Thursday, January 7, 2010

Volume 4, Number 1: Microsoft Songsmith, and More Miscellaneous Mumbo-Jumbo

(Note: I posted this entry to my Yahoo! GeoCities blog on January 17, 2009.)

Earlier today, on YouTube, I came across a possible excuse Microsoft could have for why Windows Vista was such a crappy, buggy "upgrade" over XP: Apparently, they spent too much time working on this other software project called Microsoft Songsmith, where you sing a song and Songsmith comes up with music to back up your lyrics.

Some genius on YouTube decided to put Songsmith to the test, using some vocals-only tracks from songs like "Roxanne" by the Police. On Roxanne, Songsmith apparently decided that Sting's lyrics deserved a Caribbean beat with steel drums and horns. In other words, absolutely hilarious. (Update 1-7-2010: You may also want to check out the Songsmith polka version of Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train.)

Other potential hilarious applications could include extracting the audio from certain failed American Idol Auditions (like that guy in Philadelphia last year who sang "Go Down Moses" in that crazy voice, or Fookling Lee's audition in 2005, or William Hung's "She Bangs, She Bangs"). And I wonder if I could get Songsmith to put Vegas swingin' lounge music to the lyrics from Godsmack's "Keep Away." (Update 1-7-2010: Actually, I did do two Songsmithed versions of failed AI auditions: the aforementioned Go Down Moses, and also Milo Turk's No Sex Allowed.)

In other news...

The holidays: Shopping was a pain; 1/3 of my shopping wound up being a Walmart gift card for my older brother and his family and another 1/3 was a gift certificate for my younger brother. I also finally accomplished a long-overdue goal: I gave more than I got.

Fantasy football: My Detroit Renaissance finally won the Hughes All-Internet League title for the first time in 13 tries. I started out 2-2 in that league (with two very close losses), then went 11-0 the rest of the way to win the title after three losses in the big game. But the real surprise was my Detroit Vipers--whom I expected would go no better than 7-7 going into the season--winning the championship in Todd's Ultimate Fantasy Football (TUFF). They got hot when it mattered, going from 4-5 to 9-5 to finish the regular season and then knocking off three division winners in the final three weeks. One noteworthy bit was that Brandon Jacobs helped the Denver Devils get to TUFF Bowl IX, but then his NFL team benched him for Week 17 to keep him healthy so he couldn't help Denver beat my Vipers.

Real sports: The Lions finished 0-16. All the more reason why I play fantasy football to begin with--when I was young, I was frustrated with waiting for the hometown teams to win titles--no Detroit team won a major sports title in the 1970s, if you remember. Anyway, the Lions just hired Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to be their new head coach, and I have hope for him. After all, Jim Mora Sr. (my personal first choice, never mind that he's almost 74 years old) was an NFL defensive coordinator before becoming an NFL head coach and he expunged the losing cultures from New Orleans and Indianapolis during his time with each of those teams.

Business--excuse me, it's not business news anymore, it's Capitalism Gone Wrong: Gosh, why the heck haven't I mentioned it before: Bernie Madoff. A month ago, we all heard the shocking news that Madoff has done what I thought no human would be so devoid of conscience as to do it: Rob from rich (billionaires) and poor (charities) alike. He claims to have stolen $50 billion by means of a Ponzi scheme, but according to Alexandra Penney (a former editor of Self magazine and one-time best-selling author), $17 billion is more accurate. No matter what the number, the damage is everywhere--suicides, the impact on Wall Street, and people who once thought they were set for life suddenly finding themselves having to go back to work (like Penney). What's alarming is that the agency that was formed under Franklin Roosevelt to stop precisely this kind of fraud from happening--the Securities and Exchange Commission--has been failing to do so for years now. First Enron, then the subprime mortgage mess, then the bank failures (Bear Stearns et al.) and now this. 28 years ago, in his Inaugural Address, President Reagan said, "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." What a frigging lie.

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