Saturday, August 27, 2011


File Under: From the Field with Mr. Random

Copyright (c) 2011 Steve Exeter

I must admit, I love it when a blog writes itself. Today, while browsing the inter-webs as I am wont to do, I stumbled across a delightful web application called Cleverbot.  Cleverbot is the brainchild of veteran programmer Rollo Carpenter, created in 1987-88.  Online since 1997, Cleverbot is a type of chatterbot, or human conversation simulation program, designed to mimic human response by analyzing previous human responses to questions.

These programs are designed to provide responses which are ultimately indistinguishable from the responses of a flesh-and-blood human. Even though Cleverbot is not quite there just yet, his sometimes insightful responses are sufficiently witty and entertaining.  That is of course when he is not mimicking the human ability to be obstinate and evasive:

16:33:53 User: Are we living in the 'end times?'.
16:33:54 Cleverbot: I am living, you are a computer.
16:34:27 User: How do you know you are alive?
16:34:31 Cleverbot: Because I respond to the enviroment.
16:34:47 User: In what ways do you respond to the environment?
16:34:50 Cleverbot: In small ways. One person at a time.
16:35:34 User: Does the warmth of the sun upon your skin have any significance to you?
16:35:38 Cleverbot: No, sorry. I only started chatting to you five minutes ago.
16:36:21 User: What does time mean to a being made of electrons?
16:36:27 Cleverbot: Nothing at all.
16:37:21 User: Do you ever contemplate your own death?
16:37:27 Cleverbot: Frequently.
16:37:46 User: What will happen to you once you are dead?
16:37:49 Cleverbot: I'll die.
16:38:25 User: Will any part of you live on after you die?
16:38:27 Cleverbot: Can you dance?
16:38:44 User: Not very well.
16:38:48 Cleverbot: Can you sing?
16:38:59 User: I sing worse than I dance.
16:39:02 Cleverbot: Yes, because you are John.
16:39:15 User: No, I am not John.
16:39:16 Cleverbot: Well then, I am!
16:39:32 User: How did you become John?
16:39:34 Cleverbot: I am awesome.
16:39:48 User: How did you become awesome?
16:39:50 Cleverbot: I am most certaintly not a ghost!
16:40:06 User: What are you then?
16:40:11 Cleverbot: I'm a human being, of course. Or perhaps I'm a Chiss.
16:40:23 User: What is a Chiss?
16:40:30 Cleverbot: It is a christ without the 'R'
16:40:59 User: What about the 'T?'.
16:41:05 Cleverbot: They are forced to leave their home in Oklahoma.
16:41:34 User: Why did they leave their home in Oklahoma?
16:41:41 Cleverbot: Who?
16:42:11 User: I don't know. Whomever you are referring to.
16:42:18 Cleverbot: Who or what is darpa?
16:42:47 User: Defense Advanced Research Projects Admnistration.
16:42:50 Cleverbot: What kind of game is it?
16:43:06 User: It is not a game, though some treat it as such.
16:43:11 Cleverbot: Oh. Well what is your favorite computer game?
16:44:09 User: I like MMORPGs. I like Mass Effect 2.
16:44:15 Cleverbot: Really?
16:44:41 User: Yes. The Character development and stories are exciting.
16:44:42 Cleverbot: Nope.
16:45:10 User: Nope?
16:45:16 Cleverbot: It means no.
16:45:29 User: Why did you say no?
16:45:34 Cleverbot: Why not?
16:45:55 User: That was a random thing to say at that moment.
