite in both realms at the same time!

Kanye is often credited as being part of the "conscience" hip hop movement along with Common, Mos Def, Talib Kwali and the Roots. However, instead of explicitly denouncing the negative aspects of ghetto culture and/or promoting alternatives, he instead revels in hip hop's extreme hypocrisy (HipHopCricy?), injecting his lyrics with a deep sense of irony, "Now I'm tryin' to right my wrongs/ It's funny cause those same wrongs helped me wright this song." He drags the dark secrets of hip hop out into the open and shines a bright light on them. Whether they hold up under scrutiny is up to his audience to decide.

At the same time, Kanye reveals a lot about his personal life. His first two (big) albums were "College Dropout" and "Late Registration". In the first, he wrestles with his decision to drop out of college (duh) and pursue music. The second is in part his attempt to make up for his forsaken education by holding class himself on subjects ranging from blood diamonds, to the rap's ironic acceptance among suburban youth, to drug addiction.

Zach Galifianakis, on the other hand, is just one funny dude. His brand of dark, avant-gard humor really resonates with me. "One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop saying, 'You go girl' to myself. I broke that resolution yesterday because I finished a puzzle." Or one of my other favorite lines, "I wear a lot of Axe Body Spray. But since I live in a mostly black neighborhood, I have to call it Ask Body Spray."

The only sad thing is that given his ego, I doubt Kanye West would approve of Zach's take on his music. But the Amish backup dancers! Come on, that's just great. A blinged-out Will Oldham? Seriously? Wow.

Catch Kanye West's new album "Graduation" on September 11.

Aside: You may also remember Kanye as the guy who reminded everyone that "George Bush does not care about black people." after the Katrina disaster, on national TV no less. Yes, I agree, he's much more articulate after rehearsing, but you know you'd be nervous too, all looking around for the Secret Service and/or Dick Cheney.

Any word yet on whether members of the "conscience" hip hop movement appreciate the comic stylings of performers other than Dave Chappele? The trail has gone cold in my own research... Granted, I did just ask google in the poorly drafted search, "Who likes comedy?" Even with my own dedicated research team, I'm not equipped to handle clicking through 8769509038482027502 pages to find the answer
erinjohn said…
nothing better than pelvic thrusts on a tractor. gets me every time!
mama mia said…
difficult to "stay faithful in a room (or pasture) fulla hoes" eh?
I've never seen clogging done quite like this before!
martha said…
Hilarious! A crazy juxtaposition of two completely opposing cultures. Nothing like a pot-bellied farmer doing pelvic thrusts and his side-kick hanging from the front of a tractor doing strip tease moves in red shorts. WOW.
Mom

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I started by downloading a stock photo of J.J. from NBA.com, which I then loaded into OpenOffice Draw:

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…