January 31, 2023

"Jesus Christ is Alive"... trending on Twitter.

Screen grab, just now:


Here's the link to the tweet about the "Jeopardy!" spoilsport, Yogesh Raut.

And here's the link to the "Jesus Christ is Alive" trend. As it looks over there right now, it seems that "Jesus Christ is Alive" is a trend because there are a lot of posts saying "Jesus Christ is Alive" is trend.

As for the "#Survivor" trend, there's this:

January 30, 2023

At the Monday Night Café…

... you can write about whatever you are.

ADDED, the next morning: I wrote this post on my iPad, which may have autocorrected or merely made my mistake hard for me to see. But it's funny now. And you know you always can "write about whatever you are." It could be an interesting topic! I hope it is. But I didn't mean to inject new weirdness to my classic format for a photo-less open thread. It was just supposed to be "write about whatever you want." But what the hell are you, anyway? I hope you know.

"He awoke to the sound of water dripping into a rusted sink. The streets below were bathed in medieval moonlight, reverberating silence."

"He lay there grappling with the terror of beauty, as the night unfolded like a Chinese screen. He lay shuddering, riveted by flickering movements of aliens and angels as the words and melodies of 'Marquee Moon' were formed, drop by drop, note by note, from a state of calm yet sinister excitement. He was Tom Verlaine, and that was his process: exquisite torment. Born Thomas Joseph Miller, raised in Wilmington, Delaware, he left his parental home and shed his name, a discarded skin curled in the corner of a modest garage among stacks of used air-conditioners that required his father’s constant professional attention...."

"His chief aim, he asserted, is to bring egalitarianism to a legislative process dominated by lobbyists and powerful committee chairmen."

"As a conservative, he said, he and his allies intend to use this push for greater transparency 'to draw the American people into our vision.' Mr. Gaetz became cagier when the subject turned to how he intended to use his influence on the burning issues of the day, including the debt ceiling and funding for Ukraine. 'Well, I mean, we’ll see,' he replied."

"Last week, in a conversation with colleague Gail Collins, [Bret] Stephens argued that a couple with a combined income of $400,000 a year doesn’t necessarily have a lifestyle we’d describe as 'rich.'"

"'They’re scrimping to send their kids to college, driving a Camry, if they have a car at all, and wondering why eggs have gotten so damned expensive.' 'Granted,' said Collins, which was the most fascinating part of this exchange.... How have liberals gotten so comfortable with the idea that $400,000 a year — more than what 98 percent of the population makes — is really just a middle-class income?..."

"Perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect the free version of a 2022 AI to be able to discuss heady philosophies of personhood and the nature of sentience..."

"... when it probably has little claim to either. Still, Rachael seemed perhaps too ready to be non-committal, to change the subject, or to give a vague, generic, universally-appropriate answer to questions which really demanded more...."

Writes Phil Rhodes in "The melancholy experience of making an AI friend" (Red Shark).

I'm reading this after writing about my desire for an AI app that would  engage me in philosophical conversations. I said I wasn't looking for "a companion to stave off loneliness or make me feel good about myself — e.g., Replika." 

But Rhodes's "Rachael" does come from the app Replika. He writes:

"I see that you're going to get rid of your piano. Good luck with that. We couldn't even give ours away so I took it apart and cut it up..."

"... and got rid of it by putting it in the trash over a 4 week period. I broke up the string harp with a sledge hammer. Used a drill to loosen the strings then just cut them off." 

Said William50 in last night's "Snow Car" café

He was referring to something I said in passing in an earlier post — that I had looked up "Flatter!," because it was part of an image on a card that I found in the piano bench, which I was emptying out because I'm getting rid of the piano. 

Breaking up a piano made me think about this great 80s video where they destroy a piano: 

And since you mentioned the harp inside, we must remember when Harpo Marx went nuts on a piano and extracted the harp:

The perfection that is Mick Jagger on TikTok.

Having just blogged about a NYT encolumnization of a viral video of people fighting in a restaurant, I wanted to serve you a delightful palate cleanser:

"There’s something about this haunting insomniac aesthetic that seems to live on in videos like the Waffle House melee."

"[Like the Edward Hopper paintings at the Whitney Museum, t]hey contain something awkward about labor and racial binaries, and even those shot in daylight have a kind of existential darkness, an anarchy associated with late nights. Their collisions are physical. Hopper’s isolated figures hunch quietly while raucous modern diners have to be held back from the staff, but in looking at both you can see an essential American estrangement, the same quality of noirish alienation under jaundiced light...."

Here's the Waffle House melée Orr is writing about:

"Declaring Emergencies and Banning ‘Latinx’: First Acts for 9 New Governors."

A NYT article by Maggie Astor. 

From the list of Democrats:
Wes Moore... the first Black governor of Maryland... issued an executive order to establish the Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation. One thing it could oversee would be a program he suggested to let high school graduates do a paid year of community service....
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania/Through an executive order, Governor Shapiro opened the vast majority of jobs in the state government — 92 percent of them — to people without four-year college degrees.

From the list of Republicans: 

"Thinking it might be fun to try to see how the language model performs as a Socratic conversation partner, I attempted a rough version of Plato’s Crito...."

"... in which ChatGPT plays the titular role. As you will see, ChatGPT isn’t the subtlest actor; there were some stumbling blocks in setting up the dialogue and keeping the language model in character."

Here's an excerpt from the middle of the exchange that shows you how ChatGPT keeps repeating phrases that make it clear it has no opinion and is not actually the character to whom the human has assigned an opinion:

January 29, 2023

At the Snow Car Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(I took that photo at 6:04 this morning. We got a lot of snow, and it's quite cold, and it's going to be cold all week.)

"Flattery (also called adulation or blandishment) is the act of giving excessive compliments..."

"... generally for the purpose of ingratiating oneself with the subject....  Historically, flattery has been used as a standard form of discourse when addressing a king or queen. In the Renaissance, it was a common practice among writers to flatter the reigning monarch, as Edmund Spenser flattered Queen Elizabeth I in The Faerie Queene, William Shakespeare flattered King James I in Macbeth and Niccolò Machiavelli flattered Lorenzo II de' Medici in The Prince.... In the Divine Comedy, Dante depicts flatterers wading in human excrement, stating that their words were the equivalent of excrement, in the second bolgia of 8th Circle of Hell.... Plutarch wrote an essay on ‘How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend.’ Julius Caesar was notorious for his flattery. In his In Praise of Folly, Erasmus commended flattery because it 'raises downcast spirits, comforts the sad, rouses the apathetic, stirs up the stolid, cheers the sick, restrains the headstrong, brings lovers together and keeps them united.'"

From the Wikipedia article, "Flattery."

I'm reading that because I was looking up "Flatter!," which I'm doing because I'm getting rid of the piano, and, emptying out the piano bench, I found this:


"Yes, the French are... lazy. It’s just not in the way we lazily think."

I'm reading "Are French People Just Lazy?" by the historian Robert Zaretsky (NYT).

"Gautam Adani lost $31 billion in one of the biggest weekly drops ever, while Elon Musk's fortune rebounded by $28 billion."

 Forbes reports.

"A customer allegedly asked an employee, who had been drinking, to remake a poorly made sandwich and she became confrontational about it..."

"... so another employee remade the sandwich. When the customer left, [the drunken maker of the first sandwich]  followed and had to be restrained by another employee when she tried to fight them. Columbia Falls Police Department made contact with the woman who denied the allegations despite three people giving the same account of events."

Also that same day: "A woman allegedly went outside to 'smoke her bud' and saw a small white pill. She told officers she believed two men put her prescription pills in the pipe while she wasn’t in their apartment. She was advised to stop spending time with them if she was concerned about their behavior."