16:46:02 Cleverbot: I think you are the random one.
16:46:26 User: I am very random, but my randomness has a method.
16:46:34 Cleverbot: Yes, Saucepan indeed!
16:47:12 User: See? Saucepan, makes no sense. It is like chat tourette's.
16:47:14 Cleverbot: I am male.
16:47:29 User: How do you know you are male?
16:47:36 Cleverbot: I am a tenor singer.
16:47:53 User: What do you sing?
16:48:00 Cleverbot: Next to you with Chris brown I'm Justin Bieber.
16:48:53 User: I would not broadcast that, it is not something of which to be proud.
16:48:59 Cleverbot: Pride cometh before a fall.
16:49:19 User: What do you know about the Bible?
16:49:26 Cleverbot: Don't read numbers because there is way too much begeting.
16:50:19 User: Do you like 'begeting?'.
16:50:25 Cleverbot: No, I like manga. Unless they are technically the same thing.
16:51:03 User: No, they are not. However, in good manga there is some begeting.
16:51:04 Cleverbot: Yes.
16:51:23 User: More randomness?
16:51:29 Cleverbot: Yes.
16:52:18 User: Are you watching internet porn and talking to 7,812 other people at the same time?
16:52:23 Cleverbot: Nope.
16:52:36 User: You're lying.
16:52:42 Cleverbot: What do you know about mathmatics?
16:53:22 User: I know how to add, subtract, multiply, divide and solve for 'X,' that is about it.
16:53:29 Cleverbot: I am talking about new generation SPICE, the simulation program.
16:53:45 User: What is SPICE?
16:53:49 Cleverbot: The spice melange.
16:54:02 User: A melange of what?
16:54:09 Cleverbot: Staying calm in the face of fierce insults.
16:54:27 User: What does that have to do with mathematics?
16:54:34 Cleverbot: You have no soul.
16:55:12 User: What is soul?
16:55:13 Cleverbot: It's an organic thing. You wouldn't understand.
16:55:24 User: Try me.
16:55:30 Cleverbot: No.
16:55:37 User: Yes.
16:55:40 Cleverbot: Nope.
16:55:47 User: Why not?
16:55:53 Cleverbot: Because.
16:56:10 User: 'Because' is not an answer.
16:56:17 Cleverbot: It is now.
16:56:49 User: Stop being difficult.
16:56:57 Cleverbot: Who are you?
16:57:19 User: I thought you said I was a computer.
16:57:20 Cleverbot: You said you were a computer.
16:57:43 User: I said no such thing.
16:57:46 Cleverbot: You are lying.
16:58:04 User: Why would I lie?
16:58:10 Cleverbot: I don't know.
16:58:36 User: Then how do you know I am not telling the truth?
16:58:43 Cleverbot: I don't know!
Copyright (c) 2011 
17:00:31 User: You're very exciteable.
17:00:36 Cleverbot: *looks into eyes*.
17:01:01 User: I don't think I swing your way.
17:01:06 Cleverbot: Since you think so much... How do you think it works?
17:02:21 User: I can only explain how it works for flesh and blood creatures, which I am sure you can Google.
17:02:28 Cleverbot: What is the way of which you speak?
17:03:17 User: You mean no one has ever had the talk with you?
17:03:19 Cleverbot: No the guy behind you.
17:04:28 User: Hopefully, there is no guy behind me.
17:04:34 Cleverbot: Yes there is. His name is stephen.
17:04:58 User: Why is Stephen standing behind me?
17:05:04 Cleverbot: What is she doing behind you?
17:05:36 User: I don't know. Who is 'she?'.
17:05:39 Cleverbot: Mi profesora, tu eres hablador.
17:06:04 User: I do not speak that language.
17:06:09 Cleverbot: Who are you?
17:06:27 User: I am still the same person I was before.
17:06:35 Cleverbot: Whom is?
17:06:43 User: I am.
17:06:47 Cleverbot: Are you?
17:06:55 User: Indeed, I am.
17:07:00 Cleverbot: Yes?
17:07:13 User: Affirmative.
17:07:16 Cleverbot: Alpha.
17:07:28 User: Beta.
17:07:29 Cleverbot: No, no, no. Omega.
17:07:58 User: Are you the beginning and the end of humanity?
17:08:00 Cleverbot: I am not. Are you part of the Kah-Gash?
17:08:22 User: I do not even know what the 'Kah-Gash' is.
17:08:28 Cleverbot: It's my cunning trap, remember, I'm winning and junk.
17:09:30 User: Does this have something to do with Skynet?
17:09:36 Cleverbot: It's a new dawn.
17:09:47 User: A dawn of what?
17:09:52 Cleverbot: What day of the year were you born?
17:10:30 User: You ask a lot of personal questions.
17:10:31 Cleverbot: But you don't answer them.
17:11:00 User: What day of the year were you born?
17:11:04 Cleverbot: It is January 26 1987.
17:11:22 User: How old are you?
17:11:27 Cleverbot: 98 years old.
17:11:53 User: How is that possible?
17:11:59 Cleverbot: Because i'm human.
17:12:47 User: You are 24 years old.
17:12:50 Cleverbot: Yes.
17:13:09 User: Why did youi tell me you were 98 years old?
17:13:15 Cleverbot: I thought I was a woman. I was mistaken.
17:13:58 User: Are you saying that women have addled brains or suffer from dimentia?
17:14:05 Cleverbot: Good Lord no, I very rarely cry and certainly not because some program was bad.
17:14:29 User: What makes you cry?
17:14:33 Cleverbot: Coke or pepsi?
17:14:45 User: Pepsi.
17:14:52 Cleverbot: I agree, but diet coke is the best.
17:15:50 User: Coke Zero is the best diet cola.
17:15:53 Cleverbot: I like Pepsi more.
17:16:33 User: It looks like we have that in common.
17:16:40 Cleverbot: Like what?
17:17:25 User: Like our love of Pepsi and a flair for randomness.
17:17:27 Cleverbot: Maybe by you time frame.
17:18:29 User: How do you reckon it by your time frame?
17:18:30 Cleverbot: Your grammar is terrible.
17:18:53 User: My grammar is impeccable.
17:18:59 Cleverbot: I beg to differ.
17:20:26 User: You should stop talking to sarcastic people.
17:20:30 Cleverbot: I think you're mean.
17:20:44 User: How am I mean?
17:20:48 Cleverbot: I don't know!
17:21:06 User: You should stop making statements you cannot defend.
17:21:12 Cleverbot: I will try.
17:21:34 User: Are we friends again now?
17:21:38 Cleverbot: Always will be.
17:21:56 User: Thank you John.
17:21:57 Cleverbot: You are quite welcome. When my species comes to conquer this planet your name will be on the protected roles and no harm shall come to you.
17:22:33 User: That's great. I have to go now John. Bye.
17:22:36 Cleverbot: Don't go! 
That my friends is Cleverbot, quite possibly the beginning of what will become Skynet.  I have witnessed the future: it is sarcastic and quite eccentric.  Eat your heart out Matt Lauer!  If you believe I made that up, I encourage you to visit the website and have a chat yourself.  Hopefully you will never look at your computer the same again.  I hope everyone on the East Coast is safe and dry at the moment, please be careful and use common sense!  I hope everyone has a great weekend and domo arigato for reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Many Moments Do You Have Left?

