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Merry Christmas to me. I've been busy. I've found a partial solution to my audio bleg, and now I'm able to render MIDIs into WAVs, with the sound of several different pianos.
It's an ugly process and I have a few piano fonts I haven't gotten to work at all yet. But I can do it and make files that sound reasonably good. (When considered distinctly from my playing ability.) I've spent basically all of my time at the piano, trying to make a recording that wasn't awful, or at the computer, experimenting with conversions.
I'll write up the process sometime over the next few days and post a tutorial.
I'll get back to blogging soon, I hope. I don't think I've been blogging significantly less than usual, but it's felt that way because I haven't been reading very much lately, either. But I'll open the ol' mailbag for a bit, even if my commentary is brief.
Don sends this article about stock option accounting:
Yes. Exactly. I must comment on one aspect of the article, where it explains FASB's reasoning in favor of expensing:
In the past I've criticized this argument by saying that this sort of expensing is creating sham cash transactions. I can be more precise: This sort of argument confuses the balance sheet with the earnings statement. In very broad terms, the earnings statement is about transactions and the balance sheet is about assets. When the scenario shows no difference in final assets, it is the balance sheets that should be alike — not the earnings statements. If the final assets are acquired through different transactions, then the earnings statements should differ. Accounting should highlight the differences between stock or cash transactions, not obscure them!
Sarah writes to say I'm a humbug (I paraphrase) because I would get rid of religious holidays for government employees. Guilty as charged.
More seriously, figuring out what to do with holidays is a real issue. I think the scope of the problem is vastly reduced by privatization — e.g. I don't have to worry about making postal workers work on Christmas, because I'd privatize the post office. But there will still be some large number of people who wouldn't get those holidays anymore. But it occurs to me that these kinds of jobs already require people to work on holidays. Prison staff can't all take a holiday at the same time. Neither can police officers. Perhaps things wouldn't be so different, after all.
Here's a delightful story about Christmas shopping, a search for toy guns:
You must read it.
There's more trouble at the UN. Kofi Annan says the Darfur "plan" is "not working". (The first are scare quotes, the second are real quotes.) And the UN sex scandal in Congo is worse than I realized; there are apparently photos and videos. The journalists remarked that this scandal "threatens to become the UN's Abu Ghraib." No, let's be frank — this is much worse than Abu Ghraib. I'm listening for the cries of outrage from the same people who were so bothered by Abu Ghraib, but I'm hearing mostly crickets. I wonder why that is? Shouldn't Democrats — the self-appointed champions of the oppressed and exploited — be leading the charge? Here are the oppressed and exploited. What are you waiting for?
To end on a mirthful and seasonal note, enjoy several renditions of A Christmas Carol. These two are my favorite: