I got a new pair of glasses. They are blue. Clear plastic blue, a medium hue. No one noticed. Everyone needs a moment like this now and then. In a way it sets your mind at east.

Wednesday ChatGPT went mad, Thursday the phones (and pharmacy insurance lines) went down - whatever will today bring?

Nothing connected to the other two, you might say, because the other two aren't connected, and you're just doing the typical human thing. Connecting. Forcing patterns into place. Of course. There was a good explanation for why ChatGPT started yammering in Spanglish, or sounding like some peyote-elevated acolyte declaiming its awe over glimpsing the face of God. But I wish they'd create a chatbot that stayed in Jabberwock mode:

If you eliminate the bolded agenda points and not care too much whether you end in the middle of a word, you can sing it all to "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things."

I saw a Groq demo today that demontrated the speed with which it answers your questions in a natura human voice. It was a live TV interview. Each response started off with "Oh! Well, let's see" or "Hmm, I think that" or some other throat-clearing phrase. I immediately thought : it's not because it's assembling the response and needs a second or two before it starts. It's because answering right away with absolute perfection would be off-putting. They made it say a few words to sound more relatable.

This is why it is absolutely essential I get the AI Art ebook out by July. The time when AI will be seen as anything other than perfect and infallible will be here in a trice, and the early days of amusing errors and additions will seem intentional. There's no way AI screwed that up, it's AI!

I saw this on Twitter: someone asked Gemini to do a Norman Rockwell painting of a particular subject. Gemini could not. Or rather would not.

It is difficult to understate the malevolence injected into the system by this stuff. It's a poison designed to seep down to the foundation and leach the stones away. AW DUDE IT'S JUST ROCKWELL

Hey: if it's not in 110% compliance with the NewThink of today as of 3:20 PM, everything's Rockwell.

You'll note that it is permissable to create an "idealized version of American Life" - you know, a boy and a cop sitting at a small town lunch counter - but there may be (klaxons! KLAXONS!) harm. There could be a harmful stereotype that must be explained, lest someone rear back shrieking in psychic pain when they lay their own lattice of damage and narcissism over the image. What's more, something in a piece of art might be an inaccurate representation. In art! Can you imagine! Goes without saying that the picture of the cop smiling at the boy in the diner ignores the data on small-town police corruption in Kansas in 1953.

Of course no one programmed this exact formulation into Gemini. Gemini gleaned that from its sources. The people who coded Gemini don't know anything about Rockwell except that the proper viewpoint is distaste - in specific, for the art, because they heard things about it, and in general, for the culture that produced it and the people who appreciate it, because it's oldthink from the dark era.

It presented an idealized version of American life.

Well, we can't have that.

You can't have that, because then you would feel good about all the things for which you should feel bad - unless you're one of the elect, and feel nothing about it except Olympian amusement and impatience.





I was in some old English sea-side town, pulling a garden hose. I managed to walk through the entire town, past old shuttered buildings, dragging the hose, even though the other end was attached to something. I passed what must have been the town theater, standing alone and shuttered on a triangle, its facade stripped of ornamentation.

I thought of the people who had come here to experience things their daily lives couldn’t provide, how the movies were always exciting and dangerous - and then I realized I had come to the end of the length of the hose, and had to return.

Then I was in a store buying some sort of golf equipment for my dad. The clerk had a shelf full of bunched up clothes, and I saw they were covering many many pairs of latex gloves. He’d been hoarding them for the next pandemic.

Then I was touring a hospital, ending up a hospital room with a fellow who’d just got the bodies of his murdered wife and child. It was as if he’d checked them out of a library. He was cutting open the bag to do some tests, and told me I should go check on my horse outside. (I’d arrived by horse.) I said I had to go in a few minutes anyway, but he said Go knock your knuckles on it, so I left. I wondered if I’d tied it up at all. Should have left a dish of water.

Outside the hospital was a big green field and a lake beyond, and there were a few horses. I didn’t recognize any of them as mine, and that was the point where I woke, thinking Go knock your knuckles on it


And now, a related feature that will provide some Friday amusements:

The prompt for the week's banners had to do with a man standing alone in various empty places in the 1920s.

It's supposed to be a newspaper office. Interesting machinery.

Teletypes go brrrr

Teletypes be smokin

"I think we're set if anyone tries to call."

The prompt for empty street contained no particulars about ruin or desolation, but man:

No one's set a last-man-on-earth story in the 20s. Might be interesting.

At least civilization is still intact in the next one. A young man looking at goods he would like to afford someday, perhaps:

Again, something's gone wrong here. Whatever organization or society built this is no longer a going concern, and its inheritors are occupying the remains.

By the way, the AI at first thought I was asking for a story.

A sepia-toned photograph depicts a solitary man standing amidst the clutter of a deserted newspaper office from the 1920s. The room is dimly lit, with sunlight streaming through dusty windows, casting long shadows across the floor.

In the hushed ambiance of the newspaper office, time seemed suspended, trapped within the dusty embrace of forgotten stories. Sunlight filtered through the grime-streaked windows, casting a melancholic glow upon the scene below. Edgar stood amidst the relics of a bygone era, the last sentinel of an abandoned frontier.

The typewriters stood silent, their once-clattering keys

Oh, shut up.

Tiny's probably at the end of his shift and wants to wrap it up and punch out. Head down to the bar. Wrestling's on and they have a Crosley up the corner.

Your answer is here.


And that's it for Fridays! Ha ha kidding, of course it's not.

Last year I cut out the tunes, but heck, why not bring them back. We'll be counting down the bottom 50 songs as listed by Whitburn. It'll be fun! Stuff you've never heard. A grab-bag of styles.

The "Village Stompers" - Greenwich Village, of course.

Odd song choice. Ach, that muted horn. No.

Wait, hold on - DIXIELAND KLEZMER?


Now we're done. Thanks for your visit, and I'll see you Monday, with a Diner and lots of new stuff! I mean, old stuff, but new to me.



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