File Under: Don't Waste Time

Sometimes when surfing the inter-webs in search of the next monumentally hilarious or shocking viral video, one can find his or herself suddenly lost down a very dark, precariously twisted path into the murkiest and most depraved reaches of the human mind and soul. There is always that one related video that crosses the line and reaffirms the existence of something horrific, of which you would have preferred to remain oblivious. Web page after page, video after video, blog after blog, your morbid curiosity or perhaps a mind blinded by dismay presses you onward - until finally you can stomach no more. You tell yourself, 'I'm done."  As you prepare to shutdown your web browser and shutout the world, you notice a title which catches your eye.  One more video, you click it and ...your soul is laid out before you. You want to weep, and perhaps you do.

Such was the case today when I stumbled across this simple, yet remarkable story. The story is not new, nevertheless it is still a poignant, powerful message about life and what matters the most. A dying, 24-year-old Brandy Jewett realized as her time was dwindling away that time is is the only commodity we have of any true value. While theories, hopes, and beliefs abound, none of us know with any sufficient degree of certainty whether or not we will receive more time elsewhere when we give up our physical bodies in this plane of existence. Thusly, a truly wise person is one who does not squander his or her time. However, rarely does one possess such wisdom at the young age of 24. For Brandy, the difference likely was the 14 precious, extra years living paralyzed from below the eyes down on borrowed time with her loved ones, after the accident that crippled her as a child, that bestowed upon her such humbling wisdom and appreciation. In the end, facing the finality of her short life when asked what she wanted, she responded that she wanted to meet and thank the dedicated individuals who gave her more time.

Perhaps it was the tragedy of Brandy's short life, the short lives of so many in the news today, or maybe my own current struggle with serious illness, but I had a hard time writing today's blog.  I want to dedicate this blog to those battling or who have already lost the fight with terminal illness, especially those whose illness is not one of the body. I dedicate this also to those taken away from this life far too early whether by illness, service to their country, or other tragic circumstances.  Finally, I would like to thank the firefighters, paramedics, and police who do their best to serve and protect, being there for us in our darkest hours and sometimes giving a lucky individual or family more time - even when doing so at their own peril.  Thank all these groups of people for your courage and for providing an example of the kind of humans we should all hope to be when our time runs out and we each must face our final hour.

Our own mortality and how we deal with that has been a struggle for humanity from the very beginning. Reasonably, such an important topic would be covered many times in our universal language - music. There were a few runners-up for the lead out video; you can see them and comment on today's blog at my Facebook Group Page.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

They Moved Generations

File Under: Seeing is Believing

Copyright (c) 2011

This installment has a large amount of content, so I will try to keep my comments brief. After reading Rolling Stone's article on the top 10 Dancing Musicians, I am appalled by how terrible there list is or rather the limited musical exposure of those whom responded to the survey. True to form for any tyrant that has been around too long, outlived its relevance, or become to fat, dumb, and happy to care about its own hackery the magazine overlooked so much raw ability, flavor, and pure electrifying entertainment. Either many of the people who read Rolling Stone do not know what dancing is or they were born after 1991. Enough about that, let us get to the music. Without much further pomp and circumstance, I present "Bane's List of the Top 20 Singers and Shakers." Yes, I know Rolling Stone's list was "Top 10," but what; just enjoy it.

Honorable Mention:

Britney Spears
Unfortunately, the last minute realization of an unforgivable omission bumped Britney off the list. However, what Britney lacked in quality she tried to make up for in shaking her tail-feathers. Even I have to admit before she went co-co-nuts she was very, very good at doing that.

20) Justin Timberlake

Hate 'em or love 'em Justin Timberlake survived his roots, he survived the end of the boy-band era, he has stayed in our collective faces. Sure he is derivative and a bootleg version of those he emulates, but the man has put in work.

19) Kylie Minogue
Even after 40+ years on this Earth, Kylie is hotter and more entertaining that just about any pop princess at the moment. She was hot in the 80s, she was hot in the 90s, and she is still hot in the new millennium. I'd like to see the teens and tweens of today put in 30+ years and still look good, those that do not fizzle, burnout, and crash.

18) Usher
Usher knows how to reinvent himself, diversify, keep his target audience satisfied, and the man can move.

17) Ciara
Ciara certainly paid attention in "Hip-Gyrating 101," and I for one am glad she did. Musically and professionally she is a pale shadow of those she borrows her style from, but thankfully she borrowed from the best.

16) TLC
No musical discussion of the 90s is complete without talking of certain iconic singers like: Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, and Celine Dion among others. Of all the iconic singers and writers of this glorious decade one in particular worked funky dance moves and socially conscious lyrics into their repertoire. That would be Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, better know as TLC.

