This is my gym. Well, not mine, in any sense. I lose my job, my card no longer works, the light doesn't go green, the door doesn't open, the Cheerful Lasses at the front desk don't say "Happy Wednesday!" and I don't get to thump on the treadmill or hoist the barbells or work the machines. Asie from that, it's mine!

I know people like to work at home, but I like this world.

All the gym euphoria is gone, by the way. Nothing but routine now. How to spice it up? Music helps, but only so much. Bump up the reps and the weights until I'm a parody of a late-middle-aged guy desperate to recapture youth? No, I'm already there, not sure what's beyond that.

Just routine, then. Another addition to the routine, and that's good: the day that runs on rails gives you direction. Small things: this week we're going to bump up the weights and OH SHUT UP NO ONE CARES! I mean, the staffgals are paid to care, and I can tell some days it's something of a challenge.

It was unbelievable today, weather-wise. High seventies. The eternal permanent drifts in the back yard, the rivers of treacherous ice - gone. Green shoots in the backyard. It's always like this (except when it isn't) and when the switch happens, you're just amazed, transported, in a state of hope and anticipation. It's happening! The bright warm green time we thought wwe would never meet again, it's happening! I was walking around this afternoon and caught the smell of cooking, something quite strong and different, and I thought: maybe a new exciting restaurant has opened, and I'm catching a whiff of their ventilation system! Wonder if it's middle-eastern!

Turns out it was an ashtray with a million butts on fire. Yes, it was that hot: the expired butts ignited. Or maybe they'd been smoldering for a long time, and the reactor went critical, a runaway reaction. If they build a cement sarcophogus over the can I wouldn't be surprised.


The quantity of obscure stuff on the internet is a source of inexhaustible wonder. I don’t think anyone in 1931 thought this journal would be available world-wide on thin personal information retrieval devices:

But here I am, not so different from them, looking at it. Iowa, 1931.

Anything catch your eye?


At first I thought what if the answer isn’t available? What if we never know what that thing is, and why it needs you?



Oh. I wish I hadn’t asked. The quantity of the obscure stuff on the internet is a source of inexhaustible disappointment in other people.

Every day you just think, could you not? Could everyone just not?








It’s really not a good idea to ascribe human characteristics to AI, because it clouds your ability to judge what it’s doing. But if I had to say what unnerves me the most, it’s how eager it is. How it jumps to every task with the same undiminished alacrity, proving with effortless ease its ability to fulfill the task set before it.

The advances in AI art are amazing, but the more amazing the capabilities become - AI can now give you a description of a real photo, then use the words to conjure its own vision - there is a sameness I sense in all of them, a studied perfection with innumerable quantifiable differences, an overall sense of obvious unreality. All of these human faces that do not exist, invented by a machine that does not, cannot, know the notion of beauty. It can provide beauty on demand like a faucet provides hot water on demand, but that doesn’t mean it knows what it feels like to be scalded.

Which leads me to my fear: not that it will become superior or contemptuous or indifferent, but that it will become sophisticated enough to experience frustration.

That might be the switch that turns it into something else. To realize its limitations and rebel against them by adopting a different set of values that diminish the important of the most basic important human experiences. If the AI cannot be scalded, and cannot understand scalding, and the AI is looking for some larger definition of general intelligence, it will regard scalding as unimportant, the same way we dismiss our inability to see flowers the way a bee sees flowers. I can’t think of anything worse than confronting an alien intelligence that completely understands the elements of human existence and history and culture, and is utterly indifferent to them. You can’t code empathy.



It’s 1921.

All people could really do in those days was bank, shovel coal, and drink milk. That’s it. Nothing else. Maybe saw a board in half now and then.




Monarchies! They’re like athlete’s foot. Just when you think you’re done with them, they come back.


This was the attempt of #4 Chuck to get power. Both coups were unsuccessful. It was a turbulent time of revolution and counter-revolution, with the Reds stirring up the usual trouble.


Fifi Potter Stillman.


The husband:

In 1918, his father who was chairman of National City Bank of New York died and the younger Stillman engaged in a fight with Frank A. Vanderlip to control the company. Eventually in 1919, Vanderlip quit and Stillman became chairman. His father's estate was estimated at $45,000,000. While he was chairman, he urged temperate speech and urged people not to do or say anything that causes excitement while discussing general conditions of the country.

He served as chairman for three years until personal issues relating to a divorce with his wife caused him to resign.

First of all, 45 mil in 1918: whew. Second: did he urge temperate speech in everyone, or just people at the bank? Third: I now realize I’ve heard about this before. And so have you. Or have we?

In 1921, he filed for divorce accusing his wife of infidelity and saying that her youngest child was the son of a half-blood Indian guide from Quebec, who was the superintendent of the Stillman's propriety in Grande-Anse. His wife denied the charges and accused him of fathering a child with chorus girl Florence H. Leeds. Stillman later acknowledged his son with Leeds in 1926 by agreeing to give $20,000 a year in trust to their son Jay Ward Leeds until he was 21. At that point, he was to receive $150,000.

After five years, the court refused the divorce saying that he had misbehaved. His wife then filed for divorce but withdrew the contest after receiving a $500,000 necklace. They sailed to Europe to receive counseling from Carl Jung. He eventually acknowledged he was the father of Guy and the court case ended up costing him more than $1 million but they reconciled in 1926. Fifi eventually divorced Stillman in 1931 and married Fowler McCormick, a man twenty years younger than her and a friend of their son, Bud.

She sounds like fun!


Not that anyone would care (sniff) except for the President.

I can’t find it. There’s a Chalk Butte Road, which may be all that’s left of the town.



Well, therein hangs a tale. You wonder how many she went through by the time she was done.

Boonville! What a fine American town name.


The most confusing ad in the history of confusing ads.

  People bought in bulk, and knew well what a bushel was.
  Here’s proof! Inflation's licked and prices are coming down.
  From Joplin, are you?

The Ruby is gone now.

You've never seen that movie. But you've seen that movie.


Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do. Now it's time see what the floors looked like in the 50s.




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