Irish Musician Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy

The late Phil Lynott of the rock band Thin Lizzy was an Irish musician and the voice behind the song I consider to be Thin Lizzy’s biggest hit, The Boys Are Back In Town.  Of all the songs from that timeframe, that’s one that runs through my head all the time, a great song.  Lynott passed away in 1986, at the young age of 37, quite a loss.  There’s a great bio of him on Wikipedia, and it includes a great photo of a statue built to memorialize Lynott in front of the Bruxelles club on Harry Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Here’s a live performance of Boys by Lynott and Thin Lizzy:

OTN Discussion Post: ” … the best author I have ever found.”

I just came across the following blog post from the OTN Discussion Forums, published shortly before my current book came out.  The blog post author, Sunil Parida, recommends my work, see below:

"If you havn't read steve's earlier book on pl/sql, let me tell you that he is the best author I have ever found. He makes things really simple for all."

Thank you, Sunil!

And for those who are just joining us, the book is now available – this blog post goes back to 2009, I’m blogging about it now because I just learned of it.

The Streamy Awards 2010 and Auto-Tune The News

Ok, folks, even fans of the Gregory Brothers and their brilliant Auto-Tune The News may not have seen this, the most brilliant awards acceptance speech ever, at the 2010 Streamy Awards:

They won for Best News or Politics Web Series, beating Rocketboom, the Young Turks, VBS News, and The Tomorrow Show with Mo Rocca.

They also won for Best Experimental Web Series, beating Green Porno, HBO Cube, INST MSGS, and Level 26.

They ALSO won for Best Original Music in a Web Series, beating Horrible Turn, Key of Awesome, Sparhusen, and The Coat.

The show was held at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, California, on April 11, 2010.

And incidentally – that was the “Second Annual Streamy Awards”, in 2010.  According to the Streamys website, the first show was in 2009.

But the third show hasn’t happened yet, so apparently – no such show in 2011.  And it looks like it won’t happen in 2012 either, the third show looks like it’s scheduled for February 17, 2013.

And for any aspiring YouTubers or other streaming content creators out there, it looks like they’re still accepting entries for award submissions.

Click here if you’re interested!

Auto-Tune The News and the Gregory Brothers

The Gregory Brothers is a quartet featuring Michael Gregory, Andrew Gregory, Evan Gregory, and Rose Gregory, who obviously isn’t a "brother", she’s married to Evan. 

They are the brilliant minds behind Auto-Tune the News, one of the most popular channels on YouTube.  The power behind the Gregory Brothers work is their technical skill with auto-tune software.   takes real news broadcasts, and through clever editing and the power of auto-tune software, an invention of an Exxon engineer, believe it or not.  His name is Andy Hildebrand, and his Auto-Tune software enables a skilled editor to process audio recordings and bend the pitch to achieve a musical effect.  I think the original use of Auto-Tune was simply tol correct off-tune singing.

But the Gregory Brothers use it to take original spoken-word mainstream news broadcasts, and transform them into songs.  The result is one of the most innovative creations on YouTube.  

One of their best known creations is the Bed-Intruder Song:

As of this writing, that video has over 105 million hits – incredible.

One of my favorites of theirs is the Backin Up Song:

I could go on forever with other hits of theirs, but I’m guessing many of you already have seen them.

BUT WAIT – I didn’t create this blog post to just talk about their hits, but to share something new that even their biggest fans probably haven’t seen.

But … tell you what, I don’t want it to get lost in this blog post.  So … I’m going to post it tomorrow. 

Stay tuned!


World’s Greatest Extra

I was recently made aware of this rather unique video, a series of snippets from a wide variety of TV shows and movies, featuring the same guy in the background as a film extra.

His name is Jesse Heiman, and he’s made his experience of being an extra into an event unto itself.

He actually has his own Wikipedia entry here and his own profile at IMDB here.

And his own website.

Way cool!  So if you ever wanted to get into films and an opportunity to be an extra comes up, take it!  You never know where you might be able to take it.


Another Satisfied Reader of My “SQL Expert” Book

A friend brought a great blog post to my attention, it’s by Duke Ganote in Cincinatti, OH, USA.  Duke describes himself this way:

ETL Technical Lead, SQL Sculptor, Query Cowboy, Data Munger

Very cool.  He wrote an August 15, 2010 blog post titled Certifiable.. by Oracle, and here are a couple of screen shots:

Text blurg one

Text blurb 2

Congratulations to Duke on joining the ranks of SQL Experts!  And I appreciate his compliments about my book.

Check out Duke’s bio here.  And be sure to check out his quotes, he has several that are great, but my favorite is one that is apparently his own original words of wisdom:

I advocate the Ruthless Exploitation of Technology for Business Purposes.
— Duke Ganote

That’s fantastic.  I wish I’d thought of it first; had I done so, that would be my company slogan.

The Passing of Hal David

The first pop song I remember hearing a lot was called Close To You.  I was a kid taking my first swim lessons at a pool where the juke box seemed to be stuck on this song, and it was a HUGE hit.  It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Around the same time, I was attending elementary school and we had a music teacher who decided to make our classes “hip” by teaching us a then-current pop song called Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.  That was also written by the same duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Those two wrote a slew of huge hits back then, and experienced something of a resurgence in the late 90’s and early 2000’s with the Austin Powers films, which featured some of their music and even included cameos of Burt Bacharach himself.

Hal David passed away September 1, 2012, at the age of 91.  He might not have been a household name, but he was certainly well known, and his work is loved by a great many people spanning multiple generations.  I’m a fan and was sad to hear of his passing.

Here’s some video of the songs I mentioned above; first, Close To You, sung by The Carpenters:

Next, B.J. Thomas singing Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head:

Finally, here’s a scene from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, featuring Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello performing I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, as “Austin Powers” (Mike Myers) and “Felicity Shagwell” (Heather Graham) cut up, a great scene from the movie:

Great songs.  We’ll miss you, Hal David.

Blur Studio, Autodesk, and the Human Face

The video below is about a software tool called Face Robot, from Blur Studios. It’s the result of a collaboration between a movie studio and a software tool creator. Below is a brief interview with representatives from Blur Studios and the software creators at Autodesk, talking about how they worked together to figure out how best to solve one of the biggest challenges in computer-generated filmmaking, namely – animating the human face.

Note that the one of the speakers refers to an organization called Softimage – pronounced with something of a French accent. Softimage is part of Autodesk.  See below.

That’s just a brief interview with some of the leading edge creators in the world of filmmaking and animation.

For an example of what Blur Studios does, stay tuned for a future blog post here at