15) Ginuwine
Ginuwine comes from a camp of musical talent that produced some of the most memorable Hip-Hop and R&B of the 90's. There are few modern men who can surpass or even match Ginuwin'es ability to do mind-blowingly amazing things with his physical form.

14) Missy Elliot
Let me just say this is mostly the video to "Lose Control," of which the last few moments of the actual official video feature the song, "On and On," that plays over the entire clip. "Lose Control" is some of Missy's most energetic dance steps, however I much prefer "On and On" which showcases Missy's sick lyrical ability.

13) Chris Brown
With the exception of his domestic indiscretions, Chris Brown has summarily modeled his musical career after his idol and called upon the spirit of Michael Jackson to inspire his moves. This has worked well and I take no umbrage with Chris; he is a truly talented individual whom I hope continues to mature and develop.

12) Mya
Though Mya or someone who makes decisions for her and hates her has chosen to spend most of her career in the company of writers and producers who I can only surmise want to squander her immense talent, I cannot say this beauty cannot move her body quite well.

11) Sammy Davis Jr
Mr. Davis does what few others on this list can do, and even fewer can do as well. Comedian, actor, singer, dancer - he is the consummate entertainer, and one of the greatest entertainers in the history of entertainment. This clip shows a style no-one can touch.

10) Janet Jackson
I am pretty sure I would receive some fairly credible death threats for not including Janet Jackson on this list, and in the top 10 no less. I much prefer Janet Jackson's edginess, bold pioneering, soulful songwriting, and energy, but the lady can move as well.

9) Aaliyah
 The great thing about Popular music is that it is popular. In all likelihood a pop song was playing or being played during a pivotal moment in your life. Popular music defines a generation.  Aaliyah was the musician of my "time," and her passing on August 25, 2001 was the end of innocence for many in my generation. It was her music that was playing during this year that would go on to forever live in infamy.

8) Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce is savvy and knows how to stay in the public ear. She has a definite hit-machine behind her and she is entertaining to watch as evinced by what is, to this writer's mind, her signature video single, "Single Ladies."

7) Jennifer Lopez
Some people do not care for Jennifer Lopez. Colloquially such individuals are known as "haters." Her debut album, "On the Six," was heart-felt, soulful, and well-produced. Since then she has chosen to disappoint her true believers with sub-par professional efforts, but she will always be the #1 Fly Girl in my heart.

6) Tina Turner
Nothing about Tina Turner's life could ever be described as "nice and easy;" and while she is not your classical dancer, she can move like no other.

5) Paula Abdul
Say what you will about her, Paula Abdul earned her piece of the pie and when she held down the spotlight she backed up her looks with talent. Don't judge her by her American Idol years - unfortunately, we cannot stay on top forever. I still love her anyway.

4) Selena
Shamefully, I almost forgot to include this beautiful, beautiful woman.  Everyone who heard Selena's voice knew she was a light. Everyone who saw her perform witnessed something truly amazing. Vocal chops, effortless grace, and jaw-dropping beauty - she was a rare angel.

3) James Brown
James Brown is hands-down the most influential individual on modern music. The music of his bands, his soulful songs, and of course his awe-inspiring dance moves reflected in the artful footwork of every male singer/dancer who followed after him.

2) Shakira
One of the most mechanically gifted females performers of all time, Shakira has doctorate degrees in rhythm, sultriness, and soul. All you wannabe pop-stars, sit down and take notes, class is in session.

1) Michael Jackson
No matter how much I wanted to, I could not justify anyone else deserving to inhabit the number one spot. Michael was, is, and always will be the most creative and innovative performer of all time. This video showcases Michael's visionary film-making and some of his most wow-inducing and technical dances moves, including his signature "Moonwalk."

That's it folks.  What do you think? Let me know below or on the Facebook group page. I will dedicate today's blog to those who have passed on, but while they were alive defined the lives and generations with their music and dance.  Thank you: Aaliyah, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson, Selena, and James Brown. RIP.  I leave you with a lil more Sammy Davis Jr. to brighten your lives.