Strange and Weird

Don’t Tell Mom, but You Can Play With Your Food

We’ve all heard it from our Mom’s, when we were kids, “Don’t play with your food!”  Okay, maybe it was just me, but when I was a kid I, like many kids, didn’t like, nor did I eat my vegetables.  Instead I just pushed them around my plate (I tried giving them to my dog, but she didn’t want them either) until Mom finally got so exasperated and told me to leave the dinner table.  Now I am an adult and to be perfectly honest, I not only eat my vegetables, but I find a meal incomplete without a veggie being on the plate.

Well, apparently these adults never listened to their Moms’ on the not playing with their food front.  They instead decided to continue playing with their food, which, some how, that continued playing with their vegetables led them towards making music with them . . . Um, wait, what?!

Yes, apparently they recorded an album.  I don’t know if it is available on iTunes™ though...

Sound Tourism

Bell Caves In Israel

Bell Caves In Israel

I know what many of you might be thinking right now, “What in the heck is sound tourism?”  If not, I can tell you that is exactly what I was thinking when I first heard (no pun intended) about such a thing, but I can assure you that it is an actual tourism niche.

Most of us like to go on vacations where we get to see things, whether those things be places that we have never seen with our own eyes before, or whether it be because of a brochure, or some other advertisement that we saw tells us of how beautiful the views, and sights are at a particular destination.  I’m guilty of being more partial to what my eyes want, than my ears when it comes to selecting a vacation destination, and I think the vast majority of people are the same.  Nonetheless, and I guess it really shouldn’t come as any surprise, but there are actual tourist destinations that are meant to appeal more to our sense of hearing, than our sense of sight.

Again, when I first heard (still no pun intended) of sound tourism, I had to believe that there must only be a handful of places to which one can go for the sound.  In short, my belief was wrong.  As it turns out there are sound tourist destinations in several countries, all over the world.  To find out more about many of these sound destinations you can visit a website that is devoted to sound tourism, called Sonic Wonders.  What kind of destinations are there you might ask?  Well, Sonic Wonders does a good job of ranking the sites on a scale of, Worth a Journey, Worth a Detour, Interesting, and Unrated, so you can plan you next trip accordingly.  The ratings aside though, when I did a cursory browse through some of the countries listed in Sonic Wonders database, many of those destinations are in some definitely travel worthy countries and locales, so I can assure you that your eyes won’t be feeling neglected on you vacation.  Take for example that you could visit the Singing Dunes in Chile’, or how about one of the most acoustically precise music halls in the world for classical music, The Vienna Musikverein in Austria?  Not exotic enough for you?  Then take a trip to India, and visit the ancient city of Golkonda, where you can see/hear the “clapping telephone” which was used to make an auditory signal over long distances – long, long before anyone even knew what a telephone was.  How about traveling to Croatia and listen to the Sea Organ, which is an actual organ that is powered by the waves of the sea?

Regardless of what sonic destination you may choose, I am pretty confident that once there, and after you have pleased your ears, that there will be plenty of other things there to both see, and hear.


IBM’s Watson Goes Blue

According to the Urban Dictionary, a definition of “Blue” is:  Material, used by a stand-up comedian, that is considered crude or obscene.

Watson Goes Blue

This isn’t some sort of Isaac Aismov “Robot Dreams” story, where a robot, or any other form artificial intelligence assumes control of something that it shouldn’t, or was never intended to control. Oh, no, no, this is nothing that dire at all.  It is actually a more funny story than that.  It is the story of IBM, and its amazing quiz show winning, artificial intelligence computer, called Watson.

For those who are not familiar with who/what Watson is, he/it is the direct descendant of IBM’s chess winning super computer, “Deep Blue,” though Watson is far more advanced in that it can understand questions asked of it verbally, and then answer said questions in natural language too.  It is so good at it, that it crushed two of the most successful contestants EVER on the quiz show Jeopardy over a three day tournament.  Basically Watson is one of the closest things we have to an actual “thinking” computer.

Now for the funny part.  In an effort to enable Watson to understand more aspects of the English language, the programmers fed Watson the Urban Dictionary, in its entirety.  The reason for this is because in everyday speaking most of us mere humans will throw a little slang in our speech, and the Watson programmers wanted Watson to be able to understand all aspects of English language, and then respond as naturally as a human would.  Makes sense right?  Well, just like when a child that learns a funny/dirty slang word that a parent would object to that child using, Watson took its new found Urban Dictionary learning a little too far, and could not separate when was the appropriate time to use any and all of those slang words.  In short, Watson developed a potty mouth, even using “bullshit” in response to a question.  While a parent can use any of a number of methods to reprimand their child for using naughty words, the programmers thought washing Watson’s mouth out with soap might do more damage than good, so they did what they thought best, and simply deleted the Urban Dictionary from Watson’s memory.  Insert slang response here.


Yes, Long Live Molvania

Okay, I was just cruising around the ol’ “interweb” looking for something good to post today, and I came across the following video. It isn’t new, it has been around since May of 2007, and it isn’t rare either, because it has been seen over 2 million times since its upload; but once I saw it I had to share it.  The title of the song is called “Elektronik Supersonik,” and the video is listed on YouTube as “The Worst Music Video.”  It is so bad it is, dare I say – good?  I know it must be a spoof, because (1) there is no country called Molvania, (2) the artists are obviously in costume, and (3) the lyrics are ridiculous, bordering on ludicrous – which I have included under the video, so you can sing along.  Feel free to share other songs that are as bad, if not worse, than this one.  Now without ado, here is the band ZLAD! and their, um, “breakout” single “Elektronik Supersonik.”  Enjoy.

Hey baby wake up from your a sleep
We have arrived onto the future
And the whole world is become….

Elektronik, Supersonik,
Supersonik, Elektronik,

Hey baby ride with me away,
We doesn’t have much time,
My blue jeans is tight,
So onto my love rocket, climb,
Inside tank of fuel is not fuel, but love,
Above us, there is nothing above,
but the stars, above

All systems gone!
Prepare for downcount!

5….4….3….1! Off blast!

Fly away, my space rocket,
You no need put money in my pocket
The door is closed I just lock it,
(Ha) I put my (Ha) port plug in your socket (Ha Ha Ha)

The sonic sky is bright like fire
You and me gets higher and higher
Cut communication wire
Only thing can stop us is flat tire

Ha, Ha, Ha Ha Ha Ha

Hey love crusaider
I want to be your space invader
For you I will decend the deepest moon crater
I is more stronger than Darth Vapour
Obey me I is your new dictator
For you is Venus, I am Mars
With you I is more richer than all the tzars
Make a wishes on a shooting stars
Then for you I will play on my cosmic guitars!

Ladies and Gentlemen
Fasten your beltseats
We has commenced our decent
I trust you enjoy this flight
As much as you enjoy this accent

Now back on Earth its time for downsplash
Into sea of eternal glory my spaceship crash
People have arrived for cheer me from near and far
And as I float I open door and shout
“I am worlds biggest, washed-up superstar!”

(Supersonik, Elektronik)

As for sure as the sun rises in the west
Of all the seas and all the boats I am the bestest
come, let me put ring of Jupiter on your finger
Then like a smell around you I will forever linger
Ok, is time for end, no more will I sang
Let me take you back in time,
I want for you to experience big bang

Long live space race
Long live, Molvania

Gloomy Sunday – The Suicide Song

Remember the movie “The Ring,” and/or the Japanese original “Ringu?”  For those who are not familiar with either of those movies the gist of it is this:  people watch a creepy video, then receive a phone call from a creepy girl, who then delivers the creepy message that the person who just watched the video will die in seven days.  Essentially the video causes people to die.

Good thing it is only a movie huh?

Now, what if I told you though that there was a song written in 1933 that drove several people to commit suicide?  The song was recorded in C-minor and is dripping with melancholy; so much so that several press reports from that time attribute 19 suicides to the song, which led to authorities and radio stations banning the song from being played.  The music was written by Hungarian pianist Rezso Seress, with the lyrics written by his partner Laszlo Javor in their native Hungarian.  The song was translated in several other languages, including English, and the most popular version was recorded by the late great Billie Holiday.

Below are both the original Hungarian version and Billie Holiday’s version.  I’m not sure which one is most responsible for causing suicides is, so listen at your own risk…

Songs of the IBM

At some point in 1937, IBM decided that publishing a book of songs that all of their workers could stand up and sing, rejoicing in the virtues of their humble master, IBM, was a great idea.

This strange piece of IBM history was printed as a thin paperback volume of 54 pages, entitled “Songs of the IBM, 1937 Edition”. The first page gives you a good idea of what is in store:

For thirty-seven years, the gatherings and conventions of our IBM workers have expressed in happy songs the fine spirit of loyal cooperation of good fellowship which has promoted the signal success of our great IBM Corporation in its truly International Service for the betterment of business and benefit to mankind.

In appreciation of the able and inspiring leadership of our beloved President, Mr. Thos. J. Watson, and our unmatchable staff of IBM Executives, and in recognition of the noble aims of purposes of our International Service and Products, this 1937 edition of IBM songs solicits your vocal approval by hearty cooperation in our song-fests at our conventions and fellowship gatherings.

I found this to be very, very strange. Big groups of IBM employees singing the praises of their leaders and pledging loyalty to their dear IBM is something right out of North Korea.

Here are a few scans from the book, including the “To our IBM Girls” song:

You can download the entire booklet here (2MB